Sigma 100-200 f4.5: a sleeper and a bargain

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by mike_gammill, May 22, 2012.

  1. Found one of these recently for a few dollars and couldn't pass it up. Like many early 80's telephoto zooms this one's still got a good bit of metal in its construction and feels solid without being too heavy. During this time the popular tele zooms were usually around 70-210 more or less. For those people whose pockets weren't deep enough for the f3.5 to f4 zooms in that range, but wanted no part of the variable aperture zooms (we know the type: f4-5.6) Sigma offered a slightly reduced range (100-200) and a modest, but constant maximum aperture of f4.5. We stocked this lens at the family camera shop and sold quite a few. I like the finish of the trim on the lens barrel (I have a 135mm f3.5 mini tele with the same finish). My copy does have a bit of zoom creep, but otherwise is in really good condition.
    Since this is a budget lens I thought it only right to attach it to a budget SLR: the Minolta SRT 100. While I know the SRT 100 only gives up the 1/1000 second setting and a few other features, I wondered how the zoom would do. It had been a long time since I even saw one of these and at the time we sold it I had a Soligor 80-200.
    First, the lens.
  2. And one with the lens attached to the SRT 100.
  3. The long Sigma balances quite well on the SRT body, although at f4.5 focusing can be a bit of a challenge in low light for my 54 year old eyes.
    I tried the lens on my XE-5 later and found that it was much easier to focus with the split image aid.
    Now, for some images. I used Plus-X rated at box speed processed in HC110 dilution B. I scanned the negatives at 2400 dpi using an Epson V600 scanner. Images were resized using Microsoft Office Picture Editor.
  4. First, a pair of images at a local steel industry.
  5. From same position at 200 mm.
  6. Another industry shot.
  7. At 200 mm now.
  8. I think (and I know the scans don't do justice) that the lens performs better at 100. Or possibly the microprism focusing doesn't work as well for me as it does for others.
    Here's a couple of shots at medium distance.
  9. Zooming in to 200 mm for this one.
  10. It's hard not to include some railroad tracks, especially since my town was build around the railroad.
  11. I may have missed the mark a bit on focus on the 200 mm shot.
  12. Like its more expensive cousins, the Sigma 100-200 also offered close focusing. Whereas most zooms got down to 1:4 or 1:3 (a few even did 1:2), this one gets down to a modest 1:4.5. Plenty close for many subjects. I'm currently shooting a roll of Fujicolor 200 in the XE-5 so I will try a couple of close focus shots with this zoom and add them to this thread.
  13. Yes Mike, the last one at 200mm is very impressive. It is an emphatic perspective, if I may use such an adjective. Thanks for the post. sp.
  14. Thanks, Subbarayan. Your recent post with the 200 mm reminded me that the compressed, flattened persective of the 200 mm (and longer) telephotos can really work for some subjects.
  15. You're talking to an avowed telephoto fan here, Mike, but I'm a little surprised by the quality of the images you've coaxed out of this old Sigma. Zooms of that era were generally not reknowned for their performance, and I always felt they sold as a budget alternative to purchasing a couple of decent primes. Sigmas didn't have the good reputation they enjoy today, though the build quality always seemed reasonable. You've certainly posted a vote for the pro-Sigma camp... I have to admit that I own only one Sigma lens, a 12-24 zoom for the full-frame Canon DSLR's, and that's something else, entirely...Thanks for an enlightening post.
  16. Mike
    That 'Looking down the track' is my pick.
    Subbarayan recently posted one with zoom, Rick posted one recently, and now you. I am tempted. One of these days I must take out my Vivitar 70-210 for a spin :)
  17. Some color shots now.
  18. I found the field at close focus surprisingly flat for a zoom lens, but again this was probably not at maximum (around 1:6 I think) and the conservative range of the lens works in its favor. I used a Minolta XE-5 with Fujicolor 200 for the color shots.
  19. One at 200 mm. The apparent DOF is a lot less at 200 than 100. I focused on the brick column and used f8. The background is clearly not in focus.
  20. The early 80's was an interesting time for zooms. The telezooms (70 something to 200 something) were generally adequate to quite good, but the wide to short tele zooms were still in need of improvement.
  21. Ah, but with a 'budget' smaller maximum aperture usually came the advantage of a smaller, lighter lens that was easier to pack. That often could make the difference between taking or leaving home a lens and if left home the possibility of missed shots. The budget lens could have many advantages other than price.
  22. Quite true, John. Also, a budget lens was a better choice to take along for situations where you wouldn't want to chance damage or theft of that expensive Nikkor or Rokkor (or similar) zoom.
    Vivitar also had some budget zooms that were good alternatives if one's pockets weren't deep enough for the famous Series 1 70-210 f3.5. The 75-205 f3.8 and 70-150 f3.8 (once owned one) offered good performance without breaking the bank. The 70-150 even offered a dedicated teleconverter (matched multiplier).
    The much later Vivitar 70-210 f4.5 was a decent performer as well and sold at an attractive price.

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