Sigma 100-300mm f4 or 120-300mm f2.8 ???

Discussion in 'Sports' started by bill_george|1, Jan 2, 2010.

  1. There's almost $2,000 difference in price and about 3 pounds in weight to pick up the extra stop ----I'm not sure if I really need it as I shoot outdoors so, cor me, it comes down to (1) is there any real difference between them with respect to IQ and (2) focusing -- accuracy and speed?
    I like the idea that with a 1.4 TC the f2.8 becomes a 192-480 f4.0 lens while the best the f4.0 can do is 160-480 f5.6 and the difference, again to me, between f4 and f5.6 does seem to be significant.
    Comments from those who use one of these would be greatly appreciated.
  2. I don't have personal experience with these lenses, so will not comment. However, another consideration for you is to look at an xx-200/2.8 and either 1.4x or 2x made by your camera manufacturer.
  3. what are you shooting with? Why not get a Canon or Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8? The 100mm isn't as big a difference as you'd think, and with the better optics over cheaper glass you will be able to make a pretty hefty crop cleanly if needed.
  4. I know with Canon lenses the more expensive ones have better IQ and the AF is night and day. The cheaper lenses take forever to focus while the pricier ones focus instantly resulting in less or no missed shots.
  5. What are you shooting with now? Camera and lenses? One body or two?
    Nathan's remark is very correct. Same holds for Nikon. Esp. newer models in both lines.
  6. I shoot club soccer and use a Nikon D300 -- no intention of carrying 2 bodies etc.
    I started with the Nikkor 55-200mm VR and liked the results but it just didn't reach out far enough to get the shots I wanted.
    Lately I've been using the Nikrkor 70-300mm VR but don't care for it for several reasons ---- variable aperture - average IQ once past 200mm+ - and it is still a little short on reach.
    In an ideal world I'd be able to afford the 200-400 f4 Nikkor but even that has it's drawback with the 200mm on the bottom end --- I'd find myself running backwards to get shots.
    I've rented the 70-200mm f2.8 Nilkkor VR lens and like it but it's still maxs out at 200mm - put a teleconverted on it and you're less than 300mm at the top end and you're back to f4.
    I've thought about swiching to Canon (specifically the 7D) but run into the same problem with the 100-400L lens --- it has a variable aperture and I shoot a lot of early morning and late afternoon games. I did borrow a friends to try out and ddn't care for the push/pull design and I wasn't impressed with it's IQ much past 300mm and, and at least the one I tried didn't focus all that fast when I was shooting at 400mm.
    The reviews I've read on both the Sigma's -- especially the 120-300mm f2.8 were very positive.
    I appreciate your support of the name brand lenses but I'm not interested in any of them and I don't want to carry a couple of prime leses either -- I need a zoom out to at least 300mm without a variable aperture and from what I've seen and read, the two I'm inquiring about are the two that come closest to meeting my needs.
  7. The 70-200mm f/2.8 is a great lens and you should be able to crop quite a bit cleanly. I have a Canon 70-200mm and have cropped half of a picture out and it still looked great. The most important thing with sports is a fast AF. Lenses with slow AF will cause you to miss a lot of shots. You could get a 300mm f/4, but a max aperture of f/2.8 would be ideal and any lens longer than 200mm and is f/2.8 is going to cost at least a few thousand dollars. I've never used 3rd party lenses, but I am a pretty firm believer of using the lenses made by your camera company.
    Just remember, you get what you pay for.
  8. I hope so. The 120-300mm f2.8 Sigma costs more than the Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 VR II.
  9. I found that if you're not getting the shots you want with soccer .. it's better to move yourself rather than use a longer lens...if you're able to change positions rather than be stuck in one spot the entire time.
  10. I absolutely feel your pain. I shoot my kids' soccer games. I have been using a D2X with a 200/2 AI and a 400/2.8 AIS. Generally speaking I find the 200 too short and the 400 too long. This year I added a TC-16A to the 200/2 AI to provide a 320mm f3.5 autofocus lens. I thought this would be more or less an ideal focal length on the D2X but I still did a lot of zooming with my feet. In past years I used the 200/2 on a full frame and the 400/2.8 (no converter) on the D2X. This got very complicated too and again I did a lot of zooming with my feet! With all of the combinations I have gotten some awesome shots though.
    So, I too have been considering zoom lens options. I used to have a Canon DSLR so I am actually more knowledgeable about Canon lenses than I am Nikon. From my research the Nikon 80-400 seems to have the IQ but autofocus is too slow and the Canon 100-400 L has the autofocus ability but IQ is not great. Of course the Nikon 200-400 would be most ideal but it's way too much money and there is no way I would give up my two incredible primes to get it.
    I highly suspect that a Nikon 70-200/2.8 with 1.4x would have better AF and IQ than the Sigma 100-300/4. I also suspect that the Sigma 100-300/4 would be similar in autofocus and IQ to the Nikon 80-400 (both about the same price). As often as I find good reviews of the Sigma 120-300/2.8 I find bad ones. Consider that the Sigma 300/2.8 is the same price as the Sigma 120-300/2.8, so just how many short cuts were taken with the zoom? I do not recommend the Nikon 70-200/2.8 VR II to anyone simply because the price is way out of line and the VR option is horribly expensive for something that sports shooters would rarely, if ever, use. However, if we believe the reports it would likely be vastly sharper than the 120-300. Understand that if Nikon made a 120-300/2.8, even without VR, it would cost in the range of $6000 and with VR in the range of $7500-8000!
    I apologize if a lot of what I have to say is speculation, and I have no answer for our predicament. The best value in my opinion is the Nikon 80-200/2.8 AF-D, for around $1000 and a 1.4x converter (not sure if it takes the Nikon one or not, but the Kenko PRO and Tamron SP are said to be extremely good). Unfortunately the best performance is likely going to come from the 80-200/2.8 on one crop body and a 300/2.8 or f4 prime on another crop body, something I am considering myself.
    I know you are very interested in the 120-300 but I highly recommend renting one before buying. Good luck, let us know how you make out.
  11. always try to stick to your camera manufacturer's leneses... for you to know, canon doesnt share information of EOS system, so third brands have to do back engenering to make developing of the systems and software on the lenses that connect to the camera. as far i know, some err99 appear and some other inconsistencies..
    if you are nikon, i find the 80-200 af-d a good offer, with awesome quality, but not so fast af.
  12. Hi Bill,
    Have a look at this post i put up a while agomy review is second one down I can't speak highly enough about this lens however i got sick and can't lug it around very well now, If you are reasonably healthy you won't have any issues carying it
    Sure that review will help

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