Sigma 70-300mm f4-5.6 APO Super or Nikon 70-210mm f4-5.6D

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by john_pereira|1, Sep 22, 2003.

  1. Hi,

    I currently have an 80-200 f2.8, but it's too big for certain forms
    of travel. I'm looking for a compact zoom lens for travel purposes.

    I have a Sigma 70-300mm f4-5.6 APO Super that I bought as my 1st long
    lens before moving up to better lenses. I'm also considering the
    Nikon 70-210mm f4-5.6D lens, but not the Nikon 70-300mm f4-5.6D ED
    lens. Based on various internet sources I have noted the following:

    1. has rated the 70-210mm sharper than the both the Sigma
    and Nikon 70-300mm. I think both the Sigma and the Nikon are rated
    fairly equally, although the Nikon has less distortion.

    2. Lens survey website - - generally
    backs the results obtained by the site. However, the
    rating for the Sigma 70-300mm differs between the two. Photodo rates
    the DL Super version higher than the original version of the APO (non-
    Super version) while this site rates the APO super very poorly vs the
    non-Super APO.

    3. The opinions expressed about the Nikon 70-210mm f4-5.6D vary

    4. There is even more variance in the opinions for the Nikon 70-210mm

    5. I've noted good opinions about 75-300mm, but it is not compact

    6. The 75-150 Series E is a great lens, but it's manual focus and I
    want the extra zoom range.

    Based on these observations I don't feel the Nikon 70-300mm is
    sufficiently superior to the Sigma. If anything the ED designation
    may just be a marketing ploy, especially if the internet rumours are
    true that Tamron builds the lens for Nikon. The Nikon 70-210mm
    appears to be superior, but is it significantly superior or just
    marginally so? If it's just marginally superior than it may not be
    worth the trouble of getting one.

    Any insight would be appreciated.
  2. I have owned the Sigma and now own the Nikon 70-300. I find them pretty much 'equal' in terms of optics (I dumped the Sigma for non-compatibility with my F100). Since you already have the Sigma, you should probably be the best judge of whether it's working for you.

    In my opinion, the 'scope' limits the quality of these lenses. A 4 to 1 zoom, at slow apertures, light weight, low cost? This is as good as it's going to get. If you're chasing optical quality at the long end, you're going to have to go another way. Spend more money. Carry more weight. Cut your zoom range.
  3. I know this will rankle some people, but those website photo "tests" of lenses are a crapshoot, really. I have looked at those results and have found that any resemblance between those results and those I have noticed from lenses I have owned myself is fairly coincidental.

    The Sigma 70-300 APO is probably as good a lens as you are going to get unless you are willing to spend a lot more money and/or shorten your zoom range. The newer 70-300 4.0-5.6 models of the Sigma APO zoom may not be quite as good as the older (but slightly more limited) 75-300 4.5-5.6 version(s) (one of which I own and which I think is a TERRIFIC zoom), but overall this has been a very good lens series over the years.

    Personally, I think that while a Nikon 70-210 f4.5.6 zoom might be marginally better within its more limited range, you probably won't notice the difference overall.
  4. Sigma made a Nikon compatable 70-210 f/3.5-4.5 AF APO lens back about 1990. I have used it all over the world for scenics, nature and wildlife. It is eminently transportable and may still be available on the used market. It macros well with the 1.5 Diopter usually supplied with it. Though I plan to purchase the VR Nikkor 70-200 f/2.8, I will still use this lens for travel photography.
  5. Thanks for the responses.

    I'm not "chasing" the ultimate in optical quality. For that I have the 80-200mm f2.8. This compact telephoto zoom is for travel purposes, and only when the size and weight of the 80-200mm f2.8 preclude it from being an option. As such, I want to ensure decent optical quality within the limits of a compact telephoto zoom. Having said this I need to determine whether there is a significant and/or noticeable difference in optical quality between the Sigma & Nikon. As an aside, I haven't noted any compatibility issues with my Sigma lens and my F100.

    Based on the responses the Sigma is a decent performer and is marginally below the Nikon 70-210mm in optical quality, although build quality may be a different story. I fully expect the Sigma to be soft at the 300mm end of it's range, but I expect good results from 100-200mm. Previously I had a Nikon 70-300mm G series and noted it was very soft at the long end of its range. I would expect better results with the Sigma.

    I've read good things about the Sigma 70-210 f/3.5-4.5 AF APO lens that was produced back about 1990, but haven't been able to find it. I've been able to locate a manual focus version, but auto focus is a requirement. Too bad or else it would have also been an option to consider, although Sigma quality for older products is suspect.

    Once again, thank you for the responses and your insight gentlemen.
  6. n m

    n m

    I know that the Nikkor handles and focuses considerably better than that Sigma lens. But the capabilities of the Sigma are also different.

    You are right to be wary of a high profit margin 70-300 ED. The fact that Nikon redrew its originally published lens diagram to make it appear superficially different from the far cheaper Tamron 70-300 LD would appear to speak volumes.

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