which sigma lens --- or other

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by laurenm, Aug 6, 2013.

  1. Hi all, wasn't sure where to post this. I do some weddings and some portraits and more pets which include portraits and action. I recently shot some police k9 events and rented the new Nikon 80-400. I loved it and did pretty well in bright daylight hand holding.
    I bragged about the lens and subsequently, my Dad got me the older version as a birthday gift. The particular used lens he got for $1500 was in rough shape and I had him return it as awkward as I felt. Now, it is in my hands to tell them which lens I would like as a gift the new one isn't an option, nor do I really "need" it. I was thinking of the Sigma 120-400mm f/4.5-5.6 DG OS HSM APO Autofocus Lens for Nikon AF, or Sigma 50-500mm f/4.5-6.3 APO DG OS HSM Lens for Nikon, or Sigma 150-500mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM APO Autofocus Lens for Nikon AF
    My only long zoom right now is a Nikon 70-300 5.6, cheap and old. While the 500 would be nice, I am thinking it is not necessary for what I do. The 400 though could be good for pets in action, not sure it will be very useful for weddings however unless outdoors.
    Any opinions on these lenses given my usage? I am shooting with D700
    Thanks very much!
  2. lwg


    Are you using it over the entire zoom range in a shoot, or just at the long end? If mostly at the long end you may want to look at the 300mm f/4 AFS lens. Combined with a 70-200 or 80-200 it's great, and the combination is optically better than the lenses you listed. However it's not as flexible of a setup, and for what you mention shooting it may not be ideal. You should also consider the 70-200 f/2.8 with the 1.4X teleconverter. Again I think it's a better option optically, especially if you rarely need to shoot at the long end.
  3. Well, I did use the one I rented at the entire range which is part of what I loved about it. I could live without the 50 end for the price. Have never used a teleconverter. hmmm. Just wanting to get the best most useful lens to me for "my" money. My most used lens is my Tamron 28-75 2.8. I love my Nikon 50 1.4 but really don't often switch to it as I like the zoom flexibility. I think I am partly being torn. Since this is a gift, should it be a lens I would LOVE to own or a lens I need and one that would be most useful to progressing my business. I'm sure the latter is actually my Dad's goal and I wonder what is best to add to my setup.
  4. You are shooting two different things, and need two different lenses. The 70-200mm gets used a lot in weddings (during ceremony, mostly.) The older Nikon 80-400m VR probably won't keep up with running dogs. (I have one.) You have several ways to go. If you are shooting a D7100, you can buy a 70-200mm f2.8 and just crop down when you would use a 400mm. The D7100 has plenty of reach and plenty of pixels. Your other option is a Nikon TC-17e on the Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 VR-1. Not quite 400mm but AF speed and image quality will be pretty good. I can't imagine using a 80-400mm at a wedding.
    Kent in SD
  5. IMO, these Sigma lenses are too dark, and a move sideways. 120-400 maybe? but I agree about the 80-200 f2.8 plus a
    converter. The base lens is nice and bright and versatile for lots of general work, and the converter will get you some
    reach while keep the image quality pretty high. I use an old manual fixed 400mm Nikkor and it's f3.5 and extremely sharp
    but very heavy. I couldn't imagine being pleased with a 6.3, yuk.
  6. You might want to look at the Nikon 70-20 mm f/4. There is a Photonet review of the lens; it weighs about half of the 70-200 mm f/2.8 and you could use the TC 14-the current price new is about $1400 (lens alone). I've used it with the TC-17e on a D800 with very good results in rugby matches.
  7. Thanks so much guys! I THINK you have sold me on the 80-200. It sounds much more useful for what I do and I could look into a converter for the rare times I need more reach (really, don't know anything about the different sizes, etc... and how they effect the lens). So I hear you saying even if I need a converter once in a great while, it is a much better lens than my other choices. photo.net people rock!
    You think I am ok without the VR?
  8. what is difference between tc14 and tc17?
    Thanks Phil, I'm liking the VR option.
    Really, have I had many shots at a wedding at 2.8 without flash that worked out or could I be just as happy with 4.0 if I get the VR in exchange? hhhm, maybe in church. uugh decicions
  9. The TC 17e is a 1.7x extender and decreases the maximum aperture from f/4 to f/6.7, while the TC14 changes the maximum aperture from f/4 to f/5.6.. With the D800 the TC 17e worked fine in a well lit situation, supposedly the D800 can use auto-focus to f/8. I haven't used the 70-200 mm f/4 in a wedding situation, but have nice results at f/4 in low light situations at 1/60 sec at 200 mm. The main issue for weddings might be the question of noise as a result of having to bump up the ISO to allow for movement of the subject not the VR.
  10. If you are looking at the 80-200 f/2.8 AFD screw driver have a look at this forum with the search function. I posted a link to some images too .. For me and a few others here it wasn't that in focus a few metres in front of the lens. When I was about 8m it was fine. Could just be us that were the odd ones out. Better safe than sorry. Just my 2c.
    But I agree if you want weddings inside church and at the function afterwards you might want a faster aperture. I know a lady camera club member who turned children / wedding pro photographer. She found that her 70-200mm f/2.8 Canon was too heavy for her arms/wrists so she now uses a 135 f/2. She's also won some gold awards some kind of competition work based on the UK system I think, the competition only opened for working pro's, diff to the camera club one that is for amateurs.
    I heard the 80-200 2.8 AFS version is fine thou and the newer ones.
  11. For weddings, I've found f2.8 speed to be essential to stop motion. VR is a huge plus as well. I would not buy the older Nikon 80-200mm f2.8D for fast action or weddings. (I had one, used on F100.) If you are taking photos for money, you need to have the correct gear to produce the results clients expect. Nothing less.
    Kent in SD
  12. A little belatedly: I had a 150-500. There seems to be a lot of sample variation. Mine - and I wasn't alone - had very low resolution at the long (500mm) end until stopped down to about f/11, which is diffraction limited on modern cameras (and needs a lot of light). It's much better as a shorter lens, and I've seen reviews suggest that it keeps the 120-400 honest up to the 400mm mark (but I've also seen reviews claim that it's very sharp at 500mm...), but it's awfully heavy as a 150mm f/5 lens goes. I ditched mine, having since acquired both a 500mm f/4 AI-P and a 300mm f/4 + TC14E. I've used the 150-500 at weddings (as a guest, to shoot candids of other guests from the far side of the room), but I can't imagine it being all that useful if I were shooting weddings professionally - the official photographer doesn't have to stay in a seat and engage in conversation.

    On the 80-200 f/2.8 front, I've owned a two-ring (and a one, but it was ill...) AF-D and, while it's sharp at long distances, it's both soft and hard to focus up close (at least at the 200mm end). I've heard it said that the telecentricity (or possibly exit nodal point) varies significantly with focus distance, and this throws off autofocus systems. This frustrated me enough that I traded for a 70-200 VR 2. Supposedly the 80-200 AF-S is appreciably sharper than the AF-D, though the only one I had a chance to try seemed to have a decentred element.

    Some confusion: you mentioned a D700, but Kent talks about a D7100. Assuming you really are using a D700, I'd be careful about the long end of the 70-200 VR 1 - it has very poor corners. I went with the VR2 for that reason. (It's fine on a DX camera, it's just the edges of the FX frame where it has issues.) A teleconverter avoids some of this problem, but then you get a quality loss from using a teleconverter at all.

    The benefits of VR depend what you're doing. I wanted an f/2.8 lens to give me some depth of field control, but it did come in useful in low light recently. I suspect it wouldn't hurt to have VR for a wedding, though - some venues are dim, and it's not always appropriate to use flash.

    I've also had severe problems with a 135 f/2 DC (since the 135 f/2 came up); some others seem to have done better with it, but I've finally disposed of mine. If you don't mind chromatic aberration, it does give lovely bokeh.

    In your shoes, I'd think 80-200 AF-S or 70-200 VR2 for weddings, with a TC-14E for reach, knowing that this is a compromise. If you want more than 300mm, either the 300 f/4 or just saving up for the new 80-400 will give the best (semi-affordable) quality. The other option to consider is the 120-300 f/2.8 Sigma, which you might again teleconvert, but it's not a small lump of glass and it can best be described as "surprisingly" affordable (especially used). For ultimate quality, I'm saving for a 400 f/2.8, but then I suspect I'll be saving for some time... The idea of picking up a DX body (especially a D7100) and pairing it with a 70-200 is also not a bad way of getting the extra reach.

    Good luck with whatever you choose.
  13. I suggest a Nikon 70-200mm f 4.0 or the Nikon 300mm f 4.0 AFS . My friends who have had Sigma tele zooms tell other friends not to buy them. My friends who have the Sigma 150mm macro lens love it. Joe Smith
  14. Joseph: I'm glad to count myself as one of your friends. :) (I love my 150mm macro, I hated my 150-500, I'm reserving judgement on my 35mm until the USB dock arrives.)

    I'd be a little concerned about the 70-200 f/4 for wedding use - it's by all accounts a very sharp lens, but I'd have thought the extra aperture of an f/2.8 would be useful for a wedding (as much for DoF control as for IS) and it'd be an issue for teleconverting (280mm f/5.6 with a TC-14E would reach the official limit of the D700's AF response). I'd probably look at an 80-200 f/2.8 AF-S first, given the opportunity and if the 70-200 f/2.8 VR2 wasn't affordable.
  15. The older AF-D 80-200 f/2.8 is not a bad choice; if it wasn't for the wedding, I'd recommend the 70-200 f/4VR over it, but for weddings, you want the f/2.8 speed.
    I can, however, confirm the issue Ray mentioned - at close focussing distances, the AF doesn't work too great at all. Kent's point about the AF speed, well, on a D300 and D700 I do not find the AF of this lens to be slow. It can certainly cope with weddings in this sense. But, if you're a wedding pro, I think you're really better off with a 70-200 f/2.8 because its AF is more reliable at closer distances. Plus, VR can be extremely handy, well worth the extra money. Another option would be getting the 70-200 f/4VR now, and add a AF-S 85mm f/1.8G soon for the weddings. It's not ideal that you'd might have to changes lenses more often, but it would give both the fast aperture, optical performance, and the range.
  16. The problem with shooting for pay, especially weddings, is you can't go back and reshoot if you screw up. You have to have gear that will consistently, reliably, do the job.
    Kent in SD

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