Sigma Lenses

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by DaReal_Dionysus, Jan 3, 2011.

  1. DaReal_Dionysus macrumors regular

    DaReal_Dionysus

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2009
    #1
    Hello Everyone and thanks for any help in advance! I was wondering what everyone thinks of Sigma Lenses! I'm very interested in the 50 to 500mm so i wanted just a general opinion from the forum! Is the color good with them and how well do they work with Nikon DSLR Camera's! Any info would be greatly appreciated!

    Best Regards,

    Dionysus
     
  2. Designer Dale macrumors 68040

    Designer Dale

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    #2
    Hi there.

    I'm interested in Sigma as an alternative to the more costly Canon L class lenses. The one I'm considering is the 120-400.

    Along with looking at reviews and what is offered from lens rental web sites (if it's a bad lens, they don't carry it), I went to Flickr and did a search on the particular lens I was interested in. In your case, Sigma 50-500. I think that's the one called "Bigma". See what others have done with the lens. It will help y ou in making your decision. Sigma suffers from two issues. One is consistent production quality and the other is weight. They have been improving the former and fix any issues with focusing and have good warranties now. As for weight, the lens I am looking at is four lbs. The Canon 100-400 is three lbs.

    Good luck on your search.

    Dale
     
  3. luminosity macrumors 65816

    luminosity

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    #3
    Sigma has it share of good and not so good lenses. Perhaps its crown jewel is the 150/2.8 macro lens, which is more than a match for any of its Nikon and Canon counterparts. It has a very loyal userbase and a lot of people swear by it. I'd own one myself if not for my 180/2.8.

    The Sigma 50/1.4 is another popular lens.

    One thing Sigmas are known for is having focusing issues. It's commonplace to send in lenses to Sigma for correction and then to have them work great. Some people have great luck with them right away and don't need to do that.

    If you ever need a telephoto macro lens, look no further than the 150.
     
  4. JosephBergdoll macrumors 6502

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    #4
    I've never used any Sigma zooms, but my 30/1.4 is sharp.
     
  5. Cliff3 macrumors 65816

    Cliff3

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    #5
  6. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

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    #6
    If you want advice on a specific lens, you should put that in your title.

    Sigma makes a slew of unique and interesting lenses that simply have no Canon/Nikon equivalent, e. g. a 120-300 mm f/2.8 zoom or an affordable 30 mm f/1.4 lens. There, the decision is not so difficult in my opinion: do you want to have a lens with these specs or not? I wanted a 50 mm-equivalent prime with an initial aperture of f/1.4, so the choice was simple (30 mm Sigma, the 28 mm f/1.4 Nikkor cost more than four times as much (used!)).

    On the cheaper Sigma lenses, you should check whether your lens is centered properly and focusses correctly (something you should do with any new lens). The more expensive their lenses, the more good things I've heard. So I don't think it's entirely accurate to claim they spend less on quality control across the line-up. I think it's a reputation they've earned on the cheap end and that haunts them.

    Regarding weight, that's a difficult subject. In many instances, the additional weight is due to better construction: e. g. my 30 mm Sigma is way heavier than the closest competition, Nikon's 35 mm f/1.8. But then, the Nikkor is mainly made of plastic while Sigma uses lots of metal. So it's heavier, but I don't mind.

    The specific lens you're interested in, the Bigma, has no real competition (I think there was a Nikon MF lens out there with similar specs). Any lens that covers a 10x zoom range has to make compromises in the optical design, although that's not a Sigma-specific problem. Out of principle, I avoid all super zooms, but that's just me. If you already have a 50-xxx or 70-xxx zoom, I'd probably add a different lens, e. g. Sigma's 100-300 mm f/4 lens (one of their best in terms of optics, only recently bested by Canon's 70-300 mm L which costs twice as much). The other thing you should keep in mind is that at 500 mm on a crop body (I presume), the focal length is so long and the lens relatively slow (f/6.3, I believe) that you need a tripod or monopod.

    My advice:
    (1) If you really want a 50-500 mm lens (in terms of focal lengths), you have no choice, simple as that.
    (2) If you want a good tele zoom with lots of reach, have a look at some other Sigma lenses, e. g. the 100-300 mm f/4 or 120-400 mm which deliver image quality that is on par to Canon/Nikon lenses (in case of Nikon: better, the 80-400 mm isn't that good of a performer, the design is quite old). The build quality is generally very good, too, although I prefer Nikon's and Tokina's finish. But I don't doubt Sigma lenses can take a fair amount of abuse.
     
  7. avro707, Jan 4, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2011

    avro707 macrumors 6502a

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    #7
    No no no no no! And more no!

    I used that 50-500mm F4-6.3 EX "Bigma" lens early on with a D80. It was effectively a good 50-300mm, anywhere beyond 400mm, it became soft and vignetting was very obvious - even on a D80.

    I also had severe problems with the external paint-finish peeling away rapidly, despite best of care. I was then stuck with the run-around from the local distributor. The lens was just outside of its warranty period - and I demanded in no uncertain terms that the lens barrel be fixed at no cost to me - because I was aware that it was an issue affecting multiple Sigma lenses at the time. A lot of my endless following up with them (it took months of frustration), it finally was fixed - and on the day it came back, I traded it in on a 24-70 F/2.8G Nikkor.

    I'd recommend Nikon's 80-400mm VR Zoom-Nikkor over the Sigma, provided you use it on D80/D90 or better type cameras.
     
  8. standingquiet macrumors 6502

    standingquiet

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    #8
    I've only ever used a Sigma 10-20mm and found it very soft when wide open, had to stop it down to f/8 for best results.

    I know of friends that have had focusing issue's.

    Just remember you get what you pay for with glass.
     
  9. Phrasikleia macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

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    #9
    It's really true. And the other thing to keep in mind is resale value. If you think you might ever want to sell your lens, you'll get a lot more for it if it's a Nikon lens. The one lens I ever lost money on was a Sigma (24mm f/1.8 EX DG). All of the others I've sold actually appreciated in value (all Canon lenses); I got more for them than I initially paid. The Sigma took many repostings to sell and finally went at a major discount, despite being in mint condition and coming with its original box, case, and papers. We also got rid of one other Sigma lens, a superzoom, and that one we just threw in to make a package deal out of a camera sale.
     
  10. DaReal_Dionysus thread starter macrumors regular

    DaReal_Dionysus

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2009
    #10
    WOW GUYS!!! That was great info!! Thank You very much!

    Well it looks like most of the reviews I've read about the Bigma hold true! Looks like I'm going with all Nikkor then and I've chosen the following for my needs!

    I already have the 18-105 so I think the following will best fit my needs!

    AF-S VR Zoom- NIKKOR 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED
    AF-S NIKKOR 200-400mm f/4G ED VR II
    AF-S NIKKOR 35mm f/1.4G - for wide angle

    Thanks everybody for you help again! You have helped greatly in me making what I believe to be a sound course of action!

    Many Blessings and Happy New Year!

    Dionysus
     
  11. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

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    #11
    I don't think this is true. There are numerous examples where a cheaper lens is on par or better in every respect, e. g. Tokina's 11-16 mm f/2.8 or Sigma's 100-300 mm f/4.
     
  12. luminosity macrumors 65816

    luminosity

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    #12
    That's true within brands as well. A 50/1.8 remains one of the best deals around, regardless of the brand.
     
  13. epicwelshman macrumors 6502a

    epicwelshman

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    #13
    I'm a semi-pro wedding photographer, and both of my "workhorse" lenses are Sigma's - 24-70mm f2.8, and 70-200mm f2.8.

    I've been thoroughly satisfied with both of them. I was a lucky one and have had no focusing issues with either lens. They're certainly "more than half the lens, for half the price of a Nikon/Canon", as people say.

    To be fair, I will eventually upgrade to the Nikon 24-70 and the 70-200, partially for stabilization and partially for (slightly) superior image quality (less chromatic aberration, etc.), but if you're on a budget, Sigma is a great choice.
     
  14. standingquiet macrumors 6502

    standingquiet

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    #14
    You wont go wrong with the Nikon 70-300mm but if you can go for the VR version which is superb.

    The 35mm f/1.4 is also one of the best lenses i've ever played with on a DX sensor camera, the portraits you can get for £170 is truly amazing. However you say for wide angle? Its not a wide angle lens the 18-105mm is far wider at 18mm.


    Totally agree with the Tokina 11-16mm mate outstanding lens and on par ( if not slightly sharper ) than the Nikon 12-24mm.
     
  15. avro707 macrumors 6502a

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    Dec 13, 2010
    #15
    The 200-400 is a massive lens - you should be careful that you know what you are getting yourself into there. Yes it is great, but there are times when 80-400mm Zoom-Nikkor can be much more practical.

    Hand-holding the 200-400 for a long time requires some physical effort. This is all from experience - I've had the lens for a long time.

    The new Nano Crystal Coat should reduce ghost and flare if you shoot photos in strong light. After my experience with Sigma, and reflection on others who've had similar problems - I won't touch them again. Even if it costs more, the peace of mind with a Nikkor lens backed by Nikon service (which in my country and location is really good) is worth the extra money.
     
  16. TWLreal macrumors 6502

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    Jul 9, 2006
    #16
    A £1699.99 AF-S 35mm f/1.4G is not the same thing as a £170 AF-S DX 35mm f/1.8G. They actually aren't even remotely the same used on their respective systems.

    A 35mm on full frame is wide enough to be considered wide angle, albeit a standard wide.

    However surprising it may be that the OP is using full frame.
     
  17. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #17
    I owned an f-mount Bigma for a few years, and given its price, it was a very good lens. It was sharper at 500mm than the Nikon 80-400mm is at 400mm (I also own an 80-400, and it's not a lens I'd recommend over the 50-500.) It needs a lot of light, but it's also 25% longer than a 400mm lens, so a lot depends on what you plan on shooting. If you need the reach and can't afford anything long that's fast enough to work with a TC, or anything that's long and fast, then it's the best deal out there IMO.

    I never had problems with paint peeling, or internal reflections and I sold quite a few images taken with it.

    Having shot literally thousands of images with both the Sigma 50-500 and the Nikon 80-400, I'd never recommend the 80-400 over the Bigma. IQ, especially sharpness is much better on the Sigma. About the only thing I prefer on the Nikkor is the contrast, but that's very lighting dependent. I shot with the Bigma for about 4 years, the 80-400 for about two- there was a lot of overlap, and between the two, I carried the Bigma most times because of the extra reach for birds and the extra sharpness zoomed all the way out. They both shot on a Fuji S2Pro, Nikon D200 and Nikon D2x.

    How "big" and heavy the 200-400 is depends a lot on what you're used to and how large you are. I can certainly hold one for a relatively long time, in contrast to a 400mm prime, which I can get about 45 seconds to a minute at a time.

    If you have the money, the 200-400 is the one to get, otherwise the Bigma- though the 200-400 isn't great at infinity it's certainly sharp enough for most users *unless* you plan to shoot a lot of distant subjects, in which case you should read Thom Hogan's review as apparently somewhere between sideline-to-sideline distance and 300', the lens isn't very sharp. You'll also want to budget for a new tripod collar, as the provided one tends to have too much play in it.

    Paul
     
  18. avro707, Jan 4, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2011

    avro707 macrumors 6502a

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    #18
    I don't agree with Thom Hogan's assessment on the 200-400 for distant subjects.

    I've had very good success with it for very distant subjects - even when used with a 1.4x teleconverter (giving 280-560mm and F/5.6). I've found it to be really sharp all the way through the range - from 200mm all the way through to 400mm, even at F/4.0, wide open. I can provide many examples. I mostly tend to use it wide open at F/4.0 for low light conditions.

    I don't know much about Thom Hogan, if he owns the lens or just uses it for a short while then gives it back to Nikon or the owner, but everyone I know has had great results with that lens - especially on D700/D3/D3S/D3X. There is no better substitute than renting these lenses before buying them, rather than relying on internet reviews. When anyone is spending that much money, testing it for yourself for a weekend is the only way to go.

    The funny thing with Sigma and my experiences, the first time I mentioned the problem, I got the comment "oooh, that's the first we've heard about it", but as soon as I mentioned I've got plenty of evidence of it being a widespread problem, they quickly retreated from the original position. Funny that... At the time, there were many examples of it on the internet, and a friend of mine also with the 50-500mm (same as mine) had the same issue too - though much worse. A typical example is like this:

    http://img228.imageshack.us/i/sigma2ol4.jpg/sr=1
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/36207186@N00/3304657737/ (100-300 F/4)

    On the other 50-500mm I mentioned, the outer barrel of the moving part of the lens started to have paint peeling. On mine, it was around the painted areas of the non-moving parts of the lens - and was so bad that instead of being the normal crackle matte finish, it was a shiny black smooth plastic look. It seemed to be an across-the-board problem that affected numerous lenses with that matte finish.

    That said, I got okay results from the lens while I used it - but overall, I found it about average. But I'd always recommend to try the lens first.
     
  19. Cliff3 macrumors 65816

    Cliff3

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    #19
    Hogan typically owns and extensively uses the items he reviews. It is not unusual for him to secure additional copies of a lens or camera to serve as controls against possible sample variation affecting his review. A person could disagree with his conclusions, but it's tough to criticize the integrity of his reviews.

    If you haven't read the review of this lens, it's here: http://www.bythom.com/Nikkor-200-400mm-lensreview.htm
     
  20. DaReal_Dionysus thread starter macrumors regular

    DaReal_Dionysus

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2009
    #20
    Okay Final Question!

    Explanation:
    I will be shooting models and lots of commercial photos. Some wild life but mostly in theme parks here in Florida like Disney's Animal Kingdom and Busch Gardens! I also love to do night photography so that is a consideration as well!

    So my question is:
    Do i really need such a high powered zoom lens or would I be safe would my existing AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR and the addition of a AF-S NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR or a AF-S VR Zoom-NIKKOR
    70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED?

    What do you guys think! sorry to ask so many questions guys!!

    Thanks in advance!
    Dionysus
     
  21. Ruahrc macrumors 65816

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    #21
    You're throwing around wildly different lenses in this thread. From a sub-$1000 (but still very good) 70-300 all the way to a $7000 200-400, and then the "do-everything" 28-300 and not to mention the kit 18-105. These all have substantially different roles and are designed for completely different objectives. That they happen to have roughly similar focal lengths (200+mm) is largely irrelevant.

    I get the feeling that there is some pretty substantial misunderstanding on your behalf regarding your gear needs, and you are likely better off not buying anything for the time being until you can get a better and more specific grasp on what sorts of photographic requirements you will need before considering things like the 200-400.

    Ruahrc
     
  22. luminosity macrumors 65816

    luminosity

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    #22
    Amen to that.
     
  23. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

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    #23
    Seconded. I stopped worrying about replying after I've read that ;)
     
  24. Designer Dale, Jan 5, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2011

    Designer Dale macrumors 68040

    Designer Dale

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    #24
    I agree. The Sigma 120-400 is equal too or, in some cases, better than the canon 100-400 L lens.

    I know that this is a Nikon thread and I shoot Canon, but my research on Sigma seemed to bring up more issues with the same lens on Nikon mount than Canon.

    Dale

    Edit: OP, this is shot with a 300 mm at the Point Defiance Zoo through one of those observation windows. She was 10-15 yards away. I think 300 mm is a minimum for shooting captive wildlife.

    [​IMG]
     
  25. merkinmuffley macrumors 6502a

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    #25
    I tried the Sigma 50mm f1.4 - in fact I tried 3 versions of this lens. I couldn't get one that focused right. I've read if you can one of these that works right, it's a very good lens. All mine went back.
     

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