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120-400 or 150-500 sigma

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FionaB  7 United Kingdom
12 Dec 2012 - 11:36 PM

would really like some thoughts on the above two lenses. have you had experience of them good or bad which if any would you recommend?

thanks in advance

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12 Dec 2012 - 11:36 PM

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12 Dec 2012 - 11:43 PM

I found the 150-500 a bit soft when it was wide open at 500mms. It was best when it was stopped down to f8.

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13 Dec 2012 - 7:58 AM

I really can't offer a comparison, Fiona, as I haven't used both lenses.

All I can say is that I have had prizewinning photographs and even a print in an RPS Nature Group exhibition with the Sigma 150-500mm, so am very happy to recommend that one.

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KNS  5106 forum posts United Kingdom2 Constructive Critique Points
13 Dec 2012 - 8:50 AM

We have several long Sigma lenses, including the 120-400 all perform very well, and I am generally a fan of the brand.

The 120-400 failed some time ago however with both the OS (Optical Stabilisation) and AF systems ceasing function. There was a recall of this Sigma lens for that vey reason some time ago, but ours was NOT within the serial number range supposedly covered by the manufacturing fault.

I would have caution you therefore that these lenses (120-400) can be prone to pretty drastic failure.......

Last Modified By KNS at 13 Dec 2012 - 8:50 AM Helpful Post! This post was flagged as helpful
icphoto  131074 forum posts England
13 Dec 2012 - 9:26 AM

I have just bought the Sigma 150-500, prior to this I had the 120-400. For me the 400 was never long enough for wildlife, the 500 is great, although it is far bigger and heavier. I have fitted mine with a lens protector coat from Wildlife Watching Supplies (£40), as when I had the 400 it picked up a few marks on the lens body and in particular the lens hood. So far I am pleased with the performance of the 500, autofocus is fast, OS is great, although I do use it on a Monopod or a beanbag, I do not think that anyone could hold this lens unsupported despite what they think! I do think that a lot of issues people have with long lenses comes down to how they use them, all lenses have their limit. In my opinion the optical quality appears similar to the 400, shots at 500mm taken at 1/1000th sec wide open look sharp and clear. So it all depends on what you want really, personally I would go for the 150-500. Hope this helps. SmileSmileSmile

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Glostopcat e2 Member 8231 forum postsGlostopcat vcard England2 Constructive Critique Points
13 Dec 2012 - 5:34 PM

Another vote for the Sigma 150-500mm, the optical stabilisation is very good if you don't want to carry a tripod around with you

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FionaB  7 United Kingdom
15 Dec 2012 - 1:32 PM

very helpful comments thanks everyone!

Mike_Smith e2 Member 7116 forum postsMike_Smith vcard United Kingdom1 Constructive Critique Points
21 Dec 2012 - 9:19 PM

I have the 120 - 400 had it about 2 years now pictures are sharp at first takes some getting used too. Also i find it too heavy for hand held stuff i use a tripod with it then its not a problem. Right on saying that i wish i had gone for the extra reach of the 150 - 500 though. Best advice i can give you is get to a camera shop and get a hold of these lenses and see how they feel too you.

FionaB  7 United Kingdom
21 Dec 2012 - 9:42 PM

I got a nice offer on a second hand 150-500 which has been used twice so mid January i will have it! thanks again,

colin beeley
colin beeley e2 Member 111070 forum postscolin beeley vcard England10 Constructive Critique Points
22 Dec 2012 - 9:13 AM

i see you use canon, so get the 100/400 L IS Wink

FionaB  7 United Kingdom
22 Dec 2012 - 11:31 PM

too much of a dust bucket and at £400 more I cannot justify the extra when the sigma came out on top in recent trials Smile

strawman  1022002 forum posts United Kingdom16 Constructive Critique Points
22 Dec 2012 - 11:39 PM

To be honest not had a problem with dust on the 100-400 and it is lighter (a lot easier to hand hold) plus a bit sharper than the other two wide open. But I was lucky and got mine a few years back when it only cost @ £100 more (Canon cash backs etc at the time that have long gone), it cost me about the same as a 150-500 does now. So at its current price I can see why you might hesitate. It all depends on your personal strength etc, but I found the 150-500 to heavy for hand holding for any length of time so you end up with it on a monopod quicker with it than the 100-400. 1,380g V's 1,910g. You may be less of a wimp than me Smile

I would get the 150-500 over the 120-400. Also check it has the latest lens calibration from Sigma (you can check with them by serial No) as one of the ones I tried had focusing problem on certain canon SLRs. It would slow the tracking focusing right down.

A second hand 100-400 could be viable but check it through as all these lenses (both brands) have sensitive IS mech etc and could be damaged/out of adjustment. Also I found 100-400 lenses vary at their longer focal length. I tried one and thought it soft wide open, tried the one I bought and its a lot different. Plus with these lenses (either brand) use a lens hood to keep contrast up and avoid filters unless the weather is bad. I have seen problems caused by filters on long lenses.

Last Modified By strawman at 22 Dec 2012 - 11:48 PM
FionaB  7 United Kingdom
23 Dec 2012 - 12:27 AM

i had the use of a 100-400 a couple years ago for about 6 months and loved it, but the suction was a big problem with dust and i havent heard it improving. friend of mine has the 150-500 and it didint feel that much heavier if at all than the 100-400. certainly a lot lighter than my partners 28-300L.
Im getting an excellent deal on a second hand 150-500 which has only been out its case twice .
thanks everyone for your input its been invaluable!

chrisheathcote e2 Member 7240 forum postschrisheathcote vcard United Kingdom
21 Feb 2013 - 9:15 PM

Hi Fiona, I'm having the same dilemma at the moment. How are you finding the 150-500mm?

geoffash26  102506 forum posts United Kingdom
21 Feb 2013 - 10:42 PM

Quote: Too much of a dust bucket and at £400 more I cannot justify the extra when the sigma came out on top in recent trials Smile

I've been using one for 8 odd years and have had no problems with dust

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