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PostPosted: Thu Mar 05, 2009 1:48 pm 
Hey there!
Im really considering this lens (sigma 70-300 APO DG macro)! Does any of you own it or have tried it?
Is it any good?
It's slightly more expensive than the one without APO, what does APO stand for?


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 06, 2009 8:55 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jan 18, 2008 7:27 pm
Posts: 89
Location: Wales
Hullo

I have the APO version of this lens and if my somewhat poor memory serves me correctly APO stands for Apochromatic referring to an APO glass element in the lens - if this is incorrect then I'm sorry but I don't have time to look it up to make sure.

In picture quality terms I believe that the APO element helps reduce chromatic aberrations or purple fringing (this can be fixed in the later versions of PSE elements etc or the full version of photoshop amongst others)

My experience of the lens is a positive one - mostly - here are some observations and comparisons - no photo's as I still have not bothered uploading a single photo to my flickr account - sorry.

The apo version is, by some, worth the extra over the non apo version - opinions appear to vary.

The other competitor is the Tamron 70- 300.

The APO Sigma is very very good at 70mm and still performing well up to 200mm after this point the corner definition goes from poor to embarrassing at 300mm - the central definition is still reasonable at 300mm but not a patch on what it is at 70 to 200 - however this is not neccesarrily an always an issue, for example - long range shots often have the main subject centalised such as birds, motor sport etc but if you want to zoom in on a building be prepared for the edges to be noticeably poorer.

The macro mode is very good but not true macro as it is on 1:2 ie half life size reproduction on the sensor - not an issue for many insect macro's etc and it gives a decent distance between lens and subject - useful when photographing bees :lol: - also the macro mode only works between 200 and 300mm but works well (somewhat confusingly considering the 300mm inifinity focus quality)

The Tamron, again if my memory serves me well, is not as good as the sigma at 70mm about the same at around 135 to 200 and noticeably better at 300mm but the macro mode is not as good as the sigma.

My decision was that I wanted the macro mode more than the 300mm - so there is the decision in my view if you need the longer end then choose a tamron - if you want the shorter end plus macro pick one of the sigma's.

I have seen some shots from the tamron at 300mm from a safari and it is good but I have not seen the shorter ones except in reviews.

My version performs best at f11 so a tripod is essential for all but a few shots.

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My pic's - http://www.flickr.com/photos/10126769@N05/


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 07, 2009 12:15 am 
Thanks, that helped alot!
I was hoping somewhat for an allround lens, but considering the price I guess it will do:)
and you might be right about those bees, funny but also very true! Haden't really considered that!:D

Is there any better alternatives? What is the perfomance diffrence between the sigma 70-300 DG APO and say sony 75-300?

I might add: Im gonna use the lens for portrait and nature/ wildlife (birds, spiders/insects, snakes, flowers, bigger mamals like rappids and deers etc.)

Pardon my english:)


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 07, 2009 3:13 pm 
i just got it this morning, it's a great lens the only problems which you can have is the macro switch jamming your zoom if you don't do i don't know what correctly and don't zoom past the 200mm mark because it gets too soft for anything really... but from 70 to 200mm it's great and fast.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 07, 2009 11:39 pm 
I have heard about these jamming problems, is it anything to worry about? If it's no good at 300mm then it really is a big drawback as i would have used it for an allround lens.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2009 7:05 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jan 18, 2008 7:27 pm
Posts: 89
Location: Wales
Hello again

The macro switch jamming is an easy problem to solve.

To use macro mode you need to zoom bewteen 200 and 300mm, flick the switch and in doing so the lens will now focus below 1.5m.

When trying to switch back the lens switch won't move if you have it focus at below 1.5m so either focus at somehting further away or change to manual focus and do it manually - once you are below above 1.5m then the macro switch can be moved back to normal and the lens zoom range will once again be 70-300 not 200-300 :lol: this caught me out a couple of times at first.

With regard to the corner sharpness between 200 and 300mm you should really check out the reviews it is far from perfect but everything seems to be a compromise.

For example, I looked into buying a 70 - 200mm f2.8 lens and the differences in the sigma and tamron versions in terms of image quality are pretty small but once you begin to compare the sharpness figures in comparison with the 70-300mm versions you may be forgiven for asking why the cost can be at least 3 times that of the 70-300mm.

In my view forget perfect as it does not seem to happen - even the best zoom lenses seem to have varying performance over their zoom range - check the reviews (ie enter sigma 70-300 reviews etc into google) and then check others the sony can be found etc.

In my experience you will find that no one lens stands out as 'perfect' - the price may be too high, the image quality will be too low in one or more areas and you just have to decide what is best for you and buy the one you are happiest with.

If it makes you happier look at some of the longer zoom lens options that cost thousands - the reviews are harder to find but all seem to lead to the same thing - they are not perfect just maybe closer to it - what price are you willing to pay is probably the key question :lol:

Again the above is from my experience and opinion and if it is any way misleading then I apologise.

If you are still stuck I will gladly email you some shots at 300mm none are great but few where taken on days that are not windy etc as I tend to be in high places (hills/ mountains etc) when I am using the lens at it's longest range so this may also have an effect as I use a cheap and nasty tripod, for now.

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My pic's - http://www.flickr.com/photos/10126769@N05/


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2009 7:51 pm 
yeah i figured that macro problem out in about 2 days, here's a photo at 300m unedited - it's not horrid but not even close comparing to the 135-200mm range which is understandable and bearable considering the price and all.

Image


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2009 8:04 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jan 18, 2008 7:27 pm
Posts: 89
Location: Wales
Now I am beginning to waffle but here goes. I was writing this before seeing the post above.

In my earlier reply I mentioned 'perfect' - I am aware that you haven't mentioned 'perfect' or seem to expect but it just seems that when looking at a new lens it is sometimes too easy to look at the problems without realising that everything is a compromise, for example - all zoom lenses appear to be a compromise of image quality over convenience and why else would 300/400/600/800 mm prime lenses exist if not for image quality over convenience - still a compromise exists :shock: ( ie fixed focal length/weight/cost - but the images are better than the equivalent zoom lens.

I bought the 70 - 300mm lens and found it's macro mode to be very good and even the 200 - 300 end not that bad particularly in the centre.

Another thing to think about is a shot of say a bird, a sheep, another animal or a sports player will usually have the main subject in the centre and the lack of sharpness at the edges can help to make the main subject to stand out in some ways slightly similar to a shot at a larger apeture will make the subjct stand out - lets face it the larger apeture shot from a better lens will be better and the outcome will have been reached for the right reasons rather than the lenses weaknesses - however, without pixel peeping/ bemoaning the laws of photography etc the effect is that the subject stands out - problems exist when you want more of the picture to be sharp.

I have some work arounds - these include, to zoom back to 200mm then use 300mm or another focal length of your choice - if the 300mm shot is not good enough try cropping the others to create a similar effect etc - not perfect but often surprisingly effective - or even cropping the 300mm shot - trial and error should only be of benefit by way of experience - and it the mean time to can save up for a more expensive lens if you feel the need. With a little practice you will know which you prefer and use that focal length more often.

The other way to look at this is you can spend say £160 on the apo sigma (£100ish for the Tamron or non apo sigma) or approx £500 for the Tamron 70-200 f2.8 or about £600 on the Sigma version and you have a faster apeture at f2.8 and better image quality. I cannot comment on the sony as I have not looked into that lens so I would be talking fertiliser and most probably misleading you.

With the f2.8's you have only 70-200, a lot more weight/size and have spent far more without even being able to take a shot at 300mm - does the 70 -300 look so bad now? - that will be your decision.

With regard to the increased shutter speed and greater control over depth of field offered by lenses such as the f2.8's - you can increase the iso to increase the shutter speed (another compromise) and for depth of field you can use software to mimick this effect, again a compromise - is this not part of the fun??

To finish off, I am sure that others will agree but some of the photo's people find the most pleasing are not always technically excellent or even close but still they are often more pleasing than others taken that are technically better :D - equally some photo's have been ruined by poor photography skills/ poor equipment etc etc (even excellent equipment used badly)

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K10D + optimistic idiocy

My pic's - http://www.flickr.com/photos/10126769@N05/


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2009 8:45 pm 
nice post stuey. forgot to mention that i own the APO version of the lens so i hope i don't get anyone confused. i agree that the image quality loss was expected; a compromise is a compromise - with my 400D there fore a 10 mega pixel sensor cropping is a better idea than reaching that last 50mm or so if i have the choice.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2009 2:38 am 
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Joined: Tue Dec 16, 2008 3:18 am
Posts: 1781
Location: Nova Scotia Canada
I like it.... :lol:
Price was right and I can tell you I have alotta miles on mine.
It just doesn't get used as much now but I wouldn't part with it.

Focal Length: 300.0mm (35mm equivalent: 450...
Exposure Time: 0.0005 s (1/2000)
Aperture: f/5.6
ISO Equiv.: 800


Image

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Pentax 18-55mm,Pentax 50-200mm,Sigma 17-70mm,Sigma 70-300mm, Sigma 50-500mm
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2009 4:02 pm 
thanks a lot for all the great replys guys!

Now i am just wondering, what lens has the best IQ: Tamron 70-300 f4-5.6 Di or Sigma 70-300 APO DG?

I know theres alot of reviews of both lenses out there but, i just wanted to hear what you might think?:)


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2009 5:57 pm 
i don't have experience with both but i'd say that wonderful photos can be made with both and not with a lot of image quality difference... take the sigma and you have the long range covered with some excellent macro capabilities... just stay out of low light areas with both lenses.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 27, 2009 3:12 am 
I'd consider passing on this lens for something else if you are a Sony user. Mine lasted 2 weeks and the AF gear stripped :( I wish I had caught that they are known for this issue before I bought one.


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PostPosted: Tue May 26, 2009 4:10 pm 
It was rather amusing disassembling/reassembling it. Sure enough...a couple stripped teeth on the AF gear.

(note: disassemby happened only after learning the cost of repair...that was actually totalling more then I originally paid for it.)

After dealing with this company...never again will I buy a product made by this outfit.

It's too bad, I liked it for the SHORT time it lasted.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2009 6:42 am 
I bought the Sigma last week, and I've been very pleased with it so far. I have little to complain about its optical qualities. I think this lens represents excellent value for your money. I took this dragonfly macro handheld:

Image

Focal length: 300mm
Aperture: f/7.1
ISO: 400
Shutter: 1/400 sec

This was a RAW image opened in Photoshop, no sharpening. I applied Auto Levels and tweaked shadows and highlights, then saved as a max quality JPEG.


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