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PostPosted: Tue May 10, 2011 11:49 pm 
Hi there,

I have Nikon 70-200 f/2.8 VR2 on D7000 and would like to shoot birds and other animals. I know that everything (even 800mm) is short for birds, but anyway, my dilemma is:
Should I buy a TC-20E III teleconverter (2x) & or Sigma 150-500mm lens.
First choice will give me 600mm, the second 750mm (on DX). The Sigma is not that much heavier or bigger than the Nikkor itself, and with the teleconverter they will be almost the same size and weight.
I saw pictures taken with the Sigma - they look pretty good and quite sharp.
70-200mm is extremely sharp but the teleconverter will add some softness to it.
The Sigma will cost twice more (about $1060) than the teleconverter(about $540).
Which one you will recommend?


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PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2011 8:22 am 
I too would be interested in peoples thoughts as I have the 70-200mm VRII and looking at the teleconverters...


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PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2011 10:17 am 
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I would go for the teleconverter. The Sigma can be very soft as well at 500mm, maybe even softer than the Nikkor. But, if you really think 500mm at f/6.3 is enough for you to get the birds you have in mind, then I would say go for it, but I would go for the 400mm f/5.6 Nikkor solution as you said, no lens is long enough anyway.

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PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2011 4:42 pm 
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I use the 1.7 TC & don't really notice any loss of sharpness (presume there must be some though)
You also need to consider if F6.3 (as a minimum) really is bright enough.

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PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2011 7:15 pm 
Since I have a DX camera at the end it will be:
Nikon combo: 600mm f/5.6 (after I loose 2 stops from the teleconverter)
Sigma: 750mm f/6.3
The Nikon combo will probably have some softness at the corners, and the Sigma will be soft in general after 600mm.
But is there someone, who actually use one of these and can share his experience.

So far I'm more willing to follow WoutK89's advice and get the teleconverter - at least I'll save $500 and will carry just one lens (if the pros/cons neutralize each other). Plus, I take the teleconverter off and I'll have back my fast 2.8 lens.


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PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2011 9:00 pm 
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I was not very content with the results from the Nikon 70-200 VRII and the Nikon 1.7x teleconverter on a D300 because the zoom shows some limited resolution under the 1.7x magnification. With a 2.0x TC (and on a D7000/5100) this will become even worse.
I had the Sigma 120-400 OS and was not too impressed by the OS but that might have been solved by Sigma in the meantime. Otherwise the Sigma could deliver pretty sharp images.
I'd try the Sigma 150-500 OS in this case. It might be the better solution.

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PostPosted: Thu May 12, 2011 10:45 pm 
what Ken Rockwell says for the Sigma:
"It is at least as sharp as Nikon's lenses, and has almost no visible distortion. I'm impressed: it's sharp edge-to-edge, full-frame, at every aperture and focal length. Bravo!"
The full review: http://www.kenrockwell.com/sigma/150-500mm.htm
I was confused, I'm even more now.... :-))


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PostPosted: Fri May 13, 2011 9:00 am 
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whitenebula wrote:
"It is at least as sharp as Nikon's lenses

He doesnt say which Nikon lenses, and even Nikon rarely has edge to edge sharp zooms. The Sigma isn't even close to that price range, so how much grains of salt do we have to take on this one?

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PostPosted: Fri May 13, 2011 1:31 pm 
Rockwell usually doesn't like non-Nikon lenses 0 excluding few Tokina's and this Sigma you rarely can read something good for third party lenses from him.

Here are some shots I found online with the Sigma:
http://photography-on-the.net/forum/showthread.php?t=662625

http://www.flickr.com/photos/henry_stradford/2684364083/in/photostream/ and the older in this album

http://photography-on-the.net/forum/showthread.php?t=668492 see the eagle picture at the bottom

It looks like it's really sharp lens (although I'm a little surprised looking all these nice pictures).


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PostPosted: Fri May 13, 2011 2:41 pm 
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Seems like, with a lot of zoom lenses, stopping down makes it sharp enough. But I can not believe that Sigma really makes edge to edge sharp zoom lenses AT ALL APERTURES in that price class.
I guess it all comes down to the user in this case what you think is sharp enough at what costs (heavier gear, versatility, money, etc.).

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PostPosted: Fri May 13, 2011 4:00 pm 
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This is why I use standard test-targets where you have a controlled environment to compare different lenses and you can actually see the results (vs. reading some bar-graph or such-like).
But alas, even that method has its drawbacks.

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PostPosted: Fri May 13, 2011 4:23 pm 
from the other side I found some amazing examples of 70-200mm VRII + TC III combo:
http://www.naturalart.ca/images/detail/large/TC-20EIII/_D711460_PonchoInSun_70-200VR_lg_4Web.jpg
and this page with examples:
http://www.fotografie.fr/fotoforum/viewtopic.php?f=54&t=592#p2094
I also read hundreds of reviews and opinions on other forums - it seems everything (as usual) is a personal choice. Stops down vs. sharpness, vs. zoom reach, etc.
I may finally go with the teleconverter vs. the Sigma. I have a chance to check the Sigma in a local store which i'll probably do and then will take my final decision.


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