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DPChallenge Forums >> Hardware and Software >> Sigma 50-500 OS or Canon 100-400 IS
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03/23/2012 04:27:43 AM · #1
Thinking about purchasing a longer lens for use on a Canon Crop body.

Anyone had a lot to do with either of these.
Maybe experience with both and why you might have changed.

I'd love the extra 100 but is the image quality good or is the 400 on the canon lens the way to go.

Thanks for your input.

03/23/2012 04:59:43 AM · #2
I own the Sigma, and have used the Canon from time to time. I found the Canon to be faster to focus, but having gotten used to the Sigma rotating to zoom in and out, I found the canon's push-pull zoom a pain to use. I figured that was probably something I could get used to over time.

Later in considering switching to Canon I looked at what zoom my favorite Sigma shots were taken at I was surprised to find that more than half of my best were taken in the range that the Canon doesn't reach. The surprise isn't that you end up shooting out at 400-500 mm, it is the number of shots you end up taking in the 50-100 mm range. At a baseball game the 400-500mm distance gets fly to right field, but the 50-100 mm gets the fan's reaching for a pop fly ten seats away. For soccer (or Aussie rules) having that extra range on the bottom end when the action gets very close is a surprising bonus.

To be fair, the Sigma does lose lock on birds in flight much more often than the Canon, so if you were a birder or an airshow fiend, then it would be best to give up the range for the sake of the focus lock and learn to deal with the big white push pull Canon. As far as sharpness on a cropped sensor, I don't see much difference, same with color rendition.

Message edited by author 2012-03-23 14:04:04.
03/23/2012 08:07:16 AM · #3
This past weekend I had the opportunity to test these 2 lenses side by side. I own the Canon and my friend has the Sigma. The biggest difference I saw was the speed at which you can acquire and hold an image in focus (flying birds). I will also say the the Canon seems brighter. As for the push- pull vs the rotating zoom feature, I wasn't thrilled with the Sigma version but maybe it's because I am used to the Canon style of lens extension. Another thing to note is that the Sigma is a very long lens! Maybe not as heavy as the Canon but close in weight. As for the focal range, I would say that I wish Canon had a zoom that covers as much as the Sigma. At the end of the day my shooting partner and I both agreed that the Canon was better for what we liked shooting. We also felt that the build quality and smaller size helped give the nod to the Canon. I do feel however that the Sigma under that right conditions can produce images that rival what the Canon produces.
03/23/2012 09:36:19 AM · #4
I have the Sigma 50-500EX for Nikon. Have shot some very nice pics with it - both action and stills (beach, animals, balloons). If you are shooting animals (like on safari or even birds in the backyard) the reach is nice to have.
03/23/2012 09:44:22 AM · #5
I think I am leaning more towards the Canon lens due to size and weight (although the extra reach would be nice).
Does the 100-400 need to be stopped down to get sharp images or can it be used wide open?
03/23/2012 11:19:51 AM · #6
Originally posted by RamblinR:

I think I am leaning more towards the Canon lens due to size and weight (although the extra reach would be nice).
Does the 100-400 need to be stopped down to get sharp images or can it be used wide open?


You can use it wide open just fine, although, like all lenses, it will be sharper a few stops in.
03/23/2012 01:15:04 PM · #7
Go to EQUIPMENT above, go Lenses, select the lenses and see what the highest scores are per lens. The 100-400 Canon top ten all above 7. The Sigma are on 6 and 5.

Now decide based on what you see.

That 100 - 400 L is the tool to have.

Oops! For extra legs, fit the X1.4 or even X 2 converter. The 1.4 is still very workable.

After my 100-400 L was 'affirmed', I got the 70-200 and the x2 converter and now has the same benefit as the 400 end as well as the super sharp 70 - 200. (Sorry I'm not too well as can see in my quality reply.)

Message edited by author 2012-03-23 13:20:08.
03/23/2012 02:30:35 PM · #8
Originally posted by docpjv:

Go to EQUIPMENT above, go Lenses, select the lenses and see what the highest scores are per lens. The 100-400 Canon top ten all above 7. The Sigma are on 6 and 5.

Now decide based on what you see.

That 100 - 400 L is the tool to have.

Oops! For extra legs, fit the X1.4 or even X 2 converter. The 1.4 is still very workable.


Weeeel, no. There are 11 different Sigma 50-500 models listed and even if you added together all the owners of all those lenses in the list, they add up to one third of the number of 100-400 owners. Some of those Bigma variants listed have no submitted images; do you conclude they are incapable of taking images?

Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L USM has scores in the 6 range on its page while the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II has all 7s. Yet the 85 is a much much much better lens. It just has fewer people submitting images with it.

The extensions are a great point. Take your 100-400, add a 1.4x to it. Notice how it hunts more and has trouble keeping focus lock if you slide your focus point off the moving subject? Notice how the subject is slightly less crisp? Well imagine a point about two thirds of the way out between difference between the Canon with and without the extender, that is where the Sigma sits.

Message edited by author 2012-03-23 14:31:34.
03/23/2012 05:23:35 PM · #9
It all depends on what you want to use the lens for. I swear by my Bigma....it is my hardest working lens...up to 10 hours a day with 4 images taken every 20 seconds....and to give you an example, out of 1000 images I may cull 30....and that is being tough on the choice. Sure it isn't good for birds in flight, but birds lower to the ground...it is sweet!
03/23/2012 05:56:12 PM · #10
Looking at it more for surf and football.

03/23/2012 05:57:25 PM · #11
Keep in mind going with the Sigma, you will loose micro focus adjustment. Also chromatic abberation corection through dpp and other such corecting goodies.
03/23/2012 06:04:40 PM · #12
Originally posted by Magnumphotography:

Keep in mind going with the Sigma, you will loose micro focus adjustment. Also chromatic abberation corection through dpp and other such corecting goodies.


I use lightroom so I assume this lens is in the list for correction?
03/23/2012 06:12:51 PM · #13
Originally posted by RamblinR:

I use lightroom so I assume this lens is in the list for correction?


It is.
03/23/2012 06:20:07 PM · #14
Originally posted by RamblinR:

Looking at it more for surf and football.


I don't live near the surf...but football...man it has got me some fantastic images. The range is great for when the action gets in your face! Also the size of the lens stops other photographers (ahem, point and shoot and hobbyist cameras) from crossing in front of you!! LOL!
03/23/2012 09:05:12 PM · #15
I would be using it either on a monopod or a tripod as it will be too heavy to hold for long periods for me.

Is the sigma nice and sharp all the way through the range wide open or is the canon better on this?

I think I'll keep my eye out for a good secondhand deal.
Whichever comes in first at the best price will probably be the winner.
03/23/2012 09:20:44 PM · #16
OK, lets throw another lens in the mix.

Sigma 150-500 OS

Wondering if I would miss the wide if using it for surf and footy I'm thinking 150 (which is 240 on a crop) would be OK.
Hmmmmm
It's a lot cheaper.
I was thinking that the quality would be better for a lens only doing just over 3x its focal length - where as the 50-500 is 10x - am I right in thinking this?
03/23/2012 10:35:13 PM · #17
Originally posted by RamblinR:

OK, lets throw another lens in the mix.

Sigma 150-500 OS

Wondering if I would miss the wide if using it for surf and footy I'm thinking 150 (which is 240 on a crop) would be OK.
Hmmmmm
It's a lot cheaper.
I was thinking that the quality would be better for a lens only doing just over 3x its focal length - where as the 50-500 is 10x - am I right in thinking this?


They're discontinuing that lens since they have the 50-500. The examples I have seen from the 150-500 show that the 50-500 is sharper at the long end at least.
03/24/2012 03:43:31 AM · #18
Originally posted by RamblinR:

I think I am leaning more towards the Canon lens due to size and weight (although the extra reach would be nice).
Does the 100-400 need to be stopped down to get sharp images or can it be used wide open?


I use mine wide open almost all the time (to get higher shutter speeds). I find it to be stunningly sharp. I have the 85mm f/1.2 L II and the 16-35mm f/2.8L II, both have of which have good reps for sharpness, yet I remember being the most (pleasantly) surprised with the sharpness of the 100-400 of any of my lenses.
06/22/2012 02:42:43 PM · #19
From a quality POV most Canon African Wildlife togs I know use the Canon 100-400 (If they can't afford the primes). It is a fabulous and fast lens for action (BiF) and sport. They swear by it, not at it.
I am on Nikon and have mostly Sigma's.
I use an old 170-500 AF-D Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_969530.jpg
and the more recent 150-500mm HSM OS Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_981506.jpg
depending on the situation but they both hunt in low light - f/5.0-6.3 lenses. Lately for BiF I prefer the Sigma 100-300mm f/4 HSM, if you can find one 2nd hand,

There's a 120-300mm f/2.8 OS, fabulous but naturally much pricier (good with 1.4x TC), an older 80-400mm OS Sigma and a 120-400mm Sigma but I have no experience with any of those.

With any lens I have ever used I soon learn it's strengths and weaknesses and use it accordingly, now 2nd nature. The Sigma's are sharp and good value. No zoom lens is at it's best at either end. Then buy an f/4 600mm and zoom with your feet :) Practicalities and budget always play a factor but the Sigma's are nowhere near as bad as made out online.

Take a wander over to www.flickr.com (images) or www.dpreview.com (fair and researched reviews)

Sigma OS 50-500 vs 150-500 vs 80-400 vs 120-400 on DPREVIEW for more confusion :)
06/23/2012 12:18:43 PM · #20
for performance wise, go with Canon. More reviews here.

budget wise, find best offer here.
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