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Anyone use a Sigma 120-300

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by Kim, Dec 1, 2005.

  1. Kim


    Jun 16, 2005
    Looking at a Sigma 120-300 f/2.8 EX APO IF HSM Autofocus AF-D. Is this a good lens? Can I use my Nikon 1.4 teleconverter with it? I'm trying to find an affordable zoom. I bought the Nikon 300 2.8 VR but had to return it because of a problem with the focus. Now I'm looking again, but for something maybe not quite so pricey. Is the Sigma worth getting? Thanks!
  2. general


    Apr 30, 2005

    I have never used the lens but my professional Photographer friends, Joe and Mary Ann McDonald, at McDonald Wildlife Photography swear by the Canon version of that lens. I have heard only good things about it.
  3. JeffKohn


    Apr 21, 2005
    Houston, TX
    I've heard good things about this lens. However if it's like most Sigma HSM lenses you'll need the Sigma TC's, as I don't think the Nikon TC's will work (at least not with full AF).
  4. twig


    May 23, 2005
    I have used it, it is a nice lens.
    For absolute surety of AF lock, AF speed and image quality, the Sigma is 90% ofthe nikon. If you are apro, the extra 10% is worth it, it can mean better money shots, or perhaps one less missed shot out of 10, and that could be the one you get paid on.

    The flexibility of the zoom is good, but if you ask me you should always be shooting tighter than you think, and having the zoom lets you cheat and shoot too wide - but it depends what you shoo.t I shoot for a paper, and my photo editor is a real nasty guy who only wants tight shots - where you can see the whites of their eyes. Sometimes I shoot for colleges and they like "atmosphereic" shots in comparisonb, not only hte whole body of the subject, but sometimes even asking for several players inthe same shot.

    Anyway, the zoom is nifty for changing composition.

    With it;s own brand TC';s (which are very cheap) the zoom works REALLY well, with little discernable difference in AF.

    If it were me I would buy a used Nikon Af-S for $2k over the Sigma, if I were paying full prive I would get the 200f/2 and use TC's on it for length but have the fast aperture for indoor work.
  5. Flew


    Jan 25, 2005

    Bill Dewey (retief) has one and likes it a lot. I think that he uses it with Nikon TC's too.
  6. great lens..

    get it ....believe me you will not regret it..
    I had one before buying the 200-400 vr..
    I used it with a Sigma tc and it was a very
    sharp combo...
  7. As usual, Frank the Flew-Man is quite correct. I have had mine since last spring and I love it. I bought it primarily to shoot youth sports, the extra 100mm over the 70(80)-200's is wondeful on the field. AF is very fast, i don't notice any difference between it and my 80-200 AFS or my newer 70-200 AFS. It does work with both the Sigma and the Nikon 1.4 TC, and I think with the Kenko Pro series as well. If you have the Nikon TC-14E you have to cut off a tab to use it with any non-AFS lens, this is about a 10 minute job if you take your time. The only downside of this is that the focal length and aperture that are reported in the EXIF do not reflect the TC, but the exposures are figured correctly. For reasons that I do not completely understand, the TC-17 and the TC-20 do not work with this lens, it just hunts like a dog. I am considering trying it with a Sigma or Kenko 2x to see if it will AF, the Sigma web page says that it will. This would give me a bit more reach when my wife is along for her to use while I have my 500mm mounted.

    Look at this thread: Youth Football with the 120-300 for some current samples. I'm not sure what I might have with the TC mounted, if you would like I could look around to try to find some, or perhaps shoot one or two for you tomorrow. I have both the Sigma as well as the Nikon TC if you would like comparison shots. I will have a bit of time tomorrow, let me know as I am off on a business trip on Saturday.

    You do have to watch focus as you zoom, and I have seen reports that it doesn't really get quite to 300mm, but darned close. Not sure, but I do see a real reach advantage over the 200mm. I think that Sigma has release a new version of the lens, DG, but the DG is only a new coating to reduce glare and reflections. I have not found any issues with this at all, so I would not hesitate to buy the "old" version.

    Let me know if there is anything else you would like to know, and if I have the info I'll pass it along.

    I looked very closely at the 300mm primes prior to this purchase, but because I am shooting for the players and the schools, versus editorial, the zoom really lets me capture a lot more saleable images.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2017
  8. I've held and played with one. I was absolutely impressed. Heavy and well balanced. I wouldn't mind owning one.

    Just put a Nikon sticker over the Sigma logo and there you are with a top notch lens :wink: (for those caring about the name)
  9. Kim


    Jun 16, 2005
    Sorry I haven't checked in before today. Working for UPS during Christmas time really takes away from my fun time! Thanks to everyone for their input. Sounds like I might have found a lens that will fit my needs. Bill, thanks for all your info. I'm a little worried about the tab you said I would have to remove to use my Nikon TC-14E. Is it easy to do, and will it effect anything adversely? I would love to see the differences in using a Sigma and Nikon TC. BTW, enjoyed looking at your sport pictures. Thanks!
  10. nfoto

    nfoto Guest

    Modifying the TC-14E is a 5 minute's job and it won't adversely affect anything with the converter. Be aware that AF with this or any other "E" converter is obtained only if the master lens is AFS, AFI, or compatible with these . Being just AF won't do. Don't know the 120-300 in depth so cannot say how compatible it will be.

    The reason I did modify my "E" converters chiefly is to put them onto manual lenses, or AF lenses that mainly are focused manually.
  11. Kim, Bjorn is correct. Here is the Nikon TC Conversion link, where you will find a very good explanation, series of steps and photos of the modification. There is also a short description of what Sigma lenses this works with, along with the comment regarding the reporting of the Focal Length and Aperture in the EXIF. From people I have spoken with who have done the modification, myself included, The tricky bits are being careful when you loosen the screws and watching for alignment of the 2 rings under the lens mount.

    I won't have time before I leave today to do test shots with both TC's for you, but I have heard good things about the quality of the Sigma 1.4 as well as the Kenko Pro series of TC's.

    The HSM of these lenses is quite good as well. I find them to be on a par with Nikon AFS.
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