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Anyone use both 70-200VR and 120-300 EX?

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by DJ Dunzie, Sep 20, 2008.

  1. I've always been more than a little tempted by the 120-300mm f2.8 EX Sigma for sports use. And now that I shoot an FX/DX combo, maybe more than ever the 120-300mm range is pretty near ideal for me.

    Since I've been waiting forever for Nikon to come out with a direct counterpart, and apparently they're not going to do so since they figure the 200-400 is the next logical step, I need to seriously consider plunking down the hard earned dollars on the Sigma.


    My experience with Sigma has been mixed. In their EX line I've pretty much been surprisingly pleased... I've owned a 10-20, 100-300, 150 f2.8, and used their 105 and 30's as well.

    My concern lies only with AF performance. On one hand, I loved the 100-300's sharpness, but the AF performance left a lot to be desired. On the other hand, the 150 - yes, the macro - has incredible AF performance, to the point where I actually use it for sports.

    Can anyone who owns, or at least has spent significant time using, both lenses please comment on the AF performance in comparison with the 70-200VR, and image quality at or near wide-open.

    Many thanks in advance... oh, and please feel free to share images! Cheers...
  2. I had both and sold the 120-300. In my opinion you're better off just owning a 70-200 and slapping on a 1.4 TC if you really need to get additional reach. The 120-300 isn't even a true 300, it's more like a 280. The 120-300 is big, bulky, doesn't have VR and I had a copy that notoriously back focused. In my opinion, you're better off getting a 70-200 VR and 300 2.8 prime or a 200-400 VR, it's more money but it's a no compromise shooting combination. The only Sigma I own now is my 500mm f/4.5 HSM, in my opinion one of their best telephotos. Though it better be good, I'd think a prime lens is easier to design.
  3. DJ,
    I can't comment on the 70-200, but I did have the 80-200 AFS, which is by some accounts a little sharper than the 70-200. Here are a few shots taken with the 80-200 and then a few with the Sigma, which replaced the 80-200 AFS.

    Overall, I really like the 120-300. I don't feel that it is quite as sharp as the 80-200. However, I feel that it is a very small difference. The 120-300 is very versatile, and I purchased the two TC's for $200 total, giving me up to 600mm at 5.6 when needed.

    The lens can be hand held as long as shutter speeds are above 1/1000 or so, which is a big difference between the 70-200 VR. Overall, I'm happy with my purchase, although down the road I'd love to pick up another 80-200 AFS or 70-200 for times when I don't need quite as much length.

    80-200 AFS:
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

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    focus on the face of guy with hat:
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    And a few with the Sigma:

    cropped using the 1.4TC from the top portion of the stadium:
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    iso 1600 on D200 and no noise reduction, with 1.4 TC:
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    day game at fenway:
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    another shot during a day game:
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
  4. i had both
    the 120-300 blows away the 70-200 with a TC
    I sold the 120-300 and got the 300vr
  5. I have both, added the TC1.7 to the 70-200, and then got the 120-300 as I wasn't totally pleased. If I could afford the 300 I would get that, but I can't; I'm pleased w/ the 120-300 (and the Sigma TC1.4, but not the TC2.0).

    Come by the Sports section you'll find some others using the combo, and look for my posts.

    Here's a thread w/ the TC1.4 on some...and here's one where the heat distortion distorts the 120-300 IQ, but the I have some 70-200 shots.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2017
  6. kiwi


    Jan 1, 2008
    Auckland, NZ
    I had the 120-300, replaced with a 300 and also now have the 70-200

    If it was just for sport and I had to choose it would be the 300 2.8 first, with 1.4tc or then just behind it a 120-300 and a 1.4TC.

    70-200 very different application burt a stellar lens
  7. Nikhe


    Oct 8, 2006
    Just my opinion:
    It performs very good on the D300 and is great on the D3.
    The 120-200 is very close to a Nikkor 80-200 in terms of IQ.
    The AF is slightly faster than the 100-300.
    The IQ is very good coupled to the Sigma 1,4X and good with the 2X but be aware about the shift in focus above ~250mm ( 500mm ).
    Mine is very good up ´til that, but front focuses a lot when you´re coming close to 600mm.

    When shooting sports I normally use a 100-300 on the D3 and a 120-300 on the D300 but I´m looking for a good used AFS80-200 to replace the 100-300 as it´s a bit long in the short end.
    The Nikkor 70-200 is not an option, I would rather go with a Sigma or Tamron on a FX sensor.

    The AF speed on the Nikkor lences are usually a bit faster but as long the AF can follow a motorcycle coming at me at ~120mph the Sigmas are fulfilling my needs.
  8. To all of you fine folks many thanks for the responses so far... and it seems I'm now being tempted to look at upgrading my 300mm f4 for a 300mm f2.8. I really like the results I can get with the f4, though, so the huge jump in cost seems like a hurdle.

    I also like the flexibility the zoom gives, so maybe the 200-400 would be a good option, but the difference in cost is humungous between it and the Siggy. And for no cost I already have a 1.4x Sigma EX TC that would boost it to a similar range at f4.

    I can't win. I need to get my hands on a Sigma to try it out I think.

    Great shots Nate... particularly the Ellsbury shot.
  9. Nikhe


    Oct 8, 2006
    I think you´got it, you can´t win!
    There is allways going to be a trade off in one end or the other!

    A 200-400 would be great in most cases but 200mm minimum and the rediculous pricetag.... no thanks.
    A 300mm should give you a slight atvantage in the IQ department but that would probably only account to something if you shoot wildlife?

    So I still feele that the 120-300 givs you the most flexability combined with the highest possible IQ, especially when your subject comes closer to you, I don´t want photos of a part of the motorcycle/helmet or whatever.

    But all of this is just my humble oppinion, and if I were not allowed to process any of my photos at all in my computor ( which levels most differences ) I would probably go with the expencive alternative and ignore the fact that I´ve been f*ckt by another large corporation!
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