PDA

View Full Version : Inexpensive Starter Zooms


Please support NSOP by using our affilaites:
      Receive a FREE GIFT from Think Tank Photo

   Camera Gear Rentals   

PhatheadWRX
04-29-2008, 12:14 PM
I'm looking at the Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 DG Macro vs. Canon EF 75-300mm f/4.0-5.6 III Autofocus
For a good beginner zoom to go with my soon to be purchased XSi. Can someone who has shot with either of these give me any ideas? How is IQ? Color? There does not seem to be any info in the Lenses Forum for either of these.

I'm looking at these as a cheap alternative until I can afford the 70-200L f4, which may be a while since that lens alone will cost as much as my starter setup.

PhatheadWRX
04-29-2008, 12:16 PM
OR would the Canon EF 55-200mm f/4.5-5.6 USM II Autofocus (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/300600-GREY/Canon_8808A002_55_200mm_f_4_5_5_6_USM_II.html)be enough length? Still 320mm on the 1.6
I assume it has better IQ, but lose the half step

Juanita
04-29-2008, 12:30 PM
I have a Sigma 55 - 200 DC which works pretty good, good IQ. You asked "be enough length". What exactly are you looking to shoot that you would need more length?

PhatheadWRX
04-29-2008, 12:36 PM
I can't think of anything particular that I would need 480mm for ;) I'd rather have good IQ > range

That Sigma 55-200mm f/4-5.6 DC also looks like a great option. How do you like it? Have you compared it to the Canon? I'm sure the Sigma 4.0 would be nice compared to the Canon 4.5

55mm would also compliment my kit lens well.

I'll be sure to check out your Flickr after I get off work (blocked). Thanks.

Markitos
04-29-2008, 12:38 PM
In practice, I doubt you will ever notice/care about the difference between f/4 and f/4.5... now, f/4 and f/1.8, that's another story....

PhatheadWRX
04-29-2008, 12:40 PM
very true... just trying to compare ;)

Subie, have you found a sharpness sweet spot for the apature of the Sigma?

Juanita
04-29-2008, 12:43 PM
I honestly haven't used that lens a whole lot. Recently I've brought it out more to try to play around with it just shooting the kids outside playing. I used it for the John Legend concert I did last month, which was fantastic!! I thought the lighting would be awful for it but it was perfect.

ride5000
04-29-2008, 02:23 PM
if i may ask, why are you restricting yourself to such long lenses?

remember a normal lens on a crop is around 32mm, and you should use that as your "centerline" for wide vs. tele. most walkabout all purpose zoom range for a 1.6 crop go from 17-50mm or maybe a little longer (in the sigma 17-70 for example).

fwiw i have been pleased as punch with my tamron 17-50 2.8, used from b+h for <$400.

LateApex
04-29-2008, 02:44 PM
So, you are just looking for something longer than the kit lens, until you can afford the 70-200 f/4? That's only about $600, right? I think I'd go without and save for what you really want.

PhatheadWRX
04-29-2008, 02:51 PM
I'll have the 18-55mm IS, but I just want to be covered for when 55mm isn't enough. The one thing I loved about my last P&S (this will be my first dSLR) was the zoom. The Canon S2 IS had 432mm on the long end.

Ride, I'm not trying to restrict myself, but I'm trying to build a functional assortment of gear. #1 kit IS, #2 nifty 50, #3 decent-good zoom. After that, I'd love to pick up a Sigma 10-20 for super wide. I want the zoom first because I think 18mm will hold me over on the wide end longer than 55mm will on the tele.

After hearing from Marisa, I'm sure that a 200mm on a 1.6 body would be plenty.

I also just realized that the 70-200L 4.0 comes in a reasonable $600 non-IS version. I wonder if I should just save up for that. I'll likely only be shooting that far outdoors, so I don't know if I'll need the IS in good light (wasn't planning on IS for the budget zooms).

edit- thanks Todd, before I was just looking at the $1,100 IS 70-200L 4.0 (see my first post). I just realized that glass can be had for $600 non-IS. It does seem like the better way to go. $600 for great glass > $150-200 for meodicre glass

Juanita
04-29-2008, 02:57 PM
my 55 - 200 was ~$150.

Geekybiker
04-29-2008, 04:05 PM
I have a 70-300 and I find myself wanting longer regularly. But I want to shoot small wildlife that is skittish. The sigma 70-300 APO or the tamron 70-300 seem the way to go for cheap zooms. Dont know much about the canon one. None of the really cheap ones are great past 200mm though. Either not super sharp (sigma) or Pf (tamron)

Honestly I would pick up a 70-200 f4 L in canon + a TC.

PhatheadWRX
04-29-2008, 04:23 PM
That worries me that you want more from a 300mm. I also like to shoot small and skittish wildlife (one of the main reasons for wanting a long tele).

What is the difference in the Sigma APO and regular DG?

I really love looking at shots from the 70-200L, but I don't know how easy it will be to convince the wife that I need a $600 lense (+ $280 1.4X) right after I spend over $1,000 on a new camera. AHHHH!

I found a Canon 75-300 non-IS on the local craigslist, but the guy just sold it. He only wanted $75 :furious:

Geekybiker
04-29-2008, 04:50 PM
Well all reports day the APO is better than the DG. I have the older DL version. Its okay. Not super sharp and some heavy PF at 300mm. But I paid $96 for it, including an old film body that came with it.

If I had the scratch I would go buy a bigma (sigma 50-500)

300mm is okay, but you have to be pretty careful approaching wildlife still. I can really shoot more than 20-30ft away and have any hope of getting a mostly frame filling shot.

IIRC most of the guys who shoot birds etc recommend a 300-400mm prime + TC for small wildlife.

PhatheadWRX
04-29-2008, 05:57 PM
After looking more, the APO is $80 more than the only DG ($140 -> $220) I wish I could find some heads up reviews/comparisons

edit- seems as though the APO has much better IQ than the regular DG, but @ $220 its more expensive than the Canon 75-300 USM ($200, non USM $160)

user errors
04-29-2008, 06:25 PM
I have the Sigma 70-300 APO DG and it's great for only $220. Here are some shots I took with it over the weekend:

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2340/2448563218_55302dbfa9_o.jpg

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2256/2448564240_fb4e125b5b_o.jpg

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2079/2447741193_a3bb15a38b_o.jpg

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3202/2447741079_5a114a4896_o.jpg

PhatheadWRX
04-29-2008, 06:32 PM
Greg, those are HOT!!! great panning in the last one

how do the controls of the Sigma compare to the Canon lenses? Does the MF ring rotate with AF? Do you have any macro shots with it?

Juanita
04-29-2008, 06:49 PM
are you seriously a n00b?? your flickr looks great!

user errors
04-29-2008, 07:23 PM
Greg, those are HOT!!! great panning in the last one

how do the controls of the Sigma compare to the Canon lenses? Does the MF ring rotate with AF? Do you have any macro shots with it?

Thanks :)

I haven't seen Canon's 70-300 so I can't compare those two.

The MF ring is difficult to turn when AF is on, you have to apply a decent amount of force to it. The macro switch will only flip when you're in the 200-300mm range, and you have to be sure your focus is in the appropriate range as well when you flip it back from macro to normal, otherwise the switch won't move.

I haven't attempted any real macro shots, but here's a test shot I just took handheld at 1/60 from ~2 feet away:

http://tjbp.net/upload/macrotest.jpg

PhatheadWRX
04-29-2008, 08:42 PM
Thanks Marisa, the shots on my Flickr are all with my old P&Ss (Olympus C-8080WZ and Canon S2 IS). I feel like I have a good eye for shots, I just need gear. I got rid of the S2 IS because it was not wide enough (36mm X multi), and all I have now is the wife's ultra compact Oly C720 (pocket size, underwater, horrid shots).

Greg, thanks for the macro sample. thats a great shot especially hand held. After looking at Sigma APO shots on pixel peeper, they look incredibility sharp. Almost dare I say as good as the Canon 70-200 4.0 L, not to mention the extra 100mm (160mm for me) to play with :D

Porter
04-29-2008, 09:35 PM
I'll have the 18-55mm IS, but I just want to be covered for when 55mm isn't enough.
I have an interesting option for you. If you want something that will give you extra reach when you need it, but you also may use in ways you hadn't considered, you should look at this:

Sigma 105mm F2.8 EX DG MACRO

http://www.sigmaphoto.com/images/LensesImage/85_small.jpg


Think about it: You've got extra reach if/when you need it (though prime not zoom), true (serious) macro capabilities, high quality EX glass, a nice wide f/2.8 aperture, and the ability to step down all the way to f/45 ! for ridiculously wide depth of field if you ever need to get a lot of the field of view in focus. It will also be quite a bit sharper than any of the big zoom lenses, at least those under the $1200 mark.

Here are some sample galleries, with thousands of photos: http://www.pbase.com/cameras/sigma/105_28_ex_dg_macro


And here's the kind of shot you can capture... these three photos tell the whole story:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/ascott/2428101578/sizes/o/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/ascott/2403751158/sizes/o/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/ascott/2403026747/sizes/o/


At $400, it's also less expensive than the other options you were looking at. Here it is on B&H: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/341918-USA/Sigma_257101_105mm_f_2_8_EX_Macro.html


Thoughts?

Geekybiker
04-29-2008, 10:10 PM
I have an interesting option for you. If you want something that will give you extra reach when you need it, but you also may use in ways you hadn't considered, you should look at this:

Sigma 105mm F2.8 EX DG MACRO

http://www.sigmaphoto.com/images/LensesImage/85_small.jpg


Think about it: You've got extra reach if/when you need it (though prime not zoom), true (serious) macro capabilities, high quality EX glass, a nice wide f/2.8 aperture, and the ability to step down all the way to f/45 ! for ridiculously wide depth of field if you ever need to get a lot of the field of view in focus. It will also be quite a bit sharper than any of the big zoom lenses, at least those under the $1200 mark.

Here are some sample galleries, with thousands of photos: http://www.pbase.com/cameras/sigma/105_28_ex_dg_macro


And here's the kind of shot you can capture... these three photos tell the whole story:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/ascott/2428101578/sizes/o/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/ascott/2403751158/sizes/o/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/ascott/2403026747/sizes/o/


At $400, it's also less expensive than the other options you were looking at. Here it is on B&H: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/341918-USA/Sigma_257101_105mm_f_2_8_EX_Macro.html


Thoughts?

I'd get the 70mm version on a crop body. Its the traditional 105mm macro once you convert, smaller, a better portrait lens for dual purpose use, and reports say that its sharper. Alot of folks say the 70mm macro is the sharpest lens sigma makes.

PhatheadWRX
04-29-2008, 10:51 PM
Porter, I'm blown away by those macros. They truly are amazing, thats a great lens. Thanks for the insight, I have no qualms about getting a prime.

While I love shooting macros, I also like to shoot wildlife/animals. I'm just worried that the 70 or 105 won't be enough to get close. Also at $400 its almost double of the good 70-300 teles that I'm looking at. Hopefully I can buy that lens when I really get in depth with macros.

As much as I'd LOVE a $600 70-200L right now it seems impractical to me (especially if I need a 1.4X too).

Greg and Geeky have really turned me onto the Sigma APO ($220) over the Canon 75-300 III USM ($200). Budget is big for me right now.

I'm interested to see what Greg thinks about the 200+mm sharpness of the APO. I noticed only the PSM bugeye is the only shot above over 200mm (great car btw). I also want to get his input about AF speed/noise.

After looking on pixel peeper, a number of the 200+mm APO shots do appear to lose sharpness

user errors
04-29-2008, 11:28 PM
It's slightly softer, but not so much that it bothers me in the least bit. I tended to be in the middle range of the lens' reach since it's harder to keep the cars in the frame when panning at 300mm; it was also too far for the most part for that turn I was taking the pictures from.

Here's the only 300mm sample of some wildlife I have:
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2131/2423663381_ba1262afc0_o.jpg

And some others, still perfectly sharp IMO:
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2376/2448563422_d5cd7232f2_o.jpg

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3156/2448563570_27458f6701_o.jpg

I think I have more but flickr doesn't want to load anymore at the moment...

PhatheadWRX
04-29-2008, 11:43 PM
Thanks again Greg. I've been doing some research on the APO, Sigma says its only an additional coating that will reduce PF.

user errors
04-30-2008, 12:17 AM
Here's a guide to Sigma's acronyms: http://www.sigma-imaging-uk.com/lenses/lens-tech.htm

Geekybiker
04-30-2008, 02:22 AM
check out
http://www.photozone.de/Reviews/Canon%20EOS%20Lens%20Tests

for lens reviews. best details I've seen.

Porter
04-30-2008, 04:35 AM
Thanks again Greg. I've been doing some research on the APO, Sigma says its only an additional coating that will reduce PF.

"Apochromatic" is a general term used in the optics industry to indicate a fully color-optimized or color-converged lens. It is more than a coating, and is usually quite expensive.. You will see the term used in the microscope and telescope industries as well as in camera optics.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apochromat

PhatheadWRX
04-30-2008, 08:12 AM
I think the Sigma 70-300 APO may be the way to go for price, IQ, and versatility (telel and macro)

Porter
04-30-2008, 11:19 AM
[edit] [nevermind] .... I keep forgetting the budget.

jacobsen1
04-30-2008, 11:36 AM
still perfectly sharp IMO:

certainly sharp enough for the money... Nice shots.

user errors
05-14-2008, 06:15 PM
http://photography-on-the.net/forum/showthread.php?t=503308

Sigma 70-300 for $125

PhatheadWRX
05-14-2008, 06:24 PM
Thanks!!! I sent him a PM.

I was thinking that I would wait and save the $600 for the 70-200 f/4 L, but for $125 shipped this lens should work WELL for a while

user errors
05-14-2008, 06:28 PM
You could probably even resell it for more than you paid when you decide to upgrade.

Hell, I'd do it if I had the spare cash.

PhatheadWRX
05-14-2008, 06:33 PM
Funny thing... paypal just refunded me $130 from another transaction. Just sitting in that account all lonely :devil: Its a sign

user errors
05-14-2008, 06:46 PM
It was meant to be :lol:

PhatheadWRX
05-15-2008, 02:24 PM
just paid the guy. He is shipping today. He threw in Hoya 58mm CPL & UV!!!
Free filters ftw

Greg thanks again for the heads up

user errors
05-15-2008, 04:04 PM
French, no problem. Glad you got a good deal on it!

PhatheadWRX
05-17-2008, 10:55 AM
Sigma 70-200 APO came today!!! Now I'm only missing one important part of my bag...

http://members.cox.net/frenchbrownlv/bag.jpg
the XSi!!! It should be here Monday.

At least the bag is filling up. I'm excited to play with these lenses

http://members.cox.net/frenchbrownlv/lens.jpg

excuse the crappy pics with the ultra compact Oly 720SW

user errors
05-17-2008, 05:08 PM
You're starting the exact opposite way I did.. camera bag with the 70-300 and 50, but no camera.

I had my camera, then waited on a 50 and 70-300, and still don't have a real bag.. :lol:

jblaze5779
05-19-2008, 10:43 PM
I have the sigma, it was my very first lens purchase. I really wish I hadn't gotten it... it just sits on my shelf and takes up space. The only problem that killed it for me was that it is so slow.