climbhigh4fun's reviews

  • Sigma 120-400mm f/4.5-5.6 DG OS HSM APO

    9 out of 10 points and recommended
    Very well balanced, excellent IQ, positioning of the manual ring and zoom ring
    A bit heavy, but not much different than others in this class

    I had read mixed reviews on this lens and wasn't sure if it would be the best choice for my needs. I do mostly wildlife photography and needed a long reach lens. After driving myself crazy, I finally chose to buy it over the more expensive Canon 100-400 IS. I was amazed for so many reasons. Excellent picture quality, great features and for such a heavy lens, the incredible balance made hand holding a breeze at getting clear, crisp photos. I would dare say that the balance of the Sigma is far better than the Canon lens making handheld shots easier. Their weight is very close and the tripod ring, for me, doubles as a grip for handheld shots since it has finger channels in it. I love the positioning of the full time manual focus ring directly above the tripod ring making it very easy to tweak the Auto Focus if necessary since it has full time manual override. This was a great idea by Sigma.

    Although I have only been shooting with it for a few months, the construction seems to be excellent. Some reviews I have read say that the matt black finish looks like it would be prone to scuffing, I have found no evidence of this.

    The HSM AF is fast and quiet. I've also read that the OS seems loud compared to Canon's IS. Well, I have Canon IS and Tamron VC lenses and I don't notice a great deal of difference. Certainly not enough to be an issue. Of the three, I would say that the Tamron is the loudest.

    At the high end of 400mm it has been said it drops to very good, this is not unusual and for the most part, not a problem. Even Canon's 100-400mm has had the same said of it. So, if you want to spend $600 to $800 more for the Canon, go for it. Dollar for dollar the Sigma seems to be a much better choice. My feeling is you can get pro level results from both lenses. If you are a top pro working at these focal lengths and longer, you are probably going to be using Prime lenses costing $4,000 to $20,000 anyway.

    All in all I would say this is a great pro-sumer/enthusiast lens.

    reviewed May 14th, 2011 (purchased for $849)
  • Tamron 28-300mm f/3.5-6.3 XR Di VC LD Aspherical IF Macro AF

    8 out of 10 points and recommended
    Compact and lightweight, excellent zoom range, SQF is great, VC outstanding.
    Full frame it has some light fall off, but on APS-C not a problem.

    At the time I purchased this lens I was using a Canon 18-200mm IS. I Chose to buy this lens and give up the Canon for several reasons. One, I needed a little more reach, even though I gave up a little on the wide end, since I do mostly wildlife this wasn't a problem. Two, reading the reviews, especially from Popular Photography, the SQF was slightly better with the Tamron, especially for larger prints. The Canon might have an edge in construction, but that is very slight, if at all. I've been shooting with it now for about six months and love it. It is easy to use, excellent vibration control, as good as the Canon. The auto focus is just a tiny bit slower, but not an issue. The only thing I wish it had was a HSM motor. Other than that, I have no complaints.

    reviewed May 29th, 2011 (purchased for $549)
  • Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4 DC Macro OS HSM

    9 out of 10 points and recommended
    Outstanding OS (up to 4 stops) Relatively fast aperture, fast and silent AF, rugged build,, excellent IQ.
    I haven't encountered any major flaws other that possible better weather protection, but so far I've not encountered any problems in that area.

    First off, the Optical Stabilizer (OS) in this lens has given users up to 4 stops of extra handhold ability. No lens maker has gone higher (Nikon has one lens that can match it.) Personally I have gotten what I believe to be 4.5 stops. Amazing.

    This is a great walk around lens. It stays on my main camera most of the time. It is versatile, pretty fast aperture and great OS for low light.

    The macro function is outstanding! AS Wembly below points out, the measuring distance is from the sensor to the subject. You can almost touch what you are shooting and have clear, crisp focus. It casts no shadow with the pop up flash.

    It is lighter than most f/2.8 lenses, but has a rugged build that can be felt when holding and using the lens. It just feels good on the camera.

    About the only time it leaves my camera is when I need more reach for wild life photography at a distance, like birding or dangerous animals. For that I also have a great Sigma lens. the 120-400mm DG OS, a superb lens. Certainly give the Canon 100-400 IS a run for the money (even though i love Canon lenses, and own several). These two with my Canon 50mm f/1.4 will usually satisfy most of my needs.

    If you do close up work, work in low light and must hand hold, or work in normal zoom distance, you won't be disappointed with this lens.

    I have been a Sigma fan way back to my days of taking roll after roll in film cameras. Sigma is getting better and better with each product they put out in a given class.

    It has a lot of features and versatility at an affordable price. I love it and I'm pretty sure you would too.

    Update 2/5/2013:
    I've been using this lens for a couple of years now and it has performed flawlessly and with excellent image quality. It is not a burden to carry around all day as it is lighter than most f/2.8 lenses in this class with optical stabilization. It has an attractive look and feel and even though its IQ is slightly less than the non OS version, it is not enough to make a big deal and with up to 4 stops with OS engaged, it is very much worth the slight trade. One lens maker has matched 4 stops, none have gone further. It is one versatile piece of glass. I think most advance enthusiasts, and pros can find much to love and use in this lens.

    On an ASP-C it is a 27-112 equivalent. While the Canon equivalent has a better weather and dust sealing, at 1/3 the cost you can't go wrong with this lens. While the "Macro" designation gives an added allure, it is not a true 1:1 magnification, but at 1:2.7 at 70mm, it does a pretty good job for close up work.

    It also casts no shadow when using the pop up flash on my 50D and 60D, although I usually use a Canon 430 Speedlite II. I use this lens for landscape to portraits and commercial work. It works well in conjunction with my Canon f/4L IS for portraiture and weddings. I've owned many Sigma lenses over the years and have rarely been disappointed and this is one I would certainly recommend.

    reviewed October 13th, 2011 (purchased for $469)