Monday, 15 July 2013

Sigma 120-300 f2.8 DG HSM OS spends time in Mongolia and takes first place at the Naadam Festival



This is not your Dad’s Sigma lens. Long gone are the days of the rough coated plastic feeling Sigma lens that rolled off the production line to satisfy people’s needs for more lenses at an affordable price. This lens screams quality from the first view out of the box. The lens is finished in matte black and is dust and splash resistant. Then, when you realize that each lens is tested before it leaves the factory, not just the random sampling, you begin to truly understand that Sigma listened to what photographers wanted in a lens of this caliber and delivered tenfold.

Not only will the looks of this lens impress both you and anyone around you, but it performs beautifully in a range of situations, some that you would not think it would excel in. When I took the lens to Mongolia I had journalists, amateurs and police that lined the crowd all looking through the lens and taking photos… it created quite the spectacle… LOL

OK… now, let’s just get this out of the way… the lens is heavy… there is no other way to put it. It is 6.5lbs and is almost 12 inches long…  but this is a step into the realm of professional lenses that has now shown me through extensive use, produces professional results. The size of this lens can be attributed to the constant aperture of f2.8, and for the outdoor situations I was just in, was extremely appreciated.
 
For a week I used this lens on a monopod and hand held shooting a variety of photos in the sports category, I panned with the camera and I did some portrait photos. Each time I looked at the results, I was impressed.

Here is what I liked about the lens…

The 120-300mm has a focus limiter to offer an adjusted range of auto focusing, you can choose from 0 to 10meters, 10 meters to infinity and the full range of focus.  including a faster auto focus speed. You can also, as mentioned above, fine-tune this with the USB Dock to your precise specifications.

The image quality produced from this lens is really great. Though it is not the absolute sharpest lens I have ever shot with (that is reserved for the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 that I had in May), it performed beyond my expectations. I found a few sweet spots with the best aperture to use around f7.1, but nowhere was I disappointed with the lens.

Everywhere from f/2.8 through f/22 was sharp, with some minor abbreviations occurring at f/22. Generally though, the sharpness was consistent across the aperture range which, for me, is extremely impressive.

The USB dock took a stock lens from the shelf and allowed me to make micro adjustments, making this a custom lens for my style of shooting on my camera bodies.

The variable focal range… I truly appreciated the range when shooting action. Whether the 1.4 teleconverter was attached, or not, the ease at which you can go from 120mm to 300mm was appreciated.

For those of you who were waiting for Sigma to up their game, your wait has ended. The affordable professional lens for the sports shooter has landed… it is the Sigma 120-300mm f2.8 and is now available in stores across North America.

I would recommend this lens to anyone that asks… if you don’t at least consider this lens you are doing yourself a disservice.