Sigma 120-300mm 2.8 VS Canon 70-200mm 2.8 IS w/1.4x TC

By: ForestWand 5636 days ago
Hi everyone,

Great to be a part of the group here.

I have a delima and am hoping you all with your vast amount of experience can help me.

Thankfully my nature photography has allowed me to build up a small budget that I will be using in the coming year to expand into the semi-professional field.

I have been accepted to participate in a wildlife expedition at Canaan Valley WV next October which I am very excited about.

So I am going to be purchasing a new camera and a new wildlife lens this coming year.

I have faithfully been using my Canon rebel 350d for 5 years now and have taken it from the most rugged inhospitable canyons in WV to the most deslate windy and cold mountain tops.

But I need some better equipment to get into the semi-pro field.

So I am seriously considering a Canon 5d Mark II (when they are back in stock)

And in the meantime I am trying to select a good Wildlife lens. I currently do not have one and have been limping by with a Quantary 70-300mm 4-5.6

So I am really looking forward to a new wildlife lens and do not, I repeat absolutely do not want to waste my hard earned money (who does?).

Anyway after months of searching and reading I am considering the Sigma 120-300mm 2.8 OR a Canon 70-200mm 2.8 IS with a 1.4x TC.

I have read so much about the Sigma lenses developing focus issues and I am concerned about the quality. However, their price has went up which indicates a product in demand (it must be in demand for some reason).

Anyway here are some Pro's and Con's about these two lenses that I have researched.

Sigma 120-300 2.8

Fast and can be used with TC to really reach out there

Large Filter size that is uncommon and expensive
Reported AF issues (I have experienced this with a fixed 28mm Sigma)
Reorted Quality issues
No Weather seal (kind of necessary for nature photographers)
Much More expensive

Canon 70-200mm 2.8 IS

Weather sealed
Canon L Series Quality
Sharper and faster dependable AF
IS for hand held shots
Less expensive
Common filter size (I already have some good filters that are 77mm)

Less focal length
Slower Speed at 280 mm with 1.4x TC

I know it may seem obvious with the pros and cons but it is still a toss up to me since I am doing wildlife and nature photography.

If anyone has experience in comparing these two lenses especially on a Canon Digital rebel 350d and/or any experience on a Canon 5d Mark II, I would greatly appreciate your experience and input.

Also if you have any other suggestions that may fit within this budget I am open for suggestions.

I cannot use to slow of a lens becuase I often find myself shooting in low light forests and valleys or in early morning and late evening settings.

Thanks a lot for any information from the Professionals here.

ForestWander Nature Photography
By: johnriley 5636 days ago
In a way it's a bit like asking should you buy a Lada or a Mercedes?

I think you've answered your own question really and the idea that a product is good because the price has gone up doesn't really convince.

Canon has the quality IMHO.

By: Keeper 5565 days ago
I own both of these lenses. The Canon is a recent purchase for indoor sports work, but the Sigma I've owned and used extensively since 2005.

The Canon is clearly a superior lens in terms of build and image quality. It's a true "pro" lens that excels for sports and photojournalism. However, for extensive nature work it lacks range. This would be particularly true if you're trying to capture tight shots of birds and mammals.

Sigma has had AF reliability in some of its products, but my personal experience with the 120-300 has been very positive--and I have shot thousands and thousands of sports and wildlife images with it. Image quality is more than acceptable for most situations, especially if you're working off a tripod at slower ISO settings. The slower work pace that's typical of most wildlife/nature shooting, offsets this lens'occasional AF sluggishness. A maximum aperture of 2.8 lets you shoot during the all important hours at dusk and dawn. Be advised that hand holding this lens is nearly impossible.

If nature/wildlife shooting will comprise the bulk of your work, choose the Sigma. If you're more of a "generalist" choose the Canon.

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