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06-21-2011, 06:08 PM   #1
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DA* 300. Why not just Sigma 100-300/4?

My guess without having owned either of the two lenses is

1. bokeh
2. WR
3. weight/size

I've noticed most of the birders here have the DA*300 which is probably better wide open and has a better bokeh. But I am wondering - has anyone looked carefully at both of those lenses and is there really much going for DA* 300 apart from size/weight?

06-21-2011, 06:14 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by DanielT74 Quote
My guess without having owned either of the two lenses is

1. bokeh
2. WR
3. weight/size

I've noticed most of the birders here have the DA*300 which is probably better wide open and has a better bokeh. But I am wondering - has anyone looked carefully at both of those lenses and is there really much going for DA* 300 apart from size/weight?
Both are outstanding lenses with outstanding IQ.

I've owned both, but I can't say I ever carefully compared them so take this for what it's worth. I think the reasons you brought up are all valid, although I'd add the Pentax is more flare resistant than the Sigma (from what I recall). For me the biggest difference between the two is the versatility of having the 3x range of the zoom vs the smaller size/weight of the prime.
06-21-2011, 06:21 PM   #3
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Not so easy to find the Sigma 100-300mm f/4
06-21-2011, 06:30 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by creampuff Quote
Not so easy to find the Sigma 100-300mm f/4
That's a good point as well

06-21-2011, 06:42 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by DanielT74 Quote
My guess without having owned either of the two lenses is

1. bokeh
2. WR
3. weight/size

I've noticed most of the birders here have the DA*300 which is probably better wide open and has a better bokeh. But I am wondering - has anyone looked carefully at both of those lenses and is there really much going for DA* 300 apart from size/weight?
Well, one thing to consider is that the Sigma hasn't been available new for a while now. Sigma was crazy to have discontinued it, IMO.

Don't discount the Sigma's bokeh, it's no slouch.

I consider myself to be a "prime" guy, but in this range, I just can't imagine giving up the versatility of the zoom, unless there was a substantial gain in IQ, and there's not. Notice I didn't say that there is no difference, but there isn't much. If I was a dedicated birder I might see things differently, but for me it's an all-purpose wildlife lens and I use the entire zoom range all the time. Couple that with the fact that the Sigma works seamlessly with their excellent and readily available TC's. They give you, effectively, a 140-420 lens with still quite excellent IQ, or a 200-600 with pretty decent IQ.

It's no lightweight, that's for sure, but I use it exclusively with a tripod anyway, just as I would have to with a DA*300, so it's really not much of an issue.
06-21-2011, 06:45 PM - 1 Like   #6
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the sigma 100-300mm f/4 APO EX DG is a superb lens though,as good as it is I might sell mine if Sigma produces the 120-300mm f/2.8 APO EX DG in K mount.

Sigma 100-300mm f/4 APO EX DG @ f/5.6:




At f/8:
06-21-2011, 06:46 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by DogLover Quote
It's no lightweight, that's for sure, but I use it exclusively with a tripod anyway, just as I would have to with a DA*300, so it's really not much of an issue.
I agree with everything you said about being a prime guy but wanting more versatility in that range, especially if you don't have to give up much in the way of IQ (which is why I'll likely end up keeping the DA*60-250 and getting rid of the DA*300). The only thing I'd point out is that the DA*300 is considerably easier to handhold as compared to the Sigma 100-300/4 (at least for me it was).
06-21-2011, 06:52 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by dgaies Quote
I agree with everything you said about being a prime guy but wanting more versatility in that range, especially if you don't have to give up much in the way of IQ (which is why I'll likely end up keeping the DA*60-250 and getting rid of the DA*300). The only thing I'd point out is that the DA*300 is considerably easier to handhold as compared to the Sigma 100-300/4 (at least for me it was).
Yeah, but hand-holding anything longer than 100mm is out of the question for me. Genetics were not kind to me in the steady-hand department.

06-21-2011, 06:54 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by DogLover Quote
Yeah, but hand-holding anything longer than 100mm is out of the question for me. Genetics were not kind to me in the steady-hand department.
Fair enough I guess I just meant that there is enough of a difference in size and weight that it could mean the difference between someone being able to somewhat comfortably hand-holding the 300, but not the 100-300.
06-21-2011, 06:55 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by dgaies Quote
the DA*300 is considerably easier to handhold as compared to the Sigma 100-300/4
I consider the Sigma 100-300mm f/4 to be easy to hand hold*, of course I reccomend a tripod to obtaining ultimate image quality, there is nothing stopping you from using it hand held - you just have to have good long lens technique. Using flash with the sigma 100-300mm f/4 is a bit of a challenge because of the pentax 1/180th shutter synch limit. Hand holding a 450mm lens at 1/180th isn't easy IS does help, but I find it slows me down so I rarely bother with using it.

FYI: all those images I posted above were hand held - with fill flash at 1/180th

*Try hand holding a nikkor 400mm f/2.8G ED VR with a nikon D3s - I can only hand hold that combo for a couple of minutes before muscle fatigue gets in the way.
06-21-2011, 06:56 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by dgaies Quote
Fair enough I guess I just meant that there is enough of a difference in size and weight that it could mean the difference between someone being able to somewhat comfortably hand-holding the 300, but not the 100-300.
Yeah, I could see that being the case for a lot of folks.
06-21-2011, 06:59 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Digitalis Quote
I consider the Sigma 100-300mm f/4 to be easy to hand hold
I just said the the DA*300 was easier to handhold (than the Sigma). I certainly didn't mean to imply that Sigma couldn't be successfully hand-held by someone with good long lens techniques, but rather that I personally found the 300 easier to hand-hold.
06-21-2011, 07:48 PM   #13
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And also when you need the weather sealing on the Da*
06-21-2011, 08:06 PM   #14
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actually the lack of weather sealing on the sigma 100-300mm f/4 hasn't stopped me from using mine in moderately rainy weather. the sigma 100-300mm f/4 APO is an internally zooming,internally focusing lens - which means there aren't any parts that become exposed to the elements because the lens stays the same size.


the only issue I have with the sigma 100-300mm f/4 is although it has 9 aperture blades, sometimes the bokeh from it can be very distracting. It's flare tolerance isn't anything to write home about.

these images were taken at 190mm @ f/5.6 and show off some of the sigma 100-300mm f/4's worst characteristics.

Last edited by Digitalis; 01-28-2015 at 12:35 AM.
06-21-2011, 08:14 PM   #15
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Good to see some bad images too! Thanks!
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