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12-20-2007, 11:43 AM   #1
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Sigma 70-300mm APO

Is the APO much better than the lesser version? I want to get a long lens, just to have for those certain times, and the price point $140/$220 seems too good to pass up. I was wondering if anyone has experience with these lenses (Sigma 70-300mm) and if it's worth it to get the slightly more expensive version. Do you have any other alternatives to suggest?

Thanks.

12-20-2007, 12:31 PM   #2
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everyone i've talked to has said get the APO. all it does is help reduce CA, which is always a good sign
12-20-2007, 01:08 PM   #3
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How about a lower price point on it: Sigma Zoom Telephoto 70-300mm f/4-5.6 APO DG Macro Autofocus Lens for Pentax AF (508109) -
12-20-2007, 07:35 PM   #4
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I have the APO version and CA is very well controlled. I've gotten some pretty good pictures with the lens and some bad ones. As expected it's much better with lots of light because it is slow. Build quality is ok, I guess but if you get into the older Takumar lenses that are really well made, the Sigma doesn't compare. Manual focusing isn't very good, the lens is not damped well. The zoom range has some spots that tighten up. I've made shots where I thought I was at 300mm only to find out later I was at 260mm.
Example: (this looks better if you click on the pic)

I think this could have been a cool pic, now this was at 300mm. But it's soft and I tended to blame the lens till I realized I was shooting at 1/60 sec, handheld. Well, I'm just not that good. I find if I use a tripod things are much better.
300mm@7.1 1/400sec w/tripod

So, imo, if you're on a budget or occasionally need a 300mm lens this might be a good choice if you use the lens within it's limitations. It has nice bokeh, good colors and contrast and very nicely controlled CA. I only have a cheap "doubler" left over from the old days and this lens does not play well with it at all. I shot way to many eagle pictures with this combo on one of only a couple beautiful days that I've been able to get out and they were all bad, really bad. That was frustrating to say the least.
The biggest mistake I made concerning this lens was looking at any pictures posted by Tom Lusk or Marc or anybody shooting XX*300mm lenses. Of course it's totally unfair comparing this lens to those...but I do.

12-21-2007, 02:44 AM   #5
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Definitely get the APO version if you can! It really does control the CA/PF very well! I have shot both and used to own the non-APO and non-DG version and had great luck, but I also knew to stay away from bad CA/PF situations, lol.
12-21-2007, 06:41 AM   #6
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Can't recall where I get this info from....I was told to use always use Shutter Priority Tv mode with a minimum of 1/350sec shutter speed when using a 300mm lens. I have actually tried this out using my FA 80-320 and I would say this tip works.
12-21-2007, 09:09 AM   #7
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That's a general guideline for using any lens handheld...1/focal length for a minimum shutter speed. So 300mm - 1/300, 40mm, 1/40, etc. But those with a steady hand havesome leeway to go lower, and SR gives you even more.
12-21-2007, 09:30 AM   #8
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I just acquired the non APO version from 17th Street Photo for $123.00. For the money, I couldn't be happier. Of course, I haven't yet had the chance to do much but shoot around the house and out the window. I do wish it used IF, but I will get used to it.

12-21-2007, 11:56 PM   #9
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The other benefit of either model, is the fact that you also get a very nice 1:2 ratio (half life size) macro mode!! I so loved the macro mode on mine, super sharp images! It is basically the reason I want to pick up another one... Being so lightweight, compact for the focal range, having the macro mode.. it is just a great all purpose lens when you need to keep things simple and light!

A tip for you as well.. A simple local contrast enhancement in post processing really makes the images pop from this lens and gives them that expensive glass look!
12-22-2007, 11:14 AM   #10
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I'm pretty pleased with the macro capabilities of this lens and find that any CA is pretty minimal. This image has been PP'd, but it certainly wasn't bad right out of the camera. Very sharp, and I like the bokah as well.

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