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07-06-2012, 11:46 PM   #1
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Pleased with my Little Bigma

I've just received my new Sigma 120-400mm APO this morning and put it to a few checks.

Very pleased! I made about 80 hand held shots and not one of them is unsharp from lens shake!
I shot at 400ISO and around 1/500 to 1/1000 sec, but even so, the K-5's image stabilisation when
shooting at up to 600mm (eq) is fantastic.

I was also looking for any evidence of decentering (I'm no lens expert but I was worried about
uneven sharpness from edge to edge.) Sigma's QC reputation had me a bit worried but I needn't
have been - it looks great at both edges.

This is a revelation. I used film and Nikon back in the 80s and sharpness was always a throw of the dice.
Now it's so easy it's a sure thing. Very pleased.

And the colour! Film used to be hit or miss. Now it just looks gorgeous straight off the card.
And no worry about running out of film - just keep shooting, for no added cost. Wow.


Last edited by PCPete; 07-06-2012 at 11:49 PM. Reason: Added some text.
07-07-2012, 04:03 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by PCPete Quote
Sigma's QC reputation had me a bit worried but I needn't
have been - it looks great at both edges.
Congratulations on your new lens. It should be a lot of fun. I've previously owned a Sigma 70-300mm, 170-500mm, and 150-500mm, and I currently own the 50-150mm f/2.8 and 100-300mm f/4, and I've been very satisfied with all of my Sigma telephotos in terms of how they perform for the price.

Your comment makes me think...I've heard a lot more people worrying about Sigma's QC reputation than people complaining about an actual problem with their Sigma lenses. Kind of strange.

As you can probably tell from my signature, I'm a big fan of Sigma lenses. I think that today, Sigma is making many of the best lenses that are within the price range of hobbyists/enthusiasts. And unlike Tamron, Sigma seems to be eager to support the K-mount.
07-07-2012, 05:50 PM   #3
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Sigma's QC rep

Hi Edgar (Gee, you look young!):

It's not just smoke: This is from the SanDiego DSLR Photography Group - The Sigma Saga | San Diego DSLR Photography Group They are quoting a page on Lens Rentals site that has since been removed, but ---

"For about a year now, we’ve had internal discussions at Lensrentals about carrying Sigma lenses. On the one hand, Sigma makes some excellent and unique lenses that are at a very attractive price. Some of them, like the 120-300 f2.8, 50-150 f2.8, and the 150-500 zooms are unique: there are no other lenses of similar aperture and focal length. And we know a lot of our customers are interested in trying these lenses to decide if they’re reasonable alternatives to the ‘brand names’ so we were one of the first rental houses to stock Sigma, and still stock more varieties and copies than anyone else.

Since day 1 the Sigma brand has always been a bit of a money loser for us: they broke more frequently than the other brands. Our techs coined the phrase “Sigma’d” to describe any lens that didn’t function. When they did break, the repair turnaround time was, to be charitable, leisurely. We knew to buy a replacement, it would usually be several weeks and often a couple of months before we got the original copy returned repaired. But we knew a lot of you wanted to try these lenses and its our job to have what you want, so we stocked them.
In the last year, however, things have gotten much, much worse. One third of the Sigma 150-500 and 120-400 lenses we bought were defective out of the box and had to be exchanged. Several more broke during their first and second rentals. New copies of other Sigma lenses showed up with high defective rates out of the box. Repairs have become even slower and now even our routine in-warranty repairs are being refused and billed as ‘customer damage’, even though we’ve never rented them out, simply tested them.


And so on. This is not just waffle. "One third of the Sigma ... 120-400mm lenses we bought were defective." These guys depend on lens QC for their income, so when they say this, I listen.


However, this was nearly four years ago and my lens has turned out fine so far (only had it 24 hrs), so I hope QC has been improved. I also own a Sigma 10-20mm f3.5/4.5 in Pentax mount, my second after the Canon mount version I had, but sold. No problems with either so far.


I applaud Sigma for a) sticking with Pentax mount (no thanks Tokina!) and b) striving to go the extra yard to produce unusual, useful lens combinations.


I'm trying to work out a way to post sample images - I'm new here. I assumed I could copy and paste but not so. Do I have to post to Flickr or Google or something first? Not very convenient.
07-07-2012, 06:50 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by PCPete Quote
Hi Edgar (Gee, you look young!):
Ha ha!

That was an interesting read. It looks like Sigma must have had a rough patch, but I hope that's all history now. I've only had a Pentax for a couple years, but since I've been on the forum I've read far more about malfunctioning Pentax lenses than I have about Sigma lenses.

I've also heard good things about Sigma's service department lately, at least here in North America. And my only experience with them was very positive. I sent my K-x and my Sigma 30mm 1.4 to Sigma in NY to have the lens calibrated to the body (a free service). I also included my 50-150mm f/2.8 in the box to have the firmware updated so it would autofocus in live-view on my K-x. (The 50-150mm did not seem to need any calibration for my body). Sigma calibrated the 30mm, updated the 50-150mm firmware, and tested the calibration on it also, and shipped it back out the same day they received it. When I got the package back, the 30mm 1.4 was perfectly calibrated and the 50-150mm focused in live-view.

So from my point of view, it seems like they've been trying to step up their game in terms of QC, and service/support. I hope that is the case, and that they continue to support Pentax.


QuoteOriginally posted by PCPete Quote
I'm trying to work out a way to post sample images - I'm new here. I assumed I could copy and paste but not so. Do I have to post to Flickr or Google or something first? Not very convenient.

As far as posting pictures, I always host them on my own space, and then I use the little picture icon to post them in the message. If I want to link to a full-size image (as I often do), then I use the link icon (the globe with the chain on it).

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