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06-02-2008, 02:34 AM   #1
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DA* 300mm or Sigma 100-300/f4 or Bigma or ?

Please help me make a choice. Long story short: I came back from a recent trip without many keepers near the 300mm length. The Tamron 70-300 is good value for the money, but not a real performer, especially at 300mm.

So, i basically have to choose between:
- the DA * 300mm : great quality, but not very versatile.
- the Sigma 100-300 f/4: very good reviews, but it will overlap with the future 70-200 2.8
- the Bigma: great range, very long, but slow and heavy.

My lens line-up is in my sig. I know for sure that:
- i will buy a 70-200/2.8, Sigma or Tamron. (or FA* 80-200, if i find it for under 1k - i consider myself a very lucky person)
- the DA* 50-135 is too short for me

What do you advise me to do?

06-02-2008, 03:55 AM   #2
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I'm almost in the same situation - I really can't decide which way to go, lens wise.

I think you need to take a look at why you're buying the lens, and go from there.


Do you need range or 1 stop advantage?
------

For me, personally, I need range more than speed, so instead of the 70-200 I'm going to probably get the 100-300 and then slap on a 1.4x TC. Both lenses have gotten great reviews in other mounts and post very similar numbers at photozone.de

If you're concerned with range but still want speed, why not get the 70-200 and then just add Sigma's 1.4x TC?

You'll be sporting almost a near-clone of the 100-300 anyway, except naturally you're not going to hit the resolution that a "real" 100-300 brings.

Decisions, decisions!
06-02-2008, 05:04 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Teo D'Or Quote
What do you advise me to do?
I would go the Sigma 100-300. It's a great lens but HEAVY
06-02-2008, 05:14 AM   #4
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Great post and I to am in this same delema. I have the Sigma 70-200 and am only between the DA300 and the Bigma. I want the Bigma for the extra range but think the f4 will be worth being stuck at 300. What to do, what to do?

06-02-2008, 05:18 AM   #5
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I just purchased the Sigma 100-300 for the versatility and because of the reviews. I have found it is the preformer its claimed to be. I find it pretty good handhold and and a bit heavy but it balances well.
I also am looking at getting the 70-200 f2.8 and realize it does overlap. But its a 2.8 in the overlap which I believe I can get some real use.

I know nothing about the bigma but it seems a lot of people went that way also.

Good luck!

Last edited by OrenMc; 08-15-2009 at 03:37 AM.
06-02-2008, 05:29 AM   #6
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Why do you say your lens isn't performing at 300mm? Long lens performance depends a lot on lighting conditions and how well they are supported. Using a long lens, especially a zoom lens with a relatively high F stop setting, in moderate to low light settings without adequate support is a recipe for fuzzy pictures.
06-02-2008, 05:30 AM   #7
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One way I am looking to test the what one I want is to rent from the place mentioned on the site. I am waiting on the K10 to get back from the shop first
06-02-2008, 08:42 AM   #8
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Guys, first of all, thank you for the replies.

I had a chance (actually several) to play with a N***n 70-200 VR and the DA 50-135. I am 100% sure that the DA is too short and that in terms of focal length i like the 70-200 A LOT. So i will have one of those for sure. I also have a Sigma 400/ 5.6, wich is a little slow, but pretty sharp.

What i really want is good image quality at 300mm. The obvious choice would be a DA* 300mm. It is an optical jewel and it is silent, thanks to SDM. But i would have to carry it and the Sigma and the future 70-200/2.8.

The Sigma 100-300 seems fairly good at 300mm. Not like a prime, but it gives you very good quality in a large focal range.

And the Bigma gives you a huge lot of range and a lot of reach. It seems too much of a compromise though.


@Tom S.
very little detail @300mm 1/2000s.

06-03-2008, 07:07 AM   #9
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I'd go with the da*300mm. I have the el cheapo tamron 70-300 ld di and it is very good up to about 210 mm, plus its macro iq is excellent (tho quirky). after that, i use the f*300mm which produces excellent results.
06-03-2008, 08:40 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Teo D'Or Quote
Guys, first of all, thank you for the replies.

I had a chance (actually several) to play with a N***n 70-200 VR and the DA 50-135. I am 100% sure that the DA is too short and that in terms of focal length i like the 70-200 A LOT. So i will have one of those for sure. I also have a Sigma 400/ 5.6, wich is a little slow, but pretty sharp.

What i really want is good image quality at 300mm. The obvious choice would be a DA* 300mm. It is an optical jewel and it is silent, thanks to SDM. But i would have to carry it and the Sigma and the future 70-200/2.8.

The Sigma 100-300 seems fairly good at 300mm. Not like a prime, but it gives you very good quality in a large focal range.

And the Bigma gives you a huge lot of range and a lot of reach. It seems too much of a compromise though.


@Tom S.
very little detail @300mm 1/2000s.
The DA*300 is definitely the way to go if you want the best IQ and a reasonably small lens (compared the the two Sigmas)

I had a 100-300 EX and although a reasonable zoom, it was nowhere near as good as my old A*300 f4.0, which I replaced with the FA*300 f4.5, which was slightly better again. I recently tried a DA*300 and it seems to be the equal of the FA*, so it's a "no brainer" to me.

The Bigma is actually slower (aperture wise) than either the Tamron 70-300 LD Di or the new DA 55-300, so apart from the extra reach and probably better IQ wide open, it has little more to offer IMO, and a lot against.

If you want the extra reach, I would use a decent TC such as the Kenko 1.5x DG with the DA*300 while waiting for the new Pentax TC's on the roadmap.
06-03-2008, 12:18 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Richard Day Quote
I had a 100-300 EX and although a reasonable zoom, it was nowhere near as good as my old A*300 f4.0, which I replaced with the FA*300 f4.5, which was slightly better again. I recently tried a DA*300 and it seems to be the equal of the FA*, so it's a "no brainer" to me.
Richard, I would like to extend the discussion a bit, because I am also looking for a decent 300mm lens. I currently have the old K 300/4 (which I am going to sell) and the A* 300/4 and a Tamron 300/2.8 (the older 060B). I love the A*, because it is incredibly compact. The Tamron is simply fast I won't get rid of it , but I would like to have an AF lens, too as I now experience, that the K20's AF is good enough for birds and other small targets. So there is the new DA 300 and there are the old F/FA 300 mm lenses, which are 1/2 f-stop slower. As you have those and had the opportunity to use the DA: Which is the better lens? I like the possibility to use the F/FA (due to its aperture ring) with my old film cameras. But the DA seems to be more compact and has that 1/2 f-stop advantage and the very silent SDM drive. Given these different strengthes, the decision comes down to image quality. Did you notice any difference at all?

Thanks,
Ben
06-03-2008, 05:21 PM   #12
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Ben, excellent question, and I await Richards answer, also. I had the same concern between the F*, FA*, and DA* 300mm's.
But what drove me to the DA* was it's features for not much more money that the used F-FA*'s. And I'm very very happy with my choice now that I've had time to use the DA*. I can't imagine it's IQ being beaten by any of the aforementioned lenses and if they can beat it, I still wouldn't trade, it's just simply an incredible lens. Well, come to think of it, there is a problem, it's stuck to my camera!
06-03-2008, 10:42 PM   #13
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Well, I have all three of those lenses and my vote is for the sigma. I see no difference in image quality at 300mm and with the matching sigma 1.4tc gives me a sharp 420mm @ F/5.6...

here are some samples with the Sigma 100-300mm f/4 EX DG IF and Sigma 1.4TC...I must say, it is an impressive combo...It is large and heavy, but not like the bigma. The image quality is impressive to say the least...

The first samples where all shot at 200 ISO and a distance of appx 120 Yards away...Focal length with TC IS 420MM...All exif in tact...







These next few where taken at ISO 500 and getting pretty dark...My other gear, would be struggling a little bit with the conditions. If you look close, you can see some motion blur that is caused when there is simply not enough light...




These next few I would not have been able to get with my other gear...This beast at F/4 (F/5.6 with TC) is amazing..It focuses really fast...I was using the K10D, not my K20D....These are at ISO 500 and quite dark conditions...With my other lenses, I would have had the ISO at about 1100-1600, but with this large glass, ISO 500 and some EV comp, I was in good shape...


[/QUOTE]
06-03-2008, 10:44 PM   #14
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Here are a few more from this combo,




06-04-2008, 02:03 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ben_Edict Quote
Richard, I would like to extend the discussion a bit, because I am also looking for a decent 300mm lens. I currently have the old K 300/4 (which I am going to sell) and the A* 300/4 and a Tamron 300/2.8 (the older 060B). I love the A*, because it is incredibly compact. The Tamron is simply fast I won't get rid of it , but I would like to have an AF lens, too as I now experience, that the K20's AF is good enough for birds and other small targets. So there is the new DA 300 and there are the old F/FA 300 mm lenses, which are 1/2 f-stop slower. As you have those and had the opportunity to use the DA: Which is the better lens? I like the possibility to use the F/FA (due to its aperture ring) with my old film cameras. But the DA seems to be more compact and has that 1/2 f-stop advantage and the very silent SDM drive. Given these different strengthes, the decision comes down to image quality. Did you notice any difference at all?

Thanks,
Ben
The A* is outstandingly compact and a wonderful lens, but it's close focussing distance of 3m and the lack of AF were my reasons for buying the FA*300 f4.5, plus I was able to find a brand new one at a clearance price (stupid dealer!)

QuoteOriginally posted by Eaglerapids Quote
Ben, excellent question, and I await Richards answer, also. I had the same concern between the F*, FA*, and DA* 300mm's.
But what drove me to the DA* was it's features for not much more money that the used F-FA*'s. And I'm very very happy with my choice now that I've had time to use the DA*. I can't imagine it's IQ being beaten by any of the aforementioned lenses and if they can beat it, I still wouldn't trade, it's just simply an incredible lens. Well, come to think of it, there is a problem, it's stuck to my camera!
The FA*300 f4.5 is 1/3 stop slower but to my mind that's almost an insignificance.

I haven't both lenses to hand to do a direct comparison between the FA* and DA*, the only person I know that has both is Lance Blackburn in Oz. He says he cannot see much to choose between them, they are both superb!

Anyway, here is a brief outline of the salient differences as I see them, FA* first, then DA*:

F4.5 v. f4.0 (1/3 stop)
Aperture ring v. no aperture ring
Silver painted metal (more easily marked) v. black composite
No trpod mount v. removable tripod mount
67mm v. 77mm filter size
160mm x 73mm/935 grams v. 184mm x 83mm/1070 grams
2m close focus v. 1.4m
Screw AF v. SDM + screw AF

As far as the Sigma 100-300 EX is concerned, it just isn't in the same league at all, plus it's size and weight rule it out for me - 227mm x 94mm/1440 grams and 82mm filter. The hood is also bigger than the DA*300 hood.

Here is a comparison in sizes between it and a Tokina 80-400 and A*300. Apologies for the image quality, taken with my phone camera!





100-300 EX mounted on the istD




I'm waiting to see how well the DA*60-250 f4.0 performs, as that is for me a more attractive lens than the Sigma 100-300 EX.
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