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01-29-2019, 07:42 AM   #1
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Sigma 70-300mm versions

Is there any comprehensive guide to these lenses? There seem to be many different versions going back 20 years and I can't find much info to compare.

Are there any ones to avoid? I want to use it for general photography and astro so I assume one of the APOs would be worth considering.

01-29-2019, 09:26 AM   #2
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I've owned a couple of these and a few store brands (Promaster, Quantaray) that were either made by Sigma or Tamron. Mine were older and bought used. I know one I had was pretty decent, one not as good. I think the quality of the older Sigmas has a lot of variation, hopefully newer ones are better. None of them even come close to the Pentax-DA 55-300 series.
01-29-2019, 04:32 PM   #3
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I've got a 70-300 apo. It's an ok budget beginner lens, though as ramseybuckeye says, it can't compare to the Pentax 55-300's. It's prone to fringing. Also, the autofocus is loud and...jerky? does that make sense? Ive got some decent images out of it despite it's limitations. You can sometimes find used copies for less than $100. I haven't owned any others so I can't comment on if there any to avoid.
01-30-2019, 12:36 AM   #4
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I've owned a couple of Sigma 70-300mm but I don't think they were the APO versions. Mine were cheap and had the Macro slider on them. They were all soft at the 300mm end. I did get some decent shots with them though, but as the other two have said, they're no where as good as the Pentax 55-300mm WR I now own.

01-31-2019, 09:23 AM   #5
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Thanks for the replies. 55-300 it is then.
01-31-2019, 09:30 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by ekip Quote
Thanks for the replies. 55-300 it is then.
You're welcome!

The other thing about the Sigma's I owned was they were quite heavy to hold and I found I had use a tripod. With the light 55-300mm, that's not always true, it's so light, even I can shoot handheld shots of birds with it.
01-31-2019, 09:55 AM   #7
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I still have the Sigma 70-300 (non APO) that came with the original kit package that Ritz camera was selling when I bought my K10D. I still use it on occasion. It's a decent enough lens, considering the price. It's best stopped down to f8-f11. I'll agree with the others that it's a bit softer at 300 but just zooming back to around 250mm makes a big difference. I've used it for all kinds of shots from sports to wildlife and had fairly decent results. What I found it best for was the "macro" range from 200-300 mm. It's much sharper close up than as a telephoto and I found it ideal for getting close up shots of flowers, dragonflies, etc while in my kayak where your distance to the subject is hampered. I would say the lens is worth owning just for the close ups and as long as it's stopped down, it's pretty good. I haven't shopped lately but these lenses were like $139 new.
01-31-2019, 04:29 PM   #8
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I only had one Sigma 70-300mm that had both 200-300mm macro mode on it. The other two I had were only macro mode at 300mm. And they weren't true macro, more of a close focus type macro. Not saying that's a bad thing, if cropped I got some decent looking macro shots with them. But I still say the 55-300mm beats them in the long end and the weight, if you're like me, and only a little person, and weigh just a tad bit.

02-16-2019, 02:27 AM   #9
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I have an oldish Sigma 75-300 mm auto dl that has succumbed to plastic/rubber rot and is too sticky to handle (it was pre-owned by a painter in oils and had a fair coating of Linseed oil on it - before I cleaned it all off). Matched with my dear old ME Super it's a little unbalanced (!) but very handy and very sharp. I'm looking for a good replacement, again for use with the ME Super (I have K3-2 and KP where I use a Pentax 55-300mm) but I have purchased a Sigma 70-300 mm by mistake.
What is the difference between the two lenses? 75 - 300 and 70 - 300 mm, I can't find anyone comparing them. I'm interested to know what you all think.
02-16-2019, 07:51 AM   #10
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In terms of 3rd party lenses in that range, I only have the Tamron 70-300. I've had two copies of it; both were okay optically but one had an assembly issue (it was new so I returned it.)

I've had many new copies of the 55-300 Pentax, both the original DA (metal) and with the HD coating. The optical variation was shocking - some were truly horrible.

So I think I'd look to the new Pentax 55-300, although not really since my newest body is a K5. But if I had a newer body I would try the newer lens and hope for better quality control.

Good copies of the Tamron and older Pentax seem to me pretty similar on my 16mp bodies except that the Tamron has worse purple fringing. They can both take nice pictures. The Pentax 60-250 is better than either one, although mine also had initial quality problems (it needed a +10 focus adjustment.) I sent it for warranty repair and Pentax fixed it so it's working with a 0 adjustment now. On the other hand, a copy of that lens that I rented had signs of focus motor failure. My 60-250 has been fine so far.
02-16-2019, 08:27 AM   #11
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I did have a used 55-300mm non WR version that must been knocked against something because it back focused horribly so I returned it to where I bought it. But this one, I have now is fine, I bought it from a forum member for $165 and it's great, no back focusing and sharp at 300mm. Oh and the DA version was metal mount.
02-16-2019, 03:20 PM   #12
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When I sold the Sigmas in the mid-90s, we considered the APO a good lens, with the non-APO to be avoided...

That generally applied at the time to everything Sigma made that had an APO option...

-Eric
02-16-2019, 06:30 PM   #13
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I shot this today with the cheap non APO version on Lake George. Motorcycle sidecar racing on ice. After this discussion came up, I decided to bring it along and shoot a few shots with it. 12 years old and been dropped a couple of times but acceptable results for shooting in a rather hazardous environment where it's getting sprayed with snow and ice and you may have to dive out of the way if a racer looses control.

02-16-2019, 09:11 PM   #14
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I shot this, with the Sigma 70-300mm DL Super macro non APO: In 2016. I still have this lens, I just don't use it much. And this was handheld.


02-18-2019, 06:18 AM   #15
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This was taken with my old Sigma DL 70-300mm. Iíve had this lens for about 25 years and it still takes a great photo.
It was captured at the full 300mm.

Last edited by DeKay; 08-20-2019 at 02:28 AM.
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