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02-28-2007, 11:14 AM   #1
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Sigma 100-300 (F4) w/1.4X vs. 135-400 (F4-5.6)

Was wondering about these 2. I originally was going to get the 135-400 but got to looking at the 100-300 for the F4 aperature. By using a 1.4 AF tele-converter, I could effectively get about a 140-420mm lens at about a F5.4, being faster than the 400 at F5.6. Couple that to the smaller sensor size of the K100D and it works out to about a 210-630 at roughly F5.4. Does this sound like the way to go? I would effectively be getting 2 lenses in one as even with the converter, the 100-300 F4 would behave as the 135-400 aperture wise, actually a bit better.

Am I correct in this thought process?

02-28-2007, 11:59 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by GLThorne Quote
Was wondering about these 2. I originally was going to get the 135-400 but got to looking at the 100-300 for the F4 aperature. By using a 1.4 AF tele-converter, I could effectively get about a 140-420mm lens at about a F5.4, being faster than the 400 at F5.6. Couple that to the smaller sensor size of the K100D and it works out to about a 210-630 at roughly F5.4. Does this sound like the way to go? I would effectively be getting 2 lenses in one as even with the converter, the 100-300 F4 would behave as the 135-400 aperture wise, actually a bit better.

Am I correct in this thought process?
The MTF charts look pretty good. Its just that the lens costs like $1000 haha. If you are ready to pay that amount and shoot alot of telephoto, it maybe a good investment. Just that at 5.4, your use is pretty limited to photos in good lighting.
02-28-2007, 03:06 PM   #3
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True, but I think I'm looking for something to do a good bit of day-light nature type shoots with. Plus, at F4 and 100-300, that's not bad for the money. I have found it new for $739.

Last edited by GLThorne; 02-28-2007 at 03:24 PM.
02-28-2007, 06:43 PM   #4
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wow that looks pretty good. How much is the teleconvertor?

02-28-2007, 09:18 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by GLThorne Quote
Was wondering about these 2. I originally was going to get the 135-400 but got to looking at the 100-300 for the F4 aperature. By using a 1.4 AF tele-converter, I could effectively get about a 140-420mm lens at about a F5.4, being faster than the 400 at F5.6. Couple that to the smaller sensor size of the K100D and it works out to about a 210-630 at roughly F5.4. Does this sound like the way to go? I would effectively be getting 2 lenses in one as even with the converter, the 100-300 F4 would behave as the 135-400 aperture wise, actually a bit better.

Am I correct in this thought process?
You might want to think about your back also. I am not familiar with weight and size, but you may find the 100-300 F4 smaller and lighter (even when you add the teleconverter) than the 135-400.

I use a 27-200 F2.8 with and without the 1.4x teleconverter, and use quite frequently flash as well, as many nature shots have you in the shade, and even with the F2.8 it is too slow at low ISO. to hand hold.

p.s. I started out this way with the *istD, and will give my K10D a good test in a few weeks.
03-01-2007, 01:16 AM   #6
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Hi,

I can recommend 100-300/4 with TC1.4. It is my primary setup during all my trips. It works nice with TC1.4 and thats not true it is only for good light and sun.
Hood is very good, manual focus is easy, I always work in MF and Av mode. During last 2 years I did thousands of shots with this lens. It is heavy duty lens, very solid and well build.

It is good for birding:


Mauritius birds Photo Gallery by Piotr Sobolewski at pbase.com
Birds of Ethiopia Photo Gallery by Piotr Sobolewski at pbase.com

and for animals:
Botswana, July 2005 Photo Gallery by Piotr Sobolewski at pbase.com
Sasek Photo Gallery by Piotr Sobolewski at pbase.com

and for people:
Pentax *ist DS ,Sigma 100-300mm f4 EX + TC1.4, 1/180s f/4.0 at 300.0mm iso800

Olszynka - 1831 Photo Gallery by Piotr Sobolewski at pbase.com

aand if you wish for landscapes:
03-01-2007, 05:15 AM   #7
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Wow great bird capture! The bokeh is great!
03-01-2007, 11:21 AM   #8
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Comments on Sigma 100-300 F4 EX DG

I was also in the market for a long tele-zoom for sports, nature and general use. If it was just for wildlife use then I'd go with a 300mm or longer fixed focal length lens, but the zoom is essential for use at my son's soccer games.

Until Pentax releases the DA* 60-250 zoom, the only options in a new long zoom are the various Sigma lenses (100-300 f4, 135-400, 170-500 and 50-500). I read every review I could find for these lenses. Although I was concerned about the lackluster SQF results in the Popular Photography testing of the earlier version of the 100-300 f4 lens, I went ahead and bought the DG version and the matched Sigma EX DG 1.4 converter. The main reasons was the f4 speed at 300mm. I like at least f4 for a bright image in the viewfinder. (My second choice was the Sigma 50-500, based on the reports of better image quality as compared to the 135-400 or the 170-500. The 50-500 weights about 1 lbs more, but would not need the teleconverter.)

The lens arrived yesterday and I've taken maybe 60 test shots. I haven't had a chance to do any sports actions shots yet, but so far I'm very impressed with the performance of the lens. It handles well due to the fact that it is both internal focusing and internal zooming (unlike the other Sigmas). Very low CA and geometric distortion, and sharp images from center to corners (at least on the APS-C sensor). Auto focus is as fast as any other lens I have in good light, but in dim light it will hunt. The image quality is very good even wide open, but the best results are at f8-11. I do not see any purple fringing on any shots, even with sharp light-dark transitions. There is very slight pincushion distortion at the long end. Exposure was 100% correct in every shot, using matrix metering in Av and P mode. I do not see any AF issues (back or front focus). Maybe I just got lucky with a good copy, but this lens is a fine performer in every respect.

I have the Pentax M*300mm f4 which is a great lens but not suitable for use with action sports. The image quality of the M*300 is somewhat better with greater sharpness and more contrast. With strong backlight, the Sigma shows reduced contrast. But the Sigma does very well and the utility of full auto-exposure, auto-focus and zoom more than makes up for the slight loss of image quality.

I've tried many teleconverters (including the better Pentax A converters) with various long lenses in the past and I was never really satisfied with the results. But the matched Sigma converter is another story. I honestly can't see any quality loss with the converter in my handful of test shots, even when pixel peeking at 100% view. I'm sure that measured tests will reveal some quality loss, but in practical use the converter can be used with excellent results. This puts the 100-300 f4 in the same class as the Nikon 80-400 and Canon 100-400 zooms in terms of flexibility and reach. Yes, the converter does make it f5.6 through the full range and this results in slower AF and a dimmer image in the viewfinder. But using the converter is a viable option when you need that extra reach. Lenses that are at least f4 at 400mm are rare and expensive. For example, the Nikon 200-400mm f4 is about $5000.

The main drawbacks of the Sigma are the size and weight, lack of quick shift manual focus, and price. The lens is quite large (over 8 inches long) and heavy (over 3 lbs) and really can't be hand-held, but it does balance well on a monopod or tripod with the included tripod mount. The tripod mount interferes with using the the zoom ring. Shifting from auto to manual focus requires both moving the switch on the body and sliding the focus ring from AF to Manual, which is a pain. And, of course, it is expensive. But with the scarcity of Pentax long telephotos and the absurd prices for used Pentax lenses on eBay (like over $1600 for an F*300mm f4.5), it is a fair price. And the price is less than the Nikon 80-400 and Canon 100-400 (which are slower over most of their range, but include anti-shake).

I've tried many non-Pentax brand lenses over the years, and this is the first one that I'm going to keep.

Note that some of the Sigma 100-300 f4 lenses for sale may be the older non-DG version. I do not know if the performance of the older version will be inferior with the digital body, but it is something you should factor into your purchasing decision.


Last edited by GaryML; 03-01-2007 at 11:35 AM.
03-01-2007, 12:35 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by GLThorne Quote
Was wondering about these 2. I originally was going to get the 135-400 but got to looking at the 100-300 for the F4 aperature. By using a 1.4 AF tele-converter, I could effectively get about a 140-420mm lens at about a F5.4, being faster than the 400 at F5.6. Couple that to the smaller sensor size of the K100D and it works out to about a 210-630 at roughly F5.4. Does this sound like the way to go? I would effectively be getting 2 lenses in one as even with the converter, the 100-300 F4 would behave as the 135-400 aperture wise, actually a bit better.

Am I correct in this thought process?
A small correction. AFAIK the 1.4 teleconverter will lose you one stop, which will give you the same effective aperture of F5.6. A small point, but possibly enough to render your thinking on the advantage of F5.4 obsolete. You would still effectively be getting two lenses although, and this may be the real point of your dilemma. I would prefer not to use the 1.4 teleconverter, since it will degrade your IQ, over that which you would get with just a single lens and no converter.
03-01-2007, 02:53 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by GaryML Quote
The main drawbacks of the Sigma are the size and weight, lack of quick shift manual focus, and price. The lens is quite large (over 8 inches long) and heavy (over 3 lbs) and really can't be hand-held, but it does balance well on a monopod or tripod with the included tripod mount.
can't agree with that, from all my galleries I use monopod only for last one "Battle reconstruction" because I stand for 2.5 hours in one place and was quite cold.

All birds are done hand-held. And in fact I'm not big man and my hands are rather small.
03-01-2007, 03:13 PM   #11
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Piotr - You can help settle this. By the way, I think your shots and galleries are great!!

Can you take a shot, same subject, same shot with the 1.4 and without it and post? Say at 300/215-ish and 300/420? This would show the lens at 300mm and approximately at 300mm without and with the converter and then at max zoom without and with.

This should be fun!!
03-01-2007, 06:12 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Piotr Quote
can't agree with that, from all my galleries I use monopod only for last one "Battle reconstruction" because I stand for 2.5 hours in one place and was quite cold.

All birds are done hand-held. And in fact I'm not big man and my hands are rather small.
I admire your skill and strength in being able to hold this beast for long periods of time and still getting sharp photographs. I can hand-hold it and I did take a few shots that way. But it is pretty large and heavy and I think that many people would not be comfortable using it that way for any period of time. I prefer to use some camera support if possible with any lens, and especially with a heavy lens with a relatively small aperture and long focal length.
03-02-2007, 04:13 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by GLThorne Quote
Can you take a shot, same subject, same shot with the 1.4 and without it and post? Say at 300/215-ish and 300/420? This would show the lens at 300mm and approximately at 300mm without and with the converter and then at max zoom without and with.

This should be fun!!

sorry you need wait few months, now is winter in Poland and the weather is really bad, no sun at all. I'm still waiting for more sunny days.

But from my experience I can tell that without TC this lens is even fast enough for me to use AF. Color rendition is similar with or without TC.
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