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04-25-2018, 05:48 PM - 2 Likes   #1
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Sigma APO 120-400 HSM OS

Thread for images taken with the Sigma APO 120-400 HSM with or without the built in Lens stabilization.
My copy has it but I generally use IBIS with my KP.
I was surprised by the lack of love this lens receives in reviews out on the web, especially about softness at 400mm when wide open. In other words, most of the time at 400mm unless your target is fairly static.

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Last edited by SSGGeezer; 04-25-2018 at 05:59 PM.
04-25-2018, 07:30 PM - 1 Like   #2
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compared to the current alternative the DFA 150-450 it's value is hard to beat.

Wide open on the short end


A 1:1 crop out of the centre (when viewed full size)

04-25-2018, 08:09 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by mattt Quote
compared to the current alternative the DFA 150-450 it's value is hard to beat.

Wide open on the short end


A 1:1 crop out of the centre (when viewed full size)

Those are both very nice shots Matt. I am certain that the DFA is the better lens, if only for the coatings and the Pentax rendering, but I have been happy so far. And getting strong from carrying her around!
04-26-2018, 06:39 AM   #4
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How does the IQ compare to the 55-300 in the shared range?

04-26-2018, 06:41 AM   #5
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Why SR instead of OS? I prefer the stabilized viewfinder that you get with OS.
04-26-2018, 06:51 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kozlok Quote
How does the IQ compare to the 55-300 in the shared range?
Vignetting on full frame makes the comparison a little moot. I have the 55-300, I have never been thrilled with it. THe 55-300 is only APS-C format, the Sigma 120-400 is a DG lens. Anecdotally, I find the 120-400 as passable as the 55-300 but have not had an appropriate opportunity to compare the two yet.

Given the choice, I'd take the 55-300 for packing / travelling, and reserve the 120-400 for more planned occassions (possibly with Manfrotto 055 series to hold it up )
04-26-2018, 10:08 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kozlok Quote
How does the IQ compare to the 55-300 in the shared range?
I think that contrast is a bit better with the 55-300 PLM, while I have a preference for the bokeh on distant objects with the Sigma. I may just be enamored with my new lens but look at my examples and make your own decision.

I prefer the color palette on my Pentax lenses versus any Sigma I have owned, but in the shared FL I think that the Sigma comes close or meets the IQ of the PLM. I have had shots that turned out with both the OS and SR on but if

I get some better weather, I may try to shoot some more BIF and possibly Astro using the OS rather than SR.


So, IQ is very good from120-330mm (This is so far,) IQ at 400mm is good wide open and very good at f8-f11. These results are with my KP, all shot handheld.

As Matt said, for walking around, I would want my PLM (and 1.4 AW if I could afford one.) since it is over 2 pounds lighter, but the Sigma on a KP with battery grip does well handheld. The extra 100mm makes a difference though!

This shot is SOOC and shrunk via forum system.

---------- Post added 04-26-18 at 10:15 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by boriscleto Quote
Why SR instead of OS? I prefer the stabilized viewfinder that you get with OS.
Good question! I haven't had too much difficulty holding steady except yesterday when the wind kicked up a lot while I was shooting the heron. He really was leaning into the wind there. I had to squat and lean against a tree for a few images!
Since I use the grip al of the time there is no concern for battery usage due to the in lens OS so I will turn of SR and try it next time out and report my findings here. I suspect that I will definitely want it on if it is breezy and I am shooting off of a tripod.
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04-26-2018, 10:20 AM - 1 Like   #8
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If I might offer, you know the lens is soft(er)at long end wide open. why shoot it there. Pentax Cameras have TAv - Set it to f8 1/400 and let the ISO fall where it may!

04-26-2018, 10:26 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by mattt Quote
If I might offer, you know the lens is soft(er)at long end wide open. why shoot it there. Pentax Cameras have TAv - Set it to f8 1/400 and let the ISO fall where it may!
Since I was looking mostly for Birds, (hopefully in flight) I was pretty much working Tv to keep the shutter speed up. I have only had her for a week and was ill for most of that time so I am still experimenting. I do not feel that it is unusable at 400 wide open though, just not very sharp like at 300-320mm wide open. I still haven't put my QR on the foot for tripod use yet and I need to put my new clear filter on since I like pristine glass to stay pristine.
04-26-2018, 10:37 AM - 1 Like   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by SSGGeezer Quote
Since I was looking mostly for Birds, (hopefully in flight) I was pretty much working Tv to keep the shutter speed up. I have only had her for a week and was ill for most of that time so I am still experimenting. I do not feel that it is unusable at 400 wide open though, just not very sharp like at 300-320mm wide open. I still haven't put my QR on the foot for tripod use yet and I need to put my new clear filter on since I like pristine glass to stay pristine.
I shoot the 150-500 in TAv. F8 and be there, and keep the shutter over 1/500...The 150-500 is F6.3 over 300mm and I rarely shoot wide open. Just learn to live with the high ISO noise in most situations...Even with the K-3 I can live with the ISO noise at 3200 or less.
04-26-2018, 08:28 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by SSGGeezer Quote
Thread for images taken with the Sigma APO 120-400 HSM with or without the built in Lens stabilization.
My copy has it but I generally use IBIS with my KP.
I was surprised by the lack of love this lens receives in reviews out on the web, especially about softness at 400mm when wide open. In other words, most of the time at 400mm unless your target is fairly static.
What is the AF speed from rack to rack? Mine is like maybe 2 seconds.. seems rather slow. But I bought it a couple of years ago that way to use on a K-1 and never had any point of reference for this particular lens.

Mine needed the re-chip/programming from Sigma to work on K-1 but after that it worked fine, outside of the seemingly slow AF speed. While at Sigma repair for the re-chipping to work on K-1, I asked them to look at the AF too. They responded back that that model lens has different AF speed on different make and models of cameras (seemingly implying that it was normal). Alrighty... but I don't know if that is true or if they didn't really look at the AF (since the rechipping and rear cowling replacement was a free service).
04-27-2018, 07:54 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by mee Quote
What is the AF speed from rack to rack? Mine is like maybe 2 seconds.. seems rather slow. But I bought it a couple of years ago that way to use on a K-1 and never had any point of reference for this particular lens.

Mine needed the re-chip/programming from Sigma to work on K-1 but after that it worked fine, outside of the seemingly slow AF speed. While at Sigma repair for the re-chipping to work on K-1, I asked them to look at the AF too. They responded back that that model lens has different AF speed on different make and models of cameras (seemingly implying that it was normal). Alrighty... but I don't know if that is true or if they didn't really look at the AF (since the rechipping and rear cowling replacement was a free service).
I have not actually notice how long it takes since with the exception of extremely low contrast attempts, I have not had the auto focus fail to stop pretty much right on. On the few occasions that it has racked searching, I think that a second and a half maximum may be about right. I just did a quick test and 1.5 seconds seems to be on the high side for my copy.
Since it focuses at a very close distance, there is a lot of range to cover. It has not been an issue for me as of yet.
04-27-2018, 03:44 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by SSGGeezer Quote
I have not actually notice how long it takes since with the exception of extremely low contrast attempts, I have not had the auto focus fail to stop pretty much right on. On the few occasions that it has racked searching, I think that a second and a half maximum may be about right. I just did a quick test and 1.5 seconds seems to be on the high side for my copy.
Since it focuses at a very close distance, there is a lot of range to cover. It has not been an issue for me as of yet.
Thanks for that.

It hasn't been an issue for me either.. I even shot an airshow and it still wasn't an issue.. but I did wonder if my copy was odd.
04-30-2018, 12:36 PM   #14
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One thing I have noticed is that while using the in lens stabilization, the camera uses the battery a great deal faster than when using the IBIS. It could be just a higher drain with the HSM moving heavy elements combined with the OS but when it is on it is always shifting the elements inside the lens when you reposition the camera. I guess I now have to remember to turn it off and then on when I have something to shoot. Memory testing!
05-03-2018, 06:55 PM   #15
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Here is one at 200mm of a Black capped chickadee alongside a large pond.
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