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Sigma APO 100-300mm F4 EX DG

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31 98,608 Tue October 19, 2021
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
100% of reviewers $1,025.41 9.67
Sigma APO 100-300mm F4 EX DG

Sigma APO 100-300mm F4 EX DG
Sigma APO 100-300mm F4 EX DG

According to sigma history pages this lens was introduced in 2001. Pentax versions are screw drive only. No longer in production.
Comes with hood and well padded case.

Weight: 1440g/51 oz
Length: 226.5mm/8.9 in
Filter Diameter: 82mm
Max. Diameter: 92mm
Min. Focus: 180cm/70.9 in
Max. Magnification: 1:5
Horizontal FOV: 24.4 -8.2 degrees
Horizontal FOV on APS-C: 16.3 -5.5 degrees
Min. Aperture: F32
Optical Construction: 16 Elements in 14 Groups
Autofocus: Yes, screwdrive
Mount Type: Pentax KAF2/KAF (screwdrive AF)
Price History:

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Site Supporter

Registered: July, 2020
Posts: 120

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: October 19, 2021 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $393.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: beautiful appearance, built like a tank, very sharp, great handling, nice tripod collar
Cons: somewhat big and heavy
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: D800    Autofocus: 10    New Or Used: Used   

I bought this lens last year for my Nikon D800 full-frame camera (F-mount), primarily for astrophotography (but also for terrestrial nature photos). It is built like a tank and very easy to use/focus. I have obtained excellent photos of the moon and planets (in the same field) and of a partial solar eclipse with this lens, showing its exceptional sharpness. For my work, I have not observed aberrations (they would be mainly chromatic). On my D800, the autofocus is superb, even in low light (this ascertained from terrestrial photography, not astrophotography; for the latter, I do all manual focusing).

The zoom ring has nice, textured, hard rubber and is about an inch wide and in a good location halfway between the camera and the focus ring; it rotates very smoothly about 100 degrees from 100mm rightward (clockwise as seen from behind the camera) to 300mm. The optics move internally, so there's no change in length of the lens while zooming and no chance of "zoom creep" that is common in lenses that change their length while zooming. The focus ring is about 2 inches wide, with the same textured rubber; its smooth focusing turns through about 150 degrees from infinity clockwise toward closest focus (closest focus is 3-4 feet away at 100mm). This is a big, heavy lens, but then anything this good is going to be that way. It balances really nicely hand-held on my D800 with the tripod plate sitting on my left hand -- but 99% of my shots with this lens are done on a tripod (if I were still shooting my son's sports games, I'd have no problems hand-holding this lens if sitting in the stands). The plastic lens hood is very useful but is somewhat finicky to put on.

The reviews here is what caused me to buy this lens, and I found it for quite a bit lower than the average price given here in this review thread; my copy came in mint condition from Japan via eBay, and as with all my reviews, the cost (listed above) includes taxes and shipping. I have lots of telephoto lenses in the range 100-300mm for my Pentax cameras so won't be seeking this lens out in K-mount, but if I didn't (as was the case for my D800, for which I purposefully keep my lens count low, since I have so much invested in Pentax glass), I'd surely try to get a near-mint K-mount copy especially if the price were under USD $500. A couple photos of my lens on my D800 camera are given below; the third photo shows the lens off camera with caps on and lens hood reversed for storage, along with the very nice dedicated case.

Site Supporter

Registered: June, 2016
Location: Paris
Posts: 104

3 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: June 6, 2019 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $800.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: AF speed, IF, zoom ring, IQ, construction
Cons: hard to find
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-1    Autofocus: 10    New Or Used: Used   

this lens is overkill. spent 2 weeks with it from the day i finally managed to find one. used it at 30-35°Celsius for hours and some rain with no protection, better built than most of pentax's recent wr lenses. fast temperature/ pressure change didn't do anything, the lens is so well built.

IQ is crazy sharp at all focal lenghts. it's impressive. I love the fact that it's like the FA* 80-200mm 2.8 in terms of contrasts, very nice smooth shadows rendering.

autofocus is crazy fast too. AF tracking is excellent in daylight and almost dark situations. smooth fast and spot on.

it's becoming my best lens for sports or any moving subjects, tracking, where i honestly don't see the point of having a 2.8 200 to 300mm. honestly for what? just to focus miss out more?
It's an excellent lens for portraits too.
I think it's the best zoom Sigma ever made and will ever make.
And one of the best zooms ever.
this lens is not only a 70-200 and 80-200 killer, but a 300mm prime killer too.
Never been so impressed by a zoom lens.
Site Supporter

Registered: October, 2009
Location: Michigan
Posts: 211

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: August 17, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Very sharp output, Excellent color, and excellent bokeh.
Cons: There are no negatives to report
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-70, K3, and K5iis    Autofocus: 8    New Or Used: New   

Bought this version two lens in almost new condition two weeks ago. It had just been listed, and I wasted no time in sealing the deal. Everything good I had read about this lens was 100% true.

I have taken it out on four photo treks already, so have had the opportunity to get a real feel for this lens. The photo quality has been nothing short of phenomenal. So far I have used this lens on the K3 only. In the near future I will introduce it to my K5iis.

Update 4-24-2018: This lens continues to perform great on all three cameras (recently added the K-70 for higher ISO). The photos are very sharp in camera and razor sharp with some photo editing. The lens is big but not overly heavy for its size. The bottom line? It is a great lens. It's too bad Sigma no longer makes the updated lens for Pentax mount.

Registered: May, 2008
Location: London, UK
Posts: 1,529

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: July 19, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $800.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Pretty much everything!
Cons: No longer available new (Sigma - Listen UP!)
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 8    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-5, K-3, K-3 II    Autofocus: 10    New Or Used: 8   

Apologies if I have reviewed this lens (V2) before, but if I have then I can't find it!

Anyway, I "robbed" someone in the UK around 2010 when I got it for around £570 to go with my newish K-5 - wont' be selling anytime soon as it's still working well with the K-3 II.
Edited Oct 2017: autofocus is lightning quick on the K-3 II - unless it overshoots! MUCH faster than the 150-500 OS HSM, which is totally "turgid" by comparison.

Can't add much to all the previous reviews in this thread, but I love it.

The only thing I might add is that, if using the body AF mode then keep the lens in (screwdrive) manual focus mode as you then effectively get the same sort of "quickshift" manual override that you get with many Pentax (and other) lens - OTOH, if you put it in lens AF mode then you lose that override.

However, a warning: there are few if any spares available for this lens, so "try before you buy".
Senior Member

Registered: February, 2011
Location: Brno
Posts: 275

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: November 2, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Fine image quality, perfect build quality, F4 telephoto
Cons: A bit heavy and big, big filters
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 9    Camera Used: K20D, K5, K3, MZ-10    Autofocus: 8    New Or Used: Used   

I bought this lens while also having DA55-300, Sig 70-200/2.8 HSM II and Sig 50-500 EX APO DG. Previously I also had Sig 100-300/4 non DG version, which was not focusing properly on my bodies, so I sold it. Later I found the DG and after short test I fell in love almost..

Sig 100-300/4 EX DG behaves much better and also it has crisper images and better fine detail than that older version. It delivers sharp images even at F4 - F4.5. AF is fast and usually reliable, but better body than K5 might improve accuracy. (edit: yes, K3 nails it fast and reliable). F4 is bright enough to keep ISO low, which is sometimes hard with 50-500. Lens is also perfect for film bodies as it has proper aperture ring.

It also is usable with teleconverter (tested with AF TC 1.7x and Kenko SHQ 1.5x) but image is a bit less great then.

For comparison.. IQ is about the same as Sig 70-200/2.8, better than 50-500 and significantly better than 55-300.
It rivals DA*300/4 in image quality, but also offers zoom range and aperture ring.

(edit: It feeds 24mpix APS-C K3 sensor without any problem with plenty of resolution, which surprised me.. old but excellent!)

DA*60-250/4 is close in range and image quality, but Sigma is proper FF lens ready for FF cameras, has aperture ring for old film bodies and does not change length while zooming. It is also sturdier.

Certainly recommended. If you find it in good condition, buy it.

New Member

Registered: January, 2015
Posts: 4
Lens Review Date: June 1, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $450.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Razor sharp , quite fast ( still not f/2.8 but good for the price ) , built quality
Cons: Impossible to use af for small bird in flight , no WR
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 8    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-30 / K-7    Autofocus: 6   

This lense has amazing IQ, eventhought 300mm is too short for my use, i can't blame the lense.
It also has an amazing built in quality, i am sure it can take a hard hit without breaking the glass.
I love this lense overall ! If i rated it 8 out of 10 it is because of the af which is CRAZY loud !!! slow and unprecise
Junior Member

Registered: August, 2011
Location: Bournemouth
Posts: 29

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: February 22, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $865.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Build, focus option, sharp
Cons: Weight, hood design
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 7    Handling: 10    Value: 7    Camera Used: K20D, K-30    Autofocus: 9    New Or Used: New   

Wonder of wonders I never would have expected owning this lens knowing this had been a discontinued Sigma model but I was carried by the many positive reviews about it. So I never would have expected seeing this lens popping up on ebay in 'mint' or 'New (other)' category on ebay UK. On the first try I failed winning the bid but fate must have caught up with me so when the winning bidder failed to pay for the lens and it was relisted by the seller, I took my chance which had me risking selling 3 of my lenses to afford it. I let go of my Pentax DA 55-300mm f4-5.8 ed, DA16-45 f4 ed al and my 'prized' pentax dfa 100mm macro wr (which I suffered a few sleepless nights afterwards). The only benefit I'm looking forward was to be able to avoid hiring a DA* 300mm F4 from SRS Microsystems when shooting airplanes on airshows and to that regard, I wasn't disappointed.

When I got hold of the lens it was literally 'clean' inside out despite my fears of fungal signs that one must gamble when buying used lenses at ebay. As technology do have its 'quirks' however which you get as a bonus after paying to own a device which promises to deliver it, it isn't perfect but came just all 'too perfect' to fulfill my intentions of doing away with hiring a dedicated telephoto lens to shoot airplanes on airshows. One notable aspect of this lens is rendering propeller blur just as appropriate when shooting propeller driven airplanes and helicopter main and tail rotors. It's simply awesome. As for a macro lens, it's not that bad when you need it without a dedicated macro lens for the purpose. You could judge by my sample pictures.

This was a sample of the macro capability of this lens taken handheld on a Pentax K-30 with focal length at 280mm, 1/200 shutter speed, f/10 aperture at 100 ISO on shutter priority.

Royal Navy Merlin HM1 helicopter with lens at 300mm, 1/250 secs shutter speed, f/10 aperture and 100 ISO using spot metering at shutter priority mode on a Pentax K-30 mounted on a monopod.

Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress taken at
300mm, 1/250 secs shutter speed, f/8 aperture and 100 ISO.

DC-3 Skytrain taken at 300mm, 1/320 secs, f/11 aperture and 100 ISO.

A RAF Eurofighter Typhoon, a mach 2 class air superiority, multi-role fighter taken at 300mm, 1/1250 secs. (should be 1/2000 or higher), f/4 aperture and 100 ISO on shutter priority (handheld). The image may not be that perfect at closer look but I suppose I knew the exact settings when I have another chance at a similar opportunity as this one.

Registered: November, 2013
Location: Barcelona
Posts: 601

6 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: February 18, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $600.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp, colours, bright, quality of the lenses
Cons: weight, discontinued.
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 8    Value: 9    Camera Used: K3 and K5    Autofocus: 9    New Or Used: Used   

Bought this lens after having the Pentax 55-300mm DA F4.5-5.8 ED four years, wich is a lens I have had lots of fun with, but I wanted to go a step forward, and improve.

In my K5, this lens that I have been using for about 2 months, it's just perfect for motorsport like rally.
This past weekend I have been at Sweden for Rally Sweden, and I have had amazing pictures at low light I could have never dreamed about with the Pentax 55-300mm.

Overall is better in everything, except of losing some focal range at the beggining, and because it is bigger and it weights much more than the Pentax. But image quality is far away. And this is what I was looking for.

Got it for 600 euros after being asked for 900 to 1000 euros quite a few times, so I think I was lucky.
It is a shame Sigma does not sell this lens brand new anymore, because I believe this is a gem, and I will not sell mine!

Here goes an example of what you can do with a copy of this wonderful lens.

IMGP5296 by danigonzi_2000, on Flickr

YES, I recommend it!

UPDATE : January 24th 2019

I do still have my copy and still love it as the first day.
I have updated my opinion on it's bokeh because it compresses so much the image that can produce beautiful bokeh.

I'd also like to share more images taken with my copy.
I have been shooting at Rally Events like Rally Sweden for years and also Rally Catalunya with no problems but producing beautiful images. I did also shoot at Formula 1 Events in the support series (F2, Porsche Supercup) at Monaco and shooting Formula 1 at Spa Francorchamps last year.

Here you'll see some images taken with that beauty,

Formula 1 Images
_IMG4160-2 by Daniel Gonzalez Aguilera, en Flickr

_IMG6644-2 by Daniel Gonzalez Aguilera, en Flickr

_IMG8020-2 by Daniel Gonzalez Aguilera, en Flickr

Formula 2 Images

_IMG6901 by Daniel Gonzalez Aguilera, en Flickr

_IMG6887 by Daniel Gonzalez Aguilera, en Flickr

_IMG4235 by Daniel Gonzalez Aguilera, en Flickr

Rally Images

_IMG0936 by Daniel Gonzalez Aguilera, en Flickr

_IMG6353 by Daniel Gonzalez Aguilera, en Flickr

So, as you can see if you wonder: Is it good for sports? Well, it is indeed! Very good!
I also have been shooting wildlife for fun and the lens is great also for that purpose.

Nowadays I do use it mostly with a Pentax K3 and it pairs very well with it, better than with the K5 (and it used to pair well together).

As said before, if you find one and you are wondering what to do.... you will not regret yourself grabbing one

UPDATE March 2020:

Indeed still having it and loving it every single time. This lens is amazing for motorsport.

_IMG7721 by Daniel Gonzalez Aguilera, en Flickr

_IMG8598 by Daniel Gonzalez Aguilera, en Flickr

Works great on a K3-II, there is no reason to get one if you can.
Senior Member

Registered: June, 2011
Location: Gotland
Posts: 159
Lens Review Date: February 18, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Well built. Sharp.
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 8    Value: 9    Camera Used: K10D, K20D, K7, K5    Autofocus: 7   

This lens usually is rated as "tack sharp". Mine was sharp but "tack sharp" was not what I felt. I actually had an expert check photos (brick wall, tripod) and he said it was sharp. So I checked what could be improved. Took away the UV filter and then I felt the lens was good enough. Has felt better with higher-resolution cameras like K7 and K5.

The aberrations are small. Colour rendition good. Bokeh? I haven“t learnt to hunt for bokeh and get adequate but not great results.

Autofocus works so-so with flying birds. It hunts a lot. I think the problem mainly sits in the camera. The K5 is a bit better than earlier cameras but not great.

Build quality is very good. No problems at all in 8 years. Good tripod mount. I usually shoot freehand and use it to get a good grip. At 300 mm I usually use a support and oftentimes focus in live view.

Summary: Well built, generally fine pictures, hard to get really sharp ones at 300 mm, flying birds usually outfly me and this camera and lens.
New Member

Registered: December, 2009
Posts: 13

5 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: December 29, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $1,100.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharp throughout range, relatively cheap for the quality
Cons: Not weather sealed, noisy AF
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 9    Value: 10    Camera Used: K10, K-7, K-5    Autofocus: 9   

Owned this lens for five years, and it has been my go-to lens in all situations that require a longer focal length.

It is sharp at all focal lenghts - even at the extreme end (300mm), there is no drop off in sharpness/image quality. There is a slight drop in sharpness wide open, but from f/5 it is perfectly sharp. In fact f/5.6 is my default setting unless I need to control for DOF or some other specific reason. You have to strain really hard to find CA/PF, even in high contrast situations, and even if you do manage to find an issue, it's always correctable in post.

The screw drive is noisy, but fast and accurate. I wish it was properly weather sealed, but the number of times this has been a real problem is very low.

Others have noted its weight, but I've found it prefectly fine for hand-held shooting for reasonable amounts of time, and light enough to use on a simple ball head if you want to put it on a tripod.

I've used it mostly for shooting birds and planes, and have not regretted purchasing it for one instant. I do get a little bit nervous when using it now, as Sigma has stopped producing this model, and I can't imagine having to try and replace this amazing piece of glass!

Dusky Grouse by Dana YVR, on Flickr

Common Yellowthroat by Dana YVR, on Flickr

F-22 Raptor 03-4055 by Dana YVR, on Flickr
Veteran Member

Registered: December, 2009
Location: Georgia, VT
Posts: 1,657

4 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: July 24, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $1,150.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Fast accurate phase detection A/F, versatile zoom range, excellent IQ, built like a tank
Cons: Large, heavy, super slow Live View A/F
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 6    Bokeh: 6    Handling: 7    Value: 9    Camera Used: K-x, K-5, K-3   

I've owned this lens for a few years now, and while it's not one I pull out frequently, it never disappoints. I purchased it used on eBay and it didn't come cheap, but this is one of those lenses that's just good enough and rare enough to be worth paying the premium price for.

There really aren't many alternatives for this focal length range with a constant aperture in a Pentax mount, so it's a good thing this is a good lens. The only alternative I can think of is the Pentax DA* 60-250 F4, which I seriously considered instead of this Sigma. But when I tried the 60-250mm at a local camera shop, I was disappointed with the auto focus speed of the built-in motor. I was also concerned with failure of the SDM motor in the future, since I've had a very bad experience with a DA* 50-135mm. There are a bunch of XX-300mm lenses with variable aperture from many manufacturers, but those tend to be bargain basement items.

I guess this wasn't a very big seller when it was on the market, since there really aren't many of them available. Or maybe all the original owners are hoarding them

Build quality is top notch. It's tough to tell what the materials are, but it feels like a plastic/rubber coated metal for the main barrel with poly-carbonate for the zoom and focus rings. The tripod mount is made of metal. It stays solidly in place when tightened down, and turns smoothly when it needs to. There are no notches at the 90 degree marks, which is unfortunate. The original tripod mount has its base sitting rather close to the lens, which can make it hard to operate the zoom ring properly. I usually keep the tripod mount on the right side of the lens to prevent that from being a problem. Apparently there's another Sigma tripod mount intended for other, larger lenses which fits this one just fine and does a better job of clearing the zoom ring, but I never hunted one down.

This lens is HEAVY, but then it should be. It's a full frame lens with lots of glass. The F4 constant max aperture may not seem like much, but on a zoom lens of this range, it makes for a lot of glass. The metal barrel also adds a lot of heft. The whole thing looks and feels a little ludicrous on my K-x, but it handles well on my K-5 and K-3, especially if I'm using a battery grip. The zoom and focus rings turn extremely well with a perfect amount of damping. The focus ring is a clutch type where you click it forward for manual focus and backward for auto focus, which decouples the focusing group from the focus ring. It's technically possible to have the camera set to AF and the lens to MF, but then the camera's focus motor will struggle against the damping force of the focus ring, which slows things down considerably and can cause damage to the focus motor. For manual focus, both the camera and lens must be set to MF.

Although this lens is not technically weather-sealed, I've used it in rain without any issues with water ingress. I was careful not to let any water collect around the lens mount, since there's no sealing ring there. But the lens is put together very well with tight tolerances that help keep water out. I wouldn't abuse it in this regard, though.

Auto focus with phase detection is blazing fast! This thing bounces into focus faster than most lenses I own. It's a great match for sports photography, or trying to keep up with fast moving subjects. As long as the lens' focus ring is set to MF, focus speed and accuracy is never an issue. This is true on any of my camera bodies.

Auto focus with Live View is another story... the lens rolls through the focus range slower than a slug, it's embarrassing. And it needs to go through the WHOLE range, sometimes twice, just to find focus. It often fails to find focus and just gives up. The whole process is very painful and can take upwards of 10 seconds. This would not be a good lens for recording videos. Luckily I rarely ever use Live View, and I know better than to ever use it with this lens.

Image quality is much better than I would've expected from an older lens like this. Even on my K-3, the lens still manages to out-resolve the 24mp sensor, which is impressive. This means that sharpness continues to improve on newer bodies. For best overall image quality, I need to close it down to F5. When I shoot wide open, sharpness is visibly affected and aberrations are much more evident, especially out-of-focus green/purple fringing. But when I close it down a bit, I get results like this:

100mm@F5.6/iso400/K-3 - click for full size

and this:

300mm@f10/iso800/K-3 - click for full size

and this:

300mm@F5.6/iso800/K-3 - click for full size

Unfortunately, bokeh isn't always pleasant. Sometimes it shows up as a weird background mess. It really depends on what the background is comprised of. But in-focus images are sharp and clear enough that the background tends to fade into irrelevance in most photos, so it's really just a matter of optimizing composition.

Some might balk at the F4 max aperture, but it hasn't ever held me back. The following picture was taken handheld in an indoor football stadium with poor lighting from nosebleed seats:


There's nothing wrong with cranking up the ISO sometimes:


Overall, I'm really happy I invested in this lens. It's been a joy to use, and it allows me to take pictures I couldn't otherwise get. The reach on APS-C is perfect, auto-focus is dead-on accurate, and image quality still manages to keep up with a 24mp sensor even over a decade after the lens was introduced. Other than its bulk and poor Live View performance, there really aren't any downsides. And since this is the only constant aperture lens in this focal length range for Pentax cameras, it's hard to go wrong.
New Member

Registered: January, 2014
Location: istanbul
Posts: 1

3 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: February 21, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $800.00 | Rating: N/A 

Pros: optical quality, sharp
Cons: none
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 8    Value: 10   

this photo with sigma 1.4x teleconverter.

_IGP9217 by bora şahin, on Flickr

_IGP9170 by bora şahin, on Flickr

_IGP7861 by bora şahin, on Flickr

SG102021 by bora şahin, on Flickr
New Member

Registered: May, 2012
Posts: 14

3 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: October 7, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Very sharp, quick focus, minimal quality loss with TC
Cons: heavy
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 5    Value: 10   

Yes, it's a 10. This lens is absolutely amazing. Sharp enough from F4, at 5.6 is razor sharp. AF is very fast and silent (is not as silent as an HSM model but is not really noisy)

There's a minimal lose of quality with a TC 1.4 giving a 420mm focal length and a crealy bokeh.

On the counter parts, it's heavy and uses 82mm filters, otherwise it's optical design beats the Sigma 120-400mm hands down.

Used with a tripod or monopod it gives really sharp and contrasted images.

Some examples:
Veteran Member

Registered: February, 2012
Location: Below sealevel
Posts: 1,100

3 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: September 7, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $1,200.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharpness, speed (AF and aperture), build, doesn`t extend when zooming
Cons: No OS (sigma`s OS is better then SR imho), no focuslimitter
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 7    Handling: 9    Value: 9   

After a tamron 70-300 and a DA55-300 I finally purchased this lens new with the sigma 1.4x APO DG teleconverter a few years ago. Initially I was divided between this one and the DA*300 F4 but after reading lots of reviews and numerous samples I decided on this one because of the flexability of the zoom.

The bear lens is an excelllent piece of work: it`s relatively fast and while the sweetspot is around F5.6, F4 is still very usable on closer distances. It is well build and, like Digitalis allready pointed out, it`s not afraid of a little rain. Furthermore it doesn`t change lenght when zooming, which is a good thing for balance. Abberations are really well controlled and focussing is quite fast and snappy under most circumstances (and it`s screwdriven).

On the downside:
The bokeh can be a real PITA sometimes, busy and harsh. It has no OS (which I believe is superior to SR on longer focal lenghts) and no focus limitter which would be helpfull for BIF`s and lowlight situations. It is somewhat heavy but what do you expect from a 300mm F4. Personnaly I like the weight because it better to stabilise and eliminates a part of the sway you get with the lighter consumergrade lenses like the DA55-300.

Like stated above, I also purchased the 1.4x TC with it. Coupled with the lens gives a noticable dent in IQ, esp on longer distances. Also PF becomes visible.
(EDIT: I`m using the TC now without SR and results are much better, my theory is that the TC is not recognized so the SR will not take the multiplier into account and will compensate for the wrong focal length)

All-in-all highly recommended. If you are looking for a relatively fast wildlife zoom with allmost primelike sharpness, this is the one you want.

Some fullsize SOOC testshots:


With TC, handheld 350mm (250mm) @ F5.6

300mm, F5

Seriously cropped (60-65%)

Closeup though 2 inches of glass


Bokeh 2
Veteran Member

Registered: September, 2008
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Posts: 1,448

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: May 7, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $1,000.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp, Sharp as 300 Prime, Did I mention Sharp?
Cons: 82mm filters are pricey, and yes it's heavy
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 8    Value: 10   

I have the original DG IF version, and the only complaint is that the AF is a little messy at times when trying to track fast moving objects or it you have a lot of limbs and leaves in the way of your subject. If only it could read my mind an KNOW what I wanted it to focus on, it would be the perfect lens.

So why did I sell my Bigma to buy this lens? Because it weighs about 3 lbs less and when hiking over many miles that's a huge plus. Also, my images at 300mm cropped are better than anything I could get from the Bigma at 500mm, even with a tripod.

There's a reason this lens doesn't show up for sale very often, because no one is willing to part with it, in fact I think I'd rather lose a kidney first.

Oh, I did think of another issue as a type this review, the 6ft minimum focusing distance can be a pain in the butt because I find myself preferring this lens to my DA* 50-135. In fact, I find myself using this lens more than every lens in my bag except for my FA20-35 because the IQ is so awesome.

To wrap things up, one thing that's not ratable apparently, is the Lens Envy it evokes from others around you. It's like carrying around a sniper rifle, it's that big and heavy. But I can't help but smile every time someone walks by and I hear the comment, "Look at the lens that guy has!"
Add Review of Sigma APO 100-300mm F4 EX DG

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