Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home
 
Log in or register to remove ads.

Third-Party Pentax Lenses - Reviews and Database » Sigma Lenses » Legacy Zoom Lenses
Sigma APO 120-400mm F4.5-5.6 DG HSM Review RSS Feed

Sigma APO 120-400mm F4.5-5.6 DG HSM

Sharpness 
 9.0
Aberrations 
 9.0
Bokeh 
 8.5
Handling 
 7.5
Value 
 8.5
Autofocus 
 7.0
Reviews Views Date of last review
13 32,346 Sun October 6, 2019
spacer
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
85% of reviewers $693.40 8.42
Sigma APO 120-400mm F4.5-5.6 DG HSM
supersize


Description:
Lens Construction 15 groups 21 elements
Maximum Magnification 1:4.2
Angle of view 20.4°-6.2°
Filter Size Φ77mm
Number of blades 9pcs
Maximum Aperature F4.5
Minimum aperture (W) F22
Dimensions Φ92.5mm×203.5mm / 3.6in.×8in.
Minimum Focusing Distance 150cm / 59.1in
Weight 1,750g / 61.7oz.
Lens Hood Bayonet type
Removable Tripod Collar

Mount Type:
Price History:



Add Review of Sigma APO 120-400mm F4.5-5.6 DG HSM
Author:
Sort Reviews by: Date | Author | Rating | Recommendation | Likes (Descending) Showing Reviews 1-13 of 13
Site Supporter

Registered: March, 2016
Location: Pietermaritzburg
Posts: 418
Lens Review Date: October 6, 2019 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $540.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Solidly built, Nice bokeh
Cons: Hunting for focus, especially in live view
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 7    Value: 8    Camera Used: K20D, K-3    Autofocus: 6    New Or Used: New   

Seeing that I've just sold this lens, I guess it's time to review it! I bought it second hand, and have had it for 4 and a half years. Interestingly the metadata attached to images from this lens indicates a Sigma 70-200mm F2.8 EX DG Macro HSM II. My copy didn't have the focus limiter switch, and also didn't have OS. Presumably this is because newer Pentax cameras have the internal OS? Also interesting is that this lens would not work on my K-1. The camera flat refuses to recognise the lens, even with a 1.4x converter between them. I read somewhere that Sigma lenses would need minor converting to work on the K-1.It took me a while to figure out how to use this lens. Firstly, using a UV filter seems to soften the image slightly, so I left the front element open. Then, it needs ISO 400 or more, which means it wasn't good on the K20D, with slight noise creeping in. Lastly, you need f10 or f11 to get some workable depth, so fairly good light is a must for good photos.
And now we come to the reason I decided to bite the bullet and buy a DFA. This lens had a tiny bit of back-focus. Not at short to medium range, out to about 30 metres, but at longer ranges. And I think because it was so small, I could never fix it with the internal camera adjustments.
Lastly my take on big lenses. Life is about compromise; a compact lens will never give you a big lens IQ, and a big lens should never be light. Plastic lens construction is always a bad idea.


Zebras from about 10 metres







Impala Lilies, again quite close focus
   
Forum Member

Registered: July, 2017
Posts: 81
Lens Review Date: January 22, 2019 I can recommend this lens: No | Price: $500.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: good sharpness, good focal range
Cons: It weighs a little
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 8    Value: 9    Camera Used: Pentax K1 - K5-II    Autofocus: 8    New Or Used: New   

Used with the K5-II, it gives a focal length plus,due to the sensor cutout APS-C with good results. However, with the Pentax K-1, it seems to have new life. After adjusting the focus of the lens to the K-1 and thanks to the cut that can be done with the 36 megapixels, it gives some sharp images, with good colors for photography of Nature and fauna.
Recommendable.

Although in the header, it says that I do not recommend it, it's not like that.
YES, I RECOMMEND this objective

   
New Member

Registered: August, 2012
Posts: 9
Lens Review Date: December 8, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $500.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Overall IQ
Cons: size, sucks in dust
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 7    Value: 9   

This is a lens that will not disappoint a semi-serious amateur in respect to Image quality. The IQ is good and sharpness is very good from 120-300 and at 400 mm it is still very acceptable. The bokeh can be very pretty and focusing is pretty fast and accurate. I'm using it with a K30 and I did not have any Back-Focusing or Front-Focusing issues with this lens. Very little to no distortion and vignetting across the whole zoom length. It is definitely worth the money I payed for it.

There is one big disadvantage about this lens, and that is it's size and weight. It is obviously something that is inherent to a zoom lens of this range, but don't underestimate it!


100% crop @ 120 mm f8 is 100


@ 400 mm f8 (hand shot) iso400


100% crop


@400 f8 iso400
   
Forum Member

Registered: December, 2008
Location: ohio
Posts: 64

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: February 20, 2011 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: N/A 

 
Pros: Sharpness, focus in low light was good, well made
Cons: Bit heavy

I tried the non os first and it wasn't sharpe at 400. Sent it back. Got a Sigma APO 120-400mm F4.5-5.6 DG OS HSM, big differnece. Found to be sharper at 400 now.

Was able to hand hold at 400mm at 1/90. Very happy with it. Used on a K5 at the zoo, great match.
   
Veteran Member

Registered: October, 2007
Location: Port Townsend, Washington State, USA
Posts: 3,659
Lens Review Date: October 24, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharpness,FL range, construction
Cons: Weight,focus and aperture rings are opposite Pentax

I borrowed this lens for 90 minutes today while we took pictures from a tall bridge. My previous experience was with a Pentax SMC 400mm lens and my current DA 300mm lens.

The first thing that struck me was the weight, at 61 ounces, its almost twice as heavy as my DA 300 at 34 ounces. DA-300 is generally a faster lens at F4, but i occasionally use it with a 1.5X TC that changes the f4 to a f5.6, where this lens is a f4.5 to f5.6.

The second thing that struck me was how flexible this lens is. The 120-400 FL range gave me flexiblity at this bridge construction site that made me very envious. I wanted "men at work" pictures and this lens excelled in allowing me to pick out scenes at the worksite that were promising. I started out shooting at 120mm and 1/500 sec shutter speed. As i started using longer FL, i switched the shutter speed to 1/1600 sec. At the 120 end, i used f5.6 and at the 400mm end, i used f5.6 to f8. Not having any monopod or tripod, but a railing for occasional support, i was pleasantly surprised by the consistent 1:1 sharpness at the lower FL range. At the upper FL, there were more instances of soft images at 1:1 crops vice the lower FL range, but i did find examples of seemingly sharp crops at f5.6, f6.3 and f8, but f8 seemed to have the edge.

I'm used to SDM on the DA-300, and its never given me a problem. I don't have any objective data, but the HSM on this lens seemed to be faster, but i can't prove it.

A very impressive lens.
   
Veteran Member

Registered: November, 2009
Location: Strand
Posts: 1,366
Lens Review Date: September 19, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $800.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: well build, excellent outdoor portrait lens.
Cons: soft at wide open, soft at 400mm

Got more than 1000 shoots of this lens under my first review. The first 200 were at wide open and at 400mm to see how the lens performs. Those pics were less details at 400mm wide open. However when I stepped down to f8 and increased iso, the lens was much better. I now mainly use 250-400 range for 1/2 or 3/4 portraits. the lens produces excellent bokeh at this range. 120-250 range is for general use when details are needed.

I need the best image quality and have to keep at f8 around 120-320mm. Daylight, shadow and cloudy is fine. It's a zoom, not a prime, and for it's price, the lens is totally ok - just keep around the sweet spot of the lens. You need a good tripod when shooting wildelife in dim light conditions.

Edit: I have also the OS version since summer 2010.
OS works great for this lens. Personal I think OS of this lens is better than in-body SR. range 120-320mm @f8 gives very good IQ. Longer end, especially @400 and wide open, that's the weak spot. However i m not expected using much of 400mm in great distance. Reviews of this lens score low at other sites, but I m looking for 'zoom/bokeh' for portraits and this lens is good.

Edit: Now several thousands images with both lenses, but I have to admit that OS version does give me more freedom.
   
Senior Member

Registered: January, 2010
Location: Gothenburg, aka Göteborg
Posts: 224
Lens Review Date: August 10, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $1,000.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Nice anti-shake, fairly sharp!
Cons: The lens sucks in dust, if used in a dusty environment!
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 8    Value: 8   

I had planned to buy its bigger sister (150-500), but a Sigma Technician I talked to said this is sharper, thus better in practical use!

Had some trouble with it originally, as it had dust (or something like that) inside when I bought it, but the guy mentioned above fixed that easily!

First photo session was not a success, as you have to keep off too long exposures, and also avoid too high ISOs, where noise will be a problem! Didn't get it right first time, but last week in Norway it proved its worth! Excellent when used with a monopod, as someone else mentioned, or even free-hand, as the built-in anti-shake system is really good!

That the lens expands as you zoom means it gulps air when you zoom, readily transferring dust from the outside to its inside, and on the lenses.

So don't take it to dusty places, please! The technician had seen some horrid examples, not least from guys covering motor-cross events!

Addendum:

Eventually I decided that I wanted that 150-500 I originally planned to buy!

The 150-500 proved to give better end results, if heavier, longer and even less portable!
   
Senior Member

Registered: July, 2008
Location: Arizona
Posts: 283
Lens Review Date: January 28, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $600.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Good build and optical quality
Cons: Heavy

I bought this used from Henry's of Canada. It is in almost new condition and performs pretty well. Autofocus is quick and accurate and scary quiet! It's a quite big and heavy lens and optically pretty good, if perhaps not quite as sharp as the best that Sigma offers. Just a tad soft at the long end, but I would rate it as good value for the price point.

Mike
   
Junior Member

Registered: March, 2009
Location: Atlanta
Posts: 28
Lens Review Date: September 7, 2009 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $800.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Great range, fast focus, built like a tank
Cons: Almost insignificant light fall off at 400 in low light

Purchased about 6 weeks ago and I COULD NOT BE HAPPIER after over 1000 shots! I was hesitant to purchase at first, due to some reviews citing bad front/back focus issues, but I have not witnessed any of that. Maybe it varies from lens to lens? I shoot alot at my son's high school cross country races, and even given the close distance and fast speed of the runners approaching, the HSM autofocus stays locked on subject with no problem (I use only center-spot focus point so the camera doesn't have to "think").
I shoot with a K100d Super, so the lens is quite a bit heavier than the body, but the finger grips on the podmount are very comfortable, even hauling it around for hours. Because I'm always re-positioning, I shoot from a monopod, and the balancepoint on the pod foot is perfect.
If you've never used a heavy lens, it takes a while to get used to if all you've ever used is your kit lens. Trust me, stick with it, and you'll appreciate what a solid lens this is, and how far away you can acquire goot shots.
Now the bad part... at max f5.6 at 400mm, if you are not in daylight situations, the fall off is noticable. Some of my racing shots at dusk have been very dim at 400mm. But if you just zoom back to 300mm or so, I have found that it gains back the lost light immediately. You'll just have to crop a bit in post production to get your tight shot.
Quick question... if Sigma can do this, why can't Pentax?
This is a good lens. And for the money, it is a great lens!
   
Inactive Account

Registered: April, 2009
Location: New York
Posts: 2
Lens Review Date: August 29, 2009 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $739.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharpness and bokeh
Cons: 400mm not as good as 300

With second chance I got a good copy. Perfect from 120-293mm. Best aperetures F6.3 and F7.1 So, right price for this lens is around $600, not more.
   
New Member

Registered: August, 2008
Location: bremerton, wash.
Posts: 6
Lens Review Date: June 28, 2009 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: SHARP, THROUGH RANGE. I LIKE THE REVERSE RING FEATHRE, ZOOM AND FOCUS RINGS ARE REVERSED.
Cons: NONE, EXCEPT IF YOU NEVER USE A MONO POD OR TRIPOD.

I BOUGHT 2 OF THESE LENSES WHEN THEY FIRST CAME OUT. I DO OUT DOOR PHOTO'S.THIS YEAR MY COMPANY HAS DOUBLED SALES FROM LAST YEAR. I CANNOT FIGURE OUT THIS RECESSION. ANWAY, NEITHER LENS HAS PROBLEMS. THEY ARE HEAVY. I AM LOOKING FORWARD TO GETTING A 2X TO REACH OUT. I LOVE DOING WILDLIFE IN THE YAKIMA, WA. CANYON. IT IS RUGGED THERE AND MANY SPECIES COME DOWN TO THE RIVER FOR WATER OR WARMTH IN THE WINTER WHEN IT GETS IN THE 20'S. IT IS SUPER QUITE. I USE IT ON A WATER RESISTANT K10. I DO THINK MY PENTAX 50MM AND 100MM HAVE BETTER COLORS THOUGH. I PUT A KATS EYE ON MY K10. I USE IT TO CHECK FOCUS OF ANY LENS I USE AS THINGS LIKE STRANDS OF GRASS ORR BRANCHES PULL MY FOCUS OFF. BUT WHAT CAN YOU EXPECT WHEN LIGHT TRAVELS THROUGH A BUNCH OF GLASS. LIGHT ROOM FIXES THE COLORS FOR ME. I WILL SAY THAT IT IS VERY SHARP FOR A ZOOM. I LOVE THE LENS AND TAKE IT ON MY WALKS. IF YOU TRAVEL THE CANYON DO NOT POLUTE WITH COLORFUL CLOTHING. ALWAYS WEAR CAMO GEAR SO YOU DON'T SPOOK THE ANIMALS...... THEY NEED WATER FROM SOME PLACE.
   
Forum Member

Registered: December, 2008
Location: Newbury, England
Posts: 50
Lens Review Date: February 14, 2009 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $700.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Very Quiet AF, sharp througout range, looks good!
Cons: Heavy to hold for long periods, zoom ring opposite way to pentax, no AF on non-SDM cameras

I bought this lens from SRS in the UK the day before the Sigma price rises hit. It would have been £599 (approx $865) instead of the £485 I paid for it had I bought it the next day.

I've only had it a few days and may update this review later, but so far I am seriously impressed with this lens.

The zoom rings works in the opposite direction to my Tamron and Pentax lenses which I find a bit disconcerting. And it's a bit disappointing that I can't AF with it on my Pentax K100D as there is no support for SDM/HSM lenses on that model, but on my Samsung GX-10 it's great. The AF is so quiet that I didn't think it was working to begin with until I realised that Focus was spot on. I use selective spot focus as a matter of course and the focussing is noticeably accurate against the red spot.

Personally I don't think it focusses any faster than my Tamron 18-250mm but I've not undertaken any scientific study here. And I'm sufficiently happy with the speed of the non-SDM Tamron.

I bought it for 2 main reasons - wildlife and aviation photography. Within a couple of hours of unpacking it I took it to the local airfield and got some cracking sharp photos with it at 400mm hand-held. Since then I've been using it in the Garden to capture photos of birds some hand-held, some on tripod and some with a rifle grip. My tripod is a relatively cheap model and with the centre column extended I don't think it provides enough stability with this lens. As it is I got just as good photos handheld, but better still with the rifle grip. I've yet to try with a monopod.

Unless I experience a malfunction with it I think I'm going to love this lens.

I'm keeping a set of photos used with this lens on my Flickr pages here:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/neilmacg/sets/72157613666990694/

Neil

Edited - it's the zoom ring that works opposite to Tamron/Pentax that irritates me - not the manual focus ring.
   
Veteran Member

Registered: March, 2007
Location: chicago burbs
Posts: 3,381
Lens Review Date: January 21, 2009 I can recommend this lens: No | Price: $755.00 | Rating: 3 

 
Pros: Convenience, whisper quiet and very fast focus, excellent focus lock on to subject, M/F focus and focus lock switch, excellent build quality
Cons: 90% soft or out-of-focus image rate

I had a chance to test this lens for 3 days and with over 500 shots, it's being returned. I kept getting inconsistent results from the lens and the number of 'keepers' were few, about 10%. The majority were soft or out of focus. When framed, the image in the katzeye i have installed appeared fully focused, but the results were either too soft or out of focus (very frustrating). I really wanted to like this lens, but this particular unit failed too many times. No matter what I did, SR on, SR off, 2 sec delay, manual focus, heavy tripod, in camera focus adjust, etc, there was no consistency. It could be a bad lens, but I just don't want to risk another. I got consistently better images with my f*300 and kenko 1.5 tc. Out of 500+ images, only about a dozen exceeded the f*300/tc combo IQ. For now, the 400-500mm range can be covered by the DA*300mm and a good quality teleconverter. This combination beats the 3rd party lenses in this category IMO.

Pro's: Convenience, whisper quiet and very fast focus, excellent focus lock on to subject, M/F focus and focus lock switch, excellent build quality.

Cons: 90% soft or out-of-focus image rate

NOTE: This may have been a defective lens. Reviews have been fairly decent on other bodies.
Add Review of Sigma APO 120-400mm F4.5-5.6 DG HSM



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 03:39 AM. | See also: NikonForums.com, CanonForums.com part of our network of photo forums!
  • Red (Default)
  • Green
  • Gray
  • Dark
  • Dark Yellow
  • Dark Blue
  • Old Red
  • Old Green
  • Old Gray
  • Dial-Up Style
Hello! It's great to see you back on the forum! Have you considered joining the community?
register
Creating a FREE ACCOUNT takes under a minute, removes ads, and lets you post! [Dismiss]
Top