I was looking for a mid-range telephoto zoom to use as a flight lens or a medium landscape lens.

Nikon* offers the 80-400 VR, but that lens doesn’t focus quickly enough for me. They also offer the 300 F/2.8 – but it’s too heavy for handholding.

This led me to research other options. Several people suggested the Sigma 100-300. Since I enjoy the Sigma 300-800 f/5.6 so much, I figured it was worth a shot.

The first thing that attracted me to this lens was its internal focusing. That means the lens doesn’t get longer as it extends to 300 mm. I also liked the fact that it had a relatively fast (f/4) constant aperture throughout the zoom range. Lenses with variable apertures tend to be less sharp and contrasty than lenses which have a fixed aperture. Continue reading

Sigma 100-300 Unboxing from Scott Bourne on Vimeo. If you want to see the full-res version watch it on my Vimeo page. As a bonus, I add a LensCoat lens cover to this lens.

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This is the second copy of the famed “Sigmonster” that I have owned and reviewed. I have had the first version since its launch in 2002. The new version (APO 300-800 F5.6 EX DG HSM) has been optimized for digital camera bodies.

The only difference that I can see between this and the original lens is a new optical coating designed to reduce ghosts and flare. I do notice a slight improvement in color balance between the two lenses, but I am willing to bet that most amateurs wouldn’t see it.

The lens is huge. Without the lens hood in place, it’s 21.4 inches long and weighs just a hair under 13 pounds. Unless you’re related to the Incredible Hulk, you won’t spend much (if any) time hand-holding this beast.
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A while back – before my latest trip to Europe – I bought a new lens: The Sigma 30mm F1.4 HSM. I twittered about it at the time and several people asked me for a review of the thing and so here, finally, is me getting around to doing that.

As with Scott’s lens reviews I’m not going to give you any measurebatory MTF charts or anything – you can find those online if you look around a little bit – I just wanted to give a few general impressions about the thing from the perspective of using it in real-world conditions.
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