Sigma AF 120-300mm f/2.8 EX HSM APO

Sigma AF 120-300mm f/2.8 EX HSM APO is a telephoto zoom lens with a large aperture (f/2.8), two SLD (the special low dispersion) glass elements in front group and another element of SLD is being used for rear group for excellent correction of chromatic aberration, and a multi layer lens coating and lens design reduce flare and ghost. The lens is also equipped with Hyper sonic motor (HSM) for a silent, responsive and high speed focussing. It mesures Diameter 112.8mm X Length 271mm (4.4 in. X 10.7 in.) and weights 2600g (91.7 oz)


>> REVIEWS (last update: 02.03.06)

Photozone reviewed the Sigma AF 120-300mm f/2.8 EX HSM APO and wrote:

“The Sigma AF 120-300mm f/2.8 EX HSM left some mixed feelings during the test. On paper the performance figures are quite convincing with a generally very good resolution, low distortions, low distortions and low CAs. The build quality is also impressive. However, at least the tested sample suffered from quite hefty field curvature resulting in blurred borders when shooting flat objects. Unless you need the extra speed it may be a better idea to look a bit down the food chain, namely the Sigma AF 100-300mm f/4EX.”

Joe and Mary Ann McDonald’s reviewed the Sigma AF 120-300mm f/2.8 EX HSM APO and wrote:

“At around $1,900 or so, the Sigma lens is a heck of a lot less expensive than the Canon 300mm f2.8 and, in my opinion, the Sigma has completely eliminated my need for buying another one (Mary uses one, or did, anyway). At any rate, I loved the lens, so much so that after we returned from Yellowstone I called up Allen’s Camera and ordered a second one for Mary. This fall, in Africa on both our Kenya photo safaris and on our gorilla treks, we both used that lens and Mary, like me, just loved it.

Drawbacks – the lens hood is rather short – I’d prefer to have a longer hood, and the leather lens cap best fits when the hood is reversed for packing, not for use. In fact, I’d be afraid I’d lose the cap if I carried it attached when the lens hood was attached for shooting. The lens is not Image Stabilized, so in high wind areas like the Falklands where IS is very handy this could be a problem but for normal shooting, and for Mary and me that’s always off a tripod or a beanbag, not having IS is NOT a problem.”

EPhotozine reviewed the Sigma AF 120-300mm f/2.8 EX HSM APO and wrote:

“Despite its bulk, which you learn to live with once you discover its capabilities, I found the lens a joy to use. With a professional weight camera fitted it’s very well balanced about the rigid mounting point and the mounting point is easily removed for use on a beanbag where it becomes a little obtrusive. The internal focusing and zoom means that the balance holds at all settings. The rig sits well on a monopod, which is where I would most expect to find one. The most annoying point when using the lens, is the front cap’s inability to stay put when the hood is in the use position. Point the camera downwards and you will be bending to pick up the cap! That said, I love the rigidity of the hood, which gave confidence when putting the rig down to rest your arms.”

jetzone 2000 compared the Sigma AF 120-300mm f/2.8 EX HSM APO with Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 IS and wrote:

“the Sigma wins easily in both sharpness and focus speed. The Canon starts having a aperture of 5.6 at approximately 280mm compared to the 2.8 for the whole range on the Sigma. The push-pull mechanism of the Canon is less precise than the turning ring of the Sigma. It is also a huge (!) dust pump. Having used the 100-400 for two month, I had to clean the sensor several times due to dust problems. Actually when zooming with the Canon (on a 10D body with grip) I could really FEEL (!) the airflow going in or out the body at the external power adaptor opening (located near your right hand pinky when holding the camera). The Sigma has both internal focusing and zooming. This means the lens will not change in length and no air is displaced outside the lens tube. As the Canon will clearly have the advantage by having a range up to 400mm, although it is getting very soft compared near the end of its range. On the other hand the Sigma is quite a bit more expensive.”

Sigma AF 120-300mm f/2.8 EX HSM APO User Reviews @ FredMiranda

“Another odd observation regarding this lens is the focal length when set to 300 mm. I did observe a significant difference to my old Nikkor, which brought me closer to the subject. I took some images of a long ruler from 8 m distance and then calculated the focal length. The Nikkor was 305 mm and the Sigma 270 mm. Sigma Corporation, Tokyo head office, informed me that focal length should be measured focused at infinity. In that case focal length is less than 270 mm since it decreases when focusing to infinity (same result for both 2 Sigma lenses tested). This is not a major problem though. “

Sigma AF 120-300mm f/2.8 EX HSM APO User Reviews @ PhotographyReview

“I have used this lens for over 2000 shots in the past 5 months, for everything from waterfowl in flight to sports and scenery, and have nothing but praise for it. The pictures it produces rival those of the Nikon primes in the same range (and costing 3X the price). I have compared hundreds of photos with friends shooting Nikon 300 & 500mm primes on the same shoot and under the same conditions and can tell very little if any difference in the quality. The sharpness, contrast and color reproduction from the Sigma lens are outstanding at all apertures and focal lengths (although the sweet spot starts a few stops above wide open, as with most lenses). The build quality is exceptional, the auto-focus is fast and accurate with only minor hunting in low light (the f/2.8 min aperture helps here)and almost none when used on a fast focusing camera such as the Nikon D2H.”

Sigma AF 120-300mm f/2.8 EX HSM APO User Reviews @ PhotoSig

“There’s pros and cons regarding this lens, but the pros outweigh the cons by far. It’s zoom range is one of the handiest things I’ve ever seen in regards to shooting action -outdoor sports. Read up on it extensively before I purchased my a year or so back and heard all kinds of negatives regarding its AF capabilities. From what I gather through various internet photography forums, it seems most of the AF negatives come from Nikon users. I’ve used mine extensively with a Canon EOS 1D with and without Canon 2X and 1.4X teleconverters and have gotten excellent results. I’m not saying its AF capabilities are up to snuff with Canon’s L line of primes and zooms, but its super-impressive zoom capabilities make up for any inadequacies in my opinion. Optically, it’s as good as any lens I’ve ever used and I give it my highest recommendation. Lots and lots of bang for the buck!”

>> SAMPLE PHOTOS (last update: 02.03.06)

- Sigma AF 120-300mm f/2.8 EX HSM APO Sample Photos @ Pbase

See also: Sigma Lenses

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