Sigma 100-300 f4 review

 

Sigma 100-300mm f4 EX DG HSM review

sigma 100-300 f4

Sigma 100-300mm f4 HSM review
Official name

Sigma 100-300mm f/4 EX DG APO HSM

Introduction – Sigma 100-300 f4 review

The Sigma 100-300 f4 is a popular discontinued telephoto lens from Sigma. What is this lens good for? Most people I know use this lens for bird or wildlife photography. Other possible application is sports, portrait, or pet photography.

Build quality, handling – Sigma 100-300 f4 review

The Sigma 100-300 f4 lens is not a small one, the f/4 aperture results in a good piece of 82mm front glass element. The lens is perfectly hand holdable with it’s approximately 1.3 -1.4 kg weight. It is an other question do you want to hold it or not. This weight is similar as the Nikon 300 f/4 prime or the older Sigma 170-500, little heavier than the Canon 400mm f/5.6 and app 30% lighter than the Tamron 150-600 or the Sigma 50-500mm lenses. The lens feels really solidly build. The rings can be operated very nicely. The zoom ring is even little to easy to turn, which can result in images at shorter or longer focal lengths as expected. On the other hand if you want to zoom it has a nice premium feel with the easy zoom action.

Optical qualities – Sigma 100-300 f4 review

The Sigma 100-300 is an interesting lens. At close distances:1.8-5m the quality is quite good, but for longer distances(30-100m) at f/4 is not sharp enough according to my judgement. At f/5.6 it is better. The lens can produce nice, but not stellar detail, contrast and colours. For my taste it is on the edge (I would like to be a little better, as I wouldn’t use it without the teleconverter most of the time) if it would be a little better would be very nice: little better contrast, better color, little better sharpness at f/4. At f/5.6 300mm the sharpness is quite good. The sharpness is similar at all focal length. It can be a good news or bad news as well: some lenses like the Nikon 70-300 is very sharp in shorter focal lengths and soft at 300mm, the Sigma is not bad at 300mm but not much sharper at shorter focal lengths. Seems the Sigma 100-300 f/4 better than Sigma 50-500 or similar lenses but not so good as good primes like the Canon 400 f5.6, 300 f4, or 200mm f2.8. The 200mm f2.8+1.4 combo is sharper at 280mm than the Sigma at any aperture. The interesting question comes out like we prefer prime or zoom lenses? Zoom is perhaps better at subject tracking or framing, but primes usually has better optical quality. Little post processing can help to bring the quality of the lens to a better level. Below samples has no additional sharpening.
Sigma 100-300 f4 1
Sigma 100-300 f4 ISO 400 1/4000s 100mm f/4
Sigma 100-300 f4 2
Sigma 100-300 f4 3
Sigma 100-300 f4 f/8 300mm
Sigma 100-300 f4 4
Sigma 100-300 f4 f/8 300mm ISO 800 1/1600s a little cropped
Sigma 100-300 f4 5
Sigma 100-300 f4 f/5.6 300mm ISO 800 1/640s a little cropped Canon 30D
Sigma 100-300 f4 7
276mm f/4

Sigma 100-300 f4 6
Sigma 100-300 f4 f/5.6 300mm ISO 800 s Canon 30D

Bokeh

The bokeh is nice but some cases can be a little nervous.

Teleconverters

The lens is compatible with teleconverters. I put a Kenko 1.4 dgx on it.
sigma 100-300 f4+kenko 1.4 dgx
Sigma 100-300 f4+Kenko 1.4dgx 420mm f/5.6 1/1000s ISO 1000

Autofocus

The autofocus is a HSM drive, but has a little noisy at least the copy I checked. What is more problematic it is misses several times. It cathes the moving subject perfectly, but misses on still subject. Seems it is not a strongest part of the lens, or some copies.

Range

It is an interesting thing what is this lens for ? Short for wildlife(perhaps ok with the 1.4x), long for portraits, perhaps not enough sharp for sports. The lens can be used with the 1.4x teleconverter without huge drop in sharpness. Obviously the lens won’t be sharper with the teleconverter. Up to 200mm the popular 70-200mm lenses are better. For portraits the lens is a little heavy. I only would like this heavy lens if it would be long like the Tamron 150-600.

Specifications – Sigma 100-300 f4 review

Available mounts: Canon, Nikon, Sigma
Focal length range: 100-300mm
Optical formula: 16 lens elements in 14 groups included 4 SLD (super low dispersion) elements
Brightness: f/4
Aperture range: f/4-22
Minimum focusing distance:1.8 m (70.87 in.)
Weight: 1440g (50.79 oz.)
Dimensions: App. 227 x 92 mm (8.93 x 3.62 “)
Aperture diaphragm blades: 9
Magnification: 1:5
Filter thread: 82mm (non-rotating)
Internal focusing: yes
Compatible teleconverters: yes
Stabilizer: No
Distance scale: yes
Focus Limiter:No
Ring type ultrasonic focusing motor: yes
Full time manual focus override:yes

Sharpness – Sigma 100-300 f4 review

The sharpness is not bad at 300mm f/5.6, but most Canon primes are better, so the Canon 100-400 and the new Tamron 150-600.

Price/performance – Sigma 100-300 f4 review

It depends on at which price you get the lens, in which condition. Can be a very good bargain if you can get this lens cheap, around 4-600 Eur.

Alternatives

There are many alternatives: Canon primes 200 f/2.8 300 f/4 or 400mm f/5.6 – optically all better but not so versatiles. Sigma xx-500mm zooms: The 100-300 is optically better and lighter. Canon 100-400 and Tamron 150-600, both lens is significantly better.

Pros

-affordable used price
-f/4 constant aperture, allows to make nice bokeh
-versatility
-very good optical quality
-silent autofocus

Cons

-focus precision
-little heavy

Bottom line/verdict – Sigma 100-300 f4

The Sigma 100-300 f4 is a good budget lens from Sigma, if you are on a tight budget you can get it cheaply. It is better than most consumer grade lenses but not up to Canon pro lenses. It is not bad even with the 1.4x converter. Unfortunately the autofocus is not the strongest part of the lens.

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