New model 80-400 vs Sigma 120-300 f2.8

[email protected]

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Not much luck on the last comparison. Anyone here have an opinion or experience?

I understand there is a HUGE weight difference so no need to discuss that.

Also, I find myself mostly shooting at f8 when conditions permit and my primary focus is wildlife action. These two lenses are comparably priced used as well.

Thanks!
 

TwistedThrottle

Senior Member
Just my opinion but from your lens list that you have, I think the 80-400 would be a significant overlap of what you already have. It appears you dont have fast telephotos, so that's the route I would take- just be sure to get the OS version. Nikon just announced the 120-300 f2.8 they'll be releasing with the D6 in time for the Olympics. Its going to be a popular focal length,(if the weight doesn't bother you). Its probably not the best length for BIF, but it would work with a teleconverter much better than the 80-400. If you like the range of the 80-400 and shoot near f8 most of the time, have you considered the sigma 100-400?
 

[email protected]

Senior Member
Just my opinion but from your lens list that you have, I think the 80-400 would be a significant overlap of what you already have. It appears you dont have fast telephotos, so that's the route I would take- just be sure to get the OS version. Nikon just announced the 120-300 f2.8 they'll be releasing with the D6 in time for the Olympics. Its going to be a popular focal length,(if the weight doesn't bother you). Its probably not the best length for BIF, but it would work with a teleconverter much better than the 80-400. If you like the range of the 80-400 and shoot near f8 most of the time, have you considered the sigma 100-400?

I was thinking that the 80-400 IQ would be better than my Sigma 150-600. I also could use the 80-150 at times. I want the lens mostly for use in a blind where I can get very close to the subjects. The 120-300 f2.8 seems to be the sharpest zoom that fits my needs and as you say I could use a converter and have a 600mm f5.6. A 200-400 is too long on the short end. My budget is under 2k used. The 300mm pf would be great but no short end, 200-500 same deal...

Thanks for the comment!
 

Andy W

Senior Member
I have the Sigma 120-300 2.8 and find it a little short for wildlife. I have found that IQ suffers with the 2X teleconverter and have been looking for a used 1.4 TC to try.
 

[email protected]

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DSC_1599.jpg

This is taken at about 13 feet. This is the kind of distance I want the lens for...
 

TwistedThrottle

Senior Member
Do you have the dock for your 150-600? I recently got the sigma 150-600 with the dock. It showed up a half hour before sunset so the first day I had it, I dialed it in using the dock and a focus card. The next day, I went out and took pictures of eagles and was blown away with the sharpness of the lens. Its worth it to spend some time with the dock.
DSC_3885 (2).jpg
 
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[email protected]

Senior Member
Nice image. So what isn't working for you with this current lens? :confused: Obviously it has reach.

The zoom ring is awful. It chatters when zooming in and is anything but smooth. The close focus distance is another issue. Some of my hides could be within 6-7 feet without disturbing the wildlife but the Sigma 150-600 can only focus from about 10 feet. I'm not unhappy with the IQ but I would like to take my photos up a notch so I'm looking for some better glass at a reasonable price point.
 
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[email protected]

Senior Member
Do you have the dock for your 150-600? I recently got the sigma 150-600 with the dock. It showed up a half hour before sunset so the first day I had it, I dialed it in using the dock and a focus card. The next day, I went out and took pictures of eagles and was blown away with the sharpness of the lens. Its worth it to spend some time with the dock.

I have the dock and it greatly improved the AF speed. See my previous post for my issues with the lens...
 

TwistedThrottle

Senior Member
I was thinking that the 80-400 IQ would be better than my Sigma 150-600. I also could use the 80-150 at times. I want the lens mostly for use in a blind where I can get very close to the subjects. The 120-300 f2.8 seems to be the sharpest zoom that fits my needs and as you say I could use a converter and have a 600mm f5.6. A 200-400 is too long on the short end. My budget is under 2k used. The 300mm pf would be great but no short end, 200-500 same deal...

Thanks for the comment!

I have the dock and it greatly improved the AF speed. See my previous post for my issues with the lens...

Gotcha- and I agree completely- the zoom ring is frustratingly bad. Have you thought about the Sigma 60-600? I know nothing about it other than its supposedly better than the 50-500 it replaced or what the minimum focus distance is. Could be the same gummy zoom ring though. If it is any good, it could replace a couple of lenses though.
I dont have the Tamron 70-200G2 but I do have the G1 and its a pretty special lens. I can only imagine it better in every way to the G1. Also consider the AF-P 70-300, the new one for full frame. That lens pretty much lives on my D7500. Its a very sharp, quick to focus lens that may work great for the distance you're after and its at least half the price as the 80-400. The 80-400 might very well be the best option for you and your situationbut I have read that the short end of that lens was the compromise. 400 looks great, 80 not so much.
 

hark

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The zoom ring is awful. It chatters when zooming in and is anything but smooth. The close focus distance is another issue. Some of my hides could be within 6-7 feet without disturbing the wildlife but the Sigma 150-600 can only focus from about 10 feet. I'm not unhappy with the IQ but I would like to take my photos up a notch so I'm looking for some better glass at a reasonable price point.

Okay - now I understand! A 70-200mm f/2.8 with a teleconverter should give you some options but won't be overly long. The Nikon 80-400mm sounds like it would work best for your situation although I have no idea how good of a lens it is. Good luck with whatever you choose, Chris. :)
 

BackdoorArts

Senior Member
My brother had the 120-300mm. A great sports lens but an absolute beast. For that weight and money you should just get the Sport version of the lens you have. I have it and it's really sharp, but also a beast to handhold. A friend just got the 80-400mm and she is in love with it. Images I've seen are very sharp and she says it's an absolute joy to carry around. That said, the friend she shoots with has a 150-600mm Tamron and she sees the shortcomings of missing 200mm. But if you don't need that much reach then you should be happy with it.
 

TwistedThrottle

Senior Member
My brother had the 120-300mm. A great sports lens but an absolute beast. For that weight and money you should just get the Sport version of the lens you have. I have it and it's really sharp, but also a beast to handhold. A friend just got the 80-400mm and she is in love with it. Images I've seen are very sharp and she says it's an absolute joy to carry around. That said, the friend she shoots with has a 150-600mm Tamron and she sees the shortcomings of missing 200mm. But if you don't need that much reach then you should be happy with it.
Is the zoom ring as clunky on the S as the C version?
 

[email protected]

Senior Member
My brother had the 120-300mm. A great sports lens but an absolute beast. For that weight and money you should just get the Sport version of the lens you have. I have it and it's really sharp, but also a beast to handhold. A friend just got the 80-400mm and she is in love with it. Images I've seen are very sharp and she says it's an absolute joy to carry around. That said, the friend she shoots with has a 150-600mm Tamron and she sees the shortcomings of missing 200mm. But if you don't need that much reach then you should be happy with it.

I like the idea of the internal zoom on the 120-300. Dust, salt and weather are a concern for me. I think the 80-400 is nearly perfect for me but, to get more range I'd need to bring another lens. With the 120-300, I could keep a teleconverter in my pocket and have a f5.6 600mm lens when needed. Both of these lenses are available at KEH in excellent condition with very similar prices which is making the decision ever harder. Thanks!
 

BackdoorArts

Senior Member
Is the zoom ring as clunky on the S as the C version?


No real idea what you mean by "clunky" even after reading your posts. Let's just say that I've never been "frustrated" by it, but for what I shoot I don't find myself going through wide sweeps while shooting as I might if I did a lot of sports. I love the ability to lock it in at certain focal distances so I don't have to worry about it slipping. But it's a beast to handhold unless you're a gym rat. It's been relegated to tripod duty when I need more reach than the 500mm gives me, and it works fairly well with a 1.4x TC on my D500, so I've got an effective 1200mm when needed.
 

TwistedThrottle

Senior Member
Sorry, not really clunky, just inconsistent. Its tough to get it going, once going its smooth but is quick to stop and then tough to get going again. I've only had it a couple weeks so its probably just stiff and needs to be worked in. Most of the time, I keep it squashed for travel and then just zoom it all the way out before lifting it to my eye. But its tricky to dial in the perfect zoom quickly, especially hand held while looking through the viewfinder.
 

BackdoorArts

Senior Member
Sorry, not really clunky, just inconsistent. Its tough to get it going, once going its smooth but is quick to stop and then tough to get going again. I've only had it a couple weeks so its probably just stiff and needs to be worked in. Most of the time, I keep it squashed for travel and then just zoom it all the way out before lifting it to my eye. But its tricky to dial in the perfect zoom quickly, especially hand held while looking through the viewfinder.

Ah. So the thing is that if it wasn't tight then you'd have your zoom changing on its own all the time any time you tilted up or down. The Sport is definitely stiff, but it's expected. My 150-500mm Sigma slipped all the time after a year and was a PITA. Thankfully the Sport also has a lock ring so you it's no worries provided you're not between focal lengths.
 

hark

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After all the problems I've had trying to get Nikon to repair my 300mm f/4 PF, I decided to look at other telephoto options. So @3 weeks ago I did a 3-day rental of the Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6 VR through Allen's Camera.. Unfortunately it was just too heavy for me to hand hold (tennis elbow and trigger finger/thumb) which made me return it within 90 minutes. Absolutely nothing was in focus (which was due to me not being able to hold its weight). :sorrow:

So I decided to look at additional options and eventually saw specs for the Nikon 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G VR. Allen's had two preowned copies in stock as well as the first version which is the 'D' model. The 'D' model was too slow to AF. It also wasn't quite as sharp as I wanted. So I moved on to the 'G' version.

The newer version had some heft to it but was manageable (just a little heavier than my 300mm f/4D lens). The VR wasn't as quick to respond as I'd hoped, and since I'm having this current VR issue with my 300mm PF, I wouldn't take a chance on it. The second copy of this lens was set aside for another customer who called and asked that it be put on hold. They allowed me to test it out just to see if I liked the lens overall. That one worked flawlessly. But since it was already spoken for (came with a box), I searched online for other preowned copies.

B&H had a preowned one in stock, but the price was way up there. :( In the past when I tried two different lenses from keh, both were returned due to issues (and both were listed to be in the 90%+ rating). Keh had two of the 80-400mmG lenses in stock. One was rated a bargain (70-79% of original), the other excellent (80-89%) that included a Kirk tripod collar/foot. I opted for that one.

It arrived this afternoon between storms. While the conditions weren't perfect, I really did want to test it out.

This is one of the memorial benches - minimal editing. The lens was quick to respond, and the VR works flawlessly (at least so far). :cool:

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Here is another memorial bench - also minimal editing. Since the background leaves are so much out of focus, the image reminds me of a Monet painting. So I opted for a light-colored vignette instead of a dark one.

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And this image was a true test - lens zoomed out all the way at f/5.6. Usually that is a weak spot for zooms as they tend to get sharper stopped down. This is a sooc jpeg only resized for the forum. Since resizing tends to make images more crisp, I lowered Clarity by -15 to compensate. The lens is definitely impressive although there will be additional testing. Its AF responds faster than my 300mm PF so that is a plus! :encouragement:

_5DX6084 low res.jpg
 
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