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3 40650 10/16/2007
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Keywords: Sigma Canon Nikon Minolta Pentax Tele Zoom 35mm APO


Nikola_Konsulov

Registered: October 2007
Posts: 10
Sigma 135-400mm f/4.5-5.6 Aspherical APO review by Nikola_Konsulov
Review Date: 10/16/2007 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $499.00| Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Great zoom range, good aperture range (f4.5-5.6), can produce sharp images, can have realitively fast auto focus.
Cons: Zoom creep, tends to hunt in low light.

I wanted a zoom lens with a good range. I came across this Sigma and I thought "why not." I checked out any official reviews I could find on the web (not many). It seemed that the lens was well regarded. I think it is.


I think the lens can produce some really good sharp pictures. Especially on the 135mm end. I will agree that on the 400mm end pictures can seem a bit soft wide open or not. But, I would say in part that it is simply due to the fact that it is a 400mm zoom after all. I have gotten some good sharp pictures out of this lens. Though, you really need to keep it steady or else you can get a soft image. I have a KM Maxxum 5D with the integrated anti-shake mechanism (image stabilization) and it helps a lot. So unless it is very bright outside for a fast shutter or you have a tripod forget about hand holding it for long periods of time and getting a sharp picture. It will make you tire from its weight.


When it come to auto focus I think people can be too critical on this lens. When it is bright outside and your target has plenty of contrast you will have fast auto focus lock. However, once it starts to get dim and contrast starts to go forget about it. This lens will hunt. Once that happens you potentially can wait forever. Though, I have found if you use area auto focus when using the lens for birding or to capture any other moving objects auto focus improves drastically and will not necessarily be quick to start hunting as when using the center AF point most of the time as I do.


Tracking is okay with this lens, but mainly in area auto focus. Some times I have trouble getting auto focus when using the center auto focus point alone while tracking with this lens.


Zoom creep can be an issue. I hate it when I'm walking along and when I tilt my camera down the lens extends. And it can move too. A zoom lock would have been nice when you are walking about and not necessarily looking for a shot.


Manual focus is alright. I would have liked a slightly smoother focus ring. But, it will do. I wish that the ring did not turn when auto focusing. If it was father up the barrel I wouldn't mind. However, it is right by my hand and I often end up touching the focus ring while it is focusing.


The zoom ring is stiff. But, I can live with that. With this lens I pretty much choose my focal length first and then start shooting. I don't usually zoom on the fly with this lens. It's range is too great for that anyway.


The general build for this lens is great. It feels strong and substantial. It will take abuse.


This lens has its flaws. However, I like it and I have gotten great shots with it. Keep it steady and you can get good clean sharp pictures under most situations.


Just as a note: I have compared sample shots I have taken with this lens and my old Minolta AF 70-210 f4 "Beer Can." This lens can match and even beat the Minolta lens on the overlapping zoom ranges. Plus the Sigma lens controls Chromatic Aberrations very well.
AlainD

Registered: January 2007
Posts: 8
Sigma 135-400mm f/4.5-5.6 Aspherical APO review by AlainD
Review Date: 1/12/2007 Would you recommend the product? No | Total Spent: None indicated| Rating: 5 

 
Pros: cheap, reach
Cons: very stiff zoom ring, 135 not very wide

I had this lens for only about a week (bought used and returned it) as mine had a bad back focusing issue (so check for that!), but also the zoom ring is VERY stiff and couldn't use it on the field easily with just 1 hand while holding on a monopod for sport.


The pictures are pretty soft wide open at 400mm (expected for the price) but get better stopped 1 or 2 down. but much better at 300mm than the cheapo canon 75-300mm which also have (quite a size difference though!)


All depends on how much you want to spend.
The next up were a lot more money (like 3x).


Looking at tokina 80-400 which is much more compact as well and wider end, which I need. We'll see.
sidd

Registered: November 2006
Posts: 2
Sigma 135-400mm f/4.5-5.6 Aspherical APO review by sidd
Review Date: 1/10/2007 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $450.00| Rating: 5 

 
Pros: Cheap, good focal range, recommended only if you're on a budget
Cons: Focus speed and huntinf, zoom creep

Sigma 135-400mm f/4.5-5.6 DG APO – This lens had the potential to be a winner. The zoom range is just under 3X which means the compromises in lens design are to the minimum. I had the non DG version of this lens. Unfortunately the optics are not great; though for the price it is OK. The lens tends to get soft at 400mm and max aperture. On DSLR’s the optics are better, especially cropped sensors. The construction is fairly light weight and compact. Lack of image stabilization is felt at longer focal lengths making hand-holding very difficult. Besides a noisy focus motor, focus speed is slow and hunt prone. No focus limit switch is provided to help matters.


Overall this lens is recommended only for those on a budget. The optics are OK and you can get to 400mm at a fraction of the cost spent for other lenses. There are better options but have to spend 2-3 times more. You get what you pay for.


 






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