Initial Thoughts On Sigma’s 120-300mm F/2.8, a Sports Photographer’s Dream
I have had the pleasure over the last 3 1/2 weeks to have Sigma’s latest 120-300mm F/2.8 to play with for review. I am still putting together my full review, but today I wanted to share my initial thoughts on this lens that I would describe as a sports photographer’s dream lens.
The Sigma 120-300m F/2.8 DG
The Sigma 120-300mm F/2.8 is Sigma’s only lens currently in their “S” or Sports category of their Global Vision line of lenses. It is a lens that covers relatively close subjects with a 120mm focal length at the wide end and farther away subjects with the telephoto abilities of a 300mm at the far end. It is all tied together nicely with fast maximum aperture of F/2.8, putting it in direct competition with really expensive prime lenses such as the Canon 300mm F/2.8 IS II.
This lens is an absolute tank, simple as that. Its mostly metal construction gives it a weight that I was simply not expecting, having shot with “heavy” lenses such as the Canon 300m F/2.8 (this felt much, much, heavier). This is not necessarily a bad thing, but something that you should be aware of. This is not a lens that you will be able to hand hold for long periods of time. I have shot an entire high school football game hand held with the Canon 300mm F/2.8 before, and I wouldn’t even think about attempting it with this lens.
The styling is sleek and resembles the rest of the Sigma Global Vision line of lenses. Overall, I am very impressed with the build quality of this lens. It doesn’t just look quality, it feels like quality too.
Initial Thoughts & Impressions On Performance
In addition to looking like a quality lens, the Sigma 120-300mm also performs very well, based on my initial testing. I have had the opportunity to shoot both wildlife and sports with this lens – the two things it is designed for – and I loved it in both situations.
Still, I did notice a slight discrepancy with the stated 300mm focal length. When compared directly with a Canon 300mm F/2.8, I noticed that the Sigma at 300mm was actually a little wider than the Canon. See what I mean, below:
Canon 300mm F/2.8 shot on Canon 6D
Sigma 120-300mm F/2.8 shot on Canon 6D
As you can see, the Sigma is not quite tight on the sign as much as the Canon is. Not a huge issue to me, as it is still very close (and that the Sigma is half the cost of the Canon), but it is worth noting if you are interested in this lens.
For wildlife, this lens offers a great range, being able to shoot animals close to your car (or blind), as well as animals off in the distance. But the weight I mentioned earlier comes into play here because it makes it harder to quickly react to fast moving animals – such as birds in flight.
On the sports front, this lens is an absolute dream. I was shooting at an MLS preseason game last weekend and I did not even take the Canon 300mm out of its bag, I enjoyed using the 120-300mm so much. It was convenient to not have to switch from the large lens to a smaller lens on my other body as often as I normally do when using a 300mm prime.
I have to send the lens back on Thursday, but I’ll have one more chance to shoot with it tonight at another MLS preseason event with the Portland Timbers. It will be hard to let this lens go, I have grown really fond of it over the last month and really wish that I could afford the $3500 price it commands. Be on the look out for my full review sometime next week, possibly after WPPI is over.
[REWIND: 5 Tips For A Better WPPI Experience]
What questions do you have for me regarding this lens? I would love to be able to address as many of them as I can in my review, so please leave any questions, or specific things you want to know about in the comments below and I will make an effort to respond as well as include them in my full review.