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Sigma 100 - 600 mm Sports Lens - Canon Fit


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Hi Everyone, I am considering buyin the above lens for bird photography. Has anyone had experience of this lens? Good points/bad points??

The furthest reach lens I have at the moment is a 300mm that doesn't quite have the reach for what I want...

best regards,

Colin

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2 hours ago, Martin L said:

Colin

I would say go for it, by reputation the Sigma Sport is probably the best of the third party offerings.

You can't beat a 500 or 600 prime but I value my kidneys too much to sell one so I can own one.

I have the Tamron 150-600 equivalent and for the money is great, it has really offered me more opportunities in my wildlife photography.

I have no comparable experience myself of the Sigma but did have a friend that used a Sigma that was lulled into 'only a Canon will do' and bought a 100-400 to replace it. I saw him the other day and the Sigma was back on!

He said the auto-focus speed on the Canon was better for birds in flight but he missed the reach so much that he bought an extender but then got fed up with the f8 center point focusing restriction on his 7d, so the Sigma was back. 

 

Long lens wildlife photography is fun but does bring some challenges and I think most of the issues I had with my lens was me expecting too much and bad technique, not the equipment, not the myriad of AF settings, just me.

 

Atmosphere, bloody atmosphere! Heat haze. Boy is that an issue on long lenses.

I am pretty sure that all the 'Sigma and Tamrons are soft at 600' gripes are down to people now they have got the extra reach, taking a picture of that duck sitting across the other side of the lake on a beautiful sunny day across all that expanse of water and wondering why it looks crap when they get home (okay it was me again).

Even low down across many other substrates, atmosphere is an issue at 600mm. Being above the subject is obviously better but then of course you lose that 'eye level' perspective that everybody favors. You sometimes have to wait for the right conditions as in most photography.

 

I have no problem hand holding my Tamron even with my monopod attached but only for short, lift and shoot occasions.

At a fairly fit, bulky 6ft, standing there hand holding waiting for a bird to pop into the open, the tremors eventually start, 

On a long lens at nearly 1000mm reach on my 7d any slight tremor is magnified.

It is not too much of an issue with the resulting image due to the lens stabilisation but it is the wobble in the viewfinder that makes it hard to compose. I don't know if the Sigma has it but the Tamron has 'viewfinder stabilisation' but I found it not easy to use as rather than wobble, the image tends to flick across the viewfinder making it even harder to compose.

I use a monopod with a loose ball head joint for those stand and wait moments, I find tripods too cumbersome.

The monopod takes most of the weight and all I do is support the camera from flopping to the side on the ball head. The loose ball head also makes a pretty good cheap gimble. 

 

I like the flexibility of the 150-600 zoom range and its relatively shorter focusing distance compared to the primes. I was with a guy and his 600mm prime the other day taking pics of a friendly wader that was coming right to our feet. I had already fired off 20 shots whilst he was setting up the tripod, when he did, I noticed he wasn't taking any shots.

'Too close' he said.

I dropped the focal length to 300mm and carried on whilst he tried to back himself into a bramble bush to get far enough away so a)  he could actually focus and b) he could get nearly all the bird in.

To be fair to him ( he is a class photographer) and his equipment, his pics later on of an egret flying towards us were amazing. Mine, soft mush due to the lack of AF speed (here he goes again blaming the equipment).

 

Oh and you'll soon find 600mm is still not enough!

 

The only main con I had with my lens as I said before was unrealistic expectations and my lack of 'long lens' ability. It didn't automatically turn my shots into amazing ones, it just gave me a better chance to grab some half decent ones that I previously would not have got.

And here is the obligatory example. Not really for the photo as it was taken with the Tammy not a Sigma but what the extra reach can get you. I would never have got this close with 300mm. 

 

2FMC238

 

Have fun and good luck.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hi Malcolm - many thanks for your hilarious anecdotes and sound advice...I'm still 'concerned from Dorset' at the mo... playing around with some lenses at camera shop tomoz - we shall see...

Your Ibis shot is a cracker btw 🙂

all the best

colin

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22 minutes ago, gardenbush said:

Hi Malcolm Martin- many thanks for your hilarious anecdotes and sound advice...I'm still 'concerned from Dorset' at the mo... playing around with some lenses at camera shop tomoz - we shall see...

Your Ibis shot is a cracker btw 🙂

all the best

colin

Don't worry I'll correct it for you 😉

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2 minutes ago, Martin L said:

Don't worry I'll correct it for you 😉

OOOOOOOPS!!!!

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Posted (edited)
9 minutes ago, gardenbush said:

OOOOOOOPS!!!!

Don't worry

I guess it will be Castle Cameras in Salisbury, I go to the Bmth one and they are great.

Good plan to try some out, a lot of equipment is personal preference. Hope you get the right one.

 

Edited by Martin L
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Posted (edited)
15 hours ago, Martin L said:

Colin

I would say go for it, by reputation the Sigma Sport is probably the best of the third party offerings.

You can't beat a 500 or 600 prime but I value my kidneys too much to sell one so I can own one.

I have the Tamron 150-600 equivalent and for the money is great, it has really offered me more opportunities in my wildlife photography.

I have no comparable experience myself of the Sigma but did have a friend that used a Sigma that was lulled into 'only a Canon will do' and bought a 100-400 to replace it. I saw him the other day and the Sigma was back on!

He said the auto-focus speed on the Canon was better for birds in flight but he missed the reach so much that he bought an extender but then got fed up with the f8 center point focusing restriction on his 7d, so the Sigma was back. 

 

Long lens wildlife photography is fun but does bring some challenges and I think most of the issues I had with my lens was me expecting too much and bad technique, not the equipment, not the myriad of AF settings, just me.

 

Atmosphere, bloody atmosphere! Heat haze. Boy is that an issue on long lenses.

I am pretty sure that all the 'Sigma and Tamrons are soft at 600' gripes are down to people now they have got the extra reach, taking a picture of that duck sitting across the other side of the lake on a beautiful sunny day across all that expanse of water and wondering why it looks crap when they get home (okay it was me again).

Even low down across many other substrates, atmosphere is an issue at 600mm. Being above the subject is obviously better but then of course you lose that 'eye level' perspective that everybody favors. You sometimes have to wait for the right conditions as in most photography.

 

I have no problem hand holding my Tamron even with my monopod attached but only for short, lift and shoot occasions.

At a fairly fit, bulky 6ft, standing there hand holding waiting for a bird to pop into the open, the tremors eventually start, 

On a long lens at nearly 1000mm reach on my 7d any slight tremor is magnified.

It is not too much of an issue with the resulting image due to the lens stabilisation but it is the wobble in the viewfinder that makes it hard to compose. I don't know if the Sigma has it but the Tamron has 'viewfinder stabilisation' but I found it not easy to use as rather than wobble, the image tends to flick across the viewfinder making it even harder to compose.

I use a monopod with a loose ball head joint for those stand and wait moments, I find tripods too cumbersome.

The monopod takes most of the weight and all I do is support the camera from flopping to the side on the ball head. The loose ball head also makes a pretty good cheap gimble. 

 

I like the flexibility of the 150-600 zoom range and its relatively shorter focusing distance compared to the primes. I was with a guy and his 600mm prime the other day taking pics of a friendly wader that was coming right to our feet. I had already fired off 20 shots whilst he was setting up the tripod, when he did, I noticed he wasn't taking any shots.

'Too close' he said.

I dropped the focal length to 300mm and carried on whilst he tried to back himself into a bramble bush to get far enough away so a)  he could actually focus and b) he could get nearly all the bird in.

To be fair to him ( he is a class photographer) and his equipment, his pics later on of an egret flying towards us were amazing. Mine, soft mush due to the lack of AF speed (here he goes again blaming the equipment).

 

Oh and you'll soon find 600mm is still not enough!

 

The only main con I had with my lens as I said before was unrealistic expectations and my lack of 'long lens' ability. It didn't automatically turn my shots into amazing ones, it just gave me a better chance to grab some half decent ones that I previously would not have got.

And here is the obligatory example. Not really for the photo as it was taken with the Tammy not a Sigma but what the extra reach can get you. I would never have got this close with 300mm. 

 

2FMC238

 

Have fun and good luck.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Martin, I had a peek at your first two pages. Wow, I like what I saw. You have an artists eye, not only for your subject choice but for your composition.

And that pig shot straight on and framed tightly is priceless! 😂 I really like your macro work, too.

Edited by Betty LaRue
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6 hours ago, Betty LaRue said:

Martin, I had a peek at your first two pages. Wow, I like what I saw. You have an artists eye, not only for your subject choice but for your composition.

And that pig shot straight on and framed tightly is priceless! 😂 I really like your macro work, too.

I'm blushing now! Wow, thanks for your kind words

The pigs are fun. In the New Forest in England they have a tradition of allowing farmers to release their pigs into the wild to clear the acorns that are otherwise poisonous to wild ponies.

The rings in the noses are to stop them from rooting around too deep but does give them a kind of fun punky look, like rebel teenagers.

Its a shame that there isn't audio as you could hear my missus,

'Martin, your too close!'

'Get back, Martin, get back'

'She's gonna charge!'

She calmed down and got distracted when one of the piglets came over for a stroke

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6 hours ago, Martin L said:

I'm blushing now! Wow, thanks for your kind words

The pigs are fun. In the New Forest in England they have a tradition of allowing farmers to release their pigs into the wild to clear the acorns that are otherwise poisonous to wild ponies.

The rings in the noses are to stop them from rooting around too deep but does give them a kind of fun punky look, like rebel teenagers.

Its a shame that there isn't audio as you could hear my missus,

'Martin, your too close!'

'Get back, Martin, get back'

'She's gonna charge!'

She calmed down and got distracted when one of the piglets came over for a stroke

As an 8 year old, I found out about sows with young. We lived on a farm for 18 months, and I tried to make pets of all the animals. When I climbed the fence into the pen to pet the piglets, I climbed out much faster than I climbed in, with my heart racing. I only realized in adulthood just how badly it could have gone.

Lacking a much desired horse, I asked my stepfather to put me on the back of a milk cow after days of pestering.  He finally did, just to shut me up, but never took his hands off me. Good thing. I never asked to ride a cow again. Besides, their backs are really bony, especially when they buck.

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32 minutes ago, Sally R said:

 

I love your Glossy Ibis too Martin. Beautiful close-up. We have them here in Australia but I was thinking they might not be the same species, but checking your keywords for the species name it is in fact the same one. I've actually been trying to get a decent image of one just recently but haven't got any yet that I've considered good enough to upload. Their colours a beautiful when the sun catches them.

 

I agree with you about the technique often being more the issue than the equipment, and also can relate to the issue with haze at the longest focal length which I've always found frustrating.

This little chap is probably a juvenile so plumage is a bit drab, he started to colour up a little bit and began to get that beautiful green, purple sheen that they have for breeding.

He has gone now probably off to Spain for the summer like most British teenagers

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2 hours ago, Sally R said:

 

Yes, birds are often quite funny in that in between stage - a bit awkwardly in between their fluffy cuteness as a chick and their full, adult plumage, a bit like human teenagers.

 

Only yesterday I was in the backyard and two galahs landed in a tree. One squawked in a very irritated way at the other one for several minutes, chasing at him or her with annoyance. A few minutes later they were being all cuddly on a branch together preening one another. Seemed just like a human pair having a tiff and making up 😂 

I envy you all the parrot life in OZ. Having not grown up with them, I’d be outside watching them all of the time. Until driven inside by the heat! 😄

There is a utube video that shows cockatoos visiting the balcony of the resident. She fed them, now she practically has a flock visiting! You can even tell the bold ones from the shy, nervous ones.

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Posted (edited)
On 15/05/2021 at 13:02, gardenbush said:

Hi Everyone, I am considering buyin the above lens for bird photography. Has anyone had experience of this lens? Good points/bad points??

The furthest reach lens I have at the moment is a 300mm that doesn't quite have the reach for what I want...

best regards,

Colin

Quite an expensive piece of glass. Maybe see if you can rent one for a couple of days which would maybe give you a better 'feel' for it by using it in the field, rather than just trying one for half an hour or so in a camera shop.

Edited by Dave Richards
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Sorry I don't have anything useful to add to Colin's question about the the Sigma, and feel like I am hijacking the thread; but just wanted to ask is if anyone is using their zooms at stops f/8 or higher or does IQ start to suffer?  I asked in a separate thread and got some good tips and advice but specifically wanted to know this about pushing the f/stop.

 

Helen

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1 hour ago, hsessions said:

Sorry I don't have anything useful to add to Colin's question about the the Sigma, and feel like I am hijacking the thread; but just wanted to ask is if anyone is using their zooms at stops f/8 or higher or does IQ start to suffer?  I asked in a separate thread and got some good tips and advice but specifically wanted to know this about pushing the f/stop.

 

Helen

 

Not sure I really understand the question but I'll try and answer. Bear in mind I am just an amateur and this is what I try and do, not that I am often successful, so take from it what you will.

 

Every lens tends to have a sweet 'f/stop' spot but if you are worried about IQ there are plenty of other things that will have more effect on IQ in wildlife photography than the aperture.

Birds are not static objects they twitch, move, lots of motion blur, jump from good light to poor light and that is if you can find them in the first place, get close enough and get anywhere near a decent composition.

There is also AF speed and accuracy, atmospheric conditions, burst rate etc to consider.

 

But to answer what I think you are asking is that my lens very rarely goes off f8, as that seems to be the best all round aperture for me and my equipment, giving the best depth of field and giving an adequate shutter speed in good light.

I only open to 7.1 or 6.3 if the light is poor just to keep the shutter speed up so I minimise any subject motion blur

 

The main part of this is the 'for me' bit. Everybody has their own technique, whatever works for you, works for you. In fact finding your own style will probably work for you in the long run as your images will be different from the myriad of other wildlife pics. It is just a lot of trial and error.

 

I rarely think about settings anymore. My Canon 7D can store 3 sets of settings so what I normally do is set them up before I go out depending on the conditions.

One set for birds in flight and one for static birds and one for anything else I think I might need (like slow shutter panning shots). All I then have to do is flick a button to get the settings I want. Of course it is not as simple as that either, white reflective birds like egrets of course require completely different settings to a dark feathered buzzard so I still have to try and tweak them on the fly as well (and lots of mistakes).

 

For me one of the most important things I had to learn was field craft, like finding the little critters, getting close without disturbing them and trying to make sure that they are in a decent spot to create a nice composition which involves lots of cold bums, wet soggy knees, patience, plenty of missed opportunities and plenty and plenty of bum shots as they fly away!

 

Boy, it is great fun though.

 

Hope this helps

 

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2 hours ago, hsessions said:

Sorry I don't have anything useful to add to Colin's question about the the Sigma, and feel like I am hijacking the thread; but just wanted to ask is if anyone is using their zooms at stops f/8 or higher or does IQ start to suffer?  I asked in a separate thread and got some good tips and advice but specifically wanted to know this about pushing the f/stop.

 

Helen

 

Generally when shooting birds, you don't want the background in focus unless it is somehow important to the image.  You like the background blurred.  Although fairly new to bird photography, I generally shoot 5.6 - 6.3 depending on light, ISO is usually around 1250 and camera chooses SS.  I do check and like to keep SS at 1/1000 or higher but have shot slower. Lens is almost always at 400mm. Overcast days are actually better for shooting birds to get an even light and no harsh shadows on the bird.  

 

Jill

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Jill and Martin, thanks for your feedback.  I will experiment with an aperture of f/8 later this afternoon/evening while the light is good.  See how that works with this lens.  Like Jill I have only shot at the 5.6-6.3, I choose the shutter and let the camera decide ISO not going over 2000. 

I have been going out and sitting on a rock in the middle of a brook for a couple of hours or more waiting to see what shows up, not a stranger anymore to the cold bums and soggy knees now, think I just joined the club. Before coming on here to bother everyone I read some tips on bird forums but some of those guys are hardcore - blinds, camo,u the whole thing.  I just was trying to understand how best to use this lens to get the most out of it strengths and avoid the weakness, if going up in f/stops would make it not perform too well then I'll stick with f/6.3 at the longer end for the most part.

Thanks again.

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Hi All and many thanks for the advice and observations - to recap I was asking about the Sigma 150 - 600 sports lens for canon - well, I tried one out on Monday and to be honest it's just too heavy for me to use easily - 6.25 pounds is a bit of a lump plus the camera - need to eat more spinach I'spose...anyway, thanks everyone 🙂

regards Colin

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Colin, The Tameron 150-600 comes in at 4.3lbs

This lens is always on my camera in fact i would hazzard a guess that 90% of my port in the last year is with this lense on a Canon 7D2.  I thought of the weight issues but after using it now for 18 months, you'll soon forget it.

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