View Full Version : Sigma vs. Canon

07-26-2011, 10:25 AM
I'm looking at both the Sigma 50-500mm f/4-6.3 and the Canon EF 100-400mm f4.5-5.6L IS. I like that the Sigma has a wider zoom rage and is a little cheaper, but is the lens just as good as the Canon? I'd rather pay the extra $600 for the Canon lens if it has a much better image quality then buy the Sigma and then wish I had the Canon. I'd use the lens primarily for wildlife photography.

07-26-2011, 01:54 PM
They are both great lenses. You would have to do some close comparisons and a little pixel peeping to determine that the Canon is a little sharper. This being said the 100-400 is noted for the number of 'soft' copies floating around. Personally I would stick with the 100-400 but the extra 100mm on the Sigma is very appealing. Why not try getting your hands on both of them to compare??

07-26-2011, 03:20 PM
Why not try getting your hands on both of them to compare??

I would if I knew of a good way to do so, but I live in a small city with no really good camera shops...

07-26-2011, 05:21 PM
Problem solved...


07-27-2011, 10:30 AM
While I would prefer not to spend about $100 to help me decide on a lens, I may have to do so... One thing I did notice on a review was that the person said the Canon was better for hand-held shots. With wildlife I do a lot of handheld, since the animals do not really give time for setting up with a tripod and all. Does anyone know how true this is? I do not have the most steady hands in the world.

07-27-2011, 01:52 PM
The 100$ may be hard to swallow but it is a better option than making a blind choice. Luckily lenses hold their value very well so you could easily buy a used one this week and resell it next month or next year for an identical price.

Your statement about tripods and wildlife is correct. They don't mix very well. Too much setup time between noticing the subject and getting a shot and just too cumbersome. The Canon has a 1st generation IS so you will gain 1.5 - 2 stops with it but this isn't really the advantage that it used to be with the advances in high ISO over the past few generations of bodies. Before buying the Canon, I read a lot of reviews and photozone claimed that shots were reasonably good hand-held down to 1/160 @ 400mm and I have found this to be accurate. I've also gotten some very clean shots at 1/60 @ 400mm but those tend to be the exception. Aids such as a monopod or bean bag to steady the camera are very helpful in increasing the percentage of keepers though. IS or not these lenses are big and heavy with the sigma taking the trophy in both categories. In fact the popular nickname for the Sigma is 'Bigma'. That might be something to help base your decision on.

I don't want to add angst to this decision but another consideration would be what kind of wildlife you are shooting. Trying to capture fast birds in flight can be frustrating with either of these lenses. For that I would consider a fixed length telephoto like the 400 5.6 The AF on that lens will smoke both the 100-400 and the Sigma. To answer your question, IMHO you would be far better off with the Canon if we are talking one lens vs. the other in a hand-held shootout. I hope that helps a bit.

07-27-2011, 02:30 PM
I am in a similar situation to you Kenen but have decided that I will not be taking that many wildlife photos and am now looking at the EF 70-300mm L which would probably be to short for you. I discussed the Sigma 50-500 with a guy at work who said that one of his girlfriends used to use one and it was about as long as she was tall ! He also said that in his opinon the Sigma 150-500 was better quaility.
I have still not decided what to go with but the EF 100-400 is a bit old technology now and I remember the reason for not buying a 70-200 F4 IS before was that it does not close down when zooming; this may be considered a good thing by some but it takes up more space in the camera bag - in fact it is longer than my current camera bag is wide and I do not want to carry a bigger bag around.

08-30-2011, 10:10 AM
Have to ask, have you considered the sigma 120-300 ex dg app OS f2.8? It's not that much more expensive than the 100-400, and with the aid of a TC, you'll easily gain the extra reach. I've seen some impressive shots taken with the 120-300 and a 2x TC.