Camera lenses - Canon 100-400 vs Sigma 150-500

To: "" <>
Subject: Camera lenses - Canon 100-400 vs Sigma 150-500
From: Chris Ross <>
Date: Tue, 03 Apr 2012 22:06:27 +1000

more focal length is generally better for birds if it's sharp enough, the sigma lens is a touch soft at 400-500mm. Here's a comparison test for the two lenses featuring 100% crops from a test target: <>

bear in mind this is a severe test and is pixel level view at 100% and an actual image won't look quite as bad, but the Canon lens is clearly much sharper and will also AF better, the Sigma is f6.3 at the long end and the AF is a bit slow because of that, in fact it lies to the camera as Canon bodies (except 1 series) do not allow AF at slower than f5.6. The quality of the Canon is such that you can crop the image down to the same framing as the sigma at 500mm and still be ahead on image quality.

I shoot with a Canon 300mm f4 IS + 1.4x and it is also a lens I think you should consider, it will be 420mm FL with a 1.4x, and at that it focuses down to 1.5m for a magnification of 0.37x. Add a 25mm extension tube and if gives near 0.5x (half life size) at a distance of about 900mm, making it an excellent long macro suitable for dragonflies, butterflies, reptiles, larger wildflowers as well as being a good bird lens. The IS allows you to handhold under those conditions and still get very sharp results. I have had zooms in the past and I've found for nature work it's at max zoom and wanting more 99% of the time. You can select and compare image quality with other lenses from the drop down menus above, you can also look at the effect of stopping down and removing/adding tele converters.

You can see some results from the 300mm f4/1.4x combo on my website, look mostly in the insect galleries at the butterflies/dragonflies, there's also a few bird images, though I mostly use a Canon 500mm f4 for birds, but that's an entirely different beast. Note that the smaller damselflies, skippers and grass blues and the like were taken with a 200mm macro lens as they are very much smaller insects. The 300mm f4 will also produce good images with the latest 2x converter, but AF ( a bit slow but usable) is only available when using a 1 series body. This image was with the 300mm f4 + 1.4x:

My website is here:


Chris Ross

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