Advice Canon EF 100-400 or Sigma 100-300 with extender

Discussion in 'Canon' started by Luuk Houwen, Aug 24, 2004.

  1. Luuk Houwen

    Luuk Houwen Guest

    I use a canon 10D and would like a telezoom lens for nature photography
    both for use on a tripod but especially to carry around on hiking trips
    where weight is a factor. After many deliberations I have limited my
    choices to either the Canon EF 100-400/f.4.5-5.6 L USM IS or the Sigma 100-
    300/f4 with the 1.4 extender. The latter is the somewhat cheaper option but
    has of course no stabilizer. I cannot decide between the two and would love
    to here from someone why I should go for the one or the other and
    especially WHY.
    Luuk Houwen, Aug 24, 2004
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  2. Luuk Houwen

    Mark M Guest

    I own the 100-400 IS, but would suggest a third option (I own and like the
    100-400, but...).
    While I realize this is a more expensive option, I have found it most

    That would be the 70-200 2.8 IS and the 1.4x.
    There is no substitute for the speed of f2.8 (4 times as much light as 5.6,
    twice that of f4).
    Even with the 1.4 attached, you will still be at f4 with the field of view
    of a 360mm lens.

    I think you should seriously consider the value of Canon's IS for this type
    of setting (backpacking), where you will like come upon picture
    opportunities where you have neither the time nor footing to use a tripod
    (think animals, birds, and/or rough/wet/slanted terrain).

    I own both the 100-400 IS and the 70-200 2.8 IS, and have been routinely
    leaving the 100-400 home in favor of the other, along with the Canon 1.4x.
    The 70-200 is an EXTREMELY sharp, bright, well-handling zoom with the latest
    generation of Canon IS (the 100-400 is not the latest).

    As a fellow backpacker/hiker/camper/traveler, I know which lens I will reach
    for when I have to choose between the two.

    In fact, if you are set on the 100-400, I am considering selling mine if
    you're interested.
    (I think you're too far away anyway, but my consideration of selling it
    should tell you something about how impressed I am by the 70-200 2.8 IS).

    Also: I find that 5.6 really is too slow for many circumstances--especially
    early morning or late evening shooting of wildlife (when they are most
    active). I'll take a sharp shot with a 200mm over a closer-yet-blurry shot
    from a slower 400mm any day. Even at the wide end (100mm) longer Canon zoom
    only offers f4.5.

    Sigma is NOT a good brand in terms of long-term compatibility with future
    camera bodies, and has only recently started an effort to un-do their BAD,
    but well-deserved reputation for shoddy construction. Sigma users will
    likely shriek in protest here, but I do not exaggerate here.

    Mark M
    Mark M, Aug 24, 2004
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  3. Luuk Houwen

    Colm Guest

    If image quality is important, go with the Canon.
    Why? Better build quality, sharper images. (Better lens, IS, no
    image-degrading extender required)
    Will work on all EOS cameras without rechipping.

    Lens comparisons can be found at
    Colm, Aug 24, 2004
  4. Luuk Houwen

    Skip M Guest

    I can only add my voice to the chorus. If money is not a consideration,
    then the Canon is the only choice. Far better construction, better optics,
    faster AF, image stabilization, assured compatibility with future Canon
    bodies, and no image degrading extender.
    One question, why don't you consider the Sigma 80-400 OS (Optical
    Stabilizer) lens?
    Skip M, Aug 24, 2004
  5. Luuk Houwen

    Luuk Houwen Guest

    Dear Mark and others,

    Thanks a lot those were very helpful replies indeed ... the only problem
    being that money is, as always, an issue, but it is not the only one: being
    able to get a nice shot of wild life is also very important and with a
    300mm + 1.4 I simply get more bear/elk/moose/eagle for my money. On the
    other hand, I agree with Mark that a sharp shot is to be preferred over a
    fuzzy close-up. Mark, how important is a fast lens in your experience? Does
    one stop difference really make such a big difference at dawn and dusk
    (when indeed I shall do a lot of shooting), particularly since I expect to
    be able to use a tripod then?
    Luuk Houwen, Aug 24, 2004
  6. Luuk Houwen

    ThomasH Guest

    And a better resale value! I recently sold my 70-200 f/2.8 for
    only insignificantly less that I purchased it (going for the
    IS version!).

    If you can, get the 100-400. I use this lens fairly often and
    I like it, except maybe for the strange creep fastening ring,
    which always takes some time and wrestling to be adjusted.
    A recent Pop Photo test has attested this Sigma quite miserable
    optical properties. Both Canon and Nikon IS/VR lenses were much
    better with the Canon 100-400 clearly ruling in this class.

    ThomasH, Aug 25, 2004
  7. Luuk Houwen

    Skip M Guest

    Well, if pop photo said it was bad, it must be, they _never_ give a bad
    Skip M, Aug 25, 2004
  8. Luuk Houwen

    Mark M Guest

    It makes a HUGE difference at those hours.
    Remember that even "one stop" faster means TWICE as much light, and
    therefore the ability to use twice as fast a shutter speed.

    One of my most disappointing shots ever were those I shot of a wild grizzly
    bear in Alaska.
    I got teh exposure, but it was blurred due to trying to get more reach than
    I had light for.
    In hindsight, I would have much rather had a smaller but sharper image.
    In that instance, I was actually using the 100-400 AND teh 1.4x, meaning I
    had an extrememly slow f8...but that was in bright sunlight. -It was still
    too slow, even with 400 ISO film.

    The 70-200 2.8 IS is really about the same price as the 100-400. The only
    real difference will be the additional cost of the 1.4x.

    If it were me, and money was tight, I'd buy the 70-200 2.8 IS, and wait
    until later for the 1.4x.
    You will be amazed at how many times your 200mm is plenty of zoom when
    mounted on your 1.6 crop factor 10D (which will actually give you MORE reach
    than a 300mm+1.4x on a full frame film body in terms of field of
    view/perceived enlargement of the subject).
    Mark M, Aug 25, 2004
  9. Luuk Houwen

    Mark M Guest

    Any time Pop Photo gives ANYTHING a bad review, you can safely bet a million
    dollars that it is truly HORRIBLE. Pop Photo rarely beings itself to hurt
    it's advertiser's feelings...
    Mark M, Aug 25, 2004
  10. Luuk Houwen

    Luuk Houwen Guest

    Dear Mark,

    Unfortunately there is a substantial price difference here between the 70-
    200 IS and the 100-400. I can get the latter for some 1475 Euros but the
    70-200 IS will set me back Euro 1779 to which I whould still have to add
    the extender! The second problem is that I already have the Canon 28-135
    IS. Of course this lens is pretty shoddy compared to the 70-200 but the
    last would not add all that much zoom to what I have already.

    PS. If you are serious about selling the 100-400 could you perhaps send me
    an email?
    Luuk Houwen, Aug 25, 2004
  11. Luuk Houwen

    ROBMURR Guest

    Original poster mentioned that money was
    a big consideration to consider the Sigma..
    The Sigma will have little resale value.
    It probably will not work on a future Canon.
    It probably will break sooner.
    Add to that no IS, having to use a teleconverter and not having canons
    fast AF and better build.
    With Sigma you could end up with a very
    expensive paperweight..
    ROBMURR, Aug 26, 2004
  12. I agree. To add my experience: I have bought 3 Sigma lenses. One broke,
    one refuses to work on my 10D, and one got stolen (I got lucky with that
    one!). All were modest performers at best. I have now concluded that I
    can't afford to buy any more, as I always end up replacing them with a
    good lens sooner or later.

    David Littlewood, Aug 27, 2004
  13. Luuk Houwen

    C&M Guest

    I'm a little late on this thread, but I assume you're debating whether
    to get Canon 100-400L or Sigma 100-300 f/4? With TC the Sigma will be
    420mm f/5.6. The Canon maxes out at f/5.6 and has IS. I'd prefer the
    Canon for that reason and for future compatibility as well.
    C&M, Aug 29, 2004
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