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Can Sigma be better than Canon?

Mark Marat , Apr 30, 2004; 01:13 p.m.

I didn’t find here any comparison of these two lenses: Sigma 100-300 f/4 EX HSM and Canon 100-400 L. I found a lens chart in the net (photozone as I remember). Sigma lens got more points than Canon one. This is a theoretical comparison, though. How is the practical one? What is your experience? I know that focal lengths don’t match. I am mostly interested in optical/image quality. Could you share your knowledge please?

Thank you,



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Mark Marat , Apr 30, 2004; 05:49 p.m.

Nobody has any experience with one of these lenses?

No Sigma 100-300 EX's owner here?


Carina Cisneros , Apr 30, 2004; 06:03 p.m.

There are some users providing brief feedback here:


I saw a VERY positive review of the Sigma lens in a French magazine (cant remember which one, as I found the magazine in the airport, and later gave it away!). I have used the lens (I dont own it), and think it first-rate; it might be Sigma's best zoom. I dont mean that to sound second rate (...Sigma's best... as opposed to the real "best", etc.), as this lens is great by any standard. I cant comment on the Canon lens since I have never seen/used one. I doubt it is a big seller for Sigma, mostly since it is an f4, as opposed to f2.8 lens. The build quality and optical quality of the Sigma is excellent; the build quality is better than that of their f2.8 pro zooms, and even their 180mm macro lens. I used the lens of Canon A2 and RT bodies (dont have a digital body), and loved it. I dont own it now, and the only reason is cost, since I have too much invested in longer zooms and macro gear.

Jean-Baptiste Queru , Apr 30, 2004; 06:36 p.m.

Comaparisons of lenses with different focal lengths (or of different coverage) is always difficult. I'd bet that a 135/2L compares favorably to just any zoom that covers 135mm, regardless of price.

That being said, I don't see why a Sigma lens couldn't compete favorably with a Canon one. Sigma has demonstrated that they were capable of making excellent (and expensive) lenses (like most lens makers), and cheap and crappy ones (like most lens makers except maybe Leica). Their 12-24 looks pretty fine to me (Canon doesn't have anything that even comes close), and their 300-800 is said to be a marvel (same comment).

Marcus Christian , Apr 30, 2004; 10:19 p.m.

Like a previous poster said, no matter who makes them the expensive lenses are good and the cheap lenses crappy. Also, Canon tend to be more expensive.

So, if you've got a bunch of change to burn most people do the brand elitist thing and get a Canon lens. If you're short on cash you'll get a sigma because they are cheaper, but in that circumstance you'll be buying a cheapy lens and it'll be crap no matter who made it. So, Sigma get a bad stick not because they are inherently weak, but because they sell proportionaly more crap lenses than good.

Fazal Majid , May 01, 2004; 12:55 a.m.

The Sigma 20mm f/1.8 is widely reported to be superior (and faster to boot) to the Canon 20mm f/2.8 USM. And cheap does not necessarily mean crappy - the Canon 50mm f/1.8 is certainly cheap. Sigma's quality control is apparently uneven, however, but the one Sigma lens I have owned (a 15-30mm) was excellent, and I would have no problems getting one of their midrange to high-end lenses.

Vincent J M , May 01, 2004; 01:22 a.m.

I doubt it.

I've had the 100-400L for a few years now and it's truly one of the sharpest lenses I've used. I've experienced wildly varying QC with sigma lenses and incompatibilities with canon bodies, so I stay far away from them.

Yakim Peled , May 02, 2004; 07:05 a.m.

>> The Sigma 20mm f/1.8 is widely reported to be superior (and faster to boot) to the Canon 20mm f/2.8 USM.

Not according to what I have read. The only Sigma lenses which I read to be optically on par with Canon's equivalents are 70-200/2.8, 105/2.8 macro, 50/2.8 macro and the aforementioned 100-300/4.

I'd possibly be tempted to buy one of them but I read too many horror stories on compatibility problems. I'd stick to Canon for now.

Happy shooting , Yakim.

Audun Sjoeseth , May 04, 2004; 04:47 a.m.

I plan to buy a 50mm macro for my EOS-1N and I'm tempted by the 1:1 of the Sigma EX 50mm/2.8, but I am a little afraid to do so (stories on compatibility problems), so I think I'll go for a Canon EF 50mm/2.5 macro.

Mark U , May 06, 2004; 08:02 p.m.

Go for the Sigma, as it's optically noticeably the best 50mm macro in Canon mount, and it's genuinely 1:1 (the Canon is only half life size without the life size converter). Don't be FUD'd about historic incompatibility problems that don't apply to lenses produced after 2000 - get the best! (If the best were Canon, I'd push it too....)

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