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Thread: Looking for advice on a new telephoto zoom lens

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    Looking for advice on a new telephoto zoom lens

    Hi all. I'm looking at getting a long telephoto zoom lens for birding, air shows, wildlife and maybe also sport. The lens will be used predominately hand held. I have narrowed the selection down to the following:

    Canon 100-400 EF f/4.5-5.6L IS USM, 1,380g - approx $1,850
    Sigma 50-500mm f/4.5-6.3 APO DG OS HSM, 1,970g - approx $1,550
    Sigma 150-500mm f/5-6.3 APO DG OS HSM, 1,910g - approx $1,000
    Tamron 150-600mm f/5-6.3 SP VC USD Lens, 1,951g - approx $1,300

    At the moment, I am leaning towards the two Sigmas, as they are longer, and cheaper, that the Canon. They also both have pretty good user reviews on the net. The Tamron sounds good, but it hasn't been out long enough for many user reviews to be posted on the net.

    If anyone has any experience with any of these lenses, or has an opinion on which would best suit my purposes, any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks,

    Neil
    Canon 70D, EF 70-300 f/4-5.6 L IS USM

    EF-S 10-18 f/4.5-5.6 IS STM, EF-S 18-55 f/3.5-5.6 IS STM, EF-S 18-135 f/3.5-5.6 IS STM, EF-S 55-250 f/4.5-6 IS II

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    Still in the Circle of Confusion Cage's Avatar
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    Google the Tamron 150-600. Most reviewers rate it comfortably ahead of the Sigmas.
    Cheers
    Kev

    D600 : D7200 and too much stuff to list

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    Who let the rabble in? Lance B's Avatar
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    I would suggest the new Tamron 150-600 as it looks the goods from all reports, and a very good price as well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cage View Post
    Google the Tamron 150-600. Most reviewers rate it comfortably ahead of the Sigmas.
    Those reviews of the Tamron actually look pretty good, especially the one comparing it to the 150-500 Sigma. Wouldn't mind seeing some user reviews, but it looks pretty impressive for the price.

    My only concern is the size of the thing, its huge. Can I reasonably use it hand held?

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    Still in the Circle of Confusion Cage's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doc63 View Post
    My only concern is the size of the thing, its huge. Can I reasonably use it hand held?
    Depends on how fit and strong you are.

    Or do what all the photo journos do. Use a monopod.

    I've got the 24-70mm and the 70-200mm Tamrons with VC and they work really well on a monopod.
    Last edited by Cage; 14-06-2014 at 6:57pm.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cage View Post
    Depends on how fit and strong you are.

    Or do what all the photo journos do. Use a monopod.

    I've got the 24-70mm and the 70-200mm Tamrons with VC and they work really well on a monopod.
    Yeah, I was thinking of a monopod. I think I'd have to hand hold at air shows though. Would be interesting pointing it up at the sky, shooting fighter jets!

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    I have the Sigma 150-500mm and love it,it produces great images and is surprisingly comfortable to hand hold on my 70D with grip,the grip seems to help balance it a bit better.
    Kev.
    C+C and Edits Welcome,just tell me what you did.
    Canon 50D,EF-S17-85mm,EF100mm F2.8 Macro,MT-24EX Flash.
    Sigma 150-500mm f5.6-6.3 DG.
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    I have the Canon 100-400, I like it ... but there are times I wish it had a little more reach. One thing that might be a consideration for you, did you realise it is a push/pull focus? If you plan on pointing it up in the air a lot, I would suggest looking at the others. If the slide is running fairly easily, the weight of it will make it move when you point it up or down. It can be tightened so it doesn't move when you don't want it to, but then it is a bit slower changing focus too.

    I'm trying to pretend that Tamron one doesn't exist and that I don't want it. I'm not doing very well
    Last edited by RJD; 18-06-2014 at 8:33am.

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    I previously had the Canon 100-400 EF f/4.5-5.6L IS USM, 1,380g - approx $1,850, and it is a superb lens. I currently use the Sigma 150-500mm f/5-6.3 APO DG OS HSM, 1,910g - approx $1,000 and am extremely happy with the definition of the results and the speed of focus in use. One tip is never go to maximum or minimum zoom, always dial back just a smidge, the results are sharper, by my personal tests, anyway.

    I use a monopod, and have used both hand held, but always in shutter priority of at least 1/1000 to reduce operator shake.
    Last edited by Analog6; 18-06-2014 at 9:07am.
    Odille

    “Can't keep my eyes from the circling sky”

    My Blog | Canon 1DsMkII | 60D | Tokina 20-35mm f/2.8 AF AT-X PRO | EF50mm f/1.8| Sigma 150-500mm F5-6.3 APO DG OS HSM | Fujifilm X-T1 & X-M1 | Fujinon XC 16-50mm F3.5-5.6 OIS | Fujinon XC 50-230mm F3.5-5.6 OIS | Fujinon XF 18-55mm F2.8-4R LM OIS | tripods, flashes, filters etc ||

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    I'm hoping that in a couple of months I'll have the Nikon mount version of the Tamron 150-600.

    If you think of it as a 150-400mm lens, apparently you wont be disappointed.
    I've searched high and low about as much info as I could on this lens. And this seems to be a repeated conclusion among most reviews.

    At a pinch you could use 500mm with good results, just don't expect too much at 600mm!

    My reasons are that I have a massive blank spot between 200 and 500mm with the tiny 500 mirror lens to be 'replaced' with this Tamron.
    This lens seems to be right on the millimeters for me .. I just hope it's as good as the test have indicated it to be.
    Nikon D800E, D300, D70s
    {Nikon} -> 50/1.2 : 500/8(CPU'd) : 105/2.8VR Micro : 180/2.8ais : 105mm f/1.8ais : 24mm/2ais
    {Sigma}; ->10-20/4-5.6 : 50/1.4 : 12-24/4.5-5.6II : 150-600mm|S
    {Tamron}; -> 17-50/2.8 : 28-75/2.8 : 70-200/2.8 : 300/2.8 SP MF : 24-70/2.8VC


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    Quote Originally Posted by RJD View Post
    I have the Canon 100-400, I like it ... but there are times I wish it had a little more reach. One thing that might be a consideration for you, did you realise it is a push/pull focus? If you plan on pointing it up in the air a lot, I would suggest looking at the others. If the slide is running fairly easily, the weight of it will make it move when you point it up or down. It can be tightened so it doesn't move when you don't want it to, but then it is a bit slower changing focus too.

    I'm trying to pretend that Tamron one doesn't exist and that I don't want it. I'm not doing very well
    Yes, the push-pull focus might be an issue at air shows, I hadn't thought of that. And I think I'm leaning towards the Tamron at the moment - that extra reach sound really good.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by kevinj View Post
    I have the Sigma 150-500mm and love it,it produces great images and is surprisingly comfortable to hand hold on my 70D with grip,the grip seems to help balance it a bit better.
    The Sigma 150-500mm gets pretty good user reviews, as does the 50-500mm. Decisions, decisions!!

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by arthurking83 View Post
    I'm hoping that in a couple of months I'll have the Nikon mount version of the Tamron 150-600.

    If you think of it as a 150-400mm lens, apparently you wont be disappointed.
    I've searched high and low about as much info as I could on this lens. And this seems to be a repeated conclusion among most reviews.

    At a pinch you could use 500mm with good results, just don't expect too much at 600mm!

    My reasons are that I have a massive blank spot between 200 and 500mm with the tiny 500 mirror lens to be 'replaced' with this Tamron.
    This lens seems to be right on the millimeters for me .. I just hope it's as good as the test have indicated it to be.
    Yeah, some of the test results look pretty good. Its very tempting, this one.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Thanks for all the advice everyone. Looks like its now narrowed down to 3, the 2 Sigmas and the Tamron.

    Still plenty of thinking & research to do!!
    Last edited by Doc63; 18-06-2014 at 6:00pm.

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    Arch-Σigmoid Ausphotography Regular ameerat42's Avatar
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    FWIW I have a Sigma 50-500. (About $1250, actually, which was all could afford.) I have had no issues with it.
    Conversely, I don't want to tell you to get it. More FYI, I suppose. I did also get a Sig 2X converter, but I don't use it that much,
    because of the light loss and lack of AF with it on.
    Am.
    CC, Image editing OK.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ameerat42 View Post
    FWIW I have a Sigma 50-500. (About $1250, actually, which was all could afford.) I have had no issues with it.
    Conversely, I don't want to tell you to get it. More FYI, I suppose. I did also get a Sig 2X converter, but I don't use it that much,
    because of the light loss and lack of AF with it on.
    Am.
    Thanks for that ameerat. Do you use it hand held? Would it be manageable at an airshow?

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    Arch-Σigmoid Ausphotography Regular ameerat42's Avatar
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    1. Yes.
    2. Hmm, depends on focal length used. Mmm-mm! I'd struggle.
    Am.

    PS: 1. deserves some expansion: with OS set to 1 (to save power) I have had very few blurs
    unless I was getting too excited at about 1/100sec or longer.

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    The Tamron seems to be getting some good reviews, particularly this one by Dustin Abbott:

    http://dustinabbott.net/2014/01/tamron-sp-150-600mm-f5-6-3-di-vc-usd-review/

    The following review, on YouTube, experienced some autofocus issues when used with a Canon. It was sent away for a firmware upgrade, and was then given a good review:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mihYSbKOisU

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    I was making a similar decision this time last year.
    I went with the Canon 100-400.
    No issues with it to date.
    Push/Pull zoom isn't a factor.
    Bought it new from PhotoContinental in Brisbane for $1600.
    Mark

    Canon 70D w/Grip l Canon 60D w/Grip l EF 100-400 f4.5-5.6L IS USM l EF 70-200 f4L IS USM l EF-S 15-85 f3.5-5.6 IS USM l EF 100 f2.8 USM Macro l EF-S 18-55 f3.5-5.6 IS STM l EF 50 f1.8 II l Canon EF-S 10-22 f3.5-4.5 USM l 430 EX II Flash l Rode Stereo VideoMic l Manfrotto 055XPROB + 498RC2 Tripod l Benro MP-96 M8 Monopod l Lowepro Vertex 200 AW Backpack l Lowepro Pro Runner 300 AW Backpack l PS CS5 Extended l Lightroom 4.3

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    Ausphotography Veteran MattNQ's Avatar
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    I use nikon, but from experience I find push pull zoom a quicker action for sport & action . They have been known to suck a little dust though.

    Sent from earth using Tapatalk 2
    Matt
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    I have had both the 100-400 and 50 - 500. I did not get on with the 50-500 very well. I found it produced very soft images. As for handheld / monopod - get a nice tall monopod. You will thank yourself after an hour.

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    Arch-Σigmoid Ausphotography Regular ameerat42's Avatar
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    I haven't found softness to be an issue at all, being quite with what it has done when working normally.
    (Yes, I've muffed some shots.) But I have nothing to compare it with. Could it be something with that lens itself?
    Given that Neil wants to use it at an airshow, I'm wondering if speed of action is important. Well, it's a heavy lens and
    I agree that the twist focus would be a problem.
    Am.
    Last edited by ameerat42; 21-06-2014 at 9:10am.

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    Hi Neil
    I've employed both the Canon 100-400 and the Sigma 150-500 all over the planet for quite a few years and both have captured many great wildlife images.
    Both are eminently hand-holdable for birds in flight (albatrosses, raptors, hornbills, tropic birds...) but my go-to would be the Canon.
    For backlit rainforest canopy shots of orang-utans or lemurs, sturdy CF Gitzo monopods have been no-brainers - these are not fast lenses.
    At the long end, neither of these lenses comes remotely close to the image quality achieved by my Canon 500mm f/4 L II. With a 1.4x TC, that's 700mm f/5.6.
    When transport circumstances permit, I prefer to take a 70-200 mm f/2.8 L IS II ( and 1.4x) and a long prime on two bodies even after considering the Canon 200-400.
    I recommend you read Bryan Carnathan's review at http://www.the-digital-picture.com/R...-USD-Lens.aspx

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