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Thread: Review - Canon 70-200 f2.8 IS vs. Sigma 70-200 f2.8 EX HSM

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    Review - Canon 70-200 f2.8 IS vs. Sigma 70-200 f2.8 EX HSM

    Hello fellow Ausphotographers, just thought I'd help out where possible and do a brief review on these two lenses. I hope this helps with your decision.


    Lens Sample Archives.
    Canon 70-200 f2.8 IS

    Sigma 70-200 EX HSM


    Dimensions.
    Data from DPreview.
    Canon 70-200
    51.9 oz(1470g)3.4 x 7.7"(86 x 197mm)77mm
    Sigma 70-200
    48.3 oz(1370g)3.4 x 7.3"(87 x 184mm)77mm

    Sharpness Tests.

    Canon 40d - ISO 100 - AV mode - Tripod - 10 Sec Delay - Live View Focus - Unedited RAW-JPG conversion.

    At 2.8 the Canon clearly beats the Sigma in sharpness and contrast, however past f5.6 there is almost no difference. The Canon's colour reproduction is much better at all apertures, however some colour detail is lost at smaller apertures. Tests below.
    70MM








    200mm









    Brokeh


    Almost identical in every photo I took, Canon's contrast is still much better




    Mount and Build Quality
    The Canon's build quality and "presence" is far beyond that of the Sigma. It's mount is made of higher quality material and fits better, something important if keeping the rain out of the camera is needed.

    Street Price
    Sigma - $799US - $999 AU.
    Canon - $1699US - $2599AU.

    Verdict
    With the price difference to large, amatures and semi-pros looking to shoot with a quality telephoto will find the Sigma more than enough. If your a good photographer, or just plain rich, the Canon provides some slight extra sharpness and IQ at a big price. For me, I use a tripod/monopod where I can, and have stable hands, so the IS feature will never come into the equation.

    If your shooting soccer in a cave, and cannot bring a tripod because you and the other thirty photographers in the sardine can have no room, get the Canon!

    The Sigma is half the price, but certainly 4/5ths the lens.




    Disclaimer
    Nikon photographers may get overly excited when you pop out the white lens. Use with caution.

    Canon 5d MKII w/ Grip - Canon 40d w/Grip - Canon 17-40 f4L - Canon 17-55 f2.8ISL - Canon 60mm f2.8 Macro - Canon 24-70 f2.8L - Sigma 30mm f1.4 - Canon 50mm f1.4 - Canon 85mm f1.8 - Canon 70-200 f2.8L - 580EXII - 580EX

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    Thanks for this little comparison. Read a lot of reviews and it is nice to see them side by side.
    Michael.

    Camera: Canon EOS 400D w/ Battery Grip (BG-E3)
    Lenses: Sigma 10-20, Sigma 24-70, Canon 50 f/1.8 & Sigma 70-200
    Software: Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 1.4 and Photoshop CS3
    Photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mrjorge/

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    Thanks for the review. I have just started contemplating the purchase of the canon 70-200 2.8 or 2.8IS. I'll be using it for indoor low light conditions mostly so IQ and something that is tack sharp at 2.8 is pretty important. I have terrible shaky hands syndrome which i am working on so IS is also important. I like the 2.8 IS

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    Thanks for the great review. Would be interesting to see how the sigma does in comparison with the Canon f4 IS version seeing that they're priced about the same, give or take a couple hundred.

    Nath
    NATH
    * Canon 50D * 28mm 1.8 * 10-22mm 3.5-4.5 * 17-50mm 2.8 * 70-200mm 4Lis * 580EX II *
    * Canon S5is * Manfrotto 479-4B & 718B * Crumpler 5 & 7 million dollar home *

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    Quote Originally Posted by twofruitz View Post
    The Sigma is half the price, but certainly 4/5ths the lens.
    True to what I've found comparing the 70-200 VR and Sigma on my D300.
    Adam.


    AGSPhotos.com

    Using Nikon & PS CS5.

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    This lens is my #1 wedding lens. IMO it is by a long shot the best portrait zoom lens on the planet.
    It's well built, very very quick to focus and also quiet. Weight is an issue for some people but you do get used to it. I know plenty of female photographers that use this lens on a 5D or 40D body wit a grip and after a while it's just what you get used to.

    Don't think you can skimp out on the Sigma and get the results that this lens will give you because it just won't happen. The IS is also a god send.... Tripods make me feel like I'm in a straight jacket and the IS will ( if you have a reasonably steady hand ) let you take a sharp shot at 200mm at 1/20th.

    If you can afford it get it. If you are in two minds then save up some more pennies first.

    You will find many shots with this lens on my web site.

    Cheers
    paul
    www.paulmacphotography.com

    If it wasn't for physics and law enforcement I'd be un-stoppable!


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    A good comparison.

    The Canon is definitely sharper and has more saturated colours - that's what I like.

    If you like that and have the money - get it (I'm still debating over to 70-200 f/2.8L IS/non-IS ;>)
    Canon 5D | BG-E4 battery grip | 17-40mm f/4L zoom | 50mm f/1.4 prime | 24-70mm f/2.8L zoom | 300mm f/4L IS prime | 1.4x III teleconverter| 580EX II flash | Velbon Sherpa 600n tripod | Lowepro Nova 3AW bag | Various Singh-Ray Filters

    Wish List | 100mm f/2.8 macro

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    New Member HappySnapper's Avatar
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    Hi twofruitz,

    Thanks for the review, some great photographs for us to compare there !!

    I was thinking though, while you (very correctly) mention the significiant price differential against the Canon beast, would not a more fair comparison be to the non-IS Canon lens ?

    Given the premium Canon charge for their IS lens compared to their non-IS lens, the price differential between the Sigma and the non-IS would be no-where near as the price differential you mention when comparing the Sigma Vs the IS Canon lens.

    Once again, thanks for the review,

    Just my $A 0.02


    HappySnapper.

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    Member R1titan's Avatar
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    Good review and comparison shots....

    The Canon at 70mm wide open has such impressive contrast and color saturation...
    just wondering why this contrast deteriorates when stopped down?

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    [Street Price
    Sigma - $799US - $999 AU.
    Canon - $1699US - $2599AU.


    Not sure on sigma but with the price increase you are looking around $2900-3200au now
    Photoshop CS4 and lightroom 2 (lI know a little bit but am learning )
    Constructive Critique of my images always appreciated
    Feel free to re work my images, just please let me know what you did, and how you did it so I can learn
    Stu .
    my website
    my gallery

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    not sure on the sigma new price on the canon is $2900-3100 ouch

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    the sharpness is definitely better in the canon, sigma do have massive QC issues tho so that may just be an alignment issue in your copy.
    paulmac: "handheld 200mm at 1/20th" really? even with IS thats still very slow, i might give it a try if i was resting on something, but flat out standing up and taking a shot handheld at those specs would be pretty tough, also you are also taking a shot of something stationary i assume heh.

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    Apart from the image quality there are some big issues that carry a bit more weight.

    The build of the canon lens not only gives the owner a lot more confidence in using the lens it will last longer and maintain a higher resale value.

    Comparing the price of these two makes no sense as one is built for proffessional photography standard and one is not.
    Shoot first ask questions later.

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    I use the Canon 70-200 f/2.8 IS USM and love it
    Canon 7D with various lenses...

    Zoom In With Eden Photography http://zoominwitheden.com

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter View Post
    .....
    Comparing the price of these two makes no sense as one is built for proffessional photography standard and one is not.
    SO!.... are you saying that the Canon is not built for professional use?

    The assumption that only Canon(or Nikon, or anyone else!!) make 'professional' use lenses is completely false, and most photographers will tell you that the most professional lenses won't carry the name Canon (nor Nikon).

    From what I can see(in these samples) is that the Sigma @ f/5.6 make a very compelling argument against choosing the Canon, but then again we don't make those kinds of choices based on a few sample images now, do we?

    As for build... I couldn't see anything wrong with the quality of the Sigma, and I think that anyone that assumes the Sigma is lacking in that area, is blinded by name branding(gear snobbery) for the sake of name brand loyalty, and in reality no other reason!

    As for this notion that third party 'pro quality' lenses not maintaining a high resale value(compared to their genuine manufacturer competitors!!).... it's utter rubbish!

    Once it's been proven(with a few factual statistics).... I'll retract that comment, but it sounds too much like re-iterating the same 'ol garbage that someone else said somewhere else on the net(but is also yet to prove it).

    My bet is that they maintain a roughly similar level of devaluation over a similar period, taking into account a similar level of use/abuse.

    If that was to be somehow proven, it actually makes the third party lens less of an actual hit in the pocket(in terms of raw dollars) as the initial purchase price was so much lower.

    so as an example: say 75% resale value for the Canon and 70% retained value for the Sigma.. a S/H Canon is now worth roughly $2K, and the Sigma may be $900.
    You lost approx $600 on the resale of the Canon, whereas Joe Smart only loses about $300.

    Would you seriously risk a saving of only $300 for a S/H Canon, with no warranty and a more probable fault to deal with(why is the seller selling?? ), whereas with the purchase of the Sigma, the most likely reason for selling is the false assumption that an upgrade to the Canon, or Nikon equivalent will give better results!

    Resale values are a silly reason to purchase a lens anyhow.. if you want an investment, get shares in blue chip stocks.. if you want good value for money camera gear, weigh up all the options before committing.

    One reason to consider the upgrade would be the optical stabilisation feature(and I've been weighing that up for my Tamron to Nikon switch one day). For no other reason other than I want VR. Build quality and lens performance is up to par, more than enough and I'd have no hesitation in taking the Tammy(or Sigma, from what I've seen of it) anywhere!
    So much so, that I actually do that... I take it everywhere!


    .. and yes it's still in one piece
    I'd just wished that Tamron was smarter, and had their VC(optical stabilisation) system in their 70-200/2.8, instead of the consumer grade lenses only!
    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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    I just got a Sigma 70-200mm EX F2.8 II after a long think. For me, $ is an issue, it was either purchase a single Canon 70-200mm F2.8 IS new for about $2500 locally or have 2 Sigma lens for the same cost. The other lens I got is the Sigma 120-400mm OS EX.

    I have now received both lens, I just can't be happier in owning both these lens. I think value for money, the Sigma wins hands down. Image quality is up there with the Canon, I have a 1D MKIII and it works just fine.

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    Quote Originally Posted by arthurking83 View Post
    SO!.... are you saying that the Canon is not built for professional use?

    The assumption that only Canon(or Nikon, or anyone else!!) make 'professional' use lenses is completely false, and most photographers will tell you that the most professional lenses won't carry the name Canon (nor Nikon).

    From what I can see(in these samples) is that the Sigma @ f/5.6 make a very compelling argument against choosing the Canon, but then again we don't make those kinds of choices based on a few sample images now, do we?

    As for build... I couldn't see anything wrong with the quality of the Sigma, and I think that anyone that assumes the Sigma is lacking in that area, is blinded by name branding(gear snobbery) for the sake of name brand loyalty, and in reality no other reason!

    As for this notion that third party 'pro quality' lenses not maintaining a high resale value(compared to their genuine manufacturer competitors!!).... it's utter rubbish!

    Once it's been proven(with a few factual statistics).... I'll retract that comment, but it sounds too much like re-iterating the same 'ol garbage that someone else said somewhere else on the net(but is also yet to prove it).

    My bet is that they maintain a roughly similar level of devaluation over a similar period, taking into account a similar level of use/abuse.

    If that was to be somehow proven, it actually makes the third party lens less of an actual hit in the pocket(in terms of raw dollars) as the initial purchase price was so much lower.

    so as an example: say 75% resale value for the Canon and 70% retained value for the Sigma.. a S/H Canon is now worth roughly $2K, and the Sigma may be $900.
    You lost approx $600 on the resale of the Canon, whereas Joe Smart only loses about $300.

    Would you seriously risk a saving of only $300 for a S/H Canon, with no warranty and a more probable fault to deal with(why is the seller selling?? ), whereas with the purchase of the Sigma, the most likely reason for selling is the false assumption that an upgrade to the Canon, or Nikon equivalent will give better results!

    Resale values are a silly reason to purchase a lens anyhow.. if you want an investment, get shares in blue chip stocks.. if you want good value for money camera gear, weigh up all the options before committing.

    One reason to consider the upgrade would be the optical stabilisation feature(and I've been weighing that up for my Tamron to Nikon switch one day). For no other reason other than I want VR. Build quality and lens performance is up to par, more than enough and I'd have no hesitation in taking the Tammy(or Sigma, from what I've seen of it) anywhere!
    So much so, that I actually do that... I take it everywhere!


    .. and yes it's still in one piece
    I'd just wished that Tamron was smarter, and had their VC(optical stabilisation) system in their 70-200/2.8, instead of the consumer grade lenses only!
    I was speaking from experience that I have arthurking83.

    I take my lenses out into the bush for wildlife and from my experience I have had a sigma fall apart on me and then to get reairs it had to be sent overseas. From my experience the sigma cannot handle the same amount of tough going as the canon lenses.

    The reson I pay more money for the canon is not because of brand loyalty or snobbery but because from my experience the canon lenes will get the job done and it will be available for the next job.

    Problems I have had with the sigma include the soldering on the zoom drive failing, never had this with the canon so if I go bush it will be a canon.

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    Yep! fair enough, but I'm sure there are many people out there with stories of how durable the Sigma(or whatever other brand) lens can be.

    I'm thinking that this incident may be an isolated one rather than the standard definition of how durable the Sigma 70-200/2.8 lens is.

    I'm sure they wouldn't be so popular, with more users than the Canon equivalent lens ever hopes to achieve, as the Sigma is targeted at a wider audience(wider user base in other brands) and as it;s cheaper, by default you'd expect a much larger sample base to calculate a durability conclusion!

    So what you are saying though is that because the lens is manufactured by Canon to a higher durability level it's completely immune to any kind of breakages or wear and tear?
    ie. That Canon have never had to repair any of the thousands of 70-200mm f/2.8's.... ever!?!?... since it's introduction to market?
    That's quite a reputation to have I reckon

    Your experience is most valued(by anyone considering this kind of lens), and not to be discounted.. but to make a blanket statement about a product's durability, based only on one experience is misleading.

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    Moderately Underexposed I @ M's Avatar
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    As another ( happy ) Sigma owner I will stick in my two bobs worth.

    70-200 bought secondhand and been everywhere.
    Had to have a "chip" fitted to correct focus issues, cost $88.00.
    The newer versions can have the existing chip rewritten in Australia at a slightly less cost if needed.
    I have never doubted the sharpness of the lens but with the focus issues it never excelled.
    Most lenses are sharper a stop down from wide open aren't they?

    Sorry about the boring picture but it ranks up there with diswash liquid bottles and brick walls but a long way behind flowers.

    Nikon D200 Sigma 70-200 @ 200mm 1/1250 F/2.8 ISO 100
    Colour mode 3 with increased saturation in the camera.
    There is NO in camera or PP sharpening in this shot, the only adjustment was to correct the white balance with a white and black control point on the sign due to some idiot leaving the white balance on auto.

    Full frame.


    100% screen crop


    The lens has cost under 1k so far, is at least 4 years old and comparing it to buying the Nikon equivalent which is an extremely good lens with VR I really can't justify the extra $$$.
    Don't be put off buy so called quality control problems, they exist with every brand these days.
    Andrew
    Nikon, Fuji, Nikkor, Sigma, Tamron, Tokina and too many other bits and pieces to list.



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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by I @ M View Post
    As another ( happy ) Sigma owner I will stick in my two bobs worth.

    .....


    Don't be put off buy so called quality control problems, they exist with every brand these days.
    QC issues are one of the points I was trying to allude too here Andrew, but I didn't want to introduce Helmut's issues into the equation

    Personally the only issue I see as wrong with the Sigma and Tamron equivalents is that optical stabilisation is missing! At their price points, and I'd say for only a couple of hundred dollars more(if that!), they are insane for not offering it on this level of gear, and only on their consumer models.

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