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Thread: 100-400L vs Bigma for action shots with 1D Mk II

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    Member amsm's Avatar
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    100-400L vs Bigma for action shots with 1D Mk II

    Yet another "which lens thread"

    I am trying to decide between these lenses at the moment, so any advice gratefully received. I intend to use it for action shots, shooting footy/soccer and surf lifesaving, using a 1D Mk II.

    With the dollar at the moment, the Canon is almost the same price as the Bigma usually is, so it's pretty attractive.

    My main criteria are image quality and AF speed. Surf lifesaving in particular often has objects (people, boats, waves) moving towards the shooter at a great rate of knots, so AF speed is critical.

    In terms of image quality, I hear mixed things about the Bigma, which seems to be the main criticism.

    The main downsides I hear about the Canon are the push-pull zoom and the description "dust pump".

    The extra 150mm reach on the bigma would be nice, but is less of an issue than the other two factors.

    So, advice, war-stories etc appreciated, especially from those that have switched between these particular lenses (if so, why did you change ?). Almost all my other lenses are Canon L's, so would I regret jumping ship ?

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    Account Closed Wayne's Avatar
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    I once wanted a bigma, I then saw quite a few examples of typical output from that lens, and I decided I no longer wanted it. Often very soft at the long end.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wayne View Post
    I once wanted a bigma, I then saw quite a few examples of typical output from that lens, and I decided I no longer wanted it. Often very soft at the long end.
    I've heard this can be a problem with some of them, yet others swear by them. I guess I've just been spoiled by the IQ of the 28-70 f2.8/L and the 70-200 f4/L and later the f2.8/L. I'd love to be able to just get a 400 prime, but I either have to have the zoom, or carry a second body with a shorter lens and my budget don't stretch that far (and nor do I really want to lug a whole other setup up and down the beach all day) !

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    Canon or Bigma: these are very long zooms (in length/range) and not particularly fast.

    You can't expect them to perform like a prime. Having said that, I'm happy, so far, with my Bigma
    Canon 7D : Canon EF 70-200mm f:2.8 L IS II USM - Canon EF 24-105 f:4 L IS USM - Canon EF 50mm f:1.8 - Canon EF-s 18-55mm f:3.5-5.6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scotty72 View Post
    Canon or Bigma: these are very long zooms (in length/range) and not particularly fast.

    You can't expect them to perform like a prime. Having said that, I'm happy, so far, with my Bigma
    Thanks Scotty...I wasn't expecting prime performance, hence the comment about wishing I could get one. How do you rate the AF performance of the Bigma vs the 70-200 f2.8/L I see you have in your sig ?

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    Ausphotography Regular Brian500au's Avatar
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    Although I have never used the Bigma I have used the combination of the 1DMK11 and the 100-400. I primarily used this for my son's sporting days (little aths, junior football etc). I have to say I was never overly impressed with the speed of the lens for sport. Maybe it was just my skill level at the time, but I used to walk away a little disappointed with my keeper rate. There were times i used a 1.4x but i stopped using this as it made the matter a little worse (plus losing 1 more stop again).

    As a lens to take to the zoo, it was brilliant - so that is why i think it was more my skill level with sporting shots. I eventually sold this lens as my son stopped playing junior sport and it was just too expensive to have sitting around. It might be worthwhile checking what lens other sports togs are using, as focus speed is critical for a sports tog.
    www.kjbphotography.com.au

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    The bigma is the 50-500 right ?

    I'm of the understanding that the 120-400 is better re speed and iq
    Darren
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    are you serious? Shelley's Avatar
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    I had the bigma (50-500) and I tried to capture birds in flight - very frustrating as it has a slow focus. So I would imagine it would not really be much good for action shots. Beautiful lens, but like all lens has its limitations. Have not used the 100-400 - so no comment really.
    Shelley
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    I am older than I look. peterb666's Avatar
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    I think "prime" performance is a bit generous but you do get good bang for buck. That's at 500mm and f/7.1 and the shot was taken in early morning.


    Maroubra 1 by peterb666, on Flickr

    Have a look on my flickr site for a small number of other surfing shots. I had a play with the Sigma 150-500, Sigma 100-300 f/4 and Nikon 80-200 f/2.8 (a non OS lens) within minutes of each other. The Nikon and Sigma 150-500 cost about the same but these lenses complement each other. The Sigma 100-300 seemed like a good compromise but later on inspecting the photos, I didn't like the bokeh as much as the others. I bought the Sigma 150-500 a week later

    I haven't noticed the softness over 400mm that some have claimed.

    Scotty has only had his bigma for a week or so and I have only had mine for less than a month. I cannot help you with any unique observations on a Canon body or a comparison to the Canon 100-400 f/4 which I believe is very good.

    Points to note are that the Canon is 2/3rd stop faster and smaller and lighter that the bigma but the Canon costs twice as much. The Canon should be marginally better focussing in low light but I am just guessing on that. Certainly, the Sigma does focus quickly in good light

    Note that there is also a Sigma 120-400 f/4.5-5.6 which is more comparable to the Canon as far as reach and speed goes. It is even cheaper than the 150-500 f/5-6.3.

    Of course closer in price to the 100-400 Canon is the Sigma Lens 50-500mm f/4.5-6.3 lens (there are two versions of this one with OS and the other without). This is supposed to be a superior lens to the 150-500 (according to owners), but I haven't seen that confirmed in tests. The OS version costs about 50% more - most owners of this lens swear by it but I believe there are some optical sacrifices for the sake of the 10x zoom range.

    I have only shot surf pictures 3 times. Twice using an Olympus E-P1 and Panasonic 45-200mm zoom (effective focal length 90-400mm) and once with the Sigma 150-500 on my Nikon D90. To say it is chalk and cheese is an understatement. I find the Sigma 150-500 adequate for the purpose. You DO need the 500mm reach and that’s the bottom line. I found the range of zoom about right and a sturdy tripod head helps.
    Last edited by peterb666; 10-01-2011 at 11:38pm.
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    I used a 100-400 with 1DsMkII for surfing quite a lot and it had fantastic response time and was great at the 'long' end. I'd recommend it.
    Odille

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    When I was looking around, the 150-500 or the 100-400 were my option (too many bad reviews about the 50-500 - I guess 10x is too big a range to avoid distortion)

    Too be honest, both have their fans as well as detractors: a mate had a 100-400 but sold it because he thought it was rubbish- I've heard the same for the sigma. But, at half the price, the sigma is much better value for money. I just couldn't justify 2x the cost for perhaps a slightly better lens.

    Of course, the 70-200 f2.8 is far better And focuses like lightning - shorter reach & range, much wider aperture and 3x the price - so, it had better be better

    Scotty

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    I had the 100-400 for a couple of months, but sold it and bought a sigma 100-300 f4, f4 gave me twice the SS over 5.6, so when the light isn't great, I'm able to keep my SS's up without having to push the ISO too high.

    As for dust, both the canon and the bigma's barrels extend out a fair bit, so whether you're twisting or pulling to zoom, the lens barrels are still moving in and out, plus I would've thought the canon would have better sealing than the sigma.

    I've since added a sigma 1.4x TC to the 100-300, so now I have the option of a 140-420 5.6, and while the AF speed does drop, IQ still seems good at 5.6, and gets better when you start to close it down.

    Here are a couple with the 100-300 and 1.4x TC, both shots have been slightly cropped.

    This one @ 420mm and 5.6


    snapper rocks by dulvariprestige, on Flickr

    This one @ 210mm and 6.3


    seagull sigma 100-300mmf4 by dulvariprestige, on Flickr
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    I have the 100-400 with my 5D2 (and 50D when doing fast action things - as this body has a higher fps rate). Great lens!
    The "dust pump" thing is bs. Used this lens in some pretty dusty environments (country roads, beach) and never noticed any dust getting in the lens. Yhis is a professionally built lens with excellent seals.
    AF is reasonably fast.
    For examples see some of my surf and bird shots on Flickr.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shelley View Post
    I had the bigma (50-500) and I tried to capture birds in flight - very frustrating as it has a slow focus. So I would imagine it would not really be much good for action shots. Beautiful lens, but like all lens has its limitations. Have not used the 100-400 - so no comment really.
    have a look here BIF all taken with the 50-500mm Sigma......

    http://www.smugmug.com/gallery/3188300_Z5ena

    as a birding lens, great value for money.....

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    A. P's Culinary Indiscriminant mongo's Avatar
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    Mongo does not have any of these lenses but was thinking of the 150-500 at one time so did quite a bit of research on this, the 120-400 and the 100-300 sigmas.

    First, as far as Mongo understands, the 50-500 is the" bigma" - not the 150-500.

    Mongo has looked at the MTF charts - which are not the do all and end all but give a relative evaluation comparing apples with apples.

    The older design 50-500 was slightly better than the more modern 150-500. Additionally, the 50-500 received consistently better write -ups than the 150-500.

    The 100-300 was the fastest and had the best IQ and MTF results of the sigmas under discussion.

    By comparison, the 120-400 received the least impressive write-ups of all these sigmas.

    From the results Mongo has seen, the canon 100-400 is the best for IQ.

    Of course all the lenses have their strengths and weaknesses whether at the long or shorter end. That is why it is often difficult to get a definitive overall view of any lens.

    In all the above, Mongo has only been interested in the IQ performance of the lenses and not other factors such as AF accuracy , speed, handling etc.
    Last edited by mongo; 13-01-2011 at 10:07pm.
    Nikon and Pentax user



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    are you serious? Shelley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Big Pix View Post
    have a look here BIF all taken with the 50-500mm Sigma......

    http://www.smugmug.com/gallery/3188300_Z5ena

    as a birding lens, great value for money.....
    Don't get me wrong, I loved the bigma and got some fantastic photos - I had to work harder. I didn't sell because of the focus as I got BIF with it, but after using the 400 prime there is a difference, which I noticed. I didn't mean it was no good for birding - as it is. My main focus in birding seems to be BIF and the 400 suits me.

    Also I am small, so the weight was an issue as well when I tried hand holding - which you need at times for BIF.

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    There is a learning curve with most lens and the 50-500 Sigma is no exception....... most of the shots in the above link where shot using a D2Xs and a shoulder brace, which helps with panning...... I have images that are 4 feet and 3 feet X 2 feet framed on my walls shot with this lens. They are nice and sharp

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    are you serious? Shelley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Big Pix View Post
    There is a learning curve with most lens and the 50-500 Sigma is no exception....... most of the shots in the above link where shot using a D2Xs and a shoulder brace, which helps with panning...... I have images that are 4 feet and 3 feet X 2 feet framed on my walls shot with this lens. They are nice and sharp
    Cool. I know the lens well Big Pix and it seems to suit your needs - that is good.

    I must print my images and put them up on the wall as well - especially my bird of prey. I still have not done that. I know my husband wants them up.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dulvariprestige View Post
    .....
    This one @ 210mm and 6.3


    seagull sigma 100-300mmf4 by dulvariprestige, on Flickr
    Looks like you were holding a hot chip over your head with your left hand......

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    Thanks to everyoe for their input and their samples. I'm currently leaning towards sticking with the Canon, mainly because a friend of mine has recently bought the Sigma and i not altogeher happy with it. I do know though, that for everyone who isn't happy, there's probably at least one who is.

    I have also noticed a $200 or more price drop at D-D recently, so I may pounce soon !

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