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Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 in Four Thirds Mount.

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I was just wondering if anyone has had experience with the Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 EX DG APO Macro HSM II (phew!) zoom lens? I am considering it as an alternative to the Oly 50-200. The Sigma has the advantage of internal focusing and zooming. My experience with Sigma lenses has generally been good. I see they have just released an OS version of this lens but that variant doesn't seem to be available in Four Thirds mount, not that that is likely to be an issue with anybody except E-1 users.

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  1. daphoto's Avatar
    Hey,

    This would be my first post, so here goes.

    As winter is cold and above all dark time here in Finland, I searched for a brighter lens for nature photography last year. I was contemplating on the Sigma 70-200mm and the Zuiko 50-200mm.

    I went for the Olympus without even keeping one in my hand. The main reasons were the weatherproofing (I'm shooting with the E-3) and the 20 extra mm. at the wide end.

    My mom and dad also shoot and they are doing so with two Olympus E-520s and they were also searching for an alternative to the 70-300 lens and also to get a longer lens for both of them. They went with the Sigma because it was cheaper and let's face it, a bit brighter at least at the long end.

    I've been fortunate enough to test them both, so what do I think? I'd still go for the Oly.

    Reasons are as follows:

    The Zuiko is more balanced, because it is a cylindrical shape. The Sigma is a cone shaped lens and it's really heavy on the "far" end. You can really feel that with a smaller body like the E-520. Maybe not so much of a problem with E-30 or the E-3.

    The deal breaker for me would be the auto-focus speed. Sigma is about two times slower than the Olympus. Not scientific, but I tested them both on my E-3 by keeping the lens cap on and went from nearest to farthest focus and back again. There really is a big difference.

    In good conditions both produce great sharp images, so it's all about the preferences here, price, auto-focus speed, ergonomics...you'll have to decide that for yourself. If possible, I'd go to the camera shop and try them both out if possible.

    Daphoto
  2. Jackbryant's Avatar
    I worked an air show for fun with my son. I use the Sigma in question and find it to be perfectly satisfactory. My son used it with my L1 to shoot many wonderful images of the USAF Thunderbirds in flight. One must always consider the best lens FOR THE MONEY, or we all would shoot Leica glass. I've had nothing but success with the Sigma.
  3. John Perriment's Avatar
    Two fine lenses so it really comes down to personal choice. Questions have been raised in the past about possible variation in Sigma IQ but I'm not sure if that is really an issue. I haven't handled the Sigma but have been fortunate enough to borrow a 50-200mm and it really is a belter.
  4. Rene's Avatar
    Hi,

    I've been using the Sigma lens on my E520 for a while now.
    It can make great shots with a nice sharpness and good contrast - but be aware - at wide open aperture it's quite soft and it suffering from chromatic aberration (green) in areas with great contrast !
    Not that much visible, as long you don't make a large crop of your shot.
    I've found, that (for me) the lens is working best in the following range:

    Best overall shapness @ 100mm @ F4.0-5.6
    - Sharpness @ 70mm @F4.0
    - Sharpness @ 200mm @ F4.0/8.0

    Value for the money: Acceptable - but next time I'll be saving my hard earned money and improving my skills as a photographer untill I'll be able to afford an Olympus/ZD lens !

    BR
    René
  5. Ledgem's Avatar
    In response to the first post, I don't think that keeping the lens cap on and then trying to focus, and watching which takes the longest, is a good way to gauge focus speed. The reason is that one lens may have a greater focusing range than the other.

    For example, I have the ZD 12-60mm SWD lens and Sigma's 50-500mm HSM lens. The 12-60mm is much faster in traversing the full range, and if you watch the distance dial, it seems much faster. Yet the 12-60mm's range is much less than the 50-500mm. If you look through the view finder to examine the general rate of adjustment, they seem to be roughly the same (and there's a big difference between them and non-SWD, non-HSM lenses).

    I've heard that Sigma's HSM doesn't perform as well on 4/3 bodies as it does on others. It may be true for certain lenses - I don't know. But I've certainly been very impressed by the performance of the 50-500mm's autofocus.