The Sigma 120-400mm f/4.5-5.6 DG OS HSM is a tele lens for FF and APS-C, manufactured from 2008 to 2015 (discontinued). The focus is done by Ultrasonic AF Motor (Ring-USM), it has image stabilization. The average price, when it has been added to the JuzaPhoto database, is 750 €;
63 users have given it an average vote of 8.7 out of 10.
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Pros: Construction; Stabilisation; Affordability now secondhand; HSM AF fast and quiet; Zoom lock (essential, but can be fiddly and difficult to engage)
Cons: Weight, far too heavy for its specification - the figure given in the Juza spec is 100g less than it really is; AF apparently incompatible with lower end DSLRs; Stabilisation on mine is noisy
Opinion: I'll say this honestly that comparing this lens in all manners to its predecessor, which I had (and mostly hated) the 135-400mm Apo, is like comparing an old Skoda with a Passat, but is still way off the mark of the lens that I will one day buy, Nikon's new G 80-400mm VR. I used to own Nikon's old D 80-400mm with its very basic VR and poor 400mm sharpness but traded it in for exchange for this Sigma's bigger brother, the very popular and transforming 150-500mm OS, which I still have and occasionally still use.
Sigma have, of course, replaced that lens with yet another leap forward in every aspect, with the two 150-600mm's. They have not replaced the 120-400mm, however and are unlikely to, everybody wants longer and longer focal lengths, of course. But those lenses (and my 150-500mm) are just too big and heavy to carry around as a general purpose long zoom, whereas the new Nikkor 80-400mm G is around the size and weight of a 70-200mm f2.8, big, yes, massive, no.
Even on DX, 400mm is generally too short for birds and wildlife, unless you are in a hide, in which case you probably specialise in wildlife photography and so have a better fixed lens, with the possibility of extending via matched extenders. My friend, who passed on this 120-400mm to me for a modest sum, bought it for birds on his D800, found it too short and far too heavy - and has recently gone to Mirrorless anyway.
I use a 400mm for its isolation and compression properties in the landscape, both rural and urban. 25% more telephoto gain over my Tamron SP 70-300mm VC might not seem much but it can make a real difference. However, the Sigma weighs 1kg more than the already quite heavy Tamron 70-300mm VC, yet in partnership with a Nikkor 18-140mm VR and 10-24mm Nikkor, in a rucksack, makes for a weighty but not too uncomfortable way of having the range in 35mm terms, 15-600mm, in just three lenses, all with good to excellent quality on the D7100.
As for sharpness, the Sigma 120-400mm is good but nothing much more than that. Often its haze and poor light that seiously degrades image quality and in theory should be similar to the 150-500mm. Amateurs and enthusiasts will like it as you can get some very decent quality if you stop the lens down a bit and use it properly, but professionals will not. But professionals had the same attitude to the 150-500mm, but they could afford Canon L, the new Nikkor or exotic fixed lenses that cost the same as a good used car. I've generally avoided maximum aperture so cannot really say how well it performs at 400mm f5.6 but I guess that images would be usable and when some extra sharpness is added in processing. My Tamron 70-300mm SP would easily beat the Sigma at all focal lengths, even at its maximum of 300mm. I've not really tried at closest focus either.
So, I can only recommend if you're after reasonable and affordable quality and price and don't pay very much for one either. Reselling could be a problem in the future too, or at least for a decent price. For me, it's an interim stop gap but unlike that old and awful 135-400mm where I felt that my pictures were rather wasted by the often poor (especially 400mm) image quality, I know that this 120-400mm gets me good results for quite little money, but at 400g more than the new Nikkor 80-400mm, the overriding feeling is it's just a bit too heavy. In many aspects, 7/10 would be the right score but if you consider that it can be bought for £300 (500 Euro?) for a good used example and when compared to the alternatives and for the overall package (you also get a padded case, deep and decent hood, metal tripod collar) with its HSM focusing and effective stabilisation, then I have to award 8/10
Pros: quality, sharpness, easy to use, compatibility, silent
Cons: quite heavy
Opinion: fantastic lens... still learning how to pull the most out of it but already convinced by its quality and performance... great way to spend 1.000,00€... you will never regret the buy! absolutly fantastic! Even when attacehed to the Canon EF 1.4x converter, still can be operated with manual focus, at F:8 with no wories, sharp enough to get great moon pictures for instance...
The following opinions have been automatically translated with Google Translate.
Pros:Excellent sharpness and quick autofocus engraving compared with a apochromatic telescope of equal focal length 400 mm I can say that from the photos made with the two instruments do not see the difference and I'm talking about a fixed focal length telescope 70 mm diameter tested on new Orion as excellent brand Hayford so do you!!
Cons:Weight but it's such a serious flaw???
Opinion:For me it is worth a vote of 9 after having tried it for some years now certainly the weight is not small but it is due to the sturdy construction so better ' it goes from if I can better use it on a statin as I do from the camouflage shed for the wildlife photo but it's worth the P Ena ' cause we have a quality optics ' at a balanced price built in a solid and reliable
Pros:Handy, reliable, great storage, good sharpness and speed.
Cons:Absent AF limiter now suffers from the project in comparison with the current optical production.
Opinion:I used Sigma for two years, in situations of outdoor sports. I feel satisfied with both the sharpness and the down to the max focal point, as well as the ease of maneuverability. After all, I can say that after many positive reviews I had seen, I wanted to buy it for a challenge and I had to recapture. I recommend it especially to those who do not need extreme speed. Very good.
Pros:Excellent construction, excellent sharpness (maybe less than the extreme focal lengths at the maximum aperture), very fast and silent focus, excellent stabilizer, endowment. And do not forget the price.
Cons:Maybe a little bit of weight but also competition does not offer feathers. It would have been preferable to have the capability of removing the tripod bracket even with the lens mounted on the body.
Opinion:Excellent value for money. Used very little but with excellent results for both natural and sports photos. It has an instant focus and a high quality sharpness, maybe drops to the maximum apertures but to go safe just close a diaphragm. Having a good tripod could increase the satisfaction of getting great natural and sports photographs.
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