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AF Speed: Sigma 120-300mm vs Nikkor 300 f/2.8G AF-S VR
Sam Carleton, Photographer
Mason | OH | USA | Posted: 2:35 PM on 07.21.08
->> How does the Sigma 120-300's AF performance compare with the Nikon 300mm f/2.8G AF-S VR? I am looking at getting one of these lens for shooting High School football.
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Tom Suarez, Photographer
Austin | texas | USA | Posted: 2:42 PM on 07.21.08
->> I do not know about a comparison but I have the Sigma 120-300 2.8 and I shoot night football with it and it works really well. The focus is fast and smooth. I use it on Canon 40D and Mark IIn. Mine is about 3 years old so it is not the newer version. I think it is as sharp as my Canon 70-200 2.8. It is heavy and requires a mono pod though. IF you want to see samples from lens you can look at my site at and look under the sports folder and baseball. The little league game was shot with it and some of the photos were shot at night.
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Eric Canha, Photographer
Non Conforming | MA | United States | Posted: 3:40 PM on 07.21.08
->> Sam don't know if you saw this post.

Personally I have enough 3rd party paperweights that I've sworn off Sigma/Tokina/Tamron brands. Two things to keep in mind:

First the tolerances for the off brands is much wider than Nikon/Canon, so be sure that you can use/test/return numerous copies until you get one that works to your expectations. Second (and my biggest speed bump) When (not if) the lens finally needs service NPS will set me up with a loaner and even run interference for me if something goes awry in the shop.

My one and only experience getting a Tokina fixed left ME feeling more 'serviced' than the lens. Wasn't a good time.

As to the lens in question, one of the shooters that I've worked along side has one on a Canon. We both agreed that is was less than optimal. Soft @ 2.8 and while the focus was as fast it seemed to not stay locked on as well.

I don't know about the newest VR version but the AF-S II is a 100% solid performer.
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Mike Brice, Photographer
Toledo | OH | USA | Posted: 3:55 PM on 07.21.08
->> Do a test - the 120-300 isn't really 300.

If you can go to a store, and shoot something with both lenses, you'll know why the Nikon costs more and is worth it.

I used to have a 120-300 and now I have the Nikon 300/2.8 VR.

My only regret - I didn't buy the Nikon first.
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Gary Rather, Photographer
Santa Cruz | Ca | US | Posted: 6:31 PM on 07.21.08
->> Pretty much over the years. I have learned in the camera gear world. with a Canon / Nikon you really do get what you pay for.
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Kevin Clifford, Student/Intern, Photographer
Reno | NV | United States | Posted: 7:13 PM on 07.21.08
->> I used the sigma and it was slow and it backed-focused like crazy. Save the extra money and buy the Nikon.
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Ben Stewart, Student/Intern
Minneapolis | MN | USA | Posted: 7:25 PM on 07.21.08
->> I had a Sigma 120-300 a year ago and I now have a Canon 300 2.8

But I got rid of it for specific reasons, and I think mine was defective. The focus would work indoors under room temperature/warm conditions, but failed when out in the cold. As a resident of Minnesota, that's pretty unacceptable.
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Steve King, Photographer
Ann Arbor | MI | USA | Posted: 7:45 PM on 07.21.08
->> Sam,
As the rest have said, just go the Nikon route. I used a Sigma 120-300 for about 6-8 months and sold it to go all Nikon, and I haven't looked back. Although the reach is enticing, 120 to zoom out to 300 looks nice, and I think that is what gets people to go for it, yet I would say that at f2.8 it is always soft. Mine was pretty fast to focus, but still just slightly soft at f2.8, which just won't cut it. I didn't have the backfocusing issues, but you will also need to deal with the issue of the zoom ring working in the OPPOSITE direction of Nikon lenses. That bugged me. The Nikon 300mm is a great lens, period, even the AFS-II.
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Alvin Self, Photographer
Irving | TX | USA | Posted: 8:01 PM on 07.21.08
->> I have a 120 - 300 on a canon 40D and Mark ii body. It is a superb lens. I have used it for over a year.
The Dallas Morning News uses them in their lens pool.

Light Tech- a professional Lens and camera rental company says it is the only non OEM lens that they will use in their rental fleet. They can not keep them on their shelves during football season. I can tell you if the lens wasn't escellent they would'nt rent them.
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David Seelig, Photographer
Hailey | ID | USA | Posted: 8:23 PM on 07.21.08
->> I have heard Nikon users have better performance then us canon folk with the sigma. I found I had less critical sharp photos with the sigma then I get with the canon 300 2.8 . Nice lens but more for the high school sports crowd, then the pro sports crowd PS. I had 3 of themn before i got one without QC issues and even then it did not cut it.
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Ed Wolfstein, Photographer, Assistant
Burlington | VT | USA | Posted: 9:59 PM on 07.21.08
->> A really "old" thread about Sigma lenses - circa 2002...
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Thread Title: AF Speed: Sigma 120-300mm vs Nikkor 300 f/2.8G AF-S VR
Thread Started By: Sam Carleton
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