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206 of 209 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Lens
I'm a professional photographer[...] and until now, have never owned anything but Canon or Nikon lenses. For years I specialized in sports photography and the lenses I most often used were a 400 f:2.8 and a 600 f:4. I moved on to other fields of specialty and decided I didn't want to lug around that kind of weight and got rid of the big glass. Now, several years later,...
Published on November 16, 2008 by Gaylon Wampler

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79 of 94 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Another Sigma with calibration issues
I bought this lens after returning a 150-500 for back and front focusing issues on a Nikon D700. Well, the 120-400 suffered from the same problems. My copy had bad back focus at 400mm. Using the D700's AF Tune function I could compensate to get it to focus correctly at 400mm, but that introduced severe front focus issues from 120-250mm. Overall, I could get the 150-300mm...
Published on September 13, 2008 by bharada


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206 of 209 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Lens, November 16, 2008
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This review is from: Sigma 120-400mm f/4.5-5.6 AF APO DG OS HSM Telephoto Zoom Lens for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras (Electronics)
I'm a professional photographer[...] and until now, have never owned anything but Canon or Nikon lenses. For years I specialized in sports photography and the lenses I most often used were a 400 f:2.8 and a 600 f:4. I moved on to other fields of specialty and decided I didn't want to lug around that kind of weight and got rid of the big glass. Now, several years later, I decided I needed a long lens again, but in a decidedly smaller package. After trying an unnamed top manufacturer's 80~400 lens and being unhappy with the quality of the image, I dared to try Sigma's new 120~400. I ran the lens through the ringer and tested it under every situation I could think of and through it all, it has performed flawlessly! In fact, I was ready to accept a little less sharpness, so when I evaluated my results, I was thrilled. I highly recommend this lens and I have the utmost confidence in this beautiful package of glass.
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73 of 77 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great value for the price, November 1, 2008
By 
Augurin (Bothell, WA USA) - See all my reviews
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I've only found a few reviews of this lens online and virtually all of them criticize it for not being sharp enough when compared to top-of-the line lenses. Okay, that's true. It isn't as sharp as a lens twice or three times as expensive.

I've found it to be plenty sharp enough to take excellent pictures and at a price that I could afford to actually have it instead of just pining away after a more expensive lens.

The image stabilization is very effective, focus is quick and reliable, and the lens itself is well made and even nice looking. Yes, it's a bit heavy, but not too heavy to shoot handheld, thanks to the image stabilization. The included tripod mount ring makes it an ideal combo for hiking when used with a monopod.

I've fallen in love with using this lens for candid portraits: you can shoot from far enough away that your subject doesn't notice and "ham it up" or hide. It also is very nice for light macro work, since it focuses at about 60", even at the maximum zoom. The full-time manual focus is also a feature you'll never want to do without once you've tried it, and it's a feature usually only found on much more expensive lenses.

The addition of a case, strap, and lens hood just increases the bang-for-the-buck.

My only complaint is that the zoom ring is very stiff when the lens is new, making it hard to zoom to max without taking the lens away from your eye. However, this is getting better with use.
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40 of 41 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lens for all Seasons, July 14, 2009
By 
E. Pollock "Woodman" (Western N.C.from Philly-Go Eagles!) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Sigma 120-400mm f/4.5-5.6 AF APO DG OS HSM Telephoto Zoom Lens for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras (Electronics)
I am a recovering pro shooter (semi-retired) and bought this lens to shoot my grandchildren in sports activities. I have fallen in love w/it. It is the largest of 4 Sigma lenses for my Nikons (2-300's, 1-200) and I bought it on a whim. WOW! Nice and crisp, can be handneld even by 66 year-old shooter! OS is not overly noisy, certainly not distracting and has given me the freedom from tri/mono-pods for daylight sports, F2.8 isn't necessary in sunlight for me. I saved a bundle,built a rep as the greatest G-Pop and compromised nothing in the process. BTW, I have some wonderful wildlife shots as well, since I live within a mile of the Delaware River.I recommend this lens w/o equivocation under the uses I have put it to. Is it the best? No, but w/o it I couldn't have gotten the images I have. That's the best.
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79 of 94 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Another Sigma with calibration issues, September 13, 2008
By 
bharada (Fremont, CA USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Sigma 120-400mm f/4.5-5.6 AF APO DG OS HSM Telephoto Zoom Lens for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras (Electronics)
I bought this lens after returning a 150-500 for back and front focusing issues on a Nikon D700. Well, the 120-400 suffered from the same problems. My copy had bad back focus at 400mm. Using the D700's AF Tune function I could compensate to get it to focus correctly at 400mm, but that introduced severe front focus issues from 120-250mm. Overall, I could get the 150-300mm range to focus well if I gave up on the 120mm and 400mm ends.

As with the 150-500 order, Amazon's shipping department did a totally inadequate job of padding the shipping box. There wasn't enough airbags in the box to prevent the Sigma box from sliding around let alone protect it on all sides. In all, my two Sigma lens orders received the same level of packaging attention as the book and DVD orders I've received over the years. This is a very bad situation for anyone interested in purchase precision optics from Amazon.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great lens on a Canon 50D, June 23, 2009
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One of the major reasons I got the lens was to take candid, hand-held, action shots of boats and the people in them. My platform for taking the pictures would be a rolling, pitching boat. After a month of using the lens, I am well-satisfied with its abilities. I usually use ISO settings of 1000 or higher. Output is to a website photo gallery or print rarely larger than 8.5" x 11". Graininess has not been an issue with the Canon 50D. The other lens I was considering was the Sigma 200-500. I decided in favor of the Sigma 120-400 because of the 77mm filter size (I already have a bunch), size/weight, concern that 200 was large a lower end and 500 likely difficult to hand-hold in a boat.

I relied heavily on Amazon reviews and other reviews in making my selection. One Amazon reviewer noted that the lens was shipped in a box with virtually no protection. This was my experience as well. The lens came through fine, contrary to my expectation when I first opened the box.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great lens, October 21, 2008
By 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Sigma 120-400mm f/4.5-5.6 AF APO DG OS HSM Telephoto Zoom Lens for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras (Electronics)
I am very happy with the purchase of this Sigma. Before, I also purchased the Macro 105 mm (also from Sigma) and the great quality of pictures that my wife are getting (mostly of insects) convince me to repeat the business with AMAZON. This 400 mm, a bit heavy to use without tripod at the beginning, became rapidly a wonderful tool once you get use to it. We are mostly fascinated with the fast AF it has, and could easily occurred that, instead of getting a nice sparrow hawk flying, you get a very sharp tree suddenly interposed between your camera and the bird at the time you was shooting. In any case it gave us lots of fun. We, as ornithologists, recommend this product to anybody without any negative observation.
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45 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sigma 120 to 400 lens, August 28, 2008
By 
I was looking for a long lens with stablization, this suited my needs. I ordered it with Amazon.com. I was hoping it would come prior to my trip which I was taking on my motorcycle. It came, great service from the dealer. I took the lens on the trip, used it extensively and love the pictures taken with it. Yes, it is a heavy lens, but I handheld it for the shots I took as had no room for tripod. Shots are sharp. As were taken mainly in the bright sun, had no issues with shake. Used the OS sometimes mainly to try it out more than needed.
Overall love the lens and am happy with the purchase and would recommend the lens to anyone looking for a long lens.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best bargain in this zoom range, June 7, 2009
By 
I. Clements (Washington State) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I got this lens largely because it was on sale and I was thinking it would be a nice addition. I ended up returning it because realistically I don't have much use for a lens in this range and would rather spend the money elsewhere at the moment.

I did give it a thorough work out over a couple weekends and was quite impressed with it performance.

The OS works flawlessly and I was able to snap some very detailed shots of grounded geese while walking toward them using it hand-held. You could pick out the details in the feathers from 30 ft away easily.

The one downside, which should be obvious, is this is a very heavy lens. You aren't going to be able to carry this one around all day just on the off chance you'll need it. The tripod mount makes a very convenient hand grip, but at full zoom its just tricking to hold it long.

The HSM focusing is quiet fast and not too noisy, but I though the OS system relatively slow compared to Canon IS. One thing to really note is that you MUST NOT use the OS if you have the lens on a tripod. Without some shake to compensate against the OS system freaks out and you can see the image jumping all over the place. I made this mistake and ruined some good pictures but that isn't the lenses fault that was me.

I'd definitely recommend trying out this lens if you are thinking of the Canon 100-400 L series. Its about 40% cheaper and a very well made lens.

You really need to evaluate though if you truly need a lens like this as it it just too heavy just to have in your bag just in case.

My solution to my need was to go with a Tamron 70-200 F2.8 (which I love to death) and a Tamron 2x converter. With the converter on it gives me the equivalent of a 140-400 F4-5.6 lens for a lot less money and a lot less weight. I find this combo actually a bit faster than the Sigma.

The only thing missing is the OS but since you truly need a tripod for something in this range and since you can't use OS/IS with a tripod anyway I don't see that as a big loss.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sigma 120 -400 mm Lens, July 20, 2011
Purchased this lens after going in the store to buy the Canon 100-400 zoom. Had great build quality and I wasn't crazy about the push pull zoom system of the Canon, not to mention is is a lot cheaper.

Well, you dont get something for nothing. I bought this for wildlife photography. The lens is very sharp in the wide range..120mm. Actually some of the sharpest photos I've taken at that range was with this lens. At 400mm it's a very different story.. I shot both hand held and with a tripod, It is recommended to shoot at around F8 and at a shutter speed above 1,000 which I always do when hand held. The result is, it makes no difference, all shots at 400mm are soft. Beautiful shots of hawks in flight, Osprey nests etc are all soft.

I tried returning it after almost a month to trade it in on a Canon 100-400 but the store would not hear of it. Do your self a favor.. get a good 70 -200 and add an extender. I use a Canon 70-200 F4 ($600) with a 1.4 extender ($280) and excellent results.
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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Telephoto Zoom Lens, March 29, 2009
This is better than Canon 100-400. And it is sharper also than 70-200 @200mm.
F8 very sharp at any distance at any range. Very good results handhold.
Go to Center spot auto focus by F8 and you'll see. Fast and sharp.
You must try it. Excellent lens. And very good price.
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