Review Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM Sports (C APS-C)
There are many nature photographers who use a telephoto lens on a camera with an APS-C sensor. The view angle becomes with the smaller APS-C sensor, 1.6x smaller than with a camera with a full frame sensor, making it seem as if you have a telephoto lens with a 1.6x longer focal length. The Sigma 120-300 mm Sports is the first lens in the Sigma Sports series and resembles its predecessor in some ways.
Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 OS Sports @ 300mm, f/3.5, 1/400, 100 ISO
|The high brightness and long focal length make the Sigma 120-300 mm lens also extremely well suited for playing with background blur. The Sigma 120-300 mm f/2.8 Sports weighs almost 3 kg. Therefore, you will preferably to work with a tripod. The lens comes standard with a solid tripod collar.|
Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM Sports @ Canon 650D
The Sigma 120-300 mm f/2.8 Sports is heavy, big and breathes solidity and reliability in every aspect. That starts with the matte black finish of the lens housing, which we know from the earlier Sigma Contemporary and Art lenses. The Sigma 120-300 mm Sports is extra-well sealed against dust and water splash. The matte black, large lens hood is made of metal.
There are multiple switches on this lens. The most noticeable is the Custom switch with the choices of C1, C2 and off. The Custom function is programmable with the Sigma USB dock. There are also switches to limit the AF range, to choose between AF and MF and between the different image stabilization modes (off, 1, 2).
The Sigma 120-300 mm 2.8 II has a traditional view window, where you can read what distance is in focus. The drive of the auto focus is lightning fast, even in low light. Most of the focus movement is between 1.5 meters and 10 meters. The minimum distance setting depends on the focal length.
Resolution Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM Sports
This lens delivers sharp images at all focal lengths and all apertures. At maximum aperture the center sharpness, especially at 120 mm, is visibly sharper than in the corners. You get the highest sharpness for all focal lengths at f/5.6. Above that, the sharpness drops off slowly. However, this is really so little that in practice you'll get equally good results whether you're photographing at f/4, f/5.6, f/8 or f/11.
Because this lens is so bright, it's good to combine with a teleconverter. Usually you lose something in sharpness by using a teleconverter, but because this lens delivers such sharp images, that isn't really bad.
The Sigma 120-300 mm is designed for use on cameras with a full frame sensor. With the smaller APS-C sensor of the Canon 650D, just the center of the image is used and vignetting at all focal lengths and apertures is negligible. Vignetting at maximum aperture is about half a stop. At the smaller apertures the vignetting is so low that it's almost impossible to measure. Because the vignetting from this bright lens is so low, the use of a teleconverter, which usually not only extends the focal length but also increases the vignetting, is an interesting partner for the Sigma 120-300 Sports.
|The distortion of the Sigma 120-300 mm is so low that when used on a camera with an APS-C sensor, it will never bother you, no matter what focal length you use. We could measure at the longer focal lengths a slight pincushion distortion, but you don't really see that in the practice shots. |
Bokeh Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM Sports
The great thing about working with a lens with a long focal length in combination with a high brightness, is that the depth of field is so small that distracting elements in the background quickly get blurry. The hairs and whiskers of the otter are razor sharp, but his legs are already blurred. The bokeh in our practice shots was pretty quiet.
|Even without the included lens hood, this lens has very, very good resistance against stray light. The image on the right is a detail from a landscape photo, which was taken directly into the sun. Even right around the sun, there is no reduced contrast visible, and in none of the practice shots did we come across any ghosts. |
Lateral chromatic at all focal lengths is so low that in practice you will never be bothered by it.
Conclusion Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM Sports test @ APS-C
Use the Lens Comparison or look in our list of reviewed lenses to compare this lens with other lenses.