Sigma 100-400 "Real World Review": The BEST "Affordable" Wildlife / Sports lens for under $700
I’ve never been a fan of super zoom lenses. They tend to have slower f-stops which means they really are only good for outside use. If you decide to use it indoors you will need to bump the ISO so far that you will end up hating the quality of your images.
The firs time I used the 100-400 I was ready to right it off. I shot a youth soccer game and was not happy with the results I was getting. It turns out it was mostly human error because I was not keeping my shutter speed up high enough on the copped sensor camera. So when I took it to the zoo to shoot I wasn’t expecting too much. But after a few minutes with it I was getting some fantastic shots that I may not have even gotten with more expensive lenses.
I brought out the Nikon D500 and the D5 to get samples on a full frame and a cropped sensor body. This way you can see how the images turn out on the top of the line camera as well as the top of the line cropped sensor camera.
This is a light, sharp and affordable (compared to faster glass) lens. The shot of the eagle through the fence sold it for me. The sharpness of the feathers showed me this is a solid lens. You have built in image stabilization, you have a big zoom range on both full frame and cropped and it’s easy to hand hold.
Think about it for a second, if you had to get a 400mm lens on a full frame body you would be spending $7,000. But on a cropped sensor body you’re getting a 600mm equivalent which would cost you $10,000 to get an F4. The tradeoff is bokeh and some sharpness, but you’re gaining portability and affordability. Your backgrounds wont be as blurry as the more expensive glass but you also only spent a fraction of the money.
At the end of the day I was sold on this zoom lens. I can see it form the perspective of a hobbyist who wants that extra reach without breaking the bank. I can even see some professional photographers breaking this bad boy out in a pinch when they need the extra reach and they need it to be light. Gone are the days where mega zooms sucked. These new lenses from companies like Sigma and Tamron have started to get better and better.
At the time of releasing this the lens was on sale for $699 which is a great price for what you get. If you’re looking to shoot indoor and get faster glass you should check out the 70-200 2.8 from Nikon, Canon, Tamron and Sigma.