Sigma 100-300mm F4 EX DG IF APO A-mount lens review by Pirate

reviewer#5469 date: May-30-2009
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.9
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP; 61MP61 MP
ownership:I used to own this lens
compared to:SAL 70-300/400mm SSM G (Mk 1)
Tokina AT-X 300mm F4 AF (AF 304)
Sigma AF 100-300mm F4 D EX (IF) APO
Sigma AF 100-300mm F4 EX (IF) APO
Tokina AT-X 300/2.8 AF PRO
Sigma AF 70-300mm APO DG Macro (red ring)
Tamron SP 70-200/2.8 LD Di Macro
Minolta AF 300/4 APO HS G
Minolta AF 300/2.8 APO & APO HS G
Minolta AF 80-200/2.8 APO & APO HS G
Tamron SP AF 70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di USD
Sigma AF 70-200/2.8 EX (IF) APO
Sigma AF 70-200/2.8 EX DG OS HSM
price paid:£399.00 (new)
positive:IQ at all focal lengths & apertures
Build quality
Colour rendition
Can use a dedicated Sigma 1.4x or 2x TC
Lens doesn't extend when zooming
Internal Focus (IF)
Tripod mount foot
3 year Sigma (UK) warranty (must be new and registered on Sigma (UK) website)
Long lens hood
negative:No focus limiter
Tripod mount is too short to use as a carrying handle

comment:I previously owned the EX (IF) APO version of this lens, but when I read so many positive comments about the SAL 70-300mm SSM G, I sold the 100-300/4 EX APO for the SAL 70-300 SSM G. Having made the change, I instantly missed the constant F4 and low light performance of the Sigma and thus was fortunate to find a new EX DG (IF) APO version with matching Sigma 1.4x EX DG APO teleconverter.

The IQ of this lens is excellent, but the improvement with the bokeh, it's very noticeable from the earlier EX (IF) APO version. All things considered, the EX DG (IF) APO tele-zoom is by far and away one of the best of it's type notwithstanding the Tokina AT-X 100-300/4 AF-II (AF 340) which is every bit as good. With a Sigma 1.4x EX DG APO TC attached the AF speed becomes slower on a DSLR body, but I was pleasantly surprised to see no noticeable loss in IQ. It's not perfect, but is a heck of a lens none-the-less. If you get a good copy with no FF/BF issues, you'll love it.

In conclusion, a superb bit of kit and very highly recommended and only matched by the Tokina AT-X 100-300/4 AF-II (AF 340), though it's one of the ideal focal range and aperture tele-zooms that should be updated to include in-lens OS, and there isn't anything better IMO. It's one of THE 'must have' tele-zoom lenses as it's simply one of the finest of it's type.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 29
  • sharpness: 4.71
  • color: 4.72
  • build: 4.86
  • distortion: 4.76
  • flare control: 4.62
  • overall: 4.73 - Home of the alpha system photographer
In memory of Cameron Hill - brettania