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Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM review

An affordable telephoto lens for Canon, Nikon and Sigma DSLRs

Our Verdict

For

  • Optical stabilisation
  • Solid, weather-proof construction
  • Available in Canon, Nikon and Sigma mounts
  • Superb image quality
  • Reasonable price

Against

  • Heavy and unwieldy at times
  • No rubber seal on lens mount
  • Tripod mount isn't great

High-quality telephoto lenses for DSLRs are tricky to buy. They're a huge investment, with prices starting at around £1,500 and heading sharply skywards. There are also considerable usability problems: long focal lengths require fast shutter speeds, which require large apertures, which all results in lots of heavy, fine-tuned and extremely expensive glass.

The Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM is a cheaper option than Nikon and Canon's astronomically expensive (although superb) pro lenses. We got ours from Warehouse Express, where you can pick one up with a three-year warranty for £2,099 in the UK. In the US they're priced at around $3,199 - far cheaper than a 300mm f/2.8 lens from Nikon or Canon. But is it any good?

The new Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM replaces Sigma's older, almost-identically specified lens. With the new model you get optical stabilisation (OS), and the whole thing adds up to a lens that is far from a lightweight.

It's heavier, for instance, than the Canon 300mm f/2.8 prime lens by nearly 600g, which isn't exactly a welterweight at 2.4kg. The Sigma is twice as heavy as the Canon 100-400mm f/5.6, although in fairness it's also two stops faster at its telephoto end.

Can you shoot with the Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM handheld? Just about, but don't expect to be able to train it on a subject for particularly long - a monopod is important unless you want aching arms. Attach it to a support and it feels well-balanced and easy to manoeuvre.

Tech Specs

Product TypeLens
Maximum Focal Length300 mm
Minimum Focal Length120 mm
Maximum Aperture Wide2.8
Brand NameSigma
Filter Attachment Diameter105 mm
Lens TypeTelephoto Zoom
Application/UsageCamera
Minimum Focus Distance1.50 m
Diameter112.8 mm
Depth271 mm
Compatibility

Nikon Cameras

Magnification0.11x
ManufacturerSigma Corporation
Product Model135955
Product NameAPO 120-300mm F2.8 EX DG HSM Telephoto Zoom Lens
Manufacturer Part Number135955
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.sigma-imaging-uk.com
Marketing Information

This lens transforms a large-aperture F2.8 300mm lens into a zoom lens that allows you to determine the picture composition you want without having to change your vantage point. It has two SLD (the special low dispersion) glass elements in front group and another element of SLD is being used for rear group for excellent correction of chromatic aberration.

Weight (Approximate)2.60 kg