Now everyone can get the shake out with stabilized lenses.
SIGMA 150-500mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM APO AF
• STREET PRICE: $980. • FORMAT: Full-frame. • 35MM EQUIVALENT: Approx. 232-775mm (on APS-sized sensors). • HANDHOLDING BENEFIT: 1-2.5 stops. • CLOSE-FOCUS DISTANCE: 74.25 in. at 500mm. • MAX. MAGNIFICATION RATIO: 1:4.46 at 500mm. • FILTER SIZE: 86mm.• LENGTH: 9.97-12.40 in. • WEIGHT: 4.06 lb.• AF MOUNTS: Canon, Nikon, Sigma (Pentax, Sony coming soon). • TEST RESULTS: Compatible (in manual-focus only) with Sigma 1.4X and 2.0X teleconverters, this huge and silent tele logged sharpness and contrast in the Excellent SQF range at 150-, 200-, and 250mm. Unfortunately, it's too big for our equipment to measure SQF at longer focal lengths. In our DxO Analyzer 3.0.1 tests, pincushion distortion was Imperceptible at 150mm (0.10%); pincushioning was Very Slight (0.13%) at 250mm and 300mm, and even at 500mm (0.16%). • COMPETITIVE SET: The Sigma has a longer focal length, but the Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS has a broader zoom range. Weighing a pound less, the Canon also costs some $600 more. As for Nikon's 200-400mm f/4 VR, with a price tag about $4,200 higher, a weight about 3 pounds heavier, and a much shorter zoom range, the tripod-only Nikon is a hard sell compared with the slower but still handholdable Sigma.
SHARPNESS, AHOY! An optical stabilizer delivers crisp images even when relatively large lenses (such as Sigma's 150-500mm) are used handheld. Both taken at 1/125 sec and f/11 at ISO 400. Right: Without OS.
TAMRON 28-300mm f/3.5-6.3 XR Di VC AF
• STREET PRICE: $600. • FORMAT: Full-frame. • 35MM EQUIVALENT: Approx. 43-465mm (on APS-sized sensors). • HANDHOLDING BENEFIT: 2-3 stops. • CLOSE-FOCUS ISTANCE: 16 in. at 300mm. • MAX. MAGNIFICATION RATIO: 1:2.33 at 300mm. • FILTER SIZE: 67mm. nLength: 4-7.17 in. • WEIGHT: 1.31 lb. • AF MOUNTS: Canon, Nikon. • TEST RESULTS: This 10.7X superzoom did better on an APS-sensor DSLR than on a full-framer. In APS format, our SQF tests found Excellent-range sharpness and contrast at all tested focal lengths. Full-frame SQFs: Excellent at 28mm and 70mm, Very Good at 200mm, and Good at 300mm. In DxO Analyzer 2.0 tests, distortion was amazingly well controlled in APS format: Visible barrel at 28mm (0.35%) and Slight pincushioning at 70mm (0.12%), 200mm, and 300mm (both 0.11%). • COMPETITIVE SET: The Canon 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6 IS has a faster, quieter AF, plus O-rings and gaskets against dust and damp. Is it worth an extra $1,700? Nikon's closest lens is the 24-120mm f/3.5-5.6 VR -- while it costs slightly less than the Tamron, its 5X zoom range isn't close at all.
DARK VICTORY: Tamron's Vibration Compensation gives you acceptable sharpness in unacceptably dim light. Both shot at 1/2 0 sec and f/6.3 at ISO 800. Right: Without VC.