I'm in the market for a new telephoto lens in the 400-600mm range... (and cannon EF/EF-s)
I'm somewhat limited on budget so second hand is most definitely an option. But I'm interested in what people think of something like the the canon L series ISM lenses vs a more modern e.g. the Sigma 150-600 "Contemporary" series Lens (both used and around £650)
The Sigma is much more modern which means motors, image stabilising is likely to be more advanced (at least in my mind) and lighter due to thinner glass, but Fstops are much the same
If it makes a difference - primary use will be wildlife photography (going to Africa in November)
try Fred miranda, its got reviews of lenses going quite a way back,
I use an old Nikon 180mm 2.8 and its a lovely lens pin sharp, however there have been some big progress in zoom optics with the exception of a couple of turkeys modern mid priced zooms are pretty good.
I have owned two sigma lenses for a Nikon mount and I have to say that they outperformed the Nikon branded lenses of roughly the same price and spec bracket.
I can not comment on Canon kit, as I have never owned any but I can happily state that Sigma lenses never failed to impress me on image quality.
I have now moved away from Nikon to Panasonic micro four thirds. There obviously isn't the same size of variety of lenses going back decades. However modern technology and materials help make far superior glass with fewer defects and better quality all round.
I'd even hazard a guess that any modern lens designed from scratch by any of the reputable companies will outperform older glass built years ago.
Personally, budget allowing, I'd buy the most modern designed glass that I could afford rather than something a few generations before it.
> If it makes a difference - primary use will be wildlife photography (going to Africa in November)
Having recently bought and used a long lens for African wildlife, I would say make tip top image stabilisation a top priority - those animals and birds just don't hang around long enough to be messing about with a tripod.
There is nothing wrong with tried and tested well made Canon L telephotos. Of course the modern equivalents (*and I mean equivalents*) are better, but the contrast and sharpness are still very good. Autofocus speed may be improved on the newer lenses.
you don't say what your budget is, but if it's less than £2k then you can't go wrong with a good condition 2nd hand EF100-400L or EF400L. The latter is my long lens, bought second hand, and great for birds in flight. f5.6 at that range is fine for isolation. Takes extenders but you loose autofocus. I think I would have to spend more than £3000 to get more reach with the same quality.
A lens with a relatively wide range like 100-600 is never going to be that good, is it?
To compare accurately I would want to know the actual lens models so I could look at the specific IS systems and the maximum apertures.
Almost certain I’d pick the Canon L glass as it will have much better sharpness - especially at wide open apertures which would likely make up for the marginal gains a Sigma with more modern IS has, assuming you are not light limited.
You need to be aware of whether you're comparing with Canon L series Mk1 or Mk2 lenses. The former usually being only a couple of years old.
I recently researched the difference between the Canon L 100-400, Mk2 over Mk 1, and found the reviews saying there was a big difference, and as a result I went for, and always will go for the Mk2 versions.
For zooms, I would lean towards modern - but an old prime should still be sharp and relatively light.
The Canon 400mm L f/5.6 is a very good lens even though it's now relatively old and is usually around £600.
Depends how much you want/need zoom. If you get a 100-400 and never go below 400mm...
If it's for a one-off occasion like a holiday then you should consider renting a lens. A good fast modern zoom may be too expensive to buy, but renting will probably not be a large proportion of the cost of the holiday. I looked at buying-and then-selling a second-hand 80-200 f2.8 L last year (whale watching in mid-winter arctic) but renting turned out better.
I have the sigma 150-500 and i find its very good especially considering the price.
I borrowed a friends old L series 100-300 for an airshow and brought both lenses and found the sigma as sharp as the Canon.
these were both taken at 500mm in not very good light and hand held.