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Sigma 300-800mm F5.6 EX DG HSM Lens Review

Canon 200mm f1.8 photo 1 Canon 200mm f1.8 photo 2 Canon 200mm f1.8 photo 3

This is the review for the Sigma 300-800mm F5.6 lens, also known as the “Sigmonster”, reviewed by Hoosh Multimedia. At the time of writing this article (2020), the Sigma 300-800mm F5.6 is the only fixed aperture lens at a 300-800mm focal range. After the Sigma 200-500mm F2.8, this is the heaviest and the largest lens Sigma has ever made.

This review is based on my ownership of the Sigma 300-800mm lens. If you have any questions not already covered by this article please let me know and I will try to answer them.

Sigma 300-800mm F5.6 history

The Sigma 300-800mm F5.6 was manufactured was first announced on 4th Oct 2002 and delivered on 29th January 2003. This was the non-DG (Sigma 300-500mm F5.6 EX APO IF HSM) version until 2005 when Sigma introduced the DG version. The latest version has a better coating designed to reduce flare from digital SLRs sensors. Also the latest version lost the aperture ring for the Nikon mount, to make the lens more like the Nikon G lenses.

Please remember the production of the Sigma 300-800mm F5.6 EX DG HSM ceased in 2019!

Sigma 300-800mm F5.6 specification

Lens Construction 18 elements in 16 groups
Angle of View (for SD1) 8.2-3.1 degrees
Number of Diaphragm Blades 9 Blades (rounded diaphragm)
Minimum aperture F32
Minimum Focusing Distance 600cm / 236.2in
Maximum magnification (x) 1:6.9
Filter Size 48mm (drop-in type)
Dimensions Diameter 156.5mm x Length 544mm / 6.2in. x 21.4in.
Weight (g) 5,880g/ 207.4oz.
Sigma 300-800mm F5.6 distortion 300mm Sigma 300-800mm F5.6 distortion 800mm
Sigma 300-800mm F5.6 mtf at 300mm Sigma 300-800mm F5.6 mtf at 800mm

Sigma 300-800mm F5.6 Operation

The Sigma 300-800mm F5.6 uses HSM (Hyper Sonic Motor) which provides silent, high-speed autofocus with full-time manual focus override. It also has two ELD (Extraordinary Low Dispersion) glass elements to reduce chromatic aberration to a minimum. This also provides sharp and high contrast images.

The lens has a drop-in filter which can be easily replaced by readily available 48mm filter.

The lens focuses fast and accurately considering the size of its elements. I use mine for filming theatrical shows and concerts. I can honestly say the result is spectacular.

One consideration is how heavy this lens is! After the Sigma 200-500mm F2.8, the Sigma 300-800mm is the heaviest lens Sigma has made. You need a heavy-duty tripod AND tripod head. What I do is to use a Long Telephoto Lens support which adds additional stability to the lens, making it a joy to use.

Please remember, this is not a lens you can handhold!

Who is Sigma 300-800mm F5.6 aimed at?

This is an extremely heavy lens with a relatively slow aperture (being an F5.6), it is perfect for wildlife photography (as long as you can use a tripod). The lens accepts both 1.4x and 2x EX teleconverters. I have used this for photographing a rugby match from the side-line, it was a joy to use and focused fast and accurately, nailing the focus every time. I have also used this for filming indoor shows and concerts.

So who is the Sigma 300-800mm F5.6 aimed at? I would say wildlife photographers will love this lens, as long as they remember how heavy this lens is. For sports, unlike the popular 200 & 400mm F2.8 lenses, this lens will need good light to get the best out of it for sports photography. If lighting is good, the lens will produce stunning images and nail focus every time. In low light, the lens can still focus relatively good, but the image quality and contrast, as with any lens, will suffer.

The resolving power of this lens is incredible, it produces stunning images on a Canon 5dsr. I have used it on a 50MP camera and it produced stunning images.

I have never regretted using this lens, as the image quality will always be spectacular.

Image Quality

The image quality of Sigma 300-800mm F5.6 EX DG HSM is outstanding. They are sharp, contrasty with no chromatic aberration. I have many professional Canon, Nikon, Panasonic, Sony lenses and this is among the best of them all. I would say the quality of this lens is as good as my Zeiss Otus 85mm!

I mainly use this lens for filming shows and concerts. The autofocus is extremely accurate and fast, even in low light. But no canon L-lens has been able to match how sharp this lens is when filming using a canon cinema camera. The resolving power of this lens is incredible.

The only problem I have with this lens is because of its weight and size, I would only use it with a heavy duty photography gimble or a long-telephoto lens support. Which means it becomes difficult to just pick it up and use it as you would a normal 70-200mm.

Sigma 300-800mm F5.6 drop-in filters

The lens uses a 48mm drop-in filter. When you pull the drop in lens out, you can easily unscrew the filter from the filter holder and then put in an ND or Polarizing filter of your choice.

DISCLAIMER: The content, veiws, thoughts and opinion expressed in this website is purely based on the author's personal experience and any action taken upon the information provided in this website is strictly at your own risk. The author of this article will not accept any liability of any kind in connection with ANY information provided. The information contained in this website is provided on an “as is” basis with no guarantee of completeness, accuracy, usefulness or timeliness and without any warranties of any kind whatsoever, express or implied.

. Swansea. Cardiff. Bristol. London

All photos on this site were captured by Hoosh Arabi (Who is an award winning photographer).
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