2013 Sigma 120-300m F2.8 DG OS HSM (S) – Part 1

Photo: Sigma 120-300mm F2.8 & me | Photo Courtesy of Hayden Teo

26th April 2013, Singapore – 2013 Sigma 120-300m F2.8 DG OS HSM (S)
Sigma’s long-awaited “S” (SPORTS) Lens was (finally) announced earlier this month. And with its expected delivery to reaching the stores in May 2013, a demo unit was quietly shipped to Sigma Singapore for a hands-on preview.
I was excited to be the first reviewer in Singapore to be issued with this lens.

Photo: Sigma 120-300mm F2.8 & me | Photo Courtesy of Hayden Teo

Those familiar with Sigma’s Super Telephoto Zoom lenses will point out that this 120-300mm is the 3rd incarnation since the first appearance of the EX DG series. But the new 120-300mm is not just a cosmetic upgrade – this lens is redesigned from scratch, spotting high quality TSC (thermally stable composite)  material for its lens barrel, sensible layout of control buttons, a new grip material for the zoom & focusing rings, this ultra bright (F2.8) super telelphoto zoom lens now sits at the top of the “S” line being the first “Sports” lens being launched under the new “Sigma Global Vision” directive.

Photo: The first Sigma lens to carry the “S Line” emblem | Photo Courtesy of Hayden Teo

There are more goodies. The new 120-300mm comes with the company’s signature super multi-layer coating and the blazing fast HSM for that spot-on focusing at incredible speed. At 3kg+, this lens is not exactly light, it has 23 elements in 18 group (that is a lot of glass!!!), 9 round aperture blades and best of all, it has 02 FLD Glass & 1 SLD Glass! Sigma’s FLD had always been a threat to Canon’s Fluorite as they are essentially identical with similar properties – so Sigma made this lens a “double-up” with 2 excellent FLD elements so you can imagine what this lens is capable of.

Photo: (Left) Sensible Layout. (Right) 120-300mm Mounted on Canon 7D | Photo Courtesy of Hayden Teo

On the design, I feel that Sigma had matured in many ways. The company works it’s lens design based on useability (ease of use), practicality (sensible design) and most importantly, it is designed for professional photographers. My previous reviews on the new Art series & Contemporary series lenses had seen Leica-like & Carl Zeiss-like quality, the new 120-300mm is no exception. When I handled the lens, it feels like one of those “$10K” lenses which is out of reach for many hobbyists & enthusiasts. But when I found out the humble asking price for this lens, it put a smile on my face. Now Sigma fans will have an affordable and professional level lens within their reach.

Photo: Another view of Sigma 120-300mm Mounted on Canon 7D | Photo Courtesy of Hayden Teo

Enough talk, let’s take a look at the photos that I had managed to shoot using this lens. As I am not a big fan of nature, please pardon my bad compositions instead, pay attention to the details captured. 🙂
I decided to test this lens at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserves.

IMG_0100IMG_0090 IMG_0098 IMG_0106

Amazed? Well, let’s try more things. I decided to shoot my Behind-the-scenes photographer with his wife Adela Teo
while they are having some fun during the break. At the 2 extreme end of focal lengths.

Photo: Shot the couple at 120mm | Allan Lee


Photo: Shot the couple at 300mm | Allan Lee

Here’s another excellent example on the lens’ sharpness.

Photo: Photo at 100%  |
Allan Lee
Photo: Selected an area to crop | Allan Lee

Photo: Photo after cropping  |
Allan Lee

As we can see from the photos produced by this lens above, it is clearly targeted at Sports Photographers, Wildlife Photographers & event Portrait Photographers. Personally I will recommend the use of a monopod or tripod with this lens. This is an excellent piece of glass and a professional one too. Given its asking price and image quality, the new 120-300mm is for anyone who wish venture into the above mentioned genre, wants quality images and smart enough to save a huge amount of money.

As mentioned on the title, this is Part 1. Our sub-editors are working on Part 2 as you read, they are working the new Sigma 120-300mm on sports events right now. Do stay tuned to us.

Before I end the review, I would like to extend my sincere thanks to those who had recently shared my article links to dpreview, photography-on-the-net, DXO, Clubsnap, etc. This encourages me to work harder and to return with more quality reviews. Like some had mentioned, the reviews are not technical – and yes, I confirmed that. From day 1 when I decided to review photography equipments, I had always wanted to give my readers a real world perspective of the equipment that I am reviewing instead of bombarding the readers with numbers & specifications which they can easily find elsewhere online. So to be exact, this site is not for gear freaks, but for those who wish to know what their (potential) equipments are capable of. If you like what I am doing, keep coming back. If you don’t, too bad, well just too bad, this is my style, you are most welcome to visit other sites. 🙂

Some behind-the scenes shots by Hayden Teo.
IMG_0207 IMG_0281
Photo: Sigma 120-300mm F2.8 & me | Photo Courtesy of Hayden Teo

For more information on this lens, please visit here.

For other articles & reviews of Sigma Lenses, please visit here.

Special Thanks to Sigma Marketing (Singapore) for the lens!
I Love it!


** Sigma had re-organized their whole lens line into 3 category.
They are “C” Lens, “A” Lens & “S” Lens.

C Lens = Contemporary Lens Line
Featuring the very latest technology, and combining optical performance with compactness, Sigma’s high-performance Contemporary line covers a wide range of needs. Lenses in this category are Standard zoom lenses, telephoto zoom lenses, high-magnification zoom lenses.

A Lens = Art Lens Line
Designed with a focus on sophisticated optical performance and abundant expressive power, Sigma’s Art line delivers high-level artistic expression. Lenses in this category are Large-aperture prime lenses, wide-angle lenses, ultra-wide-angle lenses, macro lenses, fisheye lenses.

S Lens – Sports Lens Line
While offering sophisticated optical performance and expressiveness, Sigma Sports line lenses deliver high action-capture performance, enabling photographers to get exactly the shots they want. Lenses in this category are Telephoto lenses, telephoto zoom lenses, super telephoto lenses, super telephoto zoom lenses.

Sigma Marketing Singapore Pte Ltd. is a subsidiary of Sigma Japan Corporation.

For more information, please visit http://www.sigma-global.com

About Editor AL

About The Web Editor: http://about.me/shutterjourney
This entry was posted in Brand: Canon, Brand: Sigma, Group Test & Reviews, Photography Articles & Videos, Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to 2013 Sigma 120-300m F2.8 DG OS HSM (S) – Part 1

  1. look forward to the review of this lens in sports & portrait applications 🙂

  2. Pingback: 2013 Sigma 120-300m F2.8 DG OS HSM (S) – Part 2 | Shutter Journey (SGP)

  3. Pingback: 2013 Sigma 120-300m F2.8 DG OS HSM (S) – Part 3 | Shutter Journey (SGP)

  4. David Burren says:

    Interesting. Only found this review today, despite looking at 120-300 articles for the last few months. ?

    Anyway, there seem to be some interesting details here you haven’t covered.
    You say “3+” kg, but I was assuming that with the new build it was possible they might have dropped it below the old model’s 2.95 kg. Did you actually measure it?
    Are those strap mounts on each side of the tripod ring?
    Three 1/4″ mounting holes in the bottom of the tripod foot? That’s an improvement on the old model, and different from the prototypes shown at Photokina. (some of us have been arranging lens QR plates in anticipation)
    Are those pentalobe or philips screwheads on the side panel? (Maybe Sigma’s been taking lessons from Apple.) I may need to put another tool in the safari toolkit.

    Maybe this was actually just another prototype?
    It will be interesting to see what the shipping lenses look like in the next few weeks. Sigma have shown us that we can configure different focus ranges in the two customisation settings (bottom switch) so it will be interesting to see how that interacts with the focus limiter switch if the production models also have that switch.

    • Hi David,
      I am sorry if I had caused a misunderstanding.
      The actual weight is about 2.6 kg, when I say 3kg, it is more of feeling like it.
      And yes, those are strap mounts on the tripod ring.
      And yes, tripod holes are catered to a wider options now.
      The side panel, I am sorry but I did not really notice what screws were they using.
      This is a production model that I had received and reviewed.
      You can read up more on this lens on the given link.

      Thanks for dropping by and reading up the “layman review” by us.
      We were never technical to start with. 🙂

      • davidburren says:

        Thanks for the clarification on the weight. Although actually working with the lens (and building up the left arm muscles) is one thing, when it comes to international travel I’m conscious that every gram adds to the total. A 10% saving on the previous model is a major win!

        You’re right: we’re starting to see more photos with the same foot design, and it definitely looks like an improvement on the single-hole prototype. I’m fairly sure that the QR plate I’ve already ordered will suit.
        Am looking forward to this lens a lot!

      • davidburren says:

        Not sure where you got the “2.6 kg”. Especially when combined with the hood, mine weighs a bit more than this. Anyway, it’s certainly a manageable weight.
        Having had it for a few weeks now I’ve put some of my own thoughts about the lens together at http://blog.davidburren.com/2013/06/the-new-f28-telephoto-zoom-in-bag.html


      • Thanks David!

  5. Pingback: 2013 Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM (A) | Shutter Journey (SGP)

  6. Pingback: The Best Sigma Lenses That I will Personally Use (Part 2) | Shutter Journey (SGP)

  7. Pingback: So Who is Using What? (Poll Results) | Shutter Journey (SGP)

Leave a Reply