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LENS PORN: Sigma UC 100-300mm f/4.5-6.7 (Nikon Mount)

Sigma UC 100-300mm f/4.5-6.7 (Nikon Mount)
Sigma UC 100-300mm f/4.5-6.7 (Nikon Mount)



The Sigma UC 100-300mm f/4.5-6.7 is an ultra compact and ultra cheap lens for a 100-300mm lens. I've seen many lenses of the same range, and they weight/measure 3 times as much.

History: This lens was just lying around in a shop. It was already broken to pieces, I had to look around the shop for the other sections of the lens. Then at home, I figured how to put back the jigsaw pieces together. The zoom ring was back in place, the aperture ring was re-calibrated for accuracy, and the mount was glued back. The next day, I took it out for some shots and the lens seems to be working normally now... EXCEPT, the electronic chips inside were already torn so there will be no autofocus or communication between lens and camera. Fine.

Sigma UC 100-300mm f/4.5-6.7 (Nikon Mount)

Sigma UC 100-300mm f/4.5-6.7 (Nikon Mount)

Sigma UC 100-300mm f/4.5-6.7 (Nikon Mount)



I was doubtful to get this lens at first because the variable aperture ranges from f/4.5-6.7. In fairness, this lens is sharp from 100mm to 300mm, and I managed to get beautiful shots indoor with 300mm at f/6.7 and ISO 6400. Besides, one can easily get this dirt cheap nowadays, so this is a good alternative to the expensive but soft 70-300mm's.



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SPECS

Sigma UC 100-300mm f/4.5-6.7

Year Released: 1997

Minimum Focusing Distance: 7 feet /  2 meters

Focus Throw: 90 degrees

Macro Mode: n/a

Filter Thread Size: 55 mm

Made in Japan

Sigma UC 100-300mm f/4.5-6.7 (Nikon Mount)

Sigma UC 100-300mm f/4.5-6.7 (Nikon Mount)

Sigma UC 100-300mm f/4.5-6.7 (Nikon Mount)

Sigma UC 100-300mm f/4.5-6.7 (Nikon Mount)

Sigma UC 100-300mm f/4.5-6.7 (Nikon Mount)

Sigma UC 100-300mm f/4.5-6.7 (Nikon Mount)

Sigma UC 100-300mm f/4.5-6.7 (Nikon Mount)

Sigma UC 100-300mm f/4.5-6.7 (Nikon Mount)

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Summary


For

Images are crispy and sharp from 100mm to 300mm

Multicoated glass gives images great contrast and vivid colors, even against backlight.

You can still get blurry backgrounds if you practice good technique.

Very compact and lightweight. Hands down the perfect outdoor travel companion.

When fully extended at 300mm, the total length is less than the combined length of two 18-55mm kit lenses.

Focus remains point on when zooming, no need to refocus.

The focus ring is very wide, manual focusing has always been a pleasant experience.

Despite being an autofocus lens, it has a focus throw of 90-degrees, which is comfortable to nail focus since it's not too long/short.

Zoom ring is very smooth to turn, no resistance.

Has 9 aperture blades so the bokeh balls will always be rounded no matter what aperture you set the lens. (Imagine, those ugly 'hexagon' shaped bokeh balls from lenses with 6 blades)

It has autofocus -- mankind will die without it.

It has an aperture ring. Well, in the event that the lens gets broken (like in my case), it be repaired and still operate as a fully functioning manual lens. Unlike those 'G' (gelded) lenses that don't have an aperture ring... if your electronics gets fried, your lens is now useless. See the difference?

I like the design of this lens. It still looks like a pro gadget, unlike some newer lenses today that look like cheap toy lenses.



Neutral

I did not have the chance to test its autofocus speed. 

Filter thread size of 55mm... most shops offer 52mm, the next size after that is 58mm. One has to order online to get 55mm filters or hood.

Minimum Focusing Distance of 7 feet or 2 meters and no Macro Mode to get closer. Given the nature where you will use this lens (events, outdoor, sports, etc.), this is easily forgiven. You can always get a macro extension tube or a screw-in macro filter for extreme macro shots. I think it is this optical design that makes the lens sharp throughout its range.



Against

Variable aperture, and it's too dark at f/6.7 when zoomed to 300mm. I've used this indoor and on night scenes and the images were satisfactory, but I just don't like the variable aperture.

Rotating front filter while focusing... only bad if you're using CPL

It will only autofocus on motorized camera bodies. 

Its body is made of plastic... obviously I found it in broken pieces, glued back together. Thankfully now working fine but without the electronics.



Conclusion

This is a strong but underrated lens, given its performance and compactness. The biggest weakness for me is the variable aperture of f/4.5-6.7, which is one stop darker than your typical 70-300mm's (but the 70-300mm's have a tendency to be soft from 200-300mm, I often read...).

The Sigma UC 100-300mm f/4.5-6.7 would make a nice alternative to the huge and heavy 70-300mm lenses out there. Aside from the guarantee of sharpness in any focal length, you also won't hesitate to bring take it out more often due to its compact size and user-friendly design.


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Further Reading



Video Review from another user
https://youtu.be/VdPYmATwNks


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Samples

Shot with Nikon D5200.
All samples are unedited.
Some shots used with Macro Filter +3

Camera Settings:
Size - Basic/Small (2995x2000px = 6 megapixels)
White Balance - Preset
Picture Profile - SD (Standard)
HDR/ADL/Flash/Noise Reduction - Off


Sigma UC 100-300mm f/4.5-6.7 (Nikon Mount)
Sharpness comparison

Sigma UC 100-300mm f/4.5-6.7 (Nikon Mount)
100mm

Sigma UC 100-300mm f/4.5-6.7 (Nikon Mount)
200mm

Sigma UC 100-300mm f/4.5-6.7 (Nikon Mount)
300mm

Sigma UC 100-300mm f/4.5-6.7 (Nikon Mount)

Sigma UC 100-300mm f/4.5-6.7 (Nikon Mount)

Sigma UC 100-300mm f/4.5-6.7 (Nikon Mount)


Sigma UC 100-300mm f/4.5-6.7 (Nikon Mount)

Sigma UC 100-300mm f/4.5-6.7 (Nikon Mount)

Sigma UC 100-300mm f/4.5-6.7 (Nikon Mount)

Sigma UC 100-300mm f/4.5-6.7 (Nikon Mount)

Sigma UC 100-300mm f/4.5-6.7 (Nikon Mount)

Sigma UC 100-300mm f/4.5-6.7 (Nikon Mount)

Sigma UC 100-300mm f/4.5-6.7 (Nikon Mount)

Sigma UC 100-300mm f/4.5-6.7 (Nikon Mount)

Sigma UC 100-300mm f/4.5-6.7 (Nikon Mount)

Sigma UC 100-300mm f/4.5-6.7 (Nikon Mount)

Sigma UC 100-300mm f/4.5-6.7 (Nikon Mount)

Sigma UC 100-300mm f/4.5-6.7 (Nikon Mount)

Sigma UC 100-300mm f/4.5-6.7 (Nikon Mount)

Sigma UC 100-300mm f/4.5-6.7 (Nikon Mount)

Sigma UC 100-300mm f/4.5-6.7 (Nikon Mount)

Sigma UC 100-300mm f/4.5-6.7 (Nikon Mount)

Sigma UC 100-300mm f/4.5-6.7 (Nikon Mount)

Sigma UC 100-300mm f/4.5-6.7 (Nikon Mount)

Sigma UC 100-300mm f/4.5-6.7 (Nikon Mount)

Sigma UC 100-300mm f/4.5-6.7 (Nikon Mount)

Sigma UC 100-300mm f/4.5-6.7 (Nikon Mount)

Sigma UC 100-300mm f/4.5-6.7 (Nikon Mount)

Sigma UC 100-300mm f/4.5-6.7 (Nikon Mount)

Sigma UC 100-300mm f/4.5-6.7 (Nikon Mount)

Sigma UC 100-300mm f/4.5-6.7 (Nikon Mount)

Sigma UC 100-300mm f/4.5-6.7 (Nikon Mount)

Sigma UC 100-300mm f/4.5-6.7 (Nikon Mount)

Sigma UC 100-300mm f/4.5-6.7 (Nikon Mount)




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The Nikon D5200 as my weapon of choice.

Vintage lenses are my poison.

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