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When is good enough - good enough? Maybe when it's a Canon 100-300 f4.5-5.6 USM?

somnambulist_squirrel

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Jan 20, 2018
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So, a couple of years ago when I started photography, I was shooting with a Canon Rebel and wanted a tele zoom for occasional use. I picked up a Canon 100-300 f4.5-5.6 USM on eBay for $60 shipped, in good shape, figuring it was cheap enough to be worth a try. Shortly after, I came across a great deal on a Sony a6000, and sold the Canon body. Somehow, I managed to still have this lens kicking around, though (it may have been visiting a friend). Recently, with a Sigma MC-11 available to me, I dug it back out to see if it was worth bothering to shoot on my A7Rii. Lo and behold, I found the (yes - limited. Please.) autofocus worked reasonably in wide and center spot, enough to give it a whirl. I then forgot about it again for a while, until I headed out today for a walk on a local trail system in the bright sun and thought - what the heck? It wasn't a serious photo excursion, after all, I was mainly chasing happy snaps. And, if we saw some wildlife, a longer lens than my 85mm might be handy. I parked the 100-300/MC-11 combo on the A7Rii, stowed the a6300 with a Sigma 16mm f1.4 in my bag just in case, and off we went. Over the 8 miles around town, here are some examples of what I came up with out of the light, easy to use 100-300:

ILCE-7RM2    DT 100-300mm F4.8 SAM    300mm    f/8.0    1/320s    ISO 1000
ILCE-7RM2    DT 100-300mm F4.8 SAM    300mm    f/8.0    1/320s    ISO 500
ILCE-7RM2    DT 100-300mm F4.8 SAM    300mm    f/8.0    1/320s    ISO 320
ILCE-7RM2    DT 100-300mm F4.8 SAM    300mm    f/8.0    1/320s    ISO 320
ILCE-7RM2    DT 100-300mm F4.8 SAM    300mm    f/8.0    1/320s    ISO 1000
ILCE-7RM2    DT 100-300mm F4.8 SAM    300mm    f/8.0    1/320s    ISO 500
ILCE-7RM2    DT 100-300mm F4.8 SAM    300mm    f/8.0    1/320s    ISO 320


Now, this lens is clearly not winning any comparison tests against a modern tele zoom. Yes, it's soft at 300mm and distance. But hang on, take a look at what we have here. The compression is cool, the bokeh isn't terrible (these are all at F8 - F8!), and some of these shots are JUST FINE. No, they aren't great. But sometimes just fine is really just fine. Some of these wouldn't have worked merely cropping a shot from my Sony 85mm. Some of them might have been better if I had. But for $60? I sure couldn't have gotten better on my iPhone.

And, at the end of our walk, we ran into these fun furry critters. I took these from across a two-lane road with full shoulders, and past a hedgerow. Late in the day, facing the sun.

ILCE-7RM2    DT 100-300mm F4.5 SAM    300mm    f/9.0    1/320s    ISO 640

ILCE-7RM2    DT 100-300mm F4.8 SAM    300mm    f/9.0    1/320s    ISO 800

ILCE-7RM2    DT 100-300mm F4.5 SAM    300mm    f/6.3    1/320s    ISO 1600


Well, what say you? Colossal waste of time and dinner money, or sleeper bargain?
 

bdbits

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Bob
For $60 bucks? Good enough for me.

OK there is the cost of the MC-11 but it seems you already had that for other purposes.
 

somnambulist_squirrel

TalkEmount Veteran
Joined
Jan 20, 2018
Messages
348
Location
On the shoulders of the Green Mountains
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #4
For $60 bucks? Good enough for me.

OK there is the cost of the MC-11 but it seems you already had that for other purposes.
Yes, the MC-11 was already in play - but a very fair point. I did order a Canon 70-200 f4L non-IS used from MPB, but sent it back the day after I got it. Autofocus was unusable on the MC-11. Swapped it for my Sony 85mm f1.8 and have been very happy with that. Still wanted a tele zoom though. Some day I might try to acquire the new Tamron 70-180, but a wide prime is first in line on my to-buy list when I have hobby dollars to spend.

What surprises me is that this 100-300 focuses very useably on the MC-11 where the 70-200 did not. At all. Weird.
 

somnambulist_squirrel

TalkEmount Veteran
Joined
Jan 20, 2018
Messages
348
Location
On the shoulders of the Green Mountains
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #7
A couple from our recent trip to Acadia National Park:

ILCE-7RM2    DT 100-300mm F4.5 SAM    300mm    f/7.1    1/400s    ISO 100
ILCE-7RM2    DT 100-300mm F4.5 SAM    300mm    f/8.0    1/320s    ISO 125
 
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