At 3.8 pounds and measuring 3.7 x 7.5 inches, this lens has a bit of heft to it, but it sits well in the hand. That's important, since OS really is mainly a handholding assist. The 80-400mm range is excellent for wildlife, sports and telephoto landscapes. With a small-format digital SLR, you can get the equivalent of up to 640mm, which offers remarkable capabilities for a lens of this physical size and maximum aperture.
The lens includes two SLD (special-low-dispersion glass) elements in the front lens group and one in the rear, promising true apochromatic quality for correcting chromatic aberration. I found the lens to produce crisp images of high sharpness. But this long a lens does make close-ups and extreme telephoto shots (at the 640mm equivalent) a challenge. Even with OS, don't expect miracles at slow shutter speeds under these conditions.
At reasonable speeds, however, I saw excellent sharpness in conditions in which I'd never have been able to handhold a non-stabilized lens. Handholding a long lens has never been my forte, so this lens really helped me.
The Sigma 80-400mm ƒ/4.5-5.6 EX lists for $1,499, with a street price of around $999.
Contact: Sigma, (800) 896-6858, www.sigma-photo.com.
Focal Length: 80-400mm
Max. Aperture: ƒ/4.5-5.6
Min. Aperture: ƒ/22-32
Size: 3.7x7.5 inches
Weight: 3.8 pounds
Lens Groups: 20 elements in 14 groups
Special Glass: 3 special-low-dispersion glass elements
Filter Size: 77mm
|1 Optical Stabilizer (OS) means sharper handheld photos
2 Excellent zoom range of 80mm to 400mm
3 APO optical design for crisp, high-quality images