Sigma AF 100-300mm f/4 EX DG HSM APO (Nikon) - Review / Test Report
Lens Reviews - Nikon / Nikkor (APS-C)

Review by Klaus Schroiff, published February 2008

Special thanks to Thomas Bauer for providing this lens!


Sigma has a vast number of tele zoom lenses in their lineup but the Sigma AF 100-300mm f/4 EX DG HSM APO is a bit special here because it has something of a "consensus" lens. Apart from positive test results out there and here in PZ it is fairly frequently mentioned in forums as an viable option when it comes to suggesting an affordable, yet reasonably fast and high quality tele zoom lens. Nonetheless it doesn't really sit in an overly popular niche because it is flanked by faster xx-200mm f/2.8 and longer xxx-400mm f/4.5-5.6 lenses or in other words: it is not really fast enough for portraits and yet not long enough for wildlife photography. However, the latter may not be true when using the lens on APS-C DSLRs where the field of view is equivalent to 150-450mm - during the film era many photographers would have lusted after such a lens. At around 1000 EUR/US$ it isn't exactly cheap anymore but it remains within reach of many amateurs.

The build quality of this lens is exceptional thanks to an outer body made of metal and extremely tight tolerances. The zoom and focus control rings operate very smooth and well damped. The typical EX finish (smooth crinkle style) may be a bit of a dust collector but it provides a good grip. The physical length remains constant regardless of the zoom or focus setting and the front element does not rotate. It is a bit unfortunate that Sigma did not incorporate seals against dust and moisture but without any moving outer parts the AF 100-300mm EX is better than most lenses in this range anyway.

The lens features a HSM (Hypersonic Motor) AF drive providing fast and near silent AF operations. The AF 100-300mm f/4 EX is also compatible to both Sigma AF EX DG converters (1.4x = 140-420mm f/5.6, 2x = 200-600mm f/8). We'll also have a look at the performance of the lens when combined with the AF 1.4x EX DG during this review.

Equiv. focal length150-450 mm (full format equivalent)
Equiv. aperturef/6 (full format equivalent, in terms of depth-of-field)
Optical construction16 elements in 14 groups inc. 4x SLD (Super Low Dispersion) elements
Number of aperture blades9
min. focus distance1.8 m (max. magnification ratio 1:5)
Dimensions92 x 227 mm
Weight1440 g
Filter size82 mm (non-rotating)
Hoodpetal-shaped, snap-on type (supplied)
Other featurestripod collar