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Thread: Views on Sigma 50-500mm Lens

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    Views on Sigma 50-500mm Lens

    I have a Nikon D700 plus a Nikon 24-70 mm lens which I use all the time. However, I am going on Safari September and wanting to buy a telephoto lens.

    My thought was the Sigma 120-400 mm lens. Was advised that this lens is not as good as the Sigma 50-500 mm lens.

    What do people who have these lenses think about this.

    I know the 50-5000 mm is heavy - but so is the 24-70 mm lens. I could take the 50-500mm lens to Namibia and leave the 24-70 mm at home. What do you think?

    thank you

    Sue

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    Account Closed Wayne's Avatar
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    From samples people have posted, I think is is soft at the long end. It is also a slow lens.

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    I am older than I look. peterb666's Avatar
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    I have the Sigma 150-500mm and I know people with the 120-400mm (and others with the 150-500). These lenses are outstanding value for money and excellent performers. You won't get better bang for buck.

    Sometimes the wider reach for the 50-500 would be nice but quite frankly, a lens that size is hard work for a 50mm focal length and I would prefer to save the $500 or so price difference between the two lenses.
    Cheers

    PeterB666


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    I am older than I look. peterb666's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wayne View Post
    From samples people have posted, I think is is soft at the long end. It is also a slow lens.
    ... it is always best to comment on the samples you post yourself.

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    It's all about the Light!
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    The 50-500 is heavy! (1.8kgs) I use it for birding but after ½ day you feel it.
    regards, Kym Gallery Honest & Direct Constructive Critique Appreciated! ©
    Digital & film, Bits of glass covering 10mm to 500mm, and other stuff



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    I love my sigma 120-400mm and yes they are heavy .. my old 100-400mm soligor was light as a feather in comparison ...but you do get used to it ...
    I havent tried the 50-500mm ... but i agree that as a "50" thats alot of weight .. LOL .. i do like the idea of 500mm tho ..
    but if it was me ... i would save the $900 or so and go the 150-500mm for going on a safari
    Good luck on the Safari!
    - Daz
    weathers good.. bird pics .... weathers bad .. storm pics..
    do or do not.. ...stop ya procrastinating!!!!
    Canon EOS 60D, Sigma 120-400mm F4.5-5.6 APO DG OS, EOS 300D, Canon EF 28-80mm 3.5-5.6 IV, Canon EF 35-70mm 3.5-4.5, Canon EF 50mm 1.8

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    Can't comment on the new OS model, but the older 50-500 was very slow at the long end. Your camera body can help or hinder here. You'll need to find the best way of matching your tecxhnique to the lens when lighting is less than ideal. If your safari is at dawn or dusk, you're going to looking for extra shutter speed. You might even need to have a tripod to get the best from it at the long end in low light.

    The Bigma does produce acceptable results and at 500mm, it's good value for the $$$. I wouldn't be trying to hand hold it. Maybe a beanbag would be a worthwhile addition for shooting from the vehicle. You'd have these problems with any long heavy telephoto though.

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    Account Closed Wayne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peterb666 View Post
    ... it is always best to comment on the samples you post yourself.
    Well, I don't and never would own one so that is a bit difficult. However my comments are from what images I have seen others post here and on other websites/forums.

    Given you have a 500mm Sigma, care to show us some samples at or close to 500mm for evaluation??

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    I am older than I look. peterb666's Avatar
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    I have posted images in my 52/2011 and in other threads of this forum. You can also visit my web site. It won't take you much effort.

    Experience is valuable when you have it.

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    Ausphotography Veteran Speedway's Avatar
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    I am another with the 150-500 and I am quite happy with it as these samples at 500mm show.
    Keith.

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    Sigma 50-500 mm lens

    Great photos- The Sigma Lens defiintely has a long reach - but thinking about the heaviness of the lens I have decided against it.

    I am now hovering between a Sigma 120-400 mm lens and the Nikon 28-300 mm lens.

    I knnow the Sigma has a longer reach - but I can't kid my self. I am a baby boomer and maybe the weight would be too much.


    Sue

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    I have the sigma 150-500mm lens and think its great for the value for money. Here is a shot at 450mm and its been cropped.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Wayne View Post
    From samples people have posted, I think is is soft at the long end. It is also a slow lens.
    soft as a tack...
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    With only around 200g difference detween the 120-400 and the 150-500/50-500 I don't thimk you would notice the difference. I am 67 and carry mine on the 7D round the scrub all day with no problem I use a monopod for a little help in lower light.
    Keith.

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    Hi Keith

    I am unsure which of the lenses you refer to when you mention that you carry yours on yours on a 7D all day with no problem - be grateful to hear to which lens you are referrring to - sorry about that.

    thanks
    Sue

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    I too own the 150-500.

    It is not that heavy. Like many things, once you get use to it, it's fine.
    Canon 7D : Canon EF 70-200mm f:2.8 L IS II USM - Canon EF 24-105 f:4 L IS USM - Canon EF 50mm f:1.8 - Canon EF-s 18-55mm f:3.5-5.6
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    Hi Sue . It's the 150-500, also using the monopod that takes the load off while shooting.
    Keith.

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    Here is my latest shot with 150-500.

    Shooting across 6-7 km


    _MG_5726 by CyclingScotty, on Flickr

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    Views on Sigma 50-500mm

    Quote Originally Posted by Scotty72 View Post
    Here is my latest shot with 150-500.

    Shooting across 6-7 km


    _MG_5726 by CyclingScotty, on Flickr

    thanks Keith

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    I've never been on safari, but a while back I watched an African safari via a blog 'as it happened' via a daily blog on another site.

    One particular theme that continually came up was lens focal length, and that the minimum requirement was about 400mm, and much use was made of 600mm plus various teleconverters to increase reach.

    Typically!!(and I'm not too sure if this will apply to your situation), but size and weight of the gear may not actually be a problem in normal use. For those times, when you are actually using your gear, if you've used the services of a reputable safari tour, it seems that the safari vehicles are all set up to specifically cater for photography , with various points where you can attach your camera gear, or at the minimum rest your gear.
    So, the important aspect I'd be looking into is, something along the lines of camera support equipment, even if this simply entails a bean bag where you can rest your lens on so you don't have to hand hold it in the traditional sense.

    Of course the actual weight of the gear will still have to be taken into consideration, as you still have to get it all to the airport, onto the luggage ramp and to the hotel, and into the taxi.. etc, etc.

    You can always search for a photography rental place where you could a lens or two, in the destination country(which I think was Namibia??). Google is your friend, and I'm sure there must surely be some kind of service like this in a country so rich in photography related activity.

    As for the lenses that have been spoken of already, I can assure you that something like the Sigma 150-500 will do a good job(whereas something like a Nikon 500/4 will do an excellent job, by comparison).

    There's always a need to balance performance with the reality of versatility, value for money and the single most important element logistical reality!
    There's a massive difference between carrying a Nikon tele prime in it's specific metal case, as opposed to carrying a consumer type tele zoom such as this Sigma 150-500(and any others like it).

    In the end, I think for most people such as Sue in the same situation, there really is not many alternatives to go with.
    I can't really imagine that a Nikon 80-400VR will make enough difference in terms of quality to justify the expense, if this particular lens was only used for this safari purpose, and then ultimately abandoned.
    The price difference between a Nikon 80-400 and a Sigma 150-500 is approximately a 1 week trip to Bali staying at a 5star hotel!!

    I recently had the opportunity to have a quick play with the Sigma 150-500, and found it a lot more impressive than most people give it credit for too..

    The usual array of comments like this ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Wayne View Post
    From samples people have posted, I think is is soft at the long end. It is also a slow lens.
    should be ignored, and some time should be taken to get yourself to a shop, and have a play with one for yourself. Nothing beats first hand experience!

    My sample image looks something like this:
    D300_DSH_1054.JPG

    The conditions this image was captured in have to be taken into consideration too.
    Kind of a dull cloudy day, sitting in a dimly lit room, with flower vase about 10m away. Full exif in image, but the basics are 1/25s, ISO800, standard picture control setting, zero processing, zero sharpening.
    ISO800 can be a bit noisy on a D300 at 100% pixel zoom, so sharpening was not added so as to miminize any colour grain.(basically7 I couldn't be bothered to open the image in CaptureNX and do any selective processing.. because I'm now going to be late to work! )

    Image has lots of potential, has excellent quality rendering for 99.9% of enthusiast level usage and purposes, but could be considered to be about average rating for professional use.

    We all have our particular needs and requirements, and some folks just seem to have a requirement to have the best. All the more power to them, I say, and for every one else, the Sigma zooms can produce good to excellent results.
    Some practise will be needed by the operator to get acceptable results in a consistent manner, and even then there will be an amount of variability in the image results from a lens such as this.
    Focus is slow, but there are lenses that are even slower by comparion, and even Pro type lenses that are not so much slower to focus, but more important infuriatingly frustrating in that they will refuse to focus on the same point in the same conditions.
    In my sample image, where the Sigma was slow to focus(from the opposing focused distance), it did achieve focus lock on all attempts. Whereas the Nikon 105VR was very slightly quicker to try to achieve focus, but more importantly it failed to focus on more occasions than it did actually achieve focus.

    Summary: get the Sigma 150-500. Learn to use it and understand what it can't do for you, and then be pleasantly surprised what it can do for you instead.
    (this eliminates the subsequent bitching and whining on how bad this lens is because it's soft and slow! )
    Go on safari with the two lenses(24-70 being the other one), and I reckon take a 50mm prime lens too, and you'll be 100% covered for most needs, without requiring the services of a sherpa.
    Nikon D800E, D300, D70s
    {Nikon} -> 50/1.2 : 500/8(CPU'd) : 105/2.8VR Micro : 180/2.8ais : 105mm f/1.8ais : 24mm/2ais
    {Sigma}; ->10-20/4-5.6 : 50/1.4 : 12-24/4.5-5.6II : 150-600mm|S
    {Tamron}; -> 17-50/2.8 : 28-75/2.8 : 70-200/2.8 : 300/2.8 SP MF : 24-70/2.8VC


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