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Thread: Sigma 150-500mm f/5.6-6.3 DG HSM OS Lens

  1. #1
    beechdale basher's Avatar
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    Sigma 150-500mm f/5.6-6.3 DG HSM OS Lens

    Hi Everyone,

    I am relatively new to DSLR and my main interest is birding. I spend many hours in the "hide" at my local bird club and use a Nikon D90 with a 70-300 nikon lens. Whilst this is a great lens and terrific whilst I am walking I think I would like the extra reach of the Sigma 150-500mm f/5.6-6.3 DG HSM OS.

    One problem at our bird club is that we are not allowed to leave the hide in order to get closer to the targets. The area between the hide and the waters edge is a site of special scientific interest so when the water level in the reservoir drops the waders can move some distance from the hide

    I am a relatively big guy so carrying this camera and lens for a couple of hours walking should not be too much of a problem and I think the lens would be good when I am sat down.

    When I am out either walking or in the hide I only take one lens with me. I prefer to be mobile rather than having to carry mountains of gear with me.

    What does everyone think of this lens? Will it be suitable for my needs? Will all of its functions work with a D90?

    For obvious reasons I would prefer a Nikon prime or telephoto lens but the budget will not stretch far enough for a lens of this length.

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Sigma 150-500mm f/5.6-6.3 DG HSM OS Lens

    Hello

    Firstly, and apologies if someone has already said it, but you've maybe seen that most of us tend to use our real names on here. It makes communication more friendly and CiC is that sort of site. Did you know you can go to Edit Profile and enter your proper name under 'Real Name'. Then it will appear underneath your Username in all your posts. You can also enter your location so that it does the same, just as in my details alongside this message. Then we all know where everyone is in the world.

    Secondly - that lens.

    I'm not a wildlife photographer. But I'm just back from a week in Dumfries & Galloway during which I went to the WWT reserve at Caerlaverock and the RSPB reserve at Mersehead, both times to see the Barnacle Geese arriving. For the first time ever, I tried my hand at bird photography. I was using the Sigma 120-400. At 400mm, I was at f5.6. I had the ISO at 800 on one day and 400 the next day.

    I'd say the 150-500 was too slow for the job. At 500mm, you're going to be at f6.3. To get the shutter speed you need on anything but a very bright day, you're going to have to push the ISO up, to 400 or 800.

    But - there may be other wildlife people out there who will have a different view.

  3. #3
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Sigma 150-500mm f/5.6-6.3 DG HSM OS Lens

    FWIW the sensor in the D90 is the same as my D5000 and I often use that at iso 800 for bird shots - which in fact I mainly shoot at f/8 with (probably) the same 70-300mm Nikkor lens the "beechdale basher" uses.

    Thus I don't think the f/6.3 issue will be a problem, except that with almost double the focal length of the 300mm, one should be considering a faster shutter speed too.

    iso 1600 is usable with special processing - because inevitably you'll still end up cropping (as well), which will reduce wriggle room to 'lose the noise' in downsizing.

    I certainly wouldn't mind a lens that long, for the reasons given, but I did suffer an unfortunate experience with a Sigma and now avoid them. One day I may weaken, as it really is the only financially viable long zoom option for many of us

    Hope that helps,

  4. #4

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    Re: Sigma 150-500mm f/5.6-6.3 DG HSM OS Lens

    If I can believe the birders at the Dutch site waarneming.nl this lens is good value for money. That said I have ot admit I'm not a fan of sigma anymore. The glassworks are quite ok certainly if it's an APO lens, but mechanically they're often pretty weak. My 70-300 APO suffered from worsening zoomcreep and the focus mechanics weren't up to my gf's efforts to manually override it either, leaving me with a pretty lose focusring.
    Another point to keep in mind is that many if not all sigma lenses focus in the opposite direction of nikon lenses, and that takes a bit of getting used to when trying to manually focus.

    Still if you're into birding and you really need the extra mm but are on a budget, I don't think you have much choice. It's either this lens or messing with a third-party teleconverter on your 70-300 (which will probably mean manual focus only)

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    Re: Sigma 150-500mm f/5.6-6.3 DG HSM OS Lens

    I have gone the opposite route: Started out with a Sigma 150-500 on my D5000, but out of frustration added a Nikon 70-300. Its not that you cannot get acceptable results with the Sigma, but you really need a tripod at maximum reach, and autofocus at least appears to be both faster and more decisive on the Nikon lens.

    Either way, I found that as a rather inexperienced wildlife photographer I get more keepers with the Nikon, while the Sigma requires a lot more patience and care.

  6. #6
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Sigma 150-500mm f/5.6-6.3 DG HSM OS Lens

    Thanks Lennart,

    That's probably saved me some money

    Cheers,

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    Re: Sigma 150-500mm f/5.6-6.3 DG HSM OS Lens

    I have the Sigma 150-500 lens and find it can do an excellent job of producing sharp images. And the OS stabilisation is good so I do use it hand held sometimes.

    But on the downside: Yes it works best at F8 to F11 although it will still handle slightly dull days at ISO 400 to 800 without too much problems.

    The auto focus is somewhat slow, as often occurs with bigger zooms, so quick shots of fast flying birds can be a problem.

    While I have been surprised at how well the OS works I normally use a tripod.

    Focus at the full 500 mm does still remain sharp unlike some lenses where it tends to fall away towards the large end.

    And it is an economical way to get to 500 mm.

    But to be honest, I find that even 500 mm is often a bit short for smaller birds. But you may be able to tempt them fairly close to a hide.

    What else would I consider. Well 400 mm primes are popular but I would probably be thinking about adding a 1.4x converter so the loss of light and extra expense tends to outweigh any gain; unless you go for a really expensive F2.8 model.

    And adding a converter to other zooms which reach 400 mm will encounter similar problems. However, if you can get reasonably close to largish birds then 400 mm is something worth considering.

    And being a zoom, of course, the 150-500 is a very handy second lens, albeit a rather heavy walk around lens.

    At this time of the year, my general use kit is often the Canon 24-105 plus the Sigma 150-500 although I sometimes substitute my 70-200 as a smaller lens.

  8. #8
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    Re: Sigma 150-500mm f/5.6-6.3 DG HSM OS Lens

    I own this lens as well and pretty much echo Geoff's assessment. I am significantly more impressed with the OS than I expected. I have taken a number of hand held shots wide open and they have been pretty good. You'll need a tripod to get the best results for certain and obviously the more light the better.

  9. #9
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Sigma 150-500mm f/5.6-6.3 DG HSM OS Lens

    I do agree that the OS worked fairly well (and quietly) on the Sigma 18 - 250mm lens I owned for several months, although I do find the slightly more obvious start and stop of the Nikon variety is more re-assuring

    Thanks a bunch Geoff (and Scott), now I'm wavering again

  10. #10

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    Re: Sigma 150-500mm f/5.6-6.3 DG HSM OS Lens

    Just a little word of warning.

    Some of the earlier 150-500 lenses were noticeably soft. This production fault has been overcome now but you may still find a few of these poor copies being sold secondhand.

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    Re: Sigma 150-500mm f/5.6-6.3 DG HSM OS Lens

    Thanks for all the timely information. That lens is next on my list. I have read everything that I can find about this lens and generally the feedback and the photos that are posted are quite good considering the price. I find that some lenses require a little getting used to before I can take full advantage of what they have to offer. I would not be surprised that this will be one of them.

    John

  12. #12
    beechdale basher's Avatar
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    Re: Sigma 150-500mm f/5.6-6.3 DG HSM OS Lens

    Thanks to everyone who has tried to help me with this question.

    I have read many reviews about the product and with the replies that I have received, on this forum, I can now start the decision making process with a much higher level of confidence.

    In reply to Donald whilst I have looked at my profile, I must be stupid, I can't see how to enter my real name so just a few words of explanation would be very much appreciated.

    Once again thank you to everyone and more replies would also be welcomed.

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Sigma 150-500mm f/5.6-6.3 DG HSM OS Lens

    Quote Originally Posted by beechdale basher View Post
    In reply to Donald whilst I have looked at my profile, I must be stupid, I can't see how to enter my real name so just a few words of explanation would be very much appreciated
    PM sent.

  14. #14
    beechdale basher's Avatar
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    Re: Sigma 150-500mm f/5.6-6.3 DG HSM OS Lens

    Thanks Donald

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    Mark von Kanel's Avatar
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    Re: Sigma 150-500mm f/5.6-6.3 DG HSM OS Lens

    Hi Peter,

    i own the sigma 50 500 and am very happy with it, i have used it hand held and had good results but find a mono/tripod work well, i will be in Leicestershire late november and will bring it along if you want to have a play before you buy one.

  16. #16
    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Re: Sigma 150-500mm f/5.6-6.3 DG HSM OS Lens

    Just a question... Many crop cameras cannot auto focus with lenses that have apertures smaller than f/5.6. does the f/5.6-6.3 lens allow auto focus on crop cameras at full zoom when the lens is at f/6.3?

  17. #17
    beechdale basher's Avatar
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    Re: Sigma 150-500mm f/5.6-6.3 DG HSM OS Lens

    Hi Mark,

    Thanks for the offer. I would like to take you up on the offer so we will have to keep in touch. Just one small problem though I am currently struggling with a bad back at the moment. It's so bad that I can only stand up for about 5 minutes at a time.

    Hopefully the treatment that I am receiving will sort it out by then so if I am fit enough I would like to meet up.

    The only good thing to come out of this situation is that I can catch up on the reviews about camera equipment etc and teach myself how to use photoshop properly

  18. #18
    Mark von Kanel's Avatar
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    Re: Sigma 150-500mm f/5.6-6.3 DG HSM OS Lens

    Richard,

    my d7000 focuse just fine at full zoom in normal cloudy conditions, wouldnt know about other cameras tho.

    Peter,

    PM me and ill keep you posted, take care of the back , dont want to lug that beast around if you not well!!

  19. #19

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    Re: Sigma 150-500mm f/5.6-6.3 DG HSM OS Lens

    Quote Originally Posted by rpcrowe View Post
    Just a question... Many crop cameras cannot auto focus with lenses that have apertures smaller than f/5.6. does the f/5.6-6.3 lens allow auto focus on crop cameras at full zoom when the lens is at f/6.3?
    It works fine at all ranges on my Canon 40D.

  20. #20

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    Re: Sigma 150-500mm f/5.6-6.3 DG HSM OS Lens

    I do not own the sigma 150-500mm but I've heard bad reviews with it. I owned a sigma 70-200mm f2.8 and the quality was cheap, it had bad vignetteing, and the glass was poor. I then bought the tamron 70-200mm f2.8 since it was the same price and it had major improvements. I stay away from sigmas but that is me and some people may think differently. I own the Tamron 200-500mm and it is a heavy but awesome lens. I mostly use this lens for wildlife photography on my Nikon D7000. I shoot at wildlife preserves, state forests, and Zoos. I usually sit in a deer stand with a blind of camo covering me and my lens and yes it can get cold but the lens and camera holds up and I get good shots. If you can, compare the tamron with the sigma and see which one you like. It's up to you but I stick with Tamron.

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