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Thread: Anyone using the Sigma 150-500 lens?

  1. #1

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    Anyone using the Sigma 150-500 lens?

    I've been putting off geting a decent bird lens for over a year but with prices starting to rise I think I may have to act soon.

    Have a Canon 40D so my first thought was their 100-400 but it is a bit on the pricey side and in many outlets has increased by around 10% over the past few weeks. Also, I have agonised over some of the larger prime lenses, at least the more reasonably priced options, with a 1.4x converter which I already have. But most of them have a rather long minimum focusing distance which causes a problem when that rare butterfly lands 6 ft away.

    Although I am looking for good value I am not necessarily searching for the cheapest if it means a loss of quality. I have seen some good reports of the Sigma 150-500 which rate it above the Canon 100-400 and the well known Sigma 50-500. At a little over 600 it does sound excellent value for a stabilised lens. Obviously more of a summer lens and not really suitable for low light conditions.

    So does anybody have any experience of this lens?

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    Re: Anyone using the Sigma 150-500 lens?

    Geoff,

    Are you looking primarily at a zoom? Just wondering if something like the EF400 F5.6L would be a contender? (600mm approx equivalent on a 40D, light)

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    Re: Anyone using the Sigma 150-500 lens?

    Two things have put me off the 400mm, after a lot of thought. The minimum focusing distance is quite long, around 11ft if I remember correctly, which would tend to limit it to a distant lens and mean changing lenses when something unexpected happens up close. Which so often occurs with wildlife photography.

    The second point is a lack of IS. At this lens size, to some extent, we may be mostly talking about tripod use but a handheld option is very useful for flying birds, often in reduced light.

    I had also considered the 300mm plus the converter, which I already have, but eventually decided that a zoom would be more adaptable and the ability to go upto 500mm would be useful. But I could still go back to this option if there are significant quality limitations with a suitable zoom.

    I had been hanging on and waiting for Canon to update their larger lenses but they appear to be more interested in creating more options at the other end of the lens scale.

    A lot of wildlife photographers, on a site I visit, swear by the Sigma 50-500 (Bigma) and take excellent images with it. But after reading about the relatively new 150-500 I have started to wonder if this may be the ideal option. My 28-135 lens would complement this range quite nicely.

    Taking decisions is never easy!

    Geoff.

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    Re: Anyone using the Sigma 150-500 lens?

    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff F View Post
    Taking decisions is never easy!
    Or as they say "there's no problem that money can't solve!" ... so long as you have enough of it!

    I've been tempted to get one of the longer lenses, but just can't justify it at this point

  5. #5

    Re: Anyone using the Sigma 150-500 lens?

    I know that this info may not help Geoff, but when I was deciding between the 400mm F/5.6 and the 100mm-400mm zoom, this comparison at the Luminous Landscape helped move me towards the 400mm. My leopard photo was one of my first shots with this 400mm, and was taken handheld.

    Graham

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    Re: Anyone using the Sigma 150-500 lens?

    That was one of many review sites which I consulted. As the Sigma 150-500 is a relatively new and somewhat specialised lens it doesn't appear on a lot of sites.

    The Canon 100-400 and their 400mm were on my list at the beginning but I wasn't sure about either one giving value for money or doing exactly what I wanted.

    Anyway, for better or worse, I have finally made up my mind after reading a considerable number of reviews and ordered the Sigma 150-500 for 630. Considering the way that camera equipment is increasing in cost I thought that any more procrastination would probably end up costing me money. I saw that the Sigma 50-500 (Bigma) has gone up by nearly 300 recently.

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    Re: Anyone using the Sigma 150-500 lens?

    The lens arrived today; actually it arrived yesterday but when I opened the box I found a Nikon D700 instead. Financially a better deal but all my other lenses are Canon so I phoned the supplier to report an error and the carrier exchanged packages today.

    By the time it arrived it was 3 pm and the light was getting poor, so I tried a couple of quick handheld shots of a blackbird then went inside to try a different subject.

    Here are a couple of indoor first sample photos. 450mm length, handheld. One using 1/125, F10, ISO1600; the other with external flash, 1/200, F14 ISO200.

    Both are unedited straight from my 40D set to 'faithful' mode.

    Considering this was handheld with low shutter speeds I think this lens might turn out to be 'the cat's whiskers'.

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    Re: Anyone using the Sigma 150-500 lens?

    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff F View Post
    Both are unedited straight from my 40D set to 'faithful' mode.
    I thought faithful mode was disabled when you use a 3rd party lens?

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    Re: Anyone using the Sigma 150-500 lens?

    I haven't heard that so I have checked the original images and the info definitely says 'faithful'. I used RAW and the 'creative' controls. Maybe it reverts to 'standard' when using the full auto controls; I will have a check tomorrow.

    When I first got the 40D I was confused over these settings because I wrongly assumed that 'Standard' meant no enhancement and couldn't understand why I was getting over saturated photos. Eventually I had to read the instruction book.

    But I'm still not sure if there is any real difference between 'Neutral' and 'Faithful'.

    Waiting for some good light to do some more outside tests with the lens. At 6.3 it will have some limitations and the auto focus appears to struggle in poor light but I expect most of my photography with this lens will be around F8/11 and manual focus anyway. The stabilisation (OS) looks really steady although I will probably use a tripod most of the time.

    Here, the UK deep south, we haven't had any snow yet but it has been a bit grey and cold but hopefully things will brighten up next week.

    Geoff.

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    Re: Anyone using the Sigma 150-500 lens?

    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff F View Post
    I haven't heard that so I have checked the original images and the info definitely says 'faithful'.
    Sorry Geoff, you've fallen victim of my twisted sense of humor!

    I was trying to imply that you were being unfaithful to Canon by using a Sigma lens, and thus weren't allowed to use faithful mode!

    Me bad!

  11. #11

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    Re: Anyone using the Sigma 150-500 lens?

    But what I was thinking about is that if you use the full auto mode it defaults to 'standard' picture settings with extra colour saturation and you did get me wondering if any of the other modes does the same. I normally just use Tv, Av & manual so didn't realise, until now, that all of the preset modes like 'portrait' or 'landscape' etc also default to full auto.

    So you did get me thinking there.

    Geoff.

    ps. The way UK prices are 'zooming' I don't think anybody can remain 'faithful' anymore!

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    Re: Anyone using the Sigma 150-500 lens?

    Hi Geoff,

    As far as I know, AUTO mode makes all the decisions for you - PROGRAM modes give you a little input, but Av - Tv - Manual modes give you full control.

    Personally I only ever shoot RAW (and convert with ACR that ignores Picture Styles metadata tags) - so only the in-camera image is affected by the picture style setting.

    I know what you mean about prices - I'll be "going to ground" for a while with regards to new purchases until the madness blows over.

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    Re: Anyone using the Sigma 150-500 lens?

    Hi Geoff, you are totally responsible for me becoming a member of Cambridger in Colour!
    Why? You may ask.
    Well I am about to buy the 150-500mm Sigma and have been reading reviews wherever I can find them, you appeared somewhere.....and here I am.
    Have to say , it seems a pretty friendly place and I need to learn a lot, and there seems to be plenty of info on here.
    Have you had a chance to get out and use it in anger yet?
    I don't know where you are based, England I suspect
    The weather has not really been suitable for zoom lens work I guess as the light has been pretty low for the last couple of weeks.
    Hope to get mine Saturday, any info would be useful.

    Keith

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    Re: Anyone using the Sigma 150-500 lens?

    Hello Keith. Have you tried the tutorials yet? That is what brings a lot of people to this site, me included. I have been dipping into the excellent comprehensive advice given in the tutorials for some time; then decided to join the forum a few weeks ago.

    Like you, I quickly found everyone friendly and helpful.

    Anyway back to this lens. I have been using it in rather poor light at ISO 800 handheld as low as 1/100 with surprising results. But rather than repeat what has been discussed in detail elsewhere, I will try to give you a link http://www.wildaboutbritain.co.uk/fo...150-500mm.html

    I have been using the Wild About Britain forums for wildlife identification over the past year and find it to be another friendly and informative site. The photographic section is a bit basic compared to here but we have been discussing this lens and several people have purchased one recently. Everyone appears satisfied with it so far.

    It has been mentioned in a few other posts on that site.

    Regards
    Geoff.

    Try this post as well (but if you have been searching around you may have already seen this) http://www.wildaboutbritain.co.uk/fo...tml#post439191
    Last edited by Geoff F; 3rd March 2009 at 05:41 PM. Reason: extra link

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    Re: Anyone using the Sigma 150-500 lens?

    Thanks Geoff, looked at the links, I'm even more confused now.

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    Re: Anyone using the Sigma 150-500 lens?

    hi geoff F i have a sigma 50-500 1:4.6.3APODGHSM lens that sit on my D300 i find it a very good got some good pic with it.it is lens that covers all at 50mm for closes work in town or out to 500mm for wildlife but you will need a tripod any thing over 200mm yours PeterG

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    Re: Anyone using the Sigma 150-500 lens?

    Quote Originally Posted by peterg View Post
    hi geoff F i have a sigma 50-500 1:4.6.3APODGHSM lens that sit on my D300 i find it a very good got some good pic with it.it is lens that covers all at 50mm for closes work in town or out to 500mm for wildlife but you will need a tripod any thing over 200mm yours PeterG
    I also have the 50-500 "Bigma".

    Very good lens, but definitely a beast to lug. A buddy shoots it free hand, but I can only do that for an hour or two. I prefer a tripod or monopod to shoot it.

    Great lens though.

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    Re: Anyone using the Sigma 150-500 lens?

    The advantage of the 150-500 is an excellent stabilisation system that allows handheld shots as low as 1/100 although I prefer a little faster just to be sure.

    The 'bigma' does have a bit more range at 50-500 which overcomes the need for an extra lens but that doesn't save much weight if you also have to carry a tripod.

    Agreed, both weigh heavy on a hike or with prolonged use, and they seem to get heavier as the day progresses!

    Currently I have been experimenting on using the 150-500 with a 25mm extension tube for macro work. Possibly not quite as sharp as a proper macro lens but it is looking interesting with sharp autofocus at 52 ins; although I usually prefer manual for macro work. On a good tripod of course. Works better on a tripod with stabilisation turned off.

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