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Archive 2009 · My Review of the 150-500OS from sigma.
  
 
kane513
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p.1 #1 · My Review of the 150-500OS from sigma.


First impressions are very good!

--- Sigma 150-500 OS Review ---

Ok, So I bought this lens looking for something to compliment my 70-300VR. First, I tried a 50-500 (bigma), but found even being on a monopod, I really needed the OS at 500mm, (800mm on my DX cameras.)

----First off, The build quality.-----

-Zoom ring is a bit stiff, but I presume it will loosen over time. I have had no problems with creep like I did on the bigma.

-Manual focus ring is nice and smooth, and has a very fine adjustment making MF a joy to use with this lens.

-Tripod Collar is excellent in stability and size, but feels a bit stiff to rotate, but not too bad. Better than the bigma,

-Lens hood feels cheap and flexible, but is large, lightweight, and attaches easily. Does itís job well

-Coating on the exterior of the lens is quite prone to scratches and scuffs. I have ordered a lens coat.

-Lens cap is a pinch style, just like the nikon cap, unlike the outer edge pinch one on the bigma. Much easier to put on with the hood attached than the one that came with the bigma!

-Switches feel solid and less fiddly than the bigma.

---Build quality, 8.5/10

-----Next, The OS system-----

-Slower than the nikonís VR to engage. takes just a little under a second to stabilize.

-Noisy chirp sound at startup and shutdown of OS, but is almost as quiet once running as the nikon VR models.

-Eats battery much worse than the nikon 200-400VR I tested, but not as bad as chimping on the rear LCD!

-Very effective once stabilized. Just as good as the 200-400VR

-Gives clear sharp images on a monopod with OS on. On the monopod, I was able to get sharp shots at 500mm at 1/125. bigma on monopod needed at least 1/320. Handheld the 150-500OS here-on refered to as BOS (bigma OS) I was able to go as low as 1/250 at 500mm OS on, where the bigma needed 1/640-1/800.

---OS Score 7/10---



----- Next up, Image Quality. ------

Now, obviously this cannot compare to a nikon 500 f/4 or the 200-400 with a 1.4x teleconverter, but both of those were too heavy and expensive for me.

--Image quality wide open was 8/10 at 400mm, and 7/10 at 500mm.

--Image quality at f8 at 400mm was 9/10, while at 500mm it was 9/10.

-I found that my copy easily matches the bigma in sharpness at all focal lengths, and blows it away in keeping the fringing down. My bigma was particularly bad about CA.


---Sharpness score 8/10---

---CA score 9/10---

-----Finally, AF-----

-Af is quick and accurate, and in decent light, I have had no problems with focus hunting on my D90 or D300.

-Af is quite a bit slower than the HSM bigma. My bigma racked from end to end in under a half second. This lens takes at least 3/4 of a second, more in lower light.

-AF is very accurate once locked on, slightly better than the bigma.

-----AF SCORE---- 7/10


CONCLUSIONS:

Not only can this lens match the bigma in sharpness, but it is much better in terms of color rendition and CA.

The lens is better balanced than the bigma.

The OS is very good, but has a few small quirks.

This lens is definately a keeper.

I have heard that there is a lot of sample variation on this particular lens though, especially the earlier copies. So, if you are getting soft images, you either have a poor long lens technique, are using to slow of a shutter speed, or have a bad copy. Return it and try a new one.

PROS:

-CHEAP compared to nikon equivalents.
-Light compared to 200-400VR
-HSM is much better than the screwdriver AF on the 80-400VR
-Very sharp for a lens that is this cheap in a market of lenses that cost 5-8x as much
-very good tripod foot
-OS system does itís job well.

CONS:
-86mm filters and lens caps are expensive.
-f 6.3 aperture is slow in low light, but really has no problems focusing even on a really overcast day.
-sample variation turns a lot of people off of this lens.
-OS takes some getting used to.
-Focus is slower than the bigma, but not as slow as 80-400VR from nikon.

Pics will be in next post.



May 28, 2009 at 03:19 AM
indyjones
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p.1 #2 · My Review of the 150-500OS from sigma.


This belongs in Alternative Gear & Lenses.


May 28, 2009 at 03:42 AM
ghozer
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p.1 #3 · My Review of the 150-500OS from sigma.


First off, thanks for taking the time to write this all up.

The copy I had was not close to the quality you found with yours. Could have been sample variation but based on other reviews I've read and pictures I've seen I think your experience is not the norm. You claim it can't stand up to the Nikon super teles (including the 200-400 with 1.4), which obviously is true, but then you give the Sigma 9 out of 10 in IQ at 500mm while just 2/3 stop from wide open? With all due respect, your grading scale seems inflated. Do you think the 200-400 with 1.4 is a 10 out of 10? I don't (and I have that lens and TC).



May 28, 2009 at 04:12 AM
ghozer
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p.1 #4 · My Review of the 150-500OS from sigma.


indyjones wrote:
This belongs in Alternative Gear & Lenses.


Really? The lens in question is a Nikon mount lens. "Nikon mount SLRs" is the title of this forum. Seems like a perfectly appropriate post for me. Are we not allowed to talk about third party lenses in this forum?



May 28, 2009 at 04:13 AM
kane513
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p.1 #5 · My Review of the 150-500OS from sigma.


PICS:

-On tripod OS off. EXIF intact. original first, crop after.





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May 28, 2009 at 04:23 AM
kane513
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p.1 #6 · My Review of the 150-500OS from sigma.


Handheld, slower Shutter speeds, NR on, OS on, all at least 75% crops, maybe more. horrible lighting.
















May 28, 2009 at 04:27 AM
kane513
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p.1 #7 · My Review of the 150-500OS from sigma.


ghozer wrote:
First off, thanks for taking the time to write this all up.

The copy I had was not close to the quality you found with yours. Could have been sample variation but based on other reviews I've read and pictures I've seen I think your experience is not the norm. You claim it can't stand up to the Nikon super teles (including the 200-400 with 1.4), which obviously is true, but then you give the Sigma 9 out of 10 in IQ at 500mm while just 2/3 stop from wide open? With all due respect, your grading scale seems inflated.
...Show more


I would grade the nikons on a different scale. If I had to grade the nikon on the same scale as this, I would say 12/10 on the 200-400 1.4, and 15/10 on the 500/4.

My scaloe was based on this lense's direct competition, like the 80-400VR, bigma, Tammy 200-500, and the 170-500 ICK!

Sorry if the scale was a bit odd.



May 28, 2009 at 04:31 AM
thebeephaha
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p.1 #8 · My Review of the 150-500OS from sigma.


indyjones wrote:
This belongs in Alternative Gear & Lenses.


No it doesn't.

OP, the pics from your lens are really sharp, I'm surprised to say the least. My last dealing with Sigma was good but not that good.

Did you hand pick your copy or just order one luck of the draw?



May 28, 2009 at 06:57 AM
mach250
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p.1 #9 · My Review of the 150-500OS from sigma.


Aaaaaand here I was forgetting about this lens until you posted this

poor credit card.



May 28, 2009 at 08:23 AM
gugs
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p.1 #10 · My Review of the 150-500OS from sigma.


excellent review...

and this is going to cost some money to some people

Guy



May 28, 2009 at 12:44 PM
 

Search in Used Dept. 



kane513
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p.1 #11 · My Review of the 150-500OS from sigma.


I just got lucky. After not being real happy with the sharpness or the lack of OS from the bigma, I returned it and ordered this one from adorama. I about peed my pants when I took the first few shots!


May 28, 2009 at 07:36 PM
cgiff
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p.1 #12 · My Review of the 150-500OS from sigma.


Those crops are wild! After reading this I'm going to try not to stop in my local store on the way home from work tomorrow... could be a costly proposition.

If I can find a good copy the only dealbreaker will be focus speed -- faster than the 80-400 is good but doesn't say much



May 28, 2009 at 07:54 PM
kane513
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p.1 #13 · My Review of the 150-500OS from sigma.


I would call the focus speed about the same, maybe a teeny bit slower than the 70-300VR. With the D90, It will track an oncoming car at 40mph just fine.


May 28, 2009 at 09:26 PM
kane513
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p.1 #14 · My Review of the 150-500OS from sigma.


Also, If you get one, and find after testing that it is not s sharp as mine, return it and try again. I talked to a buddy who owns a camera store, and he said that over 20% of the ones he sells come back as soft copies. He tests each returned item, and found that about 18% were soft and needed to be sent back to be calibrated.


May 28, 2009 at 09:28 PM
Gasitman
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p.1 #15 · My Review of the 150-500OS from sigma.


Thanks so much for this review, as someone stated, "poor credit card" but I have been going back and forth with this for about a month now. This will definitely be the lens I get. I for one am very grateful you posted this.


May 28, 2009 at 11:05 PM
Eric Williams
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p.1 #16 · My Review of the 150-500OS from sigma.


Were these shot RAW or JPEG? What were the sharpening/contrast/saturation settings?


May 28, 2009 at 11:28 PM
kane513
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p.1 #17 · My Review of the 150-500OS from sigma.


they were shot jpeg with in camera sharpening at 6. the max for the camera is 10, so that puts sharpening right in the middle. I find anything less than 5 and even with a lens like the 200 f2 you'll get soft results out of camera.


May 29, 2009 at 05:58 AM
John Hanon
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p.1 #18 · My Review of the 150-500OS from sigma.


Thanks for the review.

My findings are exactly like yours..... Il love that lens. I use it @f/8 ISO 400 on my D300 most of the time and I am most happy with the results.

On this one, I had left the OS off (by mistake) on a monopod 1/250s f/8 ISO400








May 30, 2009 at 01:05 PM
havasu_photo
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p.1 #19 · My Review of the 150-500OS from sigma.


Well, I finally joined the "club" and purchased a used 150-500mm. My serial number started with 103, which from all the research I did, indicated that it was a newer copy, and less likely to have any issues.
That, and talking with the previous owner, convinced me to buy. I use it on my D300, and have previously owned a 50-500 Sigma.

Today I went out and tested the BigOS, taking the exact same shots at 500mm as I did with the Bigma. Same settings exactly.

I put the pictures(jpegs), side by side on my 30" LCD monitor, at a resolution of 2560X1600, and zoomed both to identical size. I could not tell ANY difference between the two, and both were acceptably sharp.

I've only had the lens for a day, and just did backyard testing, but it appears to be a winner. Everything the OP said, I agree with. I've owned the same lenses he has, and he was dead on.

OS takes about 3/4 of a second to lock on, and is a bit noisy. On the Nikon 70-300VR, it took about 1/4 of a second. On the Nikon, I never could hear the VR, so I was never sure if it was on or not, and had to keep checking the switch. Don't have that problem with the BigOS. But, the noise I'm talking about is almost like a wisper. If you were at an event, you would never hear it.

I also compared, side by side, my Tokina 300mm F2.8 lens, which is incredibly sharp, with the BigOS. And again, at F9(sweet spot?), and 300mm, the two pictures were identical in every way, including sharpness!!

This lens is better balanced than the Bigma, and that is on a D300 with grip. As far as price Vs. performance, I give this lens a 10. It has it's place in my bag, and serves a very useful purpose.

It's not a prime lens, and doesn't pretend to be, but for 90% of what I do, it works just fine.



Sep 10, 2009 at 01:02 AM
williamkazak
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p.1 #20 · My Review of the 150-500OS from sigma.


Nice review and discussion. I love the birdies!


Sep 10, 2009 at 03:24 AM
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