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Sigma 50-500mm f4-6.3 EX APO RF HSM

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91% of reviewers $883.88
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Sigma is proud to introduce a new addition to our EX series of lenses, the 50-500mm f/4-6.3 APO EX Hyperzoom. This magnificent new superzoom encompasses all popular focal lengths from the 50mm "normal" to 500mm ultra-telephoto; a 10:1 zoom ratio, providing tremendous versatility. The use of an apochromatic design and four elements composed of SLD (Special Low Dispersion) glass, plus a seven group zoom system and multi-coated optics, enable this wide-ranging zoom lens to provide a high level of performance, as well as versatility. It also employs a rear focus system to insure quick, convenient manual focus and a non-rotating front barrel. This, coupled with Sigma's HSM (Hyper Sonic Motor), provide quiet, responsive autofocus function, plus "full time" manual focus. This lens also features a Zoom Lock mechanism to help eliminate "zoom creep" when the lens is tilted up or down. The use of magnesium in the tripod mount helps reduce the weight of this lens, while maintaining the strength and rigidity necessary to support it. A custom bayonet "Perfect Hood" is provided to protect the front of the lens from extraneous light. Nature and sports photographers will appreciate the performance and versatility of this amazing new superzoom lens from Sigma.


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Registered: Jul 16, 2006
Location: Canada
Posts: 970
Review Date: Jul 23, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: Price-Build Quality-Versatility-Range-"One Lens Does all" convenience factor.
Heavy-Needs good light to sing.

Ok let me start by saying you get what you pay for and in this case you certainly get great value for money.
I was at a youth rally/concert and this lens was my "one lens" solution it simply did the lot!
Fantastic range and versatility i am very happy with this purchase the A/focus is fantastic and very responsive.
Its not the fastest lens out there however to combat this and its considerable weight i found that shooting TV Mode min 300th sec in sufficient lighting will ensure great results.
A helluva lot lens for the money.

Jul 23, 2008
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Registered: Jul 22, 2008
Location: South Africa
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jul 22, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Great colours, love the range, possible handheld shop, sharp images before 450mm

for what you pay this lense is incredible. yes hand held shots are difficult due to the weight but still possible at zoom under 400mm and when placed on a tripod or even leaned on your window the shots are sharp.

dont compare it to the canon 100 to 400 because the canon is better.

but for value for money, this lense will not dissapoint in good light as i find the sweet spot is f8 ss at 1/1000 in good light,
but you need to around with aperture and ss to get the bet out of the zoom. i just recently went to the kruger national park and i got incredible shot with this lense.

yes a IS would be nice but then the price wouldnt be nice.

this is a great lense i highly recomend it if the canon L lense is just to expensive.

Jul 22, 2008
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Registered: Mar 17, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 237
Review Date: Jul 21, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $920.00 | Rating: 6 

Pros: Range, mount/handle, price.
Focal length > 400mm, finish, filter size, lack of IS/OS.

I really wanted to like this lens.

Took delivery before a trip to the Pac NW for a tour of WA's national parks. I left some of my normal travel kit unused, including the consumer-based Canon 70-300IS.

To make a long story short, in plenty of light - using f-stops between 7 and 13 - I was unable to get anything better than "barely acceptable" in terms of contrast, sharpness, and clarity between 400mm and 500mm. I've shot for a long time - especially travel photography and I couldn't justify keeping the lens with nearly 20% of its advertised range.

I realize that, by and large, Sigma products are viable - and in some cases, remarkable - alternatives to legacy manufacturers' kit (I've had both good and bad experiences in the past). And to add insult to injury, did I caution that careful treatment (no hits or bumps) *still* resulted in several surfaces "losing" their EX Series finish? I still don't have a clue how that happened - from some truly strange areas, too...

Caveat emptor...

Jul 21, 2008
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Registered: Aug 10, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 135
Review Date: Jun 25, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $700.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: This is extremely sharp well built fast focus
Needs good light or use tripod or monopod

I purchased this lens used it looks to be new the IQ is great
in good light

Jun 25, 2008
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Registered: Feb 7, 2008
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Feb 7, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $900.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Range, image quality, price, construction balance
low light focusing lack of stabilazion

I shopped carefully to find a good long distance zoom. This lens kept showing up in reviews I was reading. One review rated the lens very high for birding so that got my attention. The canon lenses were just too expensive in the 400mm and above range and i did not want to rely on a TC.

I ordered the lens and when it arrived I was very please with the overall build quality and feel of the lens. I mounted it on my canon 30D and went out and snapped some photos, It was an overcast day and the initial images were good but not great. I then had an opportuinity to shoot with it on a sunny day, clear blue skies and the pictures were fabulous.

Since I have now had the opporunity to shoot many different conditions and have learned to match the correct ISO and camera settings. The results are very good across all my outdoor shooting conditions thus far.

My best image to date was the capture of a Great Blue Heron in a swamp form about 100 feet away at ISO 160 shutter 1/800s f/6.3 The details (clarity/color) are stunning in this image.

I kow its not the best lens you can buy but I think it is the best long range zoom for under $1000 on the market today.

Highly recommend

Feb 7, 2008
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Registered: Apr 27, 2003
Location: United States
Posts: 4769
Review Date: Sep 22, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $800.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Cost effective way to get to 500mm. Amazing that it can zoom from 50mm-500mm! My copy is golden with excellent central sharpness. Focus speed is excellent, sold HSM performance.
Zoom ring is tight, has gotten a tad better with time but requires more effort to twist than usual. Seems tighter going from 50-100mm then eases up considerably after that.

I own the non DG version of this lens. I really think my copy is extremely good compared to what I have seen elsewhere. I have prints that were made of a F16 @ 416mm 54x31" and I can clearly read the name of the pilot on the side of the plane. The shot filled the frame on my 1D MKII 1.3x crop body. For air shows its a real gem, I can get the planes up close taxing around and in the air.

I take this lens out for wildlife at the zoo. I have a Leopard photo at 500mm 1/100th and another @363mm 1/400th that would make your jaw drop pixel peeping. All shots at wide open aperture.

This lens does require good light to get a clean image. I would say a medium overcast lit day is needed. If its dull and drab the lens performance and photo quality falls apart.

I often shoot ISO 400 to 640 with this lens unless its a clear sunny day.

If you need sample images drop me a message I'd be glad to share.

The engineers at Sigma really deserve a pat on the back, its hard to believe what this lens can do.

Sep 22, 2007
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John Mavin
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Registered: Sep 19, 2007
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 0
Review Date: Sep 19, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Overall performance, quality, price and (dare I say it?) weight!

I have used the Bigma for well over a year with my Nikon D100 and D70, mainly in ship photography, and sometimes in quite severe weather conditions where, by necessity, the lens is always mounted on a large Gitzo tripod, often with a bag of stones hanging from the base.

Strange to think that this whopper has almost become my standard lens!

I find the Bigma is quick and responsive and, despite all the drawbacks caused by weather and changing light conditions, the image quality is quite remarkable.

My comment on the weight stems from the belief that you don't get this type of performance from a lens built of lightweight materials. More weight - greater stability - better image.

Mine has needed one repair, that is when an amount of play developed in the main barrel, often shutting down the AF function. This was rectified very quickly by Sigma Imaging (UK) Ltd. at a very reasonable cost with a quality of service I found excellent.

My only mumble would probably be the zoom lock. I feel I can't rely on it and the switch being too small and flimsy.

Apart from that - an excellent lens!

Sep 19, 2007
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Registered: May 18, 2005
Location: Canada
Posts: 2150
Review Date: Aug 29, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $750.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Reach,quality,PRICE
weight,some ghosting

Sigma..Bigma.. I bought this lens a few years ago,to complement my Canon 70-200 2.8. I bought this lens for wildlife photography. I first had a try of Canon 100-400,but didn't find push/pull as comfortable as I'd hoped. Sharpness wasn't the greatest. Then I bought this lens off a person on FM. I was really scared at first,but first pictures made me smile. This lens is really good.

Sharp. Not as sharp as my L's,but it's worth every penny I paid. I used it for for some motorsport photography with ok results. It doesn't track subjects as good as 70-200 does. You also need a tripod to use this lens or at least 1/500s,in order to get sharp shots. It's pretty heavy and extremely hard to hold this lens without moving.
Weird: f6.3 on this camera=f5 on any other lenses that I own. Basically they look a touch darker in the viewfinder and darker they come out.. I don't know how else to explain it.

On my website, all the animal,bird photos were taken with the sigma. http://www.dmitrimarkine.com

Also,here's out of the camera photo that was taken at 8mp at 500mm f6.3. download and judge the quality by yourself.

Aug 29, 2007
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Allan Bruce
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Registered: Mar 14, 2007
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 1361
Review Date: Jul 16, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 7 

Pros: Great range, long reach, build quality, HSM motor, price
Very soft at 500mm, AF hunts occasionally

I have had this lens for 6 months now and have used it a lot. The main thing I can say is that it is versatile. It is my carry round lens! Yes it may be heavy but it has a comfortable grip to carry it. The 500mm is very nice to use however it is very soft at this range. The softness starts to come in around 350mm, but above 400 it deteriorates rapidly. If you stop down it does improve but stopping down an already slow f/6.3 at 500mm means you really need to bump up the ISO or be in very sunny conditions. That said, I would still definitely recommend it unless you want to be selling your images. I will be sad to see my Bigma go but I need to sell it to get my 300m f/2.8 ...

Jul 16, 2007
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Registered: Sep 11, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 812
Review Date: May 10, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $899.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Versatility, HSM motor, build quality/feel, price
Could be a touch sharper at 500mm

This is such a versatile lens, as I've heard before, the bigma is a 500mm supertelephoto that you can zoom back to 50mm if you need it. For a 10X zoom, the optics are very good, even at 500mm, using good technique and good processing technique will yield very good to excellent results in my view.

I whole heartedly recommend this lens for anyone interested in an affordable supertelephoto zoom.

May 10, 2007
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Registered: Apr 22, 2007
Location: Denmark
Posts: 0
Review Date: Apr 22, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $800.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: 10 Times Zoom 50-500 in one lens thats stunning :-)
Not a single one, not even the weight

look at my pictures on this side:

search for the user sehdata and you
vil see a lot of other fotos by this super

Apr 22, 2007
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Registered: Jun 6, 2005
Location: South Africa
Posts: 14
Review Date: Apr 8, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $820.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Zoom range, sharpness over entire range.
Slowish at F6.3. Needs some support, but handheld shots are possible.

I've had this lens for almost two years and it is still my favourite lens. I mainly use it with a monopod or resting on a vehicle for support. I've found in most cases that any softness is due to camera shake.

Some pics:

Highly recommended for wildlife and bird photography. The zoom range is especially suited to the size of animals in Africa.

Apr 8, 2007
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Registered: Nov 13, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 1220
Review Date: Mar 19, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $999.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Great lens for the price, awesome range, sharp sharp sharp
lens cap doesn't work with hood on

I got this lens Friday to use on my 20D & 30D. Saturday I headed off to the local drive thru Wildlife Safari ... WOW!

I own & regularly use a 70-200mm f/2.8L IS lens, so the weight on this sigma is the same & I hand hold 90% of the time. My keeper rate at the safari was about 90% for sharp focus (can't speak for the moving animals who seem to look away at the wrong time)

yes, it is slow compared to my 70-200mm, but I knew this would be my sunny day lens, so it really is fine for its purpose.

the zoom seems stiff, but I read somewhere that it will loosen with time, so not complaining yet, and I kept it at 500mm most of the time, so who needed to zoom in & out Smile

I could use this lens easily on a walkabout around town or the zoo, can't wait for soccer season to start up. I get sharper pictures with this lens, than with my 70-200mm with a 2x converter, but side by side at 200mm, well my IS lens would still win

here are some shots from the safari combined with the 20D:





Mar 19, 2007
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Registered: Sep 4, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 4208
Review Date: Feb 14, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $750.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: 500mm for 1k new. Nice contrast, nice colors.
A little lens creep. A little heavy.

Theres not much more I can write about this lens that you haven't already read. I have carried this thing around in my hands for a couple hours, no big deal. I would say that my comfort zone for sharp photos hand held at 500mm is 1/200 of a second. When the sun goes down, I crank up the ISO to 1600(god bless you canon), and it's no big deal, shooting wide open of course.

I bought mine used on eBay for 750, man these things hold their value! The first thing I thought when I used it was...500mm still isn't enough!!! I may pick up a 1.4 tc, who knows.

I have only used a tripod so far for the standard moon shot:

This is about a 50% crop.. http://i149.photobucket.com/albums/s74/cedew/moon1.jpg

This lens also has wonderful dof . You know whats odd? I notice it most at full zoom when the lens is the slowest...


To sum up my feelings on this lens:
At first I was a little disappointed. The more I use it, the more I love it. Its been about a month now, and it will stay with me for a long, long time.

*Note - Occasionally, this thing squeals a little bit while focusing, just ignore it, its fine. Also, once mine did this wierd half assed focusing thing where it would hardly work. I just cycled the AE/AF settings on the camera

Feb 14, 2007
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Herman Auer
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Registered: Dec 10, 2005
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 3
Review Date: Jan 20, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Extremely well built lens. HSM works nice and quietly. I'm very impressed with this lens so far. Very sharp for a lens in this price catagory.
Requires a good dosis of light but can be compensated with higher ISO usage. Weiging 1.85kg, it's a heavy lens.

I'm using this lens in combination with my Nikon D50. As the lens weighs a ton, I find that by adding a battery grip (available from Hahnel, Mercury & Opteka) places the entire setup much more balanced. The lens can be handheld (naturally within limits) but tripod usage is recommended.

Jan 20, 2007
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Registered: Apr 7, 2006
Location: Argentina
Posts: 0
Review Date: Nov 7, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Range of course, very good image quality, HSM, EX quality, comes with a soft-case & hood, price.
86mm filter size, wish it was at least a constant F4.

I will use as a reference for this review the Canon 70-200 F2.8L which, I believe, is one of the greatest sub-2k lens available:

The main reason why I actually sold the 70-200 was the "short" range, and I have to say this is the MOST impressive feature of the Sigma all-in-all. I knew from the beginning this "extra-range" was going to cost me some "image quality", but to be honest, image quality was not that much compromissed and, to my surprise, the lens even shows some highlights where it outperforms the Canon. For example: Though overall image quality of the 70-200 is better, the 50-500 produces a better bokeh in about every situation.

HSM and EX finish are two very pleasant details (even though the lens is not weather sealed, but for a sub-1000u$s this is not surprising).

Another plus: the lens comes with a soft-case and hood.

Now the minuses:

86mm filter size is not cheap at all, but well, considering this lens is "only" about 950u$s and the only comparable lens in the market, the Canon 100-400L, is almost 500u$s+ (talking always about the Canon mount version)...then spending an extra 70 bucks for the UV filter is still a good deal.

Lack of stabilization and excessive weight are complains you can usually read here for this piece of glass, but IMHO any serious 300mm+ lens should be used with, at least, a monopod to achieve better results, and since I always carry a monopod in the backpack, neither of these are considered as minuses by me, but have in mind before buying that this is an almost 2 kilo (4 pounds) non-stabilized lens.

My biggest complain with this lens is the aperture. The F4-6.3 is a real limit to the posibilities of it. Though with an appropriate camera and a careful setting you can almost override most of the "light requirement" limitations and shoot everywhere-anytime. Of course you wouldn´t have to care for all that with a Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L IS USM but well, you need an extra 5.5K to get one of those, so in the end this Sigma jewel is kind of a real deal.

Some pics:









Nov 7, 2006
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Sigma 50-500mm f4-6.3 EX APO RF HSM

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
81 345069 May 29, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
91% of reviewers $883.88
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating

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