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Sigma 150-500mm f/5-6.3 AF APO DG OS

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Reviews Views Date of last review
54 222828 Dec 22, 2013
Recommended By Average Price
85% of reviewers $993.55
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
8.63
9.41
8.5
150-500

Specifications:
Lens Construction 21 Elements in 15 Groups
Angle of View 16.4 - 5 degrees
Number of Diaphragm Blades 9 Blades
Minimum Aperture F22
Minimum Focusing Distance 220cm/86.6 in.
Maximum Magnification 1:5.2
Filter Size Diameter 86mm
Filter Size Bayonet-type Hood
Dimensions Diameter 94.7mm X Length 252mm
3.7 in. X 9.9 in.
Weight 1910g / 67.4 oz.


 


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cmosbum
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Registered: Dec 12, 2002
Location: United States
Posts: 1
Review Date: Jun 29, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $850.00 | Rating: 6 

Pros: Very Nice Build Quality Image Stabilization Appears to Work Well Discount relative to Canon's 100-400 f4L Zoom mechanism is a rotating ring, rather than push-pull
Cons:
Starts at f5.6 Soft due to apparent coma, even stopped down

I bought this lens based on several reviews suggesting that I might be able to get a reasonably good copy that would be roughly as good as a good copy of Canon's 100-400 dust buster. Unfortunately, the copy I received just didn't cut it. Nothing was critically sharp and there were subtle halos surrounding the sharpest features.
It went back in trade for a new Canon 100-400, at a lot more money, but the Canon is beautifully sharp even at the longest focal lengths. The 100-400 is even sharper than by 300 f4L at 300mm!
Sorry, Sigma, I really tried hard to give you some business. I suspect there are some copies that are very good, however.


Jun 29, 2009
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RichardB_photo
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Registered: Feb 5, 2009
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 20
Review Date: Jun 20, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: OS, Alot of bag for yuh bugs.. prety sharp at 500mm
Cons:
Lens cap is fiddely.. when lens hood is on.. en dont use cheap UV filters on it..

if had this lens for about 8 months now.. and im getting more and more in love with it.. if used it in a local zoo.. (see pictures here) and i used it in open nature.. this lens is greate..

there was a lot of negative things around this lens on the net.. but i can say the only thing that i found is the loud OS.. and its a bit heavy.. but all in all.. its a good lens..


Jun 20, 2009
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markdennis
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Registered: Apr 28, 2003
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 572
Review Date: Jun 18, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Great value for money, terrific range and not too heavy:) Good to very good IQ.
Cons:
Noisy OS (but works well). Not EX build but close.

I've had this lens a couple of days now. It's been purchased to photo a cricket match for a school where the parents have requested some shots of their kids in action. I will try to sell the images I take to the parents. Hopefully I will cover the cost of the lens. In my tests I have been really surprised how good this lens is considering the cost. Even at the long end and with an F stop of 6.3 this lens delivers. At this aperture the images are slightly softer than at F8 but are perfectly usable and with a bit of USM look great. Sure, it is not built like a Canon L long lens and has no weather proofing etc but on the other hand it doesn't weigh like a Canon L either. As others have said, the OS is noisy but works. I'll be interested to see it's effect on the MK III batteries. No doubt this lens needs good light to get the best from it, and I would imagine that it may struggle to achieve quick AF in gloomy conditions.

I have never owned a Sigma, and perhaps I have been lucky and have a good sample, but based on what I have seen so far I would say that this is a good lens for anyone starting out in wildlife or Sports photography who needs a long lens but cannot afford the price of Canon L glass.


Jun 18, 2009
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dlborges
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Registered: Nov 5, 2008
Location: United States
Posts: 2
Review Date: Jun 10, 2009 Recommend? | Price paid: $1,000.00

Pros: awesome lens.
Cons:
for about half the day, the lens would not respond properly in AI servo mode, even though the lens is a late model and the serial number falls outside of the early identified models having that problem. I shoot a 40d. I'm going to keep testing with it though because I did have a problem with the thumb dial on the camera while in AE mode, almost as if the software had locked up. Turning camera on and off didn't help, but eventually it freed up and things returned to normal. Jury still out on that.

This is my second post on this lens. I've now had some more serious time and days shooting waterfowl with the lens, the primary point of buying the lens in the first place. To get these shots in the wild on birds this close, it takes a setup very similar to a duck hunter. Boat out to an isolated wildlife refuge location (Napa/Sonoma DFG Refuge, California), setup up deeks, get the mallard and gadwall calls out and gently coax the birds into your large decoy setup.
http://dlborges.zenfolio.com/cwa/hfdeccae#hef6967e
and
http://dlborges.zenfolio.com/cwa/hfdeccae#h138ba47d

and the toughest shot of all on a drake gadwall, demonstrating the len's ability to track well. f/8,@403mm, 1/2000 with ISO 400.
http://dlborges.zenfolio.com/cwa/hfdeccae#h152e25e2

I'm still working hard with this lens, frankly it shoots way different than any other lens. I think it's contrasty, softness is tough at 500mm, killer at 400mm and below (which puts you in there with the canon 100mm-400mm) and compares to the canon no problem. I've compared both lenses side by side and could not justify an extra $500 for a shorter lens.


Jun 10, 2009
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kane513
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Registered: Feb 26, 2009
Location: United States
Posts: 893
Review Date: May 27, 2009 Recommend? | Price paid: $999.00

Pros: see below
Cons:
see below

Please see this thread for my full review including lots of pics at 500mm.

http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/777145

I really like this lens, and as long as you get a good copy, it is just as good as the bigma.



May 27, 2009
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kane513
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Registered: Feb 26, 2009
Location: United States
Posts: 893
Review Date: May 27, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $999.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Cheap, light compared to the nikon 200-400 +1.4, fast focus, sharp.
Cons:
f6.3 is slow in poor light, 86mm filters are expensive, lens hood is crappy.

Please see this thread for full review. http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/777145

May 27, 2009
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dlborges
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Registered: Nov 5, 2008
Location: United States
Posts: 2
Review Date: May 18, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,000.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Great value, great focus speed, compares head on with the Canon 100-400mm in AF speed, and quality. If you don't mind a more contrasty image, then you should buy this lens and save over $500 compared to the canon.
Cons:
A tad contrasty, at 500mm it's sharp but don't expect to crop or zoom in on the image too much or you'll start to loose sharpness. But, at 500mm I believe it's as sharp as the canon 100mm-400mm because I tested them side by side.

sharpness? http://dlborges.zenfolio.com/p875585347/h12be85f#h12be85f
and
http://dlborges.zenfolio.com/p875585347/h12be85f#h127b15a5


af focus speed? These Gadwalls were at 50 yards, and while I wish I had my shutter speed at greater than 1,000 and my f-stop down a tad to acheive that, this isn't bad while standing on a boat that's moving in the waves.
http://dlborges.zenfolio.com/p875585347/hf740253#hff075d4
I haven't even started using this lens at it's full capacity on a real birding shoot, and I can already tell it's going to produce a high volume of waterfowl images. If the lens happens to get destroyed in the process of being exposed to salt marshes and water, well then at least I didn't spend $6,000 on it. You don't take lenses like that to the locations I go to. Here's another shot:
http://dlborges.zenfolio.com/p875585347/hf740253#h5db2f73


May 18, 2009
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eWILDz
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Registered: Jul 9, 2004
Location: India
Posts: 9
Review Date: May 10, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $975.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: SUPER value for money. Decent IQ.
Cons:
Practically none as yet, especially if one has the patience to go through the learning-curve required for all LONG lenses ! Won't dare using 1.4X or 2X on the prime optics.


A very practical zoom range for nature/widlife lovers. Can easily be used hand-held if we hit the right ISO-focal length combo. I combine this lens with my Tamron 18-270 - and these two zooms more than fulfil all my requirements (short of SIGMONSTER of course !).


May 10, 2009
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ghamden
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Registered: Aug 10, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 120
Review Date: May 9, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $869.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Excellent price very sharp stopped down
Cons:
none so far

Excellent price very sharp stopped down

May 9, 2009
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JWPerkins
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Registered: Mar 16, 2009
Location: United States
Posts: 10
Review Date: Apr 13, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $850.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Great value for the money. HSM. Optical stab. Large zoom range with the optics to back it up. Sturdy build. Nice lens collar. Excellent case.
Cons:
Its big. Really big.

This lens is a great value for the money. I have used this lens to take handheld shots that I would never have gotten otherwise. It performs best when in great light but if your patient you can nail some really good shots in darker lighting. A tripod/monopod is highly recommended with this lens for the sharpest image or poorer lighting. Even though you can take handheld shots you won't want to lug this sucker around the zoo or theme park.

I have found my copy to be very sharp and the focus is right on. This is my 2nd sigma lens (10-20 nikon hsm) and they have both impressed me above and beyond my expectations.

Highly recommend this lens.


Apr 13, 2009
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mendis
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Registered: Oct 30, 2005
Location: Singapore
Posts: 1467
Review Date: Feb 22, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Good OS system. Sharp wide-open. good weight. A lot cheaper than 80-400vr
Cons:
barrel is thick for my hands. build quality scratches easily.

I tested 2 samples; one for canon and the other for nikon. I was surprised that the nikon sample was alot sharper wide open. Of course, i bought the nikon mount. I can manage to handhold this lens down to 1/125th speed. Sweet!

Focusing is fast; at least much faster than the 80-400vr. If there are two factors for me to choose over the 80-400vr, it will be price and focusing speed.

btw, the 80-400vr has better colour, contrast and details.


Feb 22, 2009
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lextalionis
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Registered: Jul 28, 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 1076
Review Date: Feb 3, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $890.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: A lot of bang for the buck!
Cons:
Maybe 10% less IQ over the double-the-cost Canon 100-400L

Really good alternative for save some $$. Not as quiet and fast focusing as the Canon EF 100-400mmL lens, but the $$ savings justifies it for many.

Samples Photos taken with a Canon XTi and Nikon D300

-Roy


Feb 3, 2009
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davekone
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Registered: Apr 27, 2003
Location: United States
Posts: 4766
Review Date: Oct 25, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 6 

Pros: Very good build quality, better than consumer grade to say the least.
Cons:
Poor Optical Stabilization performance, over saturated colors.

I have wished for years that Sigma would make a 50-500 with OS, when the 150-500 came out I thought I'd give it a try even though it starts at 150mm.

My first copy I sent back the OS did more damage than good. The second copy was much better but I could still get better photos with OS off most of the time. Maybe I was a victim of getting an early copy before they worked the bugs out.

Colors with this lens are very warm, it over saturates the image in most cases, easily fixable post processing but annoying.

Image quality in the 150-300mm range is very sharp, this observation on a 1.3x crop camera body. I would put the sharpness right up there with the 70-200 f2.8.

Beyond 300mm things start to soften, 300-400 is still quite good and 500mm is very usable but not like the 150-300 range. All of these opinions are shooting the lens at wide open apertures.

My Sigma 50-500 clearly beats the 150-500 in sharpness especially in the 400-500mm range. Tests performed on a tripod Smile

Sigma please give me a 50-500 with OS and HSM, this is my air show lens and I love the range.

In the end if you need a super zoom the 50-500 is the way to go, and I am sad to say this because this lens really appealed to my needs.


Oct 25, 2008
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CrossCanada
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Registered: Aug 29, 2005
Location: Canada
Posts: 0
Review Date: Sep 16, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: nice range, OS, fast focus in good light
Cons:
bit soft at 500mm, over saturates some colours

I've had this lens for 4 months now. Mind you three weeks of that it was in the shop getting rechipped (got one of the early models that did not function with Canon 40d servo).

I did some tests on it in the shop against the Canon 100-400 before buying and found the OS and AF speed to be very close, if not on par with the Canon lens (tested it on my old 20d body so did not notice the servo problem at the same time).

Once I got home it took me a couple of weeks to realise the servo problem. I kept it for a little bit longer because I was having so much fun with it (hummingbirds etc.). Generally I was really happy with the lens before I sent it away. It responded well in most conditions and could hand hold down to 1/200 at 500mm and still get decent shots. But true to the Sigma web announcement I started to notice the servo issue. (Note: Sigma's turn around time for correcting this problem was excellent. I live in rural prairies of Canada and I had the lens back in 3 weeks, it had to go out to Ontario I believe).

Now, wow, this thing flies with the 40d. In servo mode it tracks extremely well. I've locked onto many birds in flight and it stays with them as long as I can pan quickly enough. I think for those that say the AF is slow must have a poor copy because it is darn near the same as my 70-200 2.8 IS. As for hunting, I will admit in low light it does, but in my experience once it finds the target it stays with it.

I will agree that the picture quality may not by on par with Canon lenses. I have notice the high saturation and some loss of detail when shooting bright objects (like flowers). So this lens is probably not for the pros (but I'm sure you pros already have the much coveted 400, 500, and/or 600mm anyway). So donít expect to become a Nation Geographic photographer with this lens. Having said that though when you are shooting wildlife and more muted colours especially in the 100-400 range or at 500 when the subject is full frame the detail is excellent, just as good as my 70-200 with a 1.4x on it. And yes stopping it down does help but watch the light and ISO.

Build quality seems very good, I have already knocked it over once and had it come flying off the truck seat when I had to hit the brakes, still going strong (I know I should be paying attention to the road but it is migration time out here and I canít help but keep an eye out for the birds). Locking mechanism is a good feature to prevent the lens from accidentally extending in these times. It does creep back when you are shooting at steep angles but your hand is on the lens anyway so it is easy to correct or hold it in place with the focus ring. Iím a bigger guy so find the lens easy to carry around, hand hold and find it quite comfortable to use.

Overall I am having a ton of fun with this lens and getting some shots that I consider to be long term keepers. Letís see if Canon can keep pace by updating its 100-400, until then Iím happy. FM site only gives the option of whole numbers for overall rating so I gave it an 8 but would like to give it an 8.5. Cheers


Sep 16, 2008
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NJ Bob
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Registered: Apr 28, 2008
Location: United States
Posts: 7
Review Date: Sep 15, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $979.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: I'm still glad I bought it.
Cons:
None

I see in the forum some of you are having problems with this lens. Maybe I'm lucky or just don't know enough. I've been using it for a few weeks now and just love it. It looks like I'm carrying a bazoka around with me in some of the places I walk. The first link I shot a last week. I was hiking around the Walkill River National Wildlife Refuge at Liberty Marsh and heard this airplane. I thought he might be spraying the fields but when I got out of the tree line I guess he was practicing for an air show or something. Its all the pictures I took in about 5 minutes. I only cropped the one of the cockpit. I had the camera on sport mode. Some came out pretty good I think but again, I'm no expert.

Link 1
Link 2

The next slide show is a place I go to a few times a week, it Hyper Humus in Newton, NJ and its a Wildlife Management Area which means anyone can go in there and walk, hunt, fish, boat, bike, and horseback ride. So sometimes getting pictures is tough but I think some of these came out pretty good with this lens. These were all handheld. Bob


Sep 15, 2008
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bharada
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Registered: Jul 20, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 9
Review Date: Sep 13, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $979.00 | Rating: 5 

Pros: Sharp wide open and extremely sharp stopped down one stop.
Cons:
Back and front focus issues at either end of the focal range.

I purchased this lens from Amazon.com and ended up returning it due to severe back and front focus issues. If I used my D700's AF Tune feature to compensate for the back focus at 500mm the 150-250mm range would badly front focus, with the reverse holding true, too.

This was sad since the lens was very sharp, even wide open, when focused correctly.

In the end I don't know if I was the victim of sloppy Sigma QA, or done in by the poor level of padding Amazon.com's shipping department used in packing the lens. The shipping box had airbags padding only two sides of the lens box. Since Sigma boxes the lens only in its nylon carrying case I'm sure the lens got its share of bounces during the four days it spent in the UPS system.

So if you're willing to do the necessary amount of exchanges to get a good copy, or are willing to send it back to Sigma to get tuned, it can be a great bargain for the focal range it offers.


Sep 13, 2008
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Sigma 150-500mm f/5-6.3 AF APO DG OS

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
54 222828 Dec 22, 2013
Recommended By Average Price
85% of reviewers $993.55
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
8.63
9.41
8.5
150-500


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