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

50_500EX_mdl_1_
Review Date: Jun 30, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,630.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Incredible IQ, huge range, OS is impressive
Cons:
Heavy, slow af in low light, af hunts in low light

A trip to B+H this spring proved to be very dangerous to my wallet. While I was inquiring about the 200-400 Nikon the most enthusiastic salesperson introduced me to the Bigma . He claimed he just purchased one and that the OS and other aspects were just redone.

I do not know about the revisions that Sigma might have made but if this guy was advocating a unit that was 1/4 the price it must have some positive attribute.
On my D800 it is simply fantastic when on my big Gitzo 5 series tripod. In similar zoom / aperture ranges it only gives up a tiny touch in the corners to my 80-200 2.8 ED. The range is impressive and most of the subjects I photograph at the 500mm setting are in the center so I really can't comment on the extreme edge performance at 500mm. With OS I can shoot at 1/125 sec @ 500 and be tack sharp if my arms don't tire, which happens quickly. After 15 a few minutes you start to notice images that are getting smeary. OS may be awesome but you can only handhold it for so long.

Sigma has a certain bokeh look and this has the Sigma color rendering.Nikon glass is more contrasty with stronger blue and red, while the Sigma has a Green and Yellow strength.

I will be keeping the 80-200 2.8ED for low light wide open work however I find myself picking out abstract elements that need a big lens much more. The freedom to visualize and create makes this a keeper for me with VERY little to give up.


 
Nikon D300

d300
Review Date: Jul 18, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,700.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Outstanding AF accuracy, Ergononics, High ISO JPG quality, very silent shutter
Cons:
Camera blurrs images for high ISO, Strong AA filter looses detail vs D2Xs

After shooting for years with the D2Xs and the Canon FF cameras. I had decided to modernize my equipment last year. I sold the D2X and the 1ds and bought a 5Dmk2 and a D300s. The D300s has a much stronger AA filter that kills the finest details and does some level of NR to the raw files wether you like it of not. The shots all now lack the subtle tonal variation in shadow areas and detail and no level of sharpening will bring it back.
if you shoot JPG's the D300 has a much much better image vs the D2X as the D2X does not have the refined JPG firmware of a D300. However in RAW the D2X has much better images.
If you shoot people or sports the D300 just might do the trick but for landscape the D2X in RAW is king.
I can get better results from RAW high ISO up to 800 in LR3 with the D2x than I can with the pre-blurred D300. Above 1600 the D300 is better.

So my conclusion is mixed
- D300s = JPG high ISO wonder
- D2Xs = RAW detail <ISO 800 king