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  Reviews by: wtracyparnell  

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Tamron 200-500MM F/5-6.3 Di LD (IF)

Review Date: Jun 7, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $789.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Light weight, good sharpness, good value.
Tripod collar.

I prefer this lens over the "Bigma" (I have owned both) because of the weight issue. The Tamron is much lighter without being "cheap" quality-the overall build is excellent. Autofocus is good, the speed being about the same as the "Bigma" although the "Bigma" is quieter. Image quality is at least as good with the Tamron and may be slightly better.

The only issue I have with this lens is the tripod mount which will not tighten down as it should. The design has a pin which should go into a small hole but instead goes into a "depression" about a quarter inch wide. This creates "play" in the mount and it is possible to move the collar while it is susposed to be tight. I have a piece of sponge in there now that stops this but it stays in horizontal position all the time-if I want vertice I have to crop later. If anyone knows of another mount that will fit this lens or has another solution please let me know!

The tripod collar aside, I would recommend this lens over the "Bigma" and any other third party "superzoom".

Here is a sample-many others in my bird gallery:

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

Review Date: Sep 27, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $725.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Great range, sharp, good "all in one" lens.
Heavy, slow. Focusing a little slower than some other zooms I have used.

I think this lens is probably the one purchase to make for non-pros or anyone on a budget who is interested in wildlife or other subjects that require a long lens. Used with a digital slr with a 1.6 crop factor, this lens has amazing reach and range. It is somewhat slow, but this will become less and less of an issue with better noise control on slrs and proper use of noise-reduction software. If you have not had a lens this big the size and weight will take some getting used to.

Since it is a political season, here is a link to a gallery on Pbase that I did showing Bush protestors and a few supporters too. All photos were taken with the "Bigma".

Sigma 300mm f/4 APO Tele Macro HSM

Review Date: Mar 29, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $400.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Well-built, Very Good Performance for the Money
None When Price is Considered

First of all-will this lens beat either Canon counterpart? No, obviously not or Canon wouldn't sell any. But if you can get one of these in great shape on the used market it's a great buy.

First, let me make clear I am talking about the APO HSM macro version of the lens, which is the last before it was discontinued. Don't get the older product as it will need rechiping and Sigma may or may not have the parts on hand (Sigma will rechip for free IF they have the parts). Also, the older version is less sharp and doesn't have the HSM motor.

One category this lens does win is close focusing. It will go to 1.2 meters compared to the Canon IS version at 1.5. This can be an important factor if you want to do closeups or small birds. The older Canon non-IS isn't close to either of these numbers although some feel it is the sharpest of the trio.

Speaking of sharpness, it is excellent at all f-stops except 4 and very good there. Here is an example:

Quality is good with a TC but a step down from the lens alone. One issue is that since the lens is somewhat soft at f4 you need to stop down to retain the most sharpness and with a TC you are already losing a stop. I would stick with a 1.4 and stay away from the 2x.

All in all, a great lens if you can find it used at a good price. An important factor when one is just putting together a digital kit as I am.