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Old Wednesday 17th December 2003, 09:27   #1
Andy Holt
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Sigma 500mm f/4.5 APO EX HSM

I've noticed that these lenses are now discounted to just under £2,000. I'm considering moving on from digiscoping (so I know I want a big prime lens) and would like to know if anyone is using this lens or has any experience of it?

I've considered either matching it with a Canon 10D or a Nikon D100. Both are now about the same price.

I'd love to go for a Canon 500mm IS (I want reach but a 600mm lens would break my back) but the price difference here is massive and with the correct set up and light conditions I assume that the Sigma lens would be capable of achieving comparable results?

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Old Wednesday 17th December 2003, 10:44   #2
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I've just ordered a Canon 10D, but with a Sigma 50-500mm F4-6.3 EX APO lens and a 1.4x converter.

Another BF member has this camera/lens combination (not sure about the converter) and he's getting some excellent shots.

A friend who has also moved from digiscoping also recently bought the 10D, but with the Canon 100-400mm IS lens and 1.4x converter. He is also getting some good shots.

I didn't want to pay more for the lens than the camera, so opted for the Sigma!

I know there are benefits to be had with prime lenses over zooms, but I wanted the flexibility of the zoom and to save having to carry a selection of lenses around, which is the main reason I gave up SLR photography many years ago!
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Old Wednesday 17th December 2003, 16:15   #3
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Hi Andy, I've just bought a Nikon based dslr and I'll be getting a Sigma 500mm f4.5 as my main lens. There's a Canon fit one on ebay 'oop north' which sounds o.k. It's a nice fast lens at f4.5 and will give far more opportunities to get a decent shot than the slower zoom lenses.

I asked fellow BF member 'RayH' about it on http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=7962 as he uses one. He get's the AF to work with his 10d in combination with teleconverters.
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Old Wednesday 17th December 2003, 16:48   #4
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Forgive me being nosey Andy but why did you choose the Nikon as opposed to the Canon 10d?. I thought the Canon was supposed to be the best thing since sliced bread.Which model Nikon did you choose?
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Old Thursday 18th December 2003, 11:53   #5
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Digiscope - 500mm prime lens comparison?

Andy (or anyone else who's looking!)
I assume you've had a good look at the large prime lenses combined with DSLR and compared the digiscoping setup to the conventional DSL setup?

Can you comment on how the focal length actually compares to a Swaro 80HD at 20x and the CP990.

Is a 500mm with a 2x converter anywhere near the same framed image as the Swaro at 20x with the coolpix zoomed in just enough to remove vignetting or is the prime lens still well short?

Also, to capture small birds close up do you need extension tubes for the prime lens and do these impact on the fiunctionality of autofocus etc?

Just trying to think through some of the practicalities.
I've been really frustratated lately by being in an oak coppice with small birds within virtual touching distance posing wonderfully being completely un photographable with my digiscoping setup because they're constantly on the move.

I have to either get a DSLR or stick superglue on a branch
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Old Saturday 20th December 2003, 14:59   #6
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Hi Andy,
I've just done some comparison shots to show you how close a 1000mm in front of a dslr will get you to the action vs Swaro' @ 20x and CP990 @ f3.0. Ignore the quality in theses shots, it's almost as dark as night outside. I used the Zeiss diascope 85fl with photo adapter that gives 1000mm @ f10 to demo, with a typical 6mp dslr the 35mm equiv is about 1500mm .
As you can see, the dslr+1000mm wins in the magnification with the cp990/swaro at these settings. Personally, I'd be more than happy with 500mm + 1.4 tc much of the time.

Also bear in mind that you can crop to enlarge far more with the output from a dslr, I can make huge crops from my dslr files and still get A4 at ease.

Extension tubes may not be quite as relevant for 500mm lenses as they are with 600mm+ lenses (a t.c. doesn't impact on min focussing distance). The Sigma 500mm f4.5 focuses down to 13ft... so you should be o.k. I know from my previous 35mm experience that Nikon's own tubes don't allow AF operation, but third party ones do.

I know there are plenty of members who are more familiar with ex tube use than myself.

Regards,
Andy
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Old Saturday 20th December 2003, 19:55   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by malgos
Forgive me being nosey Andy but why did you choose the Nikon as opposed to the Canon 10d?. I thought the Canon was supposed to be the best thing since sliced bread.Which model Nikon did you choose?
Malcolm
I like cutting my own bread Not much to choose amongst most of these dslr's... I've still got a lot of Nikon stuff from my 35mm days. I bought the Fuji S2 pro, only 2 frames per sec against 3 of the 10D, fractionally slower shutter-lag than 10D... AF lock times almost indistinguishable from others ( though varies from lens to lens). Overall resolution from the Fuji is better than the others, about the only Fuji camera where their 'super ccd' hyperbole has some justification.
Each to their own (and I hate following a crowd)
Regards,
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Old Sunday 21st December 2003, 20:37   #8
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Thumbs up Interesting comparison images

Thanks Andy

The comparison shots are really helpful. The DSLR actually compares better than I'd thought.

I'm currently gravitating towards the Canon 10D and Sigma 500mm F4.5 combo. RayH has been using these to great effect and has been kind enough to share his impressions of the kit from use in the field with me. His shots are extremely impressive and compare very favourably with shots taken with the all Canon combos at a substantially lower cost.

I'm really interested in applying this kit to action shots, birds in flight and small targets that only stay still for half a second at a time.

My only outstanding area of ignorance is regarding Gimbal heads. Has anyone got any thoughts about Wimberley Gimbal type heads???
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Old Sunday 21st December 2003, 21:25   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy Holt
Thanks Andy
My only outstanding area of ignorance is regarding Gimbal heads. Has anyone got any thoughts about Wimberley Gimbal type heads???
I know Nigel and George use the full Wimberley heads, best ask them....ask George in his forum. If you've got the £££, go for it...it's obviously the pro's choice.
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Old Monday 22nd December 2003, 04:18   #10
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I was on a trip to the Salton Sea and a nice couple had the lens Canon 100-400 L IS on their 10D; they put it on my camera for me to see what it was like. Attached is the first pic I took - on a lens borrowed from stangers, and hand-held.

On the same trip I got to try out my new Sigma 50-500; except using a tripod. The Sigma is soft - soft focus, soft colours. I returned it to the store right after I got home from my trip.

I have the original full-sized pics if you want to see them too. The 2 attatched are just cropped - no other editting was done to them at all. The Canon is lighter, brighter, and sharper. You get what you pay for - although it cost a lot more than the Sigma, I am completely happy and feel the investment was worth it.
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Old Monday 22nd December 2003, 08:05   #11
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Hi LzyPhotographer,
Always good to hear other photographer's views on different lenses and thanks for your demo pics. This thread mainly relates to the Sigma 500mm f4.5, which is most definitely in a different league to 50-500 sigma zoom in optical performance.
A non i.s. 500mm lens is a significant challenge for most to use successfully, requiring far more care in terms of stability... I have met many photographers who have purchased these lenses and been disappointed at the results.
Regards,
Andy


Quote:
Originally Posted by LzyPhotographer
I was on a trip to the Salton Sea and a nice couple had the lens Canon 100-400 L IS on their 10D; they put it on my camera for me to see what it was like. Attached is the first pic I took - on a lens borrowed from stangers, and hand-held.

On the same trip I got to try out my new Sigma 50-500; except using a tripod. The Sigma is soft - soft focus, soft colours. I returned it to the store right after I got home from my trip.

I have the original full-sized pics if you want to see them too. The 2 attatched are just cropped - no other editting was done to them at all. The Canon is lighter, brighter, and sharper. You get what you pay for - although it cost a lot more than the Sigma, I am completely happy and feel the investment was worth it.
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Old Friday 2nd January 2004, 13:32   #12
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Just got my Sigma 500mm f4.5, seems to be as good as reports suggest ... AF working without a problem with a Kenko pro 1.4x (even though it's very dark outside today). Manual focus can be used without having to switch anything (may not be the case on Canon fit)
SRS in Watford (advertise in AP) did it a bit cheaper than most places.
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Old Friday 2nd January 2004, 22:39   #13
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I dont know if anyone has seen this place yet
but they hire out cameras, lens etc
might be useful to hire before you decide on a lens?

http://www.hireacamera.com/hc/cameras/hire_menu.htm
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Old Friday 2nd January 2004, 22:47   #14
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Thanks. A great idea,I,ll certainly give it a try
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Old Tuesday 18th August 2015, 10:17   #15
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Greetings!




I have been using the Sigma 500mm 4.5 EX DG for a year and i kinda get mixed feelings about this lens since it requires a LOT of tecnique and requires some fiddling on the microadjustments department. First of all im a newbie and since i bought this lens in second hand market it is for sure a specific case.
I found that this lens require 15+ front focusing twoards nearest objects and the opposite (10-) to infinity, should this be normal? i dont find anywhere a objective answer, if i try to microadjust with teleconverter mounted the camera (canon 6D) just freezes, have to microadjust with teleconverter off to original value and mount converter back again.
Results can be stellar with this lens when i do well my work, focusing is fast but not all the time accurate (microadjustmnet issues i bilieve). Overall i would say the lens was a bit pricy but with dedication and attention to detail you can really have excelent bockelicious results with this lens.


Best regards

Simão Ribeiro
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Old Tuesday 18th August 2015, 11:20   #16
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Hi Simao I have had this lens nearly 3 yrs from new. The lens is very sharp and much lighter than the canon 500. It hasn't got image stabilisation but as mine spends 99% on a tripod that's ok. Even hand held if you are shooting at 800 + shutter speed you still do not need IS. Yes this like any long lens needs practice.
This lens when using a 1.4 converter is still sharp.now the only downside I have experienced with the 500 4.5 is when using a converter I use the kenko pro 300 DGX as its non reporting on my previous 7d Also occasionally it throws up a black frame in the viewfinder I find that if you just take the shot it clears itself other people have had to switch off the camera and switch it back on! There is a handy focus limiter switch for 3 positions. I have had some great images with this lens an would recommend it I have not had to micro adjust at all thus far! I think there is a set distance for various lenses IE 400-500-600etc for micro adjustment and targets you do not mention which converter your using? This may be why your 6D is freezing, have you contacted sigma? For help and maybe send it back for a service? maybe some more research on the forum or web could be useful for you.
Kind regards Mike

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Old Thursday 20th August 2015, 20:11   #17
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Quote:
I found that this lens require 15+ front focusing twoards nearest objects and the opposite (10-) to infinity, should this be normal?
I wouldn't have thought that this is not normal. I've had the Sigma 500mm for 5 years and with the 6D this year, including a converter, and haven't had any issues with it especially the ones you mentioned. I would say Simão, that micro adjusting can cause more problems than fixing.

You could try and get in touch with Sigma's support and ask them about that. If the problem is with the lens you might need to send it in. I've used it on 4 different cameras and luckily, no problems. I use it most of the time wide open and at f4.5 the narrow depth of field takes getting used to as your focusing has to be spot on and many of mine to begin were out of focus.
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