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Home » Cameras, DSLR & MFT (micro four thirds) » SLR & MFT (micro four thirds) Lenses  
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Sigma APO 150-500mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM
Reviews Views Date of last review
16 97412 Wed June 5, 2013
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Recommended By Average Price Average Rating
88% of reviewers $937.00 7.3
Sig_150-500.jpg


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supersize

Description: Per Sigmaphoto.com

This ultra-telephoto zoom lens covers a telephoto range up to 500mm and allows photographers to bring the subject close and short perspective. Sigmas original OS (Optical Stabilizer) function offers the use of shutter speeds approximately 4 stops slower. It is ideal for sports, wildlife and landscape photography with handheld shooting. Three SLD (Special Low Dispersion) glass elements provide excellent correction for chromatic aberration. This lens is equipped with a rear focus system that minimizes fluctuation of aberration caused by focusing. The super multi-layer lens coating reduces flare and ghosting. High image quality is assured throughout the entire zoom range. This lens incorporates HSM (Hyper Sonic Motor), which ensures a quiet and high-speed AF as well as full-time manual focusing capability. The addition of the (optional) 1.4x EX DG APO or 2x EX DG APO Tele Converters produce a 210-700mm F7-9 MF ultra-telephoto zoom lens or a 300-1000mm F10-13 MF ultra-telephoto zoom lens respectively. A removable tripod socket (TS-31) is included as a standard component.
Keywords: sigma 150-500 zoom hsm stabilizer stabilized hyper sonic



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Fowl Mouth

Just a guy with dogs

Registered: November 2005
Location: Connecticut
Posts: 6163
Review Date: Wed February 18, 2009 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: $881.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: 500mm, Optical Stabilization, sharp @ 8
Cons: heavy, slightly soft wide open, no limiter switch

Rather than regurgitating manufacturer specs and capabilities, I figured Id simply throw a few opinions about this lens your way.

The only other telephoto that I have significant time to compare to is a Canon 70-200 1:4 non-IS. The Canon is a superb lens, with perfect scores both mechanically and optically, in my opinion.

The Sigma 150-500, which Ive seen referred to as the Bigmos, is the lens I purchased to specifically fulfill my desires for bird photography. Its both the 500mm focal length and the Optical Stabilization (OS) that make for an unusual combo of features in a sub $1000 USD lens. Ive been using it almost daily for three months now, and nearly every shot in my Gallery to date is with this lens.

Mechanically, the lens appears quite solid. Build-wise it feels and looks as good as my Canon L lens. The HSM motor is as fast and as quiet as my L, which is itself equipped with USM (Canons similar high end motor technology). Where the Sigma lags behind is a lack of a focal length limiter switch. This is regularly evident when shooting wildlife, which is inevitably almost always distant, and forces me to wait that extra second or two when I miss the focus lock on the first try. Still, the motor is far superior to another Sigma lens that I own (28-70 EX DG 1:2.8), which is loud and slow in comparison. As for the OS, it is a dream. Ive managed completely handheld shots (no bracing or resting) as low as 1/80 sec @ 500mm with admirable results:



It is definitely a large lens, weighing in at 4.2 lbs, or about 2 kg. It is balanced well, though, having most of its weight near the mount end.

Optically, Id rate this lens as good wide open and very good stopped down. I spend most of my time shooting at 500mm, and I assume most people reading this review are honestly interested in the long end anyway. When set open to 6.3 the nominal sharpness is on the side of soft. Additionally, a small amount of color fringing seems to impede sharp, contrasted edges. Both of these things can be fixed in Photoshop, but know that if you are desperate for that extra light gathering, you will need to post process. When pinched to 8 this lens really shines. Ive managed some truly sharp songbirds with this lens from about 15 feet. Color saturation and contrast is also very good, considering that it utilizes 21 elements in 15 groups!

Like anything in life there are always compromises. This lens is regularly being compared to the Canon 100-400 L, and rightfully so since it shares many virtues. Based on numerous 100-400 L bird pics available webwide, I do feel that this relatively new lens from Sigma is capable of putting up images on par with the venerable Canon zoom. Unfortunately, the Bigmos is larger, heavier, and annoyingly lacks a limiter switch. Then again, the Sigma is two-thirds the cost, which is fairly significant. If I had the money at the time, I would have considered the Canon. In the end, though, I do not regret my purchase.

------------------------------
Jason
Vertiable Imagery - photography by Jason Scherff
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wrogers
Registered User

Registered: January 2009
Location: Suffolk
Posts: 43
Review Date: Thu March 5, 2009 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Price, 500mm should you need it, OS
Cons: slightly soft wide open and at 500mm. plastic lens barrel

I bought this lens after the first Sigma price hike of the 'Crunch' hence the 670
the price at the moment (Mar '09) is now way over 700

The lens comes in a padded lens case, and has a lens strap for the 2kg weight.
The lens is of the same quality externally as the EX lenses, except part of the lens barrel is plastic, but seems tough.

the OS works extremely well. at 150mm I have shot at 1/15th indoors ISO1600!!

works best up to 400mm but 500mm is ok

not the sharpest W/O, but drop to F/8 or F/9 and it is good enough.

lens hood is awkward unless you grip the textured area, whereas my 100-300 F/4 had an easier hood to attach.

Sharpness is generally good, allowing feather detail to be recorded, however the Canon 400mm F/5.6 is better at this.

overall 9* as image quality could be slightly better, and the plastic barrel, that seems quite sturdy is initially unnerving.

I thoroughly recommend if the Canon 100-400 L and Nikon 80-400 are too pricey, or if the Bigma's lack of OS is a concern.

Will
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mendis
Registered User

Registered: September 2008
Location: Singapore
Posts: 9
Review Date: Mon March 9, 2009 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharpness at wide open, OS, HSM works really well
Cons: 'skin' of lens fragile, no limit switch

When I was looking for a walkabout lens around the range of 80-400mm with image stabilizer, I had several choices. It was either the Sigma 120-400 OS, 150-500 OS or the Nikkor 80-400vr. After initial testing of the three lenses, I narrowed down to either the 150-500 OS or the Nikkor 80-400vr.

There were two factors that I deem as priorities for choosing the lens. First, sharpness wide open. Second, focus speed for flight/action.

In the store, I compared the two lenses with the Nikon D3 in the following areas.
Focus speed (Sigma Wins)
Sharpness (Tied wide open)
Colour (Nikon wins)
Image stabilizing (Tied) (lowest speed tested being 1/160th)

Based on the above results, and of course, the price tag, I chose the Sigma. The Nikon costs about S$1000 more than the Sigma.

It does not get a 10 because of the body finishing; that peels off after some use.
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Dicky Bird
Registered User

Registered: October 2008
Location: Coleshill North Warwickshire.
Posts: 7
Review Date: Wed March 25, 2009 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: well built.
Cons: Limiter switch Photos not sharp

This Lens is nice to handle,but what lets it down is the lack of sharpness in the Birds feathers.Tried all focal lenghts and f-stops and shutter speeds but it doese'nt come sharp.
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dixiethedug

Brian

Registered: February 2009
Location: Bonnyrigg, Midlothian
Posts: 908
Review Date: Wed April 22, 2009 Would you recommend the product? No | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 5 

 
Pros: great up to 300mm
Cons: soft from 300 to 500mm

Maybe I had a duff lens, don't know, but try as i did i could not get 'pin' sharp pics between 300 & 500mm. So i went to an experienced bird photographer and it was the same result.
Even using NX Capture or Photoshop the pics at max distance were soft. I was extremely disappointed. So much so i have ditched the lens and bought a Tamron 200-500.
My experience may well be down to poor batch, who knows but i was not going to risk a change of lens and have the same result, so i went for a Tamron.

------------------------------
Lang may yer lum reek!
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Eleanorsanimals
Registered User

Registered: November 2008
Location: Chorley, UK
Posts: 1
Review Date: Fri June 12, 2009 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 7 

 
Pros:
Cons:

I'm only an amateur and could do with a little help on this lense. I'm using it with a X2 transformer and am just not getting enough light into the shots (Canon 40D). Can anyone recommend settings with this configuration that might help with the problem?

Cheerz
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fpimentel

Registered User

Registered: August 2009
Location: NYC, NY
Posts: 5
Review Date: Thu August 20, 2009 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: $930.00 | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: relatively fast focus, image stabilization, price
Cons: mediocre color quality and weak sharpness (above 400mm)

Last year I got this lens to replace a Nikon 80-400mm. For birding the 80-400 was not a good choice, too slow (focusing) and did not work well in low light. The Sigma 150-500 is a better lens in many aspects but the Nikon (was) is a better lens regarding the general quality of the pictures. I need to do a lot of work using Photoshop CS4 to improve the sharpness and color quality of the pictures that I take with the Sigma 150-500 lens. I also have a Nikon 400 (F 2.8) that I use for birding photography and (of course) is a superior lens in all aspects. But you need a sturdy tripod and if you have to move around for birding, then the Sigma is a acceptable choice for hand held camera shooting of birds. Most of the time I use the Sigma 150-500 with a Nikon D300 and a monopod (for support) and the results are OK, sometimes good.
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Musoman

PETE - Nikon Shooter

Registered: October 2009
Location: Oxfordshire UK
Posts: 1574
Review Date: Wed October 21, 2009 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: 500mm FL
Cons: Slightly annoying hood - no FL limiter

I cant really add much to the reviews above. When i bought mine, i was in half a mind to get the big Tamron 200-500, but there were more negative views on that lens.
I took a chance and bought the Sig. I must say i love it, but with the small Max Aps, its not at its best on dull days. Stick to bright sunny days with this lens, stop down to F8 or further, live with its foibles, and enjoy.







------------------------------
NIKON D610 + Nikon D7000 + Nikkor 500 F4 AF-S D ll + 70-300 VC + Tamron SP 90 AF Macro + Nikkor 28-105 AFD + Tokina 11-16 + Manfrotto + Giottos
BF Photos
FLICKR
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BarryH
Registered User

Registered: December 2009
Location: Sheffield
Posts: 380
Review Date: Mon December 28, 2009 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 0 

 
Pros:
Cons:

Anyone advise on which OS setting to use when this lens is on a monopod?

Book say OFF for a tripod but a monopod is less stable.
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rick ward
Registered User

Registered: November 2010
Location: york
Posts: 137
Review Date: Wed December 1, 2010 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: good optics and quick silent focus
Cons: big heavy,got a file handle with thread to screw to handle for support

l have had it out on a number of projects would recommend some sort of support to screw into tripod gear, l used a wooden file handle with threaded part at top to screw into lens part, just the job 3 plus a mate who was a model engineer rick ward york
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JSER
Forum Member

Registered: July 2011
Posts: 265
Review Date: Wed July 6, 2011 Would you recommend the product? No | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 1 

 
Pros: Let me think, it was stolen!
Cons: Quality absolute rubbish

This has to be the worst lens Sigma made, I had one from new, on a Canon 10D then 300D then 60D, thank god it was stolen, replaced with a 120-400
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BrentEades

Registered User

Registered: May 2012
Location: Almonte, Ontario
Posts: 50
Review Date: Sun July 29, 2012 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Fairly fast AF, good stabilization, sharp
Cons: Large size, indiffferent build quality

I own this lens and the Nikon 300mm f/4. The Nikon (used with the Kenko 1.4 teleconverter) is certainly the better lens in terms of speed, build, sharpness and overall quality.

But the 150-500 still has a place in my bag. The zoom makes it versatile, especially in the woods where a bird may land right beside me or 50 yards away -- I can still get a shot either way.

The image stabilization works very well. I almost always shoot hand-held, up tall trees and so on, and that's saved quite a few shots for me, shots I would have missed with the Nikon.
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stevefloyd
Registered User

Registered: September 2012
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 62
Review Date: Sun October 28, 2012 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 0 

 
Pros:
Cons:

I have this lens and I wasn't quite happy with the overall sharpness so now I have the Nikon 500mm and am very happy. Nevertheless a very good lens but not a great lens. I have tried it on a D5100 body a D7000 and a D800E, if the subject was not too far from you it was very good if it was further away a little disappointing
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Tord S Eriksson

Tord

Registered: July 2010
Location: Gothenburg, Sweden
Posts: 91
Review Date: Wed February 27, 2013 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: $1,000.00 | Rating: 0 

 
Pros: Nice OIS
Cons: Not that sharp in the long end!

I had this lens, and like its sibling, the 120-400 really nice in the short end, not as impressive in the long! Needs clear, sunny days to do its best!

The newer versions of the 50-500 has a reputation of being sharper than this 150-500.

------------------------------
Tord S Eriksson, an enthusiast for everything flying outdoors, and photography!

Mostly Nikon 1, D7500 & D600, user.
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uttampegu
Registered User

Registered: May 2012
Location: Udaipur
Posts: 14
Review Date: Tue May 7, 2013 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: 500mm, Image Stabilisation, Cost
Cons: Little soft wide open

I have been using this lens for last 8 months and I am happy so far. Not very good lens for photographing bird in flight though.

It requires little post processing for excellent result.
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