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Sigma Lenses

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Old Monday 19th February 2007, 03:17   #1
Matt Palmquist
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Sigma Lenses

I recently ordered a Pentax K100 D, with the 18-55 kit lens, and the 50-200mm Pentax lens. I will use the camera alot for wildlife photography. I am looking at getting a Sigma 170-500mm. If anyone is familiar with this lens and can comment on it I would appreciate any info. I am new to the dSLR game and have much to learn.

How does this lens compare to the 50-500mm Sigma? Is the few hundred dollars extra worth it to buy this lens?

Thanks,
Matt
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Old Monday 19th February 2007, 04:25   #2
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There are some other threads mentioning this pair in the various camera sections. Oddly, people seem to prefer the performance of the 50-500 over the 170-500.
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Old Monday 19th February 2007, 20:46   #3
impotentspider
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Matt

I cant offer any comparisons re-performance but I can say that the 50-500 is a nice bit of kit and well worth the extra cost for the increased focal range, You will definately want to use it on a monopod or tripod though as the lens is a bit of a beast (IMHO)

I cant see the 170-500 being any different performance wise (optically) unless your a pixel peeper, but do consider when you decide that you may miss the shot of a lifetime because the lens is too long at the short end, especially as the lens is equivelent to 255-750 on the DSLR. If you intend to shoot subject at a distance this will present no problems but if something comes nearer you are going to be well and truly stuffed.

I grabbed this with the 50-500
http://www.birdforum.net/attachment....chmentid=71813

Not a brilliant shot I know but the quickest I could link to.
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Old Tuesday 20th February 2007, 02:39   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by impotentspider
I cant see the 170-500 being any different performance wise (optically) unless your a pixel peeper, but do consider when you decide that you may miss the shot of a lifetime because the lens is too long at the short end, especially as the lens is equivelent to 255-750 on the DSLR.
If you're concerned about "missing shots" what you want to compare is the minimum focus distance is for each.
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Old Tuesday 20th February 2007, 03:31   #5
Matt Palmquist
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I did a search after your post. I should have done that to begin with, Sorry. Anyways, it did seem like many prefer the bigma to the 170-500. I guess if you have the 50-500 you really don't need any other lenses. I should have had them keep the 50-200mm Pentax lens I bought and put the money towards the bigma.

Since I have this lens coming that is the main reason I was looking at the 170-500, but in most of the reviews it sounds like the 50-500 is superior. I also read alot of good things on the Tamron 200-500, but I am unable to find this lens with a Pentax mount.

Thanks again,
Matt
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Old Tuesday 20th February 2007, 07:35   #6
paul goode
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bkrownd
There are some other threads mentioning this pair in the various camera sections. Oddly, people seem to prefer the performance of the 50-500 over the 170-500.

I think that is because in Sigma, Canon and Nikon mounts the 50-500 has the HSM motor which makes its AF considerably faster than the 170-500. I'm not certain but I don't think this is the case with the Pentax mount. If so then I'm not sure the extra money is worth spending. For examples of a 170-500 used well check out Psilo's gallery before she changed to the 400 f5.6.

The 170-500 is considerably lighter and so that could be an advantage over the 50-500. Most people I know handhold the 170-500 without any trouble.

For bird photography the 50-170 bit is hardly likely to be missed. In the end I bought a 500mm prime because virtually all my photography was done at the long end of the zoom.

However if Sigma put the HSM motor into the Pentax Mount then ignore the above and I'd take the faster AF every time!

Paul

Last edited by paul goode : Tuesday 20th February 2007 at 07:55.
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Old Tuesday 20th February 2007, 07:44   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paul goode
I think that is because in Canon and Nikon mounts the 50-500 has the HSM motor which makes its AF considerably faster than the 170-500. I'm not certain but I don't think this is the case with the Pentax mount. If so then I'm not sure the extra money is worth spending. For examples of a 170-500 used well check out Psilo's gallery before she changed to the 400 f5.6.

Paul
I'd agree with Paul that if there is not a difference in AF speed on your camera that there is not much advantage to the 50-500. I used the 170-500 for some time and never found the short end to be too long. The 170-500 is considerably lighter than the 50-500 which makes handholding it much easier.
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Old Tuesday 20th February 2007, 07:57   #8
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Oops, sorry Peter.

I think I was editing while you were posting so I've duplicated your thoughts!

Paul

Edit. I've attached an image taken with my 50-500 handheld to give you an idea.
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Last edited by paul goode : Tuesday 20th February 2007 at 08:16.
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Old Tuesday 20th February 2007, 12:52   #9
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Matt

If you've allready got the pentax 50-200 coming then go for the 170-500, I have actually taken the 50-500 off on occasion and replaced it with my Pentax 80-320 because its just to difficult to handhold. the 50-200 is a very nice lens for the price, a recent camera mag test listed it as one of the best in a head to head with the Canon, Nikon, Sigma and Tamron equivalents, the Tamron was rated the best overall, but the Pentax (and its Samsung sibling) were praised for their superb optics and said to be the best build quality out of the bunch. I personally dont put much faith in magazine reviews but it was nice to see Pentax getting some praise for a change, especially as it got more marks than the Canon and Nikon lenses.
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Old Wednesday 21st February 2007, 01:01   #10
Matt Palmquist
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I am leaning towards the 170-500 as well, but then I read several opinions saying it isn't up to par with the 50-500. I think that I will be using it towards the higher end of the zoom most of the time. I also have read through the equipment reviews on this forum, and most like the 170-500.

It is very confusing trying to make a decision. It is alot of money either way, but money that will be very beneficial in the type of photography I want to do.

Thanks again for all of the help.

Matt
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Old Wednesday 21st February 2007, 01:42   #11
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The Sigma 170-500mm is considerably better than the 70-300mm, it does however droop (sell extend) under it's own weight - this can be solved with rubber bands.
My attitude to photography is purely functional - I don't care about brands, type of camera, whatever.
I usually carry a Nikon DSLR with a 10-20mm Sigma lens & a hyperzoom compact, for 'catch all' photography I'll always have a Fuji F30 with me as it'll work in near darkness.
I don't believe in buying into a 'system' any more as compact cameras are cheaper than lenses (and smaller) - next I'll buy a Panasonic stabilized camera.
I don't see the point of changing lenses on a main body when with less weight you can carry a camera for each occasion and pay less.
I bought an 18-200mm for my Nikon but it's no better than my Minolta hyperzoom compact - unless you do sports photography I'd consider what you are paying for - my 170-300mm hasn't been used for 18 months as I can't be bothered to hump it's enormous weight around (I now digiscope with an F30), unless you demand the highest quality and need the quickest response time I'd think about buying compact hyperzooms which can be carried in a pocket, are always with you & don't require lens changing/cleaning.
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Old Wednesday 21st February 2007, 08:37   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Oates
My attitude to photography is purely functional - I don't care about brands, type of camera, whatever.
I usually carry a Nikon DSLR with a 10-20mm Sigma lens & a hyperzoom compact, for 'catch all' photography I'll always have a Fuji F30 with me as it'll work in near darkness.
I don't believe in buying into a 'system' any more as compact cameras are cheaper than lenses (and smaller) - next I'll buy a Panasonic stabilized camera.
I don't see the point of changing lenses on a main body when with less weight you can carry a camera for each occasion and pay less.
I've got to disagree with this, I've been down the compact, digiscoping, superzoom route and now use dslr - there really is no comparison in quality. Yes a dslr system will cost more and be more weight to carry round with you, but for the improvement in image quality I feel it's more than worth it.

I'm not knocking compacts and superzooms, but if you've already got a dslr I can see why you wouldn't make the most of it.
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Old Thursday 22nd February 2007, 20:37   #13
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As far as I know, the 50-500 is in a rather different quality league than the 170-500. The 170-500 also has had consistently much lower rankings on www.photozone than the 135-400. In addition, I was told by a Sigma representative that the (original) Pentax mount did not allow for HSM. This is why the 50-500 is not available for Pentax. Or at least it was not until the advent of the new Pentax mount in the K100D etc.
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Old Thursday 22nd February 2007, 21:46   #14
Matt Palmquist
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So the HSM does work with the K100D? If that is the case I should probably lean towards the 50-500.

Are there any other options in the 500mm range that would be a good consideration for the K100D? I was looking for the Tamron, 200-500, but can't find it for sale anywhere with a Pentax Mount.

Still trying to decide so any other input is greatly appreciated.

Thanks again,
Matt
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Old Thursday 22nd February 2007, 22:33   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Palmquist
So the HSM does work with the K100D? If that is the case I should probably lean towards the 50-500.


Matt

No, the Pentax mount 50-500's do not have HSM. Don't know why they just don't.

RE the image quality difference between the two lenses, yes the 50-500 is probably better but there's no getting away from the fact that some people take excellent images with the 170-500.

Paul
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Old Friday 23rd February 2007, 02:15   #16
Matt Palmquist
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paul goode
No, the Pentax mount 50-500's do not have HSM. Don't know why they just don't.

RE the image quality difference between the two lenses, yes the 50-500 is probably better but there's no getting away from the fact that some people take excellent images with the 170-500.

Paul

Thanks Paul. In your opinion do you think the image quality is worth an extra $280? That is what the difference would be. I will be using the lense primarily for photographing wildlife, mostly Big Game. Also, what is your opinion of the UV filters? I have always used them for protection more than anything, but I have read where some users don't like them.

Thanks,
Matt
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Old Friday 23rd February 2007, 16:15   #17
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Filters;

I would seriously consider a UV filter, the only reason my 50-500 hasn't got one is the price, I went way over budget with the K10 and this lens, telling the wife I also needed a 50+ bit of glass for the front wasn't a very good idea, maybe in a few months.....

Some arguments claim the filter can do more damage to the front element by breaking, my argument is, if the impact is hard enough to break the filter its going to screw up the front glass anyway if the filter wasnt on.

IMHO fitting a filter means your avoiding scuffing the lens either by something hitting it or by your own rigorous cleaning. Personally I have no worries about giving a filter a thorough clean but when it comes to a very delicate bit of glass on the front of a VERY expensive lens I am a bit wary!

In fact (and lots of photographers would probably shudder at the thought) I recently remove all of my filters from all of my lenses and gave them a thorough wash in warm soapy water, rinsed them off and left them to dry, they were 10x cleaner than doing it with lens cleaning fluid and tissues, you coudn't do that with a lens.
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Old Friday 23rd February 2007, 16:21   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Palmquist
Thanks Paul. In your opinion do you think the image quality is worth an extra $280? That is what the difference would be. I will be using the lense primarily for photographing wildlife, mostly Big Game. Also, what is your opinion of the UV filters? I have always used them for protection more than anything, but I have read where some users don't like them.

Thanks,
Matt
As PostcardCv also said I think its a very close call between the 2 lenses taking the HSM out of the equation.

The 50-500 has got slightly better glass in it and the EX finish which is very nice but the 170-500 is substantially lighter and $280 cheaper. Personally, mainly because I'm broke, I'd go for the 170-500, also helped by the fact you mention Big Game rather than little birds as your main subject. Not needing a tripod may be a big help if you need to get out of somewhere pronto!

The UV filter is another area which causes big differences of opinion

I don't fit UV filters to my lenses for 3 reasons

The big lenses have big lens hoods which I think offer an acceptable level of protection to the front element (I haven't damaged a front element in years of photography)

Good Quality UV filters for these lenses are very expensive

I've seen enough evidence to suggest, on DSLRs, they can cause Image degradation, but I'm equally certain other people will disagree with this!

Hope this helps

Paul
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Old Friday 23rd February 2007, 16:42   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paul goode
The UV filter is another area which causes big differences of opinion

I don't fit UV filters to my lenses for 3 reasons

The big lenses have big lens hoods which I think offer an acceptable level of protection to the front element (I haven't damaged a front element in years of photography)

Good Quality UV filters for these lenses are very expensive

I've seen enough evidence to suggest, on DSLRs, they can cause Image degradation, but I'm equally certain other people will disagree with this!

Hope this helps

Paul
I'm with Paul on this - I have seen numerous test that show that filters can degrade image quality (seen it on one of my own lenses). If you are going to buy a filter you need to mae it a top quality one and even then there has been suggestions that it will still have a negative effect in IQ.
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Old Saturday 24th February 2007, 03:12   #20
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I've had many close calls from twigs running up my lens hood or falling out of the trees into the lens hood(!), or the birds that daily crap at me from above, and of course there are the daily doses of mist and precipitation which leave spots and glue down dust that I have to clean off regularly. The inside of my lens hood has a large collection of twig scrapes that were near-misses for the lens. IQ be damned, I'm wearing a protective filter on my lenses.
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Old Saturday 24th February 2007, 18:35   #21
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Filters;

you love or hate em', and I'm with the hate em' bunch when it comes to cheap filters,
I use Hoya, though I may be tempted to spend a bit more and go for the Sigma filter that is designed for the Bigma if I can find it a bit cheaper when I (hopefully) visit the US later this year.

Like I said earlier, the only reason my 50-500 hasn't got one is the price.
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Old Saturday 24th February 2007, 20:32   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bkrownd
IQ be damned, I'm wearing a protective filter on my lenses.
With respect, that's nuts!



I simply fail to see the logic in spending a hill of money on expensive lenses precisely for their image quality, and then chucking all that money away by sticking a piece of crappy glass in the image path.

Been there, done that. Never again.

So, no filters for me. I just make sure I'm careful with the kit.
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Old Saturday 24th February 2007, 21:25   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keith Reeder
I simply fail to see the logic in spending a hill of money on expensive lenses precisely for their image quality, and then chucking all that money away by sticking a piece of crappy glass in the image path.
If I were actually using "crappy glass", you'd actually have a point.
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Old Wednesday 28th February 2007, 05:01   #24
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Thanks for the input on Filters. I will probably stay away from them because I would rather not spend the extra money for a "good" filter.

I notice on Sigma4less that there is both DG and non DG versions of both the 50-500mm and 170-500mm. Is the DG the way to go for use with the Pentax K100D?

Also, if using the non DG versions are OK, what are your opinions of buying used off of EBAY? I thought I would watch ebay for a good deal, but what I am seeing is that they are not the DG versions coming up for sale.

Thanks again for all of the help and advice everyone is giving me. It is a big help.

Matt
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Old Wednesday 28th February 2007, 08:09   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Palmquist
I notice on Sigma4less that there is both DG and non DG versions of both the 50-500mm and 170-500mm. Is the DG the way to go for use with the Pentax K100D?
I've used DG and non-DG lenses on my Canon DSLRs and have noticed not difference. The only difference (as I understand it) is tha the DG lenses have a different coasting on the rear element, not worth the extra money to my mind.
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