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Sigma 500mm F4 (1 Viewer)

Neil G.

Well-known member
Ive looked at many photos taken with this lens and for what you have to pay for it im not impressed.
It probably is fast at focusing,it is a stop faster than my lens but the difference in image quality from what i have seen does'nt warrant that money.
Like you say,people have different needs when it comes to equipment but i just would'nt pay that much more for slightly faster autofocusing and a stop more light.
I am looking forward to seeing some of your images.....you may even change my mind.
 

Dave Williams

Well-known member
Ive looked at many photos taken with this lens and for what you have to pay for it im not impressed.
It probably is fast at focusing,it is a stop faster than my lens but the difference in image quality from what i have seen does'nt warrant that money.
Like you say,people have different needs when it comes to equipment but i just would'nt pay that much more for slightly faster autofocusing and a stop more light.
I am looking forward to seeing some of your images.....you may even change my mind.

If it performs as well with both 1.4 and 2.0x TC's as Canon's 500mm f4 does it makes a huge difference in potential reach I would imagine.
 

mr_birdman

No longer a Canon Snob.
I will be borrowing it again from Sigma in a week and will have it for two weeks. So I should be able to calibrate it with the USB dock to both my 1DxMkII and 7DMkII and perhaps the 1DMkIV. With that done, I expect it will perform very well.

I will report back on my findings. I am most interested to see how it would perform with things like the flying foxes (and birds in flight; i.e. FAST action, tracking, AF performance etc) I photographed a couple of weeks ago during a massively hot Sydney day. The images are pinned to the top of my Facebook photo page for anyone interested. The RAW files out of the 1DxMkII with the EF 500/4L IS USM are exceptional.
 

mr_birdman

No longer a Canon Snob.
The Sigma came to me today, rather than next week. We are anticipating another very hot weekend in Sydney, over 40 degrees C, so I wanted to take photos of the flying foxes at Parramatta or Penrith one afternoon. That way I can compare the results to my EF 500/4L IS USM. Flying fox pics are on my Facebook photo page, pinned to the top at present, getting some great traction according to my better half. :)

In any case, I ran out after work to a local pond today while there was good light and did some more testing. I copy the text from my FB photo page to save me typing...

Well, did this lens perform? I am absolutely blown away by the image quality I was able to get even of "boring" common, old waterbirds.

I tried it with the matching 1.4x and 2x converters and I must say some of the pictures with the 2x were mind blowingly sharp! Albeit, that also came at a cost with the AF acquisition speed. However, even the manufacturers' own lenses slow right down with a 2x!

The flight photos were not all sharp, though I only got to shoot three brief sequences. The Little Pied Cormorant had five images in total with the first two soft, but the last three pin sharp! The Australasian Swamphen was more difficult, as it had some mixed backgrounds and it was getting too big for my frame as it approached. I got 8 sharp shots out of a burst of 32.

And the one thing I still had to do was to customise the lens with Sigma's USB dock, which I did once I arrived home from this quick late session. I adjusted the AF speed, which was at an average setting and I would bet, that this was the culprit causing the AF being hit and miss with the flying swamphen.

Needless to say, I have an extremely busy testing weekend (or two or three) coming up.


In one word so far (ok two). VERY IMPRESSED!!!! A little fine tuning and I think it should kick butt!

I started a gallery on my website for the test shots. A couple of 100% crops are included. Boy, the 2x rocks big time!!!

http://www.amatteroflight.com/Sigma-500mm-f4-DG-OS-HSM-test-images/
 

Vespobuteo

Well-known member
The Sigma came to me today, rather than next week. We are anticipating another very hot weekend in Sydney, over 40 degrees C, so I wanted to take photos of the flying foxes at Parramatta or Penrith one afternoon. That way I can compare the results to my EF 500/4L IS USM. Flying fox pics are on my Facebook photo page, pinned to the top at present, getting some great traction according to my better half. :)

In any case, I ran out after work to a local pond today while there was good light and did some more testing. I copy the text from my FB photo page to save me typing...

Well, did this lens perform? I am absolutely blown away by the image quality I was able to get even of "boring" common, old waterbirds.

I tried it with the matching 1.4x and 2x converters and I must say some of the pictures with the 2x were mind blowingly sharp! Albeit, that also came at a cost with the AF acquisition speed. However, even the manufacturers' own lenses slow right down with a 2x!

The flight photos were not all sharp, though I only got to shoot three brief sequences. The Little Pied Cormorant had five images in total with the first two soft, but the last three pin sharp! The Australasian Swamphen was more difficult, as it had some mixed backgrounds and it was getting too big for my frame as it approached. I got 8 sharp shots out of a burst of 32.

And the one thing I still had to do was to customise the lens with Sigma's USB dock, which I did once I arrived home from this quick late session. I adjusted the AF speed, which was at an average setting and I would bet, that this was the culprit causing the AF being hit and miss with the flying swamphen.

Needless to say, I have an extremely busy testing weekend (or two or three) coming up.


In one word so far (ok two). VERY IMPRESSED!!!! A little fine tuning and I think it should kick butt!

I started a gallery on my website for the test shots. A couple of 100% crops are included. Boy, the 2x rocks big time!!!

http://www.amatteroflight.com/Sigma-500mm-f4-DG-OS-HSM-test-images/

Amazing photos and beautiful light. :t: The crop with 2xTC looks very good.
How is it at f4 vs f5.6?
Are all of them photographed with the 1DxMkII?
 

mr_birdman

No longer a Canon Snob.
Amazing photos and beautiful light. :t: The crop with 2xTC looks very good.
How is it at f4 vs f5.6?
Are all of them photographed with the 1DxMkII?

Thank you.

I should have tested it at f/4 too. I will soon, just about to leave to go out for an early morning shoot at Sydney Olympic Park. I'd expect it to be very good wide open. Will post more pics later.
 

Richard G

Well-known member
Hi, I am really interested in your test results, as this is a lens I'm seriously considering to go with my Canon 7D mk2.

Have you done any test shots with that body, especially with the 1.4x & 2x extenders? If so how does it shape up?

Thanks, Richard
 

mr_birdman

No longer a Canon Snob.
I also have the 7DMkII so I will be testing with that over the coming weekend.

It works beautifully with the 1DxMKII!!!
 

mr_birdman

No longer a Canon Snob.
http://www.amatteroflight.com/Sigma-500mm-f4-DG-OS-HSM-Sport-test-images/

I have uploaded more images to the test image gallery. Still pretty impressed with the 2x performance (even wide open at f/8). However, the light needs to be pretty good for the 2x. It is not really different to my Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS USM and EF 2x MkII teleconverter combination. Note, my Canon super tele is the series 1, not the 2. However, I am certain there is not a huge difference in image quality between series 1 and series 2 super teles. Except, the series 2 super tele can get pin sharp images with the EF 2x MkIII wide open at f/8, whereas my series 1 version needs stopping down to at least f/10.
 

Richard G

Well-known member
http://www.amatteroflight.com/Sigma-500mm-f4-DG-OS-HSM-Sport-test-images/

I have uploaded more images to the test image gallery. Still pretty impressed with the 2x performance (even wide open at f/8). However, the light needs to be pretty good for the 2x. It is not really different to my Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS USM and EF 2x MkII teleconverter combination. Note, my Canon super tele is the series 1, not the 2. However, I am certain there is not a huge difference in image quality between series 1 and series 2 super teles. Except, the series 2 super tele can get pin sharp images with the EF 2x MkIII wide open at f/8, whereas my series 1 version needs stopping down to at least f/10.

I'm getting a 404 error for your link. Did you post any test shots with the 7D Mk2?

Richard
 

mr_birdman

No longer a Canon Snob.
I'm getting a 404 error for your link. Did you post any test shots with the 7D Mk2?

Richard

Sorry Richard, I rearranged the gallery images into three galleries, one without, one with 1.4x TC and one with 2x TC.

http://www.amatteroflight.com/Camera-equipment-testing

No test with 7D MkII yet, except the Spyder Calibration tool that I shot tests with two nights ago. I tested at about 4m, 10m and 20m at all normally used apertures.
500mm f/4, 5.6, 8, 11 and 16
700mm f/5.6, 8, 11, 16
1000mm f/8, 11, 16

There is apparently an issue with backfocusing at smaller apertures and I am told it is at about f/8 where it is noticeable. My initial, albeit brief, assessment of my test images were showing a very slight backfocus on some images. However, once we start stopping the lens down, the DOF increases slightly and the main focal point was still within the very acceptable field of sharpness. So I am guessing, it may just be an apparent BF issue due to the DOF deepening as we close the aperture down.

I will need to reshoot all test images in better light, as it was fading on Wednesday evening and I was struggling for half decent shutter speed at 1000mm. Those I will scrutinise excessively for this issue reported by some users or commentators.

I am testing with a 7D MkII, 1D MkIV and 1Dx MkII.
 

Ken Doy

Ken Doy
Australia
Enjoy Richard . Have been using mine with a Nikon D500 for about 6 months now and love it . Just suggest that you get a USB Dock to fine tune it especially focus speed and OS setting .Regards Ken Doy
 

Richard G

Well-known member
Enjoy Richard . Have been using mine with a Nikon D500 for about 6 months now and love it . Just suggest that you get a USB Dock to fine tune it especially focus speed and OS setting .Regards Ken Doy

I did get the USB dock & 1.4 TC to go with it as well. Didn't bother with the 2 TC as UK light isn't that great. Maybe one for the future if I end up on trips where the light is better. Can't wait to get out in the field with it.
 

mr_birdman

No longer a Canon Snob.
That's awesome news Richard. I am buying this Sigma myself, just waiting for them to get me the TS-81 lens foot with the built-in Arca Swiss groove. In fact, I have just listed my Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS USM on E-bay on Sunday evening.

I will be getting both TCs though, as we get some nicer light in Australia. :)

Congrats mate! You will love the lens.
 

Richard G

Well-known member
Took it for a test run over the weekend.

The Mallards & Great Tit are untouched, just resized for BF. The Marsh Harrier, while it won't win any prizes for being 100% tack sharp, is a massive crop as the bird was probably 1/4 mile from where I was standing.

I think I'm going to enjoy this :)
 

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mr_birdman

No longer a Canon Snob.
I finally picked up mine, it's the exact same lens I had while testing it in late January/early February.
Put the lens coat cover on as well and replaced the lens foot with the Sigma TS-81 foot, as it has an Arca Swiss groove for the odd occasion when I use a tripod or a skimmer pod with my Wimberley head.

My Canon 500mm f/4L IS USM has already found its new home with an aviation photographer in Canberra.
 

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