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Anyone got the Sigma 500 f4.5?

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by Guest-002, Jun 20, 2007.

  1. Guest-002

    Guest-002 Guest

    263
    Jan 14, 2006
    Worcester, MA
    I'm interested in this lens as an alternative to the Nikon 500 f/4. It's significantly less expensive, smaller and ligher than the Nikon, has better minimum focus distance, but at the cost of 1/3 stop. HSM is supposedly almost as good as AFS. Anyone got some real life experience with this guy?

    Used copies seem hard to come by so I've picked up a used 300 f/4 AFS that I can use with my TC's for the short term, but I think I'll need the longer length as I've got an itch to go bird shooting.
     
  2. Radu, it's my main birding lens. I am very satisfied with the image quality, even with a 1.4 TC. Focusing speed is not a problem at all.

    original.
    NIKON D2X    ---    500mm    f/5.6    1/750s    ISO 320


    original.
    NIKON D2X    ---    500mm    f/7.1    1/800s    ISO 200


    original.
    NIKON D2X    ---    500mm    f/7.1    1/800s    ISO 200
     
  3. rocksgirl

    rocksgirl Guest

    Beautiful pictures!!! I'm so glad you posted them, I'm getting this lens myself (for Christmas) and I can't wait!
     
  4. Guest-002

    Guest-002 Guest

    263
    Jan 14, 2006
    Worcester, MA
    Great shots, Phil. Now I just have to find a used one.
     
  5. I was under the impression that with a 1.4x TC this lens would only operate in manual focus. Is that not the case then ?
     
  6. DW Brewer

    DW Brewer Guest

    I love mine. The Sigma 500mm is one incredibly sharp lens, fast focusing; an excellent value. The 1/3 stop "handicap" is negligible in my opinion. I handhold mine most of the time for BIF images. When I am restricted to my vehicle, I tend to use the Sigma 120-300+2XTC for the versatility of the zoom. The 500 is my main birding and wildlife lens when I can get mobility to change perspective (think of madison or Norris Meadows in Yellowstone). Several have posted how to modify the Nikon 1.4TC for use with this lens. I use the Kenko 1.4 Pro with excellent results; AF just fine
     
  7. I modified the TC14 and have no problem with AF.
     
  8. Guest-002

    Guest-002 Guest

    263
    Jan 14, 2006
    Worcester, MA
    Anyone know anything about the older non-HSM version of this lens?
     
  9. I used to own this lens, and I still think it is by far the best "bang for the buck" out there. Phil posted the link to the NIkon TC-14E modification, be aware that the focal length and f-stop reported in EXIF will not reflect the addition of the TC, but all the exposure calculations will be correct. If you are brave, you can also stack the TC-14E with a modified TC-20E and go crazy, but this IS MF territory only.

    As to the question of MF with TC's, this is true of you try to use the Sigma TC's.

    The older non-HSM version is, according to the folks at KEH when I was looking, optically much the same but far slower focusing. I was about to buy one from KEH, the non-HSM, and they talked me out of it when I described what I was wanting to shoot with it.

    So, you might ask, why do I no longer have the lens? I wanted a bit more reach and versatility, so I now have a Nikon 400mm f2.8 which I can very nicely use with all 3 Nikon TC's, the 1.4, the 1.7-my main combo, and the 2X, plus have the 400 f2.8 for extra light.

    Look at images from Jim Thiel and Mr. Ditto for more examples of this great lens as well, and pretty much everything of mine prior to March 2006.

    One reason they are tough to find on the the used market is, so many folks refuse to sell them, and that should tell you something as well.

    Good luck,
     
  10. Guest-002

    Guest-002 Guest

    263
    Jan 14, 2006
    Worcester, MA
    It's to late to call them up, but from some searches I've done, the imported sigmas come with a 1 yr world wide warranty. Whatever it is, the warranty's no worse than buying used.
     
  11. Guest-002

    Guest-002 Guest

    263
    Jan 14, 2006
    Worcester, MA
    Thanks for the link. It' not the latest version as it has no DG designation in the name. That's a good thing as the newer version is listed at a $1K premium. If this really is available it is an attractive option. I'll be calling them tomorrow.
     
  12. Pesto126

    Pesto126

    566
    Apr 13, 2006
    Northeast USA
    Hey Radu.. how did you do calling them up about this lens? As you know, we seem to both be in the market for this baby - I've been looking for months now! :)  Too bad they don't have a bulk buy to save $$$.... ;) 
     
  13. Guest-002

    Guest-002 Guest

    263
    Jan 14, 2006
    Worcester, MA
    Sigma4Less doesn't have it

    I called them Friday and they told me that posting was in error. Too bad :( 
     
  14. Pesto126

    Pesto126

    566
    Apr 13, 2006
    Northeast USA
    seemed too good to be true! oh well....
     
  15. Coop

    Coop

    87
    Feb 9, 2006
    Holyoke, Mass.
    Had the Sigma, sold it and now have the Nikkor. My comments refer to my samples only! The Sigma was not so hot wide open, better at F5.6, best by F8, quite capable of taking excellent photos. My problem with it was with the use of TC's. With both the Sigma 1.4x and Nikkor TC14E the images were very soft, to the point that I wouldn't use the TC's unless absolutely necessary. The Sigma 1.4x wouldn't allow autofocus, I modified the TC14E so it would autofocus with the Sigma, but the autofocus was not reliable. The Nikkor is at it's best wide open and gives excellent results with the TC14E. Autofocus is quick and reliable with the TC14E. The Sigma is worth getting, you can get very good results for a lot less money. Just keep in mind that the Nikkor is better and when/if you do get the cash the Nikkor is there to move up to.
     
  16. Hi having had at least two nikkor 500's (AF-I & AFS )and now on my second Sigma 500 have had both versions of the Sigma the non HSM and the HSM which I currently have my HSM Sigma is better optically than my previous nikkor 500's the biggest difference between the nikkor and the Sigma for me is that the Sigma has slightly less contrast wide open but actually resolves more details modern MTS charts are calculated by the amount of contrast the lens produces which is unfortunate for lenses that have slightly less contrast this does not mean that they do not resolve the same amount of detail in the old days they used to use film usually black and white and high contrast so it was irrelevant how much contrast the lens actually produced as they are measuring the resolution which is more important than contrast.

    Both converters are easy to modify both the nikon and the Sigma converter to autofocus with the 500 Sigma the Sigma is easier to handhold lighter more manageable you also get a free polariser if you buy a new one if you buy second-hand ask if they still have the polarising filter that came new with the lens would I buy another nikkor I might do would I buy another Sigma definitely.

    Phillip.

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  17. Hokum

    Hokum

    599
    Jun 20, 2006
    Pennines UK
    The 500mm is a supurb bit of glass, almost all my shots are at f4.5, its really sharp too.

    [​IMG]
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  18. Pesto126

    Pesto126

    566
    Apr 13, 2006
    Northeast USA
    I'm so jealous! I've been looking for this lens for over 10 months now used and just keep missing the deal! I just had a deal go to another buyer minutes before I was to pull the trigger... not meant to be? :) 

    Oh well.. guess my Tamron 200-500 will be my go to lens for awhile longer!
     
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