1. Welcome to NikonCafe.com—a friendly Nikon camera & photography discussion forum!

    If you are thinking of buying a camera or need help with your photos, you will find our forum members full of advice! Click here to join for free!

Testing my new lens, Sigma 500mm, at Juanita Park

Discussion in 'Birds' started by RonS, Dec 7, 2005.

  1. OK, weather was overcast but I had to get out to test my new lens. Sigma 500mm F4.5 EX APO HSM, and the Bogen 3421 gimbal head.

    Thoughts about the lens.
    1 Heavy.
    2 Focus speed seems as good as my 70-200 VR, even in low light.
    3 CA seems fine.
    4 For some reason, the Sigma rear lens cap does not fit on my Nikon lenses. Either wont go all the way on or will not rotate to lock.
    5 Did I mention heavy.
    6 Cropability, See the shots below. Most of these are a 50% to 70% crop.
    7 Works just fine with the Bogen head. I had to attach the plate at the most forward holes in order to balance with my D2X.


    For those having one of these lenses, does yours have a small amount of play just ahead of the drop in filter area? Mine does.

    Most of these shots are ISO 800 in order to get the shutter speed up. Most are around F6.3 to F8, and cropped a lot, some around 70%. The EXIF info is in the file if you are using something like Opanda iExif. I did make a pass through NeatImage to clean up the noise a little.






    These below are only cropped vertically



    I believe I like this lens! Although did I mention it is heavy? And takes up 1/2 of my big Lowepro hiking pack.
  2. Steve S

    Steve S

    Feb 1, 2005
    SE Florida
    Not a bad start Ron! The Brown duck with the yellow eyes is awesome! I think there is some room for improvement in the sharpness dept on several of these crops, be it (more likely) in your technique, or (less likely), in post, but that said, there is a fairly steep learning curve with long lens technique. I know this, as I'm still climbing that curve myself. Just wait til you go to 700mm with a TC, good, smooth technique becomes super critical at that point! One obvious thing when starting out is to keep those shutter speeds up, even if it means bumping up the ISO even more, or shooting with your aperture wide open.
    In reading about this Bogen setup, it occurred to me to ask you about which way you've got the lens mounted. Is it supporting the lens with the lens tripod support below or above the lens? Also, what tripod are you using with this rig? A rock solid tripod is also extremely important with this much reach.
  3. Flew


    Jan 25, 2005

    Thanks for the update. I agree with Steve; you are off to a good start. Keep them coming. :smile:
  4. Gale


    Jan 26, 2005
    Viera Fl
    Heavy !!!!! Boy I heard you several times on that. Not sure how long I could tote one of those.
    You have proven to me, no matter how long the lens, we always want to see or shoot just a bit farther that we can. :>)))
    Will be watching for more images from your new lens.
    Good start.
  5. Hi I have this lens and the only thing that should move is the focusing barrel and the filter ring that allows you to rotate the circular polariser, you also must always have a filter, supplied with the lens in place at all times.

  6. Congratulations Ron on your new lens. You're going to love it. Very nice shots, #3 and #4, very nice. We'll have to meet up at Juanita some afternoon.

  7. It's nice to get a new lens, especially one of that length. Keep at it you are comging along great.
  8. Ron, you may want to check in with Bill Dewey. He had some movement and he sent it in for repair. Phillip is right, the filter needs to be inserted at all times and it can move but it should be solid in front of it. I will be glad to meet you at Juanita and compare yours with mine. I am gone this comming weekend but will be around after that. Have fun and keep shooting. You will love this lens.
  9. Thanks Steve.

    I have the lens mounted with the support below the lens. The lens is sitting on the "U" bracket instead of hanging from it.

    I am using a Bogen 3021 tripod. Since I am a little on the tall side, I have the legs extended fully and the center column up about three inches. This is probably not the best.

    As for technique, as you stated I have a lot to learn. I did notice that in some holding positions I could see shake concurrent with my heart beat. The steadiest I found is to place my left arm on the lens when panning.

    I took a few shots using the timer so I could completely let go and they did come out better. I have a remote release and may try it next time.

    And the examples I posted are cropped way more than I am comfortable with.
  10. Hi Louie, Things seemed a little slow at Juanita but the subjects seem to line up to get their pictures taken which is nice. I counted multiple Wood Ducks there, more than I had seen before.

    Hope to see you there, hopefully we will get a sunny day or two sometime soon.
  11. Thanks Phillip and Jim on the info about the lens movement. I need to get a hold of B&H and see what their exchange policy is, or just contact Sigma.
  12. Off to a good start! Congratulations to the new lens!
  13. Nice beginning Ron, not bad at all.

    As to steadiness with the lens, I don't know about anyone else, but I remember when I first rented the 500 and 600 last year. First few times my heart was beating so much it felt like an earthquake :eek:  , it takes a bit of time to get used to, don't fret. Take a look at Moose Peterson's site and read the Long Lens Technique session, and yes, figure out a way to get that center post down.

    What do you mean "heavy lens"? Heck, Jim and I shoot handheld ALL the time, steady as a rock, 1/8 of a second in near dark, sharp as a tack....ok, I lied, but it isn't nearly as heavy as the 800 is :wink:

    As to play in the lens, Jim is correct. I had 2 problems creep up. The first was that AF just quite working one morning at Hierman, but I quickly discovered that this was only when the lens was oriented in one particular direction. Rotate the camera in the collar and BINGO, back comes AF. This happened shortly after I began noticing looseness in the lens. Sigma fixed it right up, lens was gone for a couple of weeks. Apparently when it loosened, some AF bits got out of alignment as well. I have heard of people tightening these bits up themselves, but I am far too chicken for that. I'll take a look and see if it is similar, let's see if we can't meet up after I get back next week.

    Ah, the lens cap, yup, same on mine. You will also notice, if you pick up a Sigma TC, that the Nikon body cap will fit the sigma, where it won't fit the Nikon TC. I haven't looked closely, but I think it is a matter of an extra tab on the Nikon lenses.

    Glad you are enjoying it, I just LOVE to see other people spend money, and since Jim it has been a rather dry spell for me :biggrin: . Oh, yeah, you now need a bigger bag as well........:wink:

    Oh, last but by no means least, you see that Philipp guy in this thread? He was one of the folks who convinced me how good this lens was when I was looking a couple of years ago, thanks, Philipp....
  14. Thanks everybody (Phillip, Bill, Jim, Andreas, Louie, Gale, Steve, Frank, Gordon, think I got you all) for the info.

    This morning I emailed Sigma with the symptoms, by this afternoon I had a reply! Wow.

    They said it is indeed not supposed to be that way and send it back for a replacement. Excellent service.
  15. Ken-L

    Ken-L Guest

    I had a Sigma Bigma 500mm, didn't have any play in it.

    Did I mention that it was heavy?
  16. I have always heard the 50-500mm called the Bigma. Is that what you had or was it the fixed 500mm f4.5 HSM? Sigma also made a prior version of the fixed 500mm without the HSM.
  17. Ken-L

    Ken-L Guest

    It was the "Bigma" zoom, with HSM.
  18. My Sigma lens will be going back to Sigma for repair soon for the play in the body. I decided to keep it instead of getting a refund from B&H. They do not have a replacement.

    Seems this lens is not being stocked anymore, having been replaced by the DG version for $700 or $800 more.
  19. stever

    stever Guest

    can the collar be easily removed and replaced on the Bigma?

  20. I just looked at mine and I don't see any way to get it off short of taking the lens apart. The collar is one piece. There must be a trick, because they got in on in the first place.

    I have more often heard the 50-500 called "bigma", this is the second reference I have seen to the 500mm fixed being called "bigma" as well.
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.