Replacement for Nikon 80-400

Started Jul 1, 2011 | Discussions thread
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dperez
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Replacement for Nikon 80-400
Jul 1, 2011

I"m looking for a good (very good), COST EFFECTIVE replacement for my venerable Nikon 80-400. It's a fine lens, but the slow focusing has become a problem that's costing me images...

For birds in flight, airshows, and some auto racing situations, where there's enough activity that I have to hand-hold, need to zoom at least somewhat, and need to QUICKLY achieve focus lock, the 80-400 is inadequate. I also have an older Sigma 50-500, which works fine, but without OS it's not feasible to handhold at 500 mm in most situations. I've never had a problem with the 50-500 focusing very accurately and quickly, but my old hands probably aren't as stable as they were 30 years ago so having some form of stabilization is really important...

SO, I'm looking for a replacement, and considering either the Sigma 150-500 OS or the Sigma 50-500 OS as a replacement. They appear to be the only reasonable alternative to something like the Nikon 200-400, which is too expensive and too cumbersome to hand-hold for a long period...

But, I"ve also read in here that Sigma appears to have some significant quality control issues, which doesn't fill me with confidence about them... I"ve talked to several professional bird photographers that are using either the 50-500 OS or 150-500 OS, and they've consistently praised the lenses (of course, they may also be getting free equipment from Sigma, so I'm a little skeptical)...

Are there ANY really good alternatives that'll give me images with at least the quality of the 80-400, much faster focusing, good OS, and be light enough to use without getting a hernia?

ALSO, is there any difference in the build quality or image quality between the 150-500 and the 50-500? Normally, a zoom of shorter range is expected to have better quality, but is this true in the case of these Sigma lenses?

Ideas?

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