Are you smarter than a 55-300? For this Bigmos, the answer is no.

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paulkienitz
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Are you smarter than a 55-300? For this Bigmos, the answer is no.
3 months ago

My Sigma 150-500 arrived today, and I promptly took it out to the wetland.  I haven't gotten a video pan head yet, so I took a monopod.  And though a few shots looked kind of nice in uncropped form...

as soon as you crop it, things start looking pretty dire.

Admittedly, the lens was nearly wide open that time, and closing up to f8 does significantly reduce that glowy halo effect, but it still isn't often that you get a sharp shot.  This avocet is probably the single clearest cropped shot of the day (click to see 100% zoom):

whereas most shots were a lot poorer than that.  This is a typical example of one that's sorta okay and not as messed up as a lot of them were... and it's a blurry mess.

I tried running through the apertures, from f6.3 to f11.  I tried running through shutter speeds from 1/500 to 1/8000.  Finally I tried manual focus and nudging the ring (which is very nicely damped) a millimeter at a time.  Nothing helped.

Later, at home, I set up a focus calibration and ended up with a correction of -2 or -3, which wasn't a very significant difference.

My reason for buying this lens was because I hoped that it would enable me to go further and do more than I can with the little DA 55-300.  But it can't.  It's nowhere near adequate for such a purpose.  I think it may actually be worse than the old 135-400 I sold years ago!  That's a lens that no one misses now that it's gone, yet I got along reasonably well with it for some time, and only gradually decided that it just wouldn't do.  With this one, I'm seeing major inadequacies right from the start.

So, is this lens decent and I'm missing something or not giving it a fair chance, or is it as bad as I think?  Right now I'm thinking I should immediately start proceedings to return it.  Am I making sense?

(Unfortunately, I already scuffed the hood by dropping it in gravel.)

It's amazing how truly difficult it is to find an affordable lens that improves on the 55-300.  At this point, I guess my only remaining option if I want to stay within a normal human sized budget is DA*300 + TC, but even that adds up to about double the cost of the Bigmos.

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"A good photograph is knowing where to stand." -- Ansel

 paulkienitz's gear list:paulkienitz's gear list
Pentax Q Pentax K-3 Pentax smc DA 55-300mm F4.0-5.8 ED Pentax smc DA* 300mm F4.0 ED (IF) SDM Samyang 8mm F3.5 Aspherical IF MC Fisheye +4 more
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