The Sigma 500mm F4 DG OS HSM Sport - sample images

Started Oct 29, 2018 | Discussions thread
quatpat Senior Member • Posts: 1,089
Re: With TC-2001 teleconverter - sample images

FrankG wrote:

quatpat wrote:

FrankG wrote:

So with the TC-2001 this thing becomes a 1000mm F8 super-telephoto monster.

For those who have previously tried using 500mm telephotos with 2x converters and had perhaps found that such a combo failed to perform to expectations … I have news for you - this Sigma lens combo works, and works well! It has exceeded my expectations, being capable of excellent results even wide open at F8! (I was actually reluctant to purchase the TC-2001 converter having had poor results in the past with other 2x converters with other long tele lenses, but decided to give it a go after seeing one positive recommendation from a trusted reviewer).

Having given the good news, some caveats: being an F8 combo, AF speed is impacted. With my D500 the AF functionality is further reduced down to just 15 cross-type AF points. Some older cameras would not be able to focus at all with this combo (because of the F8 max aperture). Also at long range, focus accuracy is more difficult to get reliably especially on low contrast targets (often the case with bird photography).

Despite these limitations the combo is still highly useful in reasonably good light but I probably wouldn't want to try using it in a rain forest at dawn for example.

Here are a few examples:

Thanks for the great samples, I'm impressed by the sharpness of this lens on an APS-C body, even when coupled with a 2x tc.

If the weight was a bit less, I'd consider this lens, but I shoot mainly hand-held and have some back issues, so it is, unfortunately, out of question for me.

Nice photos too, btw, keep the good work up!

Thanks for the encouragement!

I sympathise with back issues - I also have back issues. I spend a significant portion of each day doing stretching and exercises! So the weight of this lens was a major (negative) consideration for me also. However although on paper the weight of 3.3.Kg looks maybe a bit much …. in reality it doesn't feel too heavy because the weight distribution is well balanced. It doesn't feel at all "front heavy" - unlike many other large 400, 500 or 600 primes. I was never able to hand-hold my old 500mm F4 AFS (non VR) Nikkor. That weighed 3.8 Kg and was very front-heavy so creating significant leverage - very tiring on the left arm. With this Sigma the weight is about evenly distributed across both arms when shooting pics hand-held. I even find it is very hand-holdable with the 1.4 converter attached.

As I previously mentioned I also use a lightweight monopod, a GITZO GM2542 + SIRUI tilt head, total weight 800g. Works well, not too heavy. I can walk with that kit with the lens balanced on my shoulder for some distance. Alternatively it goes in a lightweight backpack, I mostly use a Thinktank camera backpack, but to stay really light I also have an ultra-lightweight but strong Berghaus rucksack (weighs less than 1Kg) for longer walks.

Adding the TC-2001 pushes the weight and weight distribution too far out for me to remain comfortable with it for hand-holding - it is then best to use a tripod although the monopod also works well.

If you are a Nikon user then I would be tempted to go for the new 500mm F5.6 PF. It looks like a wonderfully portable solution. However for me, although I could certainly use that lens in some circumstances, the limitation to F5.6 with corresponding max aperture of F8 with a 1.4 converter, would limit it's usefulness.

Frank

Thanks for all that info, Frank. I'm doing stretching exercises as well, and it helps considerably. As for the gear I'm still using my old Sony A77 with an even older Minolta 400/4.5, +1.4tc, which weighs roughly 3kg all together. For short hikes and wetlands the weight is not too much of an issue, but I live in Switzerland and there are mountains to explore, with birds on them...

For a day trip in the mountains, even the 3kg combo is somewhat too heavy for me and my back, so I am eyeing closely the Nikon 500 PF. Yes, it's only f5.6, but the weight advantage is considerable for hiking, and with 1.4tc at F8 it still autofocuses ok.

If I had the budget I'd get both, a Sigma 500/4 for the more stationary shooting, and the 500 PF for longer hikes. But there are so many other 500-600 lens options available, that it takes me forever to reach a decision, so meanwhile I just keep on shooting with my old Sony-Minolta combo.

 quatpat's gear list:quatpat's gear list
Sony SLT-A77 Nikon D7500 Sony a6400 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6G ED-IF Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm F1.8G +9 more
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