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

Started Oct 29, 2018 | Discussions thread
OP FrankG Senior Member • Posts: 2,194
Re: With TC-2001 teleconverter - sample images

Doug Greenberg wrote:

Very good work! I have the same lens and both teleconverters, also. I have gotten similarly great results, but I must add that getting optimal sharpness from the 500 plus the 2x teleconverter is not easy. I usually have to shoot several photos of a subject to be sure of getting a good one. I think this is because of a combination of more difficult and slow autofocus on my Nikon bodies (D850, D500) and also the difficulty of eliminating all vibration, even at reasonably high shutter speeds. Maybe I cannot explain it at all. But with diligence and good technique, the 1000 mm combo is optically quite good. The problem comes in circumstances where a bird appears, I grab some shots, and the bird takes off. If I don’t get a keeper right away I might not get one at all.

Yes - the use of the 2x converter does compromise the sharpness a bit and the overall AF performance of the lens quite a lot and I agree it's not so easy to use - physically it becomes bigger, heavier and longer, and of course 2 stops slower. The AF slows down - a lot. I have found though that using one of the custom modes set to "fast" AF, and with a judicious close-focus limit set, is a good fix - it then behaves as a reasonably fast focus 1000mm F8 lens. The main difficulty when using the 2x converter is AF accuracy for distant subjects. I have no trouble getting it to nail dead-on focus at close to medium close range but at long range it can seem to be unreliable. I did put some effort into setting up the AF calibration via the dock though before I could get it to work so well at short to mid range distances (I expect you realise the calibration has to be done separately for each TC-lens combo).

I am lucky enough to own several different Nikon-compatible telephotos, so I have the
“burden” of having to decide which to bring for various types of photo excursions. I will be traveling to southern Ecuador in February. In the past, for intensive photo workshops like this one I have brought my 600mm f4G plus the Nikon 1.4x and 1.7x teleconverters. Optically, this is a wonderful ensemble. But the lens (NOT the most recent, lighter version) is pretty heavy. For shooting around the eco-lodges it is fine, but when I have to tote the rig through the jungle to a lek or distant feeder setup, it gets to be a burden. Bringing the larger lens also limits what other gear I can get in my rolling camera carry-on. For this upcoming trip I am considering bring the Sigma sport 500 plus teleconverters, and hence shedding a few pounds. But losing just a bit of reach is the negative. I have a few months to think about it. First world problems.

Doug Greenberg, Berkeley, CA

Yes I know - that old 600mm G VR lens is a monster ( and very front heavy) - I had loan of one for 3 weeks, needed a course of physio afterwards! I wouldn't even think of taking that lens on a foreign birding trip - I'd need a trolley bag for it. The last trip I was on I used the Sigma 150-600 Sport lens which is capable of excellent results and very versatile and manageable - but a bit slow for dark conditions However there is no doubt that the 500mm Sport prime is sharper and of course offers fabulous performance at F4 - so much more useful in dark tropical rain forest! I also think that the performance of this lens with the TC-1401 converter is amazing - really critically sharp wide-open at F5.6 and with no CA as far as I can tell - completely clean. That makes it so much more usable than if stopping down was needed.

If money was no object I would also consider the new Nikon 180-400/250-560 zoom which by all accounts is simply amazing delivering prime lens quality at full aperture across the range. At a price!


 FrankG's gear list:FrankG's gear list
Nikon D500 Nikon D850 Nikon Z50
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