500mm tests using 4 lenses on K20D.

Started Dec 30, 2008 | Discussions
brandrx Forum Pro • Posts: 28,337
500mm tests using 4 lenses on K20D.

I set the Pentax K20D up on a sturdy tripod and took three images at 500mm using each of the following lenses:

Sigma 150-500mm HSM (wide open is f6.3 on this lens)
Sigma 50-500mm (wide open is f6.7 on this lens)
Sigma 170-500mm (wide open is f6.7 on this lens)
Pentax-A*300mm f4 + Pentax-F 1.7X AF Adapter (wide open is f6.7 with this)

All images were shot with the 2 second timer using a wired remote and SR turned off. ISO was set to 400. The subject distance is about 75 feet.

Reply #1 will be images at f6.7 (f6.3 for the Sigma 150-500mm)
Reply #2 will be images at f8
Reply #3 will be images at f11

Draw your own conclusions. I am through testing.

Cheers.

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'Keep your eyes looking forward. However, glance back now and then to see where you've come from. It will put a smile on your face.' ~ brandrx

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Ron ~ Retired.

OP brandrx Forum Pro • Posts: 28,337
Reply #1 - Images at f6.7 (4 imgs)

Sigma 150-500mm at 500mm, f6.3

;
;
Sigma 50-500mm at 500mm, f6.7

;
;
Sigma 170-500mm at 500mm, f6.7

;
;
Pentax-A*300mm f4 + Pentax-F 1.7X AF Adapter at 510mm, f6.7

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'Keep your eyes looking forward. However, glance back now and then to see where you've come from. It will put a smile on your face.' ~ brandrx

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_County,_Utah

Ron ~ Retired.

OP brandrx Forum Pro • Posts: 28,337
Reply #2 - Images at f8. (4 imgs)

Sigma 150-500mm at 500mm, f8

;
;
Sigma 50-500mm at 500mm, f8

;
;
Sigma 170-500mm at 500mm, f8

;
;
Pentax*A 300mm f4 + Pentax-F 1.7X AF Adapter at 510mm, f8

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'Keep your eyes looking forward. However, glance back now and then to see where you've come from. It will put a smile on your face.' ~ brandrx

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_County,_Utah

Ron ~ Retired.

OP brandrx Forum Pro • Posts: 28,337
Reply #3 - Images at f11 (4 imgs)

Sigma 150-500mm at 500mm, f11

;
;
Sigma 50-500mm at 500mm, f11

;
;
Sigma 170-500mm at 500mm, f11

;
;
Pentax-A*300mm f4 + Pentax-F 1.7X AF Adapter at 510mm, f11

;
;
Cheers.

-- hide signature --

'Keep your eyes looking forward. However, glance back now and then to see where you've come from. It will put a smile on your face.' ~ brandrx

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_County,_Utah

Ron ~ Retired.

MightyMike Forum Pro • Posts: 39,947
Re: 500mm tests using 4 lenses on K20D.

hard to call... but i don't like the coldness of the 170-500 or the dark warm underexposure of the A*300+1.7x... the bigma seems to be adequate but the new 150-500 seems just a hint sharper albeit with more CA... it'd be a tough call between the bigma and the 150-500 but the extra 1/3rd of a stop on the 150-500 might be just a little bit of a help in deciding
--
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leopold Forum Pro • Posts: 14,083
Re: 500mm tests using 4 lenses on K20D.

Hi,
i'm like Mike,the cold look of the old 170-500 is too obvious for me.

It's hard to tell apart for sharpness but would also take the 150-500.stopped down it looks sharper than the A*300 with the TC.

Good test,thanx for sharing.
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Larry Crovo Contributing Member • Posts: 654
Boy, that's a tough call.

The differences are almost imperceptible, to my old eyes. I'm surprised at the color difference between the 170-500mm and the others. Looks like it is getting a bit more exposure. As for IQ, I just don't know. Maybe if I could see prints side by side I could tell, but scrolling up and down it is real hard for me to see much difference.

Thanks for going to all this trouble. I was thinking about the 150-500mm to replace my 170-500mm, now I don't know if it would be worth it.
--
Larry Crovo

OP brandrx Forum Pro • Posts: 28,337
Note:

The HSM of the Sigma 150-500mm seems to me to be a bit faster than the screwdriven lenses. However, the use of the Pentax-F 1.7X AF Adapter is much, much faster than even the HSM. That is because it has to be pre-focused i the general area and the element that the screwdrive is driving is very small.

The HSM of the Sigma 150-500mm is very quiet, In fact I turned on the BEEP sound just so I could no quicker when the lens reached focus. I wear eyeglasses and seening the lower part in the viewfinder is sometimes a bit tricky.

I would'nt hesitate to use any of these lenses or combos against wildlife or even birds in flight. Although, I believe the Sigma 50-500mm is a bit trickier to use against BIF's even though it is about the same size as the Sigma 150-500mm.

The hood of the Sigma 150-500mm is rounded just like the one on the Sigma 170-500mm. The Sigma 150-500mm hood is nicer though because it is easier to install and remove than the one on the Sigma 170-500mm because it has some ridges close to the installation point that you can grab onto.

That's all folks.

Cheers.

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'Keep your eyes looking forward. However, glance back now and then to see where you've come from. It will put a smile on your face.' ~ brandrx

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_County,_Utah

Ron ~ Retired.

breeze_of_wind
breeze_of_wind Senior Member • Posts: 1,285
Re: 500mm tests using 4 lenses on K20D.

Thanks again -- a useful set of comparisons. It is lens against lens.
Now it will be fun to see what we all think.
A couple of thoughts come to mind:

(1) In my eyes, the IQ of the 150-500 is better than taht of the 50-500 -- some have said that was not the case. Now how much better, that is for each viewer to decide. For me it is great enough to go for the 150-500 over 50-500.

(2) The IQ of the 150-500 was better in each of the three tests, with each of the other lenses -- although in at least one case I had to strain to make the call.

(3) So if price and IQ are the keys, then we should move toward the 150-500. Of course, for those who have money to burn, there is still the Sigma 500 f4.5 -- maybe somebody will provide a comparison so we can judge this one as well (I for one would like to see the competition) -- how much better is the 500?

(4) For those who still wonder what is behind the curtain, a wait for the longer Pentax telephoto may still be an option. But even if it is announced this spring does anyone think it will show up before Xmas 2010? Thus, in the short run, I am ready to put my money behind the Sigma 150-500.
Let me end by again thanking you for this work -- a real help.
John

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Fraulein Regular Member • Posts: 428
Re: 500mm tests using 4 lenses on K20D.

Hard to say. Although the Bigma seems to hold its own pretty well in all of these pictures, except maybe at the last test at f11 where it does not seems at sharp as the others.

Make me glad to be the proud owner of a Bigma...

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DrugaRunda Senior Member • Posts: 2,741
Re: 500mm tests using 4 lenses on K20D.

thanks for the test... all in all pretty close for top three, with 170-500 being slightly softer, but not excessively so...

On a scale from 1-10 where 10 was the best lens of those four... I'd give

10 - ie the best; to 150-500
9.5 - to A300+TC
9 to Bigma
and 7.5 to 170-500...

All in all pretty close, but a discernible difference... I am surprised that they are so close, and that A300+tc is not the obvious winner...
--
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wjwncpro_Ds Veteran Member • Posts: 3,984
I'd have too say,,,

The Sigma 150-500mm HSM keeps up very well with the Pentax-A*300mm f4 + Pentax-F 1.7X AF Adapter. IQ is the best with those two. I guess my 170-500 might get traded in for the 150-500. I normally use it with a mono-pod or tripod so weight and size would not matter much...
Darn you Ron, or should I say, damn LBA...LoL

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OP brandrx Forum Pro • Posts: 28,337
Another note FWIW:

Last night I took some handheld flash comparison shots with the Sigma 50-500mm and the Sigma 150-500mm at various focal lengths and f#'s and using the K100D Super, K10D, and K20D. The subject distance was about 12 to 15 feet. In each case IMO the Sigma 50-500mm (Bigma) was the clear winner for sharpness. Even so, I don't think you would be disatisfied with the Sigma 150-500mm HSM.

If I were shooting at small birds from about 15 to 30 feet I would choose the Sigma 50-500mm (Bigma) on a sturdy tripod. Subjects greater than 40 feet I don't think it would matter. If I were to be shooting handheld then I would choose the Sigma 150-500mm or the Sigma 170-500mm or most likely the Pentax-A*300/4 + Pentax-F 1.7X AF Adapter simply because it is about 1/4 the weight and size of the others. However, the A*300 combo can only be used with center focusing and center metering.

Cheers.

-- hide signature --

'Keep your eyes looking forward. However, glance back now and then to see where you've come from. It will put a smile on your face.' ~ brandrx

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_County,_Utah

Ron ~ Retired.

Marc Langille Senior Member • Posts: 1,150
John, regarding Sigma 500/4.5 sharpness

breeze_of_wind wrote:

Thanks again -- a useful set of comparisons. It is lens against lens.
Now it will be fun to see what we all think.
A couple of thoughts come to mind:
(1) In my eyes, the IQ of the 150-500 is better than taht of the
50-500 -- some have said that was not the case. Now how much better,
that is for each viewer to decide. For me it is great enough to go
for the 150-500 over 50-500.

(3) So if price and IQ are the keys, then we should move toward the
150-500. Of course, for those who have money to burn, there is still
the Sigma 500 f4.5 -- maybe somebody will provide a comparison so we
can judge this one as well (I for one would like to see the
competition) -- how much better is the 500?

Let me end by again thanking you for this work -- a real help.
John

I have images using a Sigma 500/4.5, but in Canon mount. Hey, I take what the sponsor(s) give me... However, no SR/IS/OS is available. Very good technique and stability is a must, along with a minimum shutter speed in the 1/400 sec. or higher. Generally twice that shutter speed is a needed for sharp images.

It's very, very good in the right hands... 8-)

Regards,
Marc
--
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OP brandrx Forum Pro • Posts: 28,337
Lightning makes some difference.

Take a look at the shadows on the right of each image. Since it took some time to shoot these the sun was lower and was almost directly into that window on the right side by the time I got to shooting with the Sigma 170-500mm and the A*300 + 1.7X AF Adapter. Perhaps this might account for some of the differences between the images.

FWIW: I shot all of these in JPG. In the past I have always shot RAW and I have not noticed much difference between the Sigma 50-500mm and the Sigma 170-500mm.

Cheers.

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'Keep your eyes looking forward. However, glance back now and then to see where you've come from. It will put a smile on your face.' ~ brandrx

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_County,_Utah

Ron ~ Retired.

Marc Langille Senior Member • Posts: 1,150
Hi Ron!

Ron, those are useful - thank you and take bow sir!!

It's interesting that I noted a variance in center sharpness between the 50-500 than the 150-500. The 150-500 is better at F/11, but that's getting pretty dark!

Thanks again for doing this. I'll stick with my setup (FA 300/2.8 + TC's), but someday I'd would like to see if I could make that Bigma sing! Maybe I'll just get an FA* 250-600/5.6 some day instead...

Cheers,
Marc
--
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superakuma Contributing Member • Posts: 594
Re: Another note FWIW:

Wow you have all of those lens? You are very lucky.

But thanks for the test. I was looking to buy the new 150-500 or buy the 50-500 sometimes in the near future. It seem like both of them preform very well but I may buy the 150-500 for the HSM.

Is it possible to take a picture of all of those lens together so I can sell how big they are next to each other.
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OP brandrx Forum Pro • Posts: 28,337
Marc...

Marc Langille wrote:

Ron, those are useful - thank you and take bow sir!!

Thanks Marc.

It's interesting that I noted a variance in center sharpness between
the 50-500 than the 150-500. The 150-500 is better at F/11, but
that's getting pretty dark!

Thanks again for doing this. I'll stick with my setup (FA 300/2.8 +
TC's), but someday I'd would like to see if I could make that Bigma
sing! Maybe I'll just get an FA* 250-600/5.6 some day instead...

I'm sure you could make the Bigma sing quite a tune.

Well when weight and size is not an issue for me then I will also use my Tamron 300/2.8 and Tamron 400/4 with or without TC's.

You and I both want the FA* 250-600/5.6 although you would get more and better use out of it. I would just use it to play with.

Cheers to you.

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'Keep your eyes looking forward. However, glance back now and then to see where you've come from. It will put a smile on your face.' ~ brandrx

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_County,_Utah

Ron ~ Retired.

Mac Contributing Member • Posts: 834
Did you leave out an "old friend"?

If my memory serves me correct, you posted a similar comparison 2 or 3 years ago which included a MF Tokina AT-X Pro 100-300/f4 zoom and either the Tamron 1.4x or Pentax 1.7x adapter. When I saw this new post, I hoped you had pulled the old warhorse out and see it would stack up against these other lenses. It's been awhile but I seem to recall that the Tokina did very well in the previous comparison...so well that I then went on a quest to find one (which I did in early 2007).

I have always been very pleased with the results I get with the Tokina 100-300. I would use the lens more except that it is MF and it weighs a ton, but it sure captures beautiful images. Sadly, my "senior" vision is lacking and waited too long to get a Pentax AF 1.7x (before they went sky high), otherwise, I would use it more. What a beautifully made lens.

Do you still have that lens? Is it possible to include a set of photos using it?

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LKeithR Veteran Member • Posts: 4,090
Re: 500mm tests using 4 lenses on K20D.

An interesting comparison and yes, thanks for doing so. It's often difficult to get "real-world" comparisons of lenses so this is a welcome opportunity.

To my old eyes there is very little difference between the 150-500 and the 50-500. I'd be willing to bet that if you did a blind test the majority of people would not be able to tell them apart. Neither of the others is as good in my opinion.

The only one of these that I have is the Bigma and it has served me well. Considering the minor differences between these lenses I won't be rushing out any time soon to buy anything different...
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