My findings on Sigma 50-500mm OS

Started Apr 24, 2010 | Discussions
jeminijoseph Veteran Member • Posts: 6,613
My findings on Sigma 50-500mm OS

So far I think this lens is excellent value for money

I compared the lens to my Nikon 500mm f/4 AF-S I lens. I know this is an unfair comparison. But Sigma didn't dissappoint me in the comparison.

The OS worked great at 1/60 with flash. I will try it tomorrow with sun light and see how practical it's for hand holding. The only issue I found so far is the stiff zoom ring. So ofcourse no zoom creep

Here're some 100% crops from D300. All are out of camera fine JPGs, taken in neutral picture style with 0 sharperning and manual WB in Manual exposure mode. The lens was on tripod with MLU and exposure delay on and camera released using a cable release.

I had to move forward around half meter to make the magnification right. So at close distance Sigma is not really 500mm (which is ok for a 10X zoom)

Nikon 500mm f/4 @f6.3

Sigma 50-500mm @ 500mm f6.3

Nikon 500mm f/4 @f8

Sigma 50-500mm @ 500mm f8

Nikon 500mm f/4 @f9

Sigma 50-500mm @ 500mm f9

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drip01
drip01 Veteran Member • Posts: 3,053
Congrats!

Not bad at all for a 10X zoom going against a super-prime. Sweeeet!
Thanks for sharing!

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OP jeminijoseph Veteran Member • Posts: 6,613
Re: Congrats!

drip01 wrote:

Not bad at all for a 10X zoom going against a super-prime.

Sweeeet!

True. The difference is there. But sharpness is not everything about a lens. The zoom and OS makes this lens even more worth the money.

I want to see how practical it's in the field and very curious about bokeh. So far looks good.

Thanks for sharing!

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drip01
drip01 Veteran Member • Posts: 3,053
Re: Congrats!

jeminijoseph wrote:

drip01 wrote:

Not bad at all for a 10X zoom going against a super-prime.

Sweeeet!

True. The difference is there. But sharpness is not everything about a lens. The zoom and OS makes this lens even more worth the money.

Honestly, after post processing, I'm not even sure you can see any difference on a reasonably large print.

I want to see how practical it's in the field and very curious about bokeh. So far looks good.

I have done two field tests already and I couldn't be more happier about its performance. Be sure to look for my upcoming Fiesta parade thread, there will be some great shots there.

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brunobarolo Senior Member • Posts: 1,118
Re: My findings on Sigma 50-500mm OS

Many thanks for taking the time for a formal test on a tripod with MLU. Unsharpened 100% crops is the only way to really see what the lens is capable of. And indeed that doesn't look bad at all in comparison to a first class prime.

BTW, what was the distance for your test shots?

Again, thanks for sharing your experiences.

OP jeminijoseph Veteran Member • Posts: 6,613
Re: My findings on Sigma 50-500mm OS

You are welcome. These are all at shot distances. I'll try the lens in a practical distance outside today or tomorrow

brunobarolo wrote:

Many thanks for taking the time for a formal test on a tripod with MLU. Unsharpened 100% crops is the only way to really see what the lens is capable of. And indeed that doesn't look bad at all in comparison to a first class prime.

BTW, what was the distance for your test shots?

Again, thanks for sharing your experiences.

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Jemini Joseph

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OP jeminijoseph Veteran Member • Posts: 6,613
Re: Congrats!

drip01 wrote:

jeminijoseph wrote:

drip01 wrote:

Not bad at all for a 10X zoom going against a super-prime.

Sweeeet!

True. The difference is there. But sharpness is not everything about a lens. The zoom and OS makes this lens even more worth the money.

Honestly, after post processing, I'm not even sure you can see any difference on a reasonably large print.

You are right if the difference is this small. But I want to try it with real subjects in distance. The autofocus looks good with static subjects. Again in real life that can be different. I had the Tamron 28-300 VC lens which was sharp and great during testing. But I had tough time getting sharp pictures in real life. Hope BigmaOS will be different

I want to see how practical it's in the field and very curious about bokeh. So far looks good.

I have done two field tests already and I couldn't be more happier about its performance. Be sure to look for my upcoming Fiesta parade thread, there will be some great shots there.

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Jemini Joseph

http://www.wildbirdimages.com

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teodorian2 Senior Member • Posts: 1,870
Re: My findings on Sigma 50-500mm OS

brunobarolo wrote:

Many thanks for taking the time for a formal test on a tripod with MLU. Unsharpened 100% crops is the only way to really see what the lens is capable of. And indeed that doesn't look bad at all in comparison to a first class prime.

BTW, what was the distance for your test shots?

Again, thanks for sharing your experiences.

No it´s not. 100% crops are of no value for determining the results in finished images - in print or on the web. If sharpening is done or not have no impact on the conclusion. All serious photographers know that careful sharpening has to be done for optimal results.

Arrange a blind test with two final prints of the same scene done with the two lenses and let people judge the prints from a normal viewing distance. Is it possible to distinguish them or not?

OP jeminijoseph Veteran Member • Posts: 6,613
Processed bird picture hand held

The light was horrible and this is the only wildlife I saw before it rained in the monring. This how I process all my images. I think still the lens looks really good

500mm f/6.3, 1/125 sec hand held, ISO 500. I got consistent result at this setting.

100% crop out of camera JPG with sharpening =1 (forgot to turn it off)

Distance was around 50 yards. So this is about the practical distance and real life situation I have.

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OP jeminijoseph Veteran Member • Posts: 6,613
Re: My findings on Sigma 50-500mm OS

teodorian2 wrote:

brunobarolo wrote:

Many thanks for taking the time for a formal test on a tripod with MLU. Unsharpened 100% crops is the only way to really see what the lens is capable of. And indeed that doesn't look bad at all in comparison to a first class prime.

BTW, what was the distance for your test shots?

Again, thanks for sharing your experiences.

No it´s not. 100% crops are of no value for determining the results in finished images - in print or on the web. If sharpening is done or not have no impact on the conclusion. All serious photographers know that careful sharpening has to be done for optimal results.

I know these kind of tests doesn't mean much for practical photography. Most of the time the sharpness is just one aspect of an image. I was curious to see how a third party zoom compares to a Nikon prime and I think Sigma is pretty close to any professional lens. I will try it at some real wildlife (deers mostly) this week and see how does it work (AF and OS). So far I think I will keep it unless Nikon come out with a zoom that reaches 500mm at f/5.6 Even if they do the price is going to be much higher.

Arrange a blind test with two final prints of the same scene done with the two lenses and let people judge the prints from a normal viewing distance. Is it possible to distinguish them or not?

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Jemini Joseph

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brunobarolo Senior Member • Posts: 1,118
Re: My findings on Sigma 50-500mm OS

teodorian2 wrote:

brunobarolo wrote:

Many thanks for taking the time for a formal test on a tripod with MLU. Unsharpened 100% crops is the only way to really see what the lens is capable of. And indeed that doesn't look bad at all in comparison to a first class prime.

BTW, what was the distance for your test shots?

Again, thanks for sharing your experiences.

No it´s not. 100% crops are of no value for determining the results in finished images - in print or on the web. If sharpening is done or not have no impact on the conclusion. All serious photographers know that careful sharpening has to be done for optimal results.

Arrange a blind test with two final prints of the same scene done with the two lenses and let people judge the prints from a normal viewing distance. Is it possible to distinguish them or not?

Well, maybe I am not a "serious photographer" in your opinion, but the agency that sells my images wants them unsharpened, and they judge technical quality at 100%. But maybe they are as clueless as I am, and they should ask you for advice about how to do their business

Pygmi Regular Member • Posts: 265
Re: Processed bird picture hand held

jeminijoseph wrote:

The light was horrible and this is the only wildlife I saw before it rained in the monring. This how I process all my images. I think still the lens looks really good

500mm f/6.3, 1/125 sec hand held, ISO 500. I got consistent result at this setting.

Distance was around 50 yards. So this is about the practical distance and real life situation I have.

For a 10x zoom, 1/125 sec, hand held...it looks good.

But to be honest... when comparing this "shapness" to Nikon 300 prime
with TC1.7 (roughly 500 mm) using tripod...It is not very sharp. Sorry.
And, even I have not even tried the Nikon 500 prime, ever... I find it very
hard to believe that this competes with that one...?

But, again, for 10x zoom it does look nice. And I'm very tempted to give
this beast a try. In certain conditions this kind of zoom range is just juicy
enough to forgive some shortcomings. The fact that is keeping my away
from this, is that I had Sigma 150-500 OS for a while and was not happy
with it at all. It was hand-holdable and OS was Ok.
But thats about the positive stuff.

OP jeminijoseph Veteran Member • Posts: 6,613
Re: Processed bird picture hand held

Pygmi wrote:

jeminijoseph wrote:

The light was horrible and this is the only wildlife I saw before it rained in the monring. This how I process all my images. I think still the lens looks really good

500mm f/6.3, 1/125 sec hand held, ISO 500. I got consistent result at this setting.

Distance was around 50 yards. So this is about the practical distance and real life situation I have.

For a 10x zoom, 1/125 sec, hand held...it looks good.

But to be honest... when comparing this "shapness" to Nikon 300 prime
with TC1.7 (roughly 500 mm) using tripod...It is not very sharp. Sorry.

Why did you say that? Did you do this comparison or someone else? Or are you making the judgement by just looking at this picture? Remember with this kind of light the visibility is very less and that alone will affect the sharpness. Besides you cannot even imagine getting a shot like like HAND HELD with 300mm+1.7TC. I have used the lens for a while with TC-14E.

And, even I have not even tried the Nikon 500 prime, ever... I find it very
hard to believe that this competes with that one...?

Yes, it's hard to believe. But I have tried multiple shots and this is what I found.

I'm positive that this lens will beat 300mm with 1.7TC on tripod test. Remember Sigma have more QC problem than Nikon or Canon. So you may not get same result with all different copies

But, again, for 10x zoom it does look nice. And I'm very tempted to give
this beast a try. In certain conditions this kind of zoom range is just juicy
enough to forgive some shortcomings. The fact that is keeping my away
from this, is that I had Sigma 150-500 OS for a while and was not happy
with it at all. It was hand-holdable and OS was Ok.
But thats about the positive stuff.

Up to you. It's all about what do we expect from the investment. I don't expect this lens to replace 200-400VR or 500mm prime. But this lens can produce some great shots when 500mm is too long or not practical. When I go for a family trip I cannot carry 500mm and tripod and wimberly. But I can carry this lens without a tripod and get a shot or two. I never tried 150-500mm. So I cannot commet on that lens. Anyway good luck

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drip01
drip01 Veteran Member • Posts: 3,053
Re: Processed bird picture hand held

That's not bad under the poor light condition and rather long subject distance. I don't think you can get a whole better even with a super-tele (like your 500/4).

Hopefully you'll get better weather and provide us some "normal conditions" samples.

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OP jeminijoseph Veteran Member • Posts: 6,613
Re: Processed bird picture hand held

I'm going to try this week days. I hope I will be able to see some deers during mornings with decent light. Even if the light is bad I want nice visibility to get sharp pictures. This is the case with any lens.

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Leswick Veteran Member • Posts: 3,102
Re: Processed bird picture hand held

Yes, with that sort of magnification I'd probably stay at 1/500sec and higher. I'm pretty sure that the softness (on the goose) is from the slow shutter. I was surprised, in the initial test, how good it fared in comparison to 500/4.

Leswick

nkarasev Senior Member • Posts: 1,499
Re: Processed bird picture hand held

Leswick wrote:

Yes, with that sort of magnification I'd probably stay at 1/500sec and higher. I'm pretty sure that the softness (on the goose) is from the slow shutter. I was surprised, in the initial test, how good it fared in comparison to 500/4.

Leswick

The goose looks like it is simply not in focus. I do not see typical motion blur.

You can check the certainly focused bits of the picture - the grass below. Some portion of grass must be focused perfectly.

N.

Rich__K Senior Member • Posts: 1,470
Re: Processed bird picture hand held

The 50-500mm is an "affordable" lens and in certain conditions, and it actually performs quite well, but it won't compare in real world critical assignments where other qualities come into play, such as contrast, bokeh, etc.

There IS a reason good glass is so expensive, but if the assignment isn't mission-critical I would agree, the Sigma isn't the worst piece of glass you can use for sure.
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azguy
azguy Veteran Member • Posts: 7,599
Re: Processed bird picture hand held

Rich_ K wrote:

The 50-500mm is an "affordable" lens and in certain conditions, and it actually performs quite well, but it won't compare in real world critical assignments where other qualities come into play, such as contrast, bokeh, etc.

There IS a reason good glass is so expensive, but if the assignment isn't mission-critical I would agree, the Sigma isn't the worst piece of glass you can use for sure.
--

I agree with this statement. I am not a Bigma fan, but for what it costs, it can be considered a value.

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DiploStrat
DiploStrat Contributing Member • Posts: 797
Re: Processed bird picture hand held

Ouch! You guys are tough!

Have you compared the prices of 500mm primes to the Bigma and its cousins? I would certainly hope that a Nikon prime would outperform a Bigma. But good luck getting that tripod, etc., into a dugout canoe. And predicting the range to the critter when you get there. Animals can be notoriously uncooperative.

Please post some of your 400-500mm shots so that we may see how some other lens near the same price point is better. The fact the the Bigma racks back to 50mm and is usable at all at that distance is really nice in the bush where you may not want/be able to change lenses.

I think the point is that the Bigma is an extraordinary lens; at 10x zoom, it shouldn't work, but it does. And now with OS and SLD glass, it risks to get even better. But I would be very disappointed if a $5k Nikon wasn't better.

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DiploStrat

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