Nikon D500, D850, Sigma 150-600C and a LOT of bad images!

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dperez Regular Member • Posts: 306
Nikon D500, D850, Sigma 150-600C and a LOT of bad images!

After the disastrous Sandhill Crane debacle, I’m continuing to try to figure out if I have a lens problem, a body problem, a technique problem, OR I’m just expecting more of my lenses than they’re capable of.

I’m trying to figure out how to get the sharpest images in MY “real world”.

I’m using a Sigma 150-600C on a Nikon D500 and a D850.

The lens spends the VAST majority of its time at maximum focal length. And at apertures around f/8 or less, f/11 once in a while, even in sunny conditions to keep shutter speeds reasonable and ISO to a value that keeps noise a non-factor - around 400 for the D500 and maybe 500 for the 850. Usually hand-held or on a monopod.

When I do SINGLE shots on a tripod, especially using AFS single, I GENERALLY get reasonably sharp images. But that’s NOT what this lens does, so after a LOT of garbage images I started paying attention to my results to see if there’s some pattern or method or setting… I’ve tested in AFC Single, Group, D25 on the D500, and D9 on the 850. Makes very little difference as near as I can tell. I’ve shot on a tripod with the O/S ON and OFF, and at reasonable shutter speeds it APPEARS to make virtually no difference. I’ve shot with the lens Custom settings ON to provide the fastest AF and most aggressive stabilization, and I’ve shot with the Customization OFF.  AGAIN it APPEARS to make VERY LITTLE DIFFERENCE…

So, what should I reasonably expect from either of these combinations (lens on D500 or D850)?

At WHAT maximum distance SHOULD I be able to reasonably expect (say 50% or better) sharp images? Is there SOME distance (see the images of the sign at the Coast Guard building to see what I’m talking about)… I’ve got birds at 8 meters, 15, 20, 33, 40+ and further and they’re ALMOST ALL NOT SHARP…

Both bodies are set up in Release + Focus mode (so if I understand it correctly, the camera should shoot the first image, then NOT capture another one until it’s IN FOCUS), blocked shot delay usually at 2, but I’ve tried it everywhere from 1 to 5 and it doesn’t APPEAR to make any difference. The D500 is shooting 10 fps, the D850, 9.

Here’s a sample from the D850, shooting the 150-600, ISO 250, aperture mode, f/8, 1/800 – 1/1000. I’m sitting on a bench, with a monopod, the geese are swimming slowly 26.61 meters (according to the exif data) in front of me, the camera is on AFC single. So, about as easy a set of images as I’m every likely to get.

ZERO post-processing has been done on any image. They’ve been snipped, assembled in PS, and resized to reduce bandwidth needed (I’m traveling and on a metered connection).

Here’s a full image so you can see how large things are.  The geese are swimming slowly, but the images are all very similar and the distance in the exif data is 26.61meters. It didn’t change through the 9-shot series.

Here’s a set of images from Viewnx-i showing where the focus point (center point) was for each image.

And last, the same 9 images without the focus point… TO ME, one is pretty sharp, one is adequately sharp the rest are in various degrees NOT sharp…..A check on depth of field says at 26 meters, even at 600mm I've got almost a METER of DOF.  Which means if it's missing focus it has to missing by a TON.

I did a similar thing with the D500, shooting the 150-600, ISO 400, aperture mode, f/10, 1/640 – 1/800. This time the camera is on the sturdy tripod, the geese are walking past me and the exif data SAYS the distance is 26.61 meters on some and 33.5 meters on others (I'm not getting SOMETHING about distance 'cause that MAKES NO SENSE).

The camera is on AFC single. So, again, about as easy a set of images as I’m every likely to get. The geese are walking a little faster than they were swimming, and the head is bobbing more, so I had a couple that weren’t FULLY on the head…

Again, ZERO post-processing has been done on any image. They’ve been snipped, assembled in PS, and resized to reduce bandwidth needed.

Here’s the set of images from Viewnx-i showing where the focus point (center point) was for each image.

And last, the same 8 images without the focus point… TO ME, one is fairly sharp, a couple are marginal, and the rest are in various degrees NOT sharp…..Same question as before - at 26 meters the D500 should have about .8 meters of DOF and at 33 about 1.2 meters.  If it's missing focus I has to be missing it by a TON.

Looking at the above, I decided there’s a problem with the lens. I have other images of birds from 8 meters to 35 or 40, and the same thing is happening… BUT, before you agree there’s a lens problem, 15 SECONDS before I shot the geese I shot a sailboat in the harbor.  Same equipment, same settings, 600 mm, distance farther than what the exif data says is “infinity” – it APPEARS that EVERYTHING past some distance is 125.89 meters. No matter HOW FAR past.

I shot NINE OF THESE, and every single one is SHARP…… I put the single focus point on “Hjordis” and EVERY image I shot is good.

ANOTHER sailboat… I shot SEVEN images of this sailboat, with the focus point on the white sail, and AGAIN, EVERY ONE is sharp. No problem at all. This time it’s at 440 mm instead of 600. Near as I can tell, that’s the only meaningful difference…

A second later, swing the tripod slightly on to the big sign at the Coast Guard station and shoot 3 shots… Starts soft, and totally composts in the three shots.

Swing back to the sailboat and shoot another half dozen shots with the focus point on the sail AND AGAIN THEY’RE ALL SHARP.

Swing back to the sign, let it stabilize, and shoot ONE MORE that’s totally out of focus.

I can put more images in here, but they look like the ones above...

I have NO idea what’s going on….. The birds are moving, but slowly. So are the sailboats, both moving and moving up and down with the waves. The SIGN on the Coast Guard Station is BIG and it’s sitting still. And it’s got at LEAST as much contrast as everything else I’m shooting. I can add more pictures to show what I mean, but at this point I’M TOTALLY BAFFLED…….

Two bodies can’t both be bad – and BTW, they BOTH work fine with EVERY OTHER LENS I HAVE…

The lens MAY be bad, but it CAN’T be bad SOME OF THE TIME… Fine and sharp on “larger” things like a sail or a car and very not sharp on a big sign or a bird 8 or 20 or 30 meters away…

SO, I figured I’d ask here and hope someone in here has some idea what’s going on…

Nikon D500 Nikon D850
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mike1w Forum Member • Posts: 74
Re: Nikon D500, D850, Sigma 150-600C and a LOT of bad images!
4

Hi Dperez,

A few things you can try to solve this problem.

1, If 440mm shots are fine then have you tuned 600mm correctly?

2, D500 @ 600mm = effective focal length 900mm, your shutter speed should be 1/2000 plus for testing.

3, Shoot wide open to keep shutter speed up.

4, O/s on tripod will not work, it will make your shots worse.

5, For testing purposes use AFS/centre point only until you are getting consistent results.

6, Make sure there is good contrast on AF point.

When testing it is important to keep all settings the same, shoot in good light and softly trigger shutter button.

It is possible your lens is faulty but your technique needs fine tuning first.

Hope this helps,

Mike.

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RaLuC Regular Member • Posts: 125
Re: Nikon D500, D850, Sigma 150-600C and a LOT of bad images!

dperez wrote:

After the disastrous Sandhill Crane debacle, I’m continuing to try to figure out if I have a lens problem, a body problem, a technique problem, OR I’m just expecting more of my lenses than they’re capable of.

I’m trying to figure out how to get the sharpest images in MY “real world”.

I’m using a Sigma 150-600C on a Nikon D500 and a D850.

The lens spends the VAST majority of its time at maximum focal length. And at apertures around f/8 or less, f/11 once in a while, even in sunny conditions to keep shutter speeds reasonable and ISO to a value that keeps noise a non-factor - around 400 for the D500 and maybe 500 for the 850. Usually hand-held or on a monopod.

When I do SINGLE shots on a tripod, especially using AFS single, I GENERALLY get reasonably sharp images. But that’s NOT what this lens does, so after a LOT of garbage images I started paying attention to my results to see if there’s some pattern or method or setting… I’ve tested in AFC Single, Group, D25 on the D500, and D9 on the 850. Makes very little difference as near as I can tell. I’ve shot on a tripod with the O/S ON and OFF, and at reasonable shutter speeds it APPEARS to make virtually no difference. I’ve shot with the lens Custom settings ON to provide the fastest AF and most aggressive stabilization, and I’ve shot with the Customization OFF. AGAIN it APPEARS to make VERY LITTLE DIFFERENCE…

So, what should I reasonably expect from either of these combinations (lens on D500 or D850)?

At WHAT maximum distance SHOULD I be able to reasonably expect (say 50% or better) sharp images? Is there SOME distance (see the images of the sign at the Coast Guard building to see what I’m talking about)… I’ve got birds at 8 meters, 15, 20, 33, 40+ and further and they’re ALMOST ALL NOT SHARP…

Both bodies are set up in Release + Focus mode (so if I understand it correctly, the camera should shoot the first image, then NOT capture another one until it’s IN FOCUS), blocked shot delay usually at 2, but I’ve tried it everywhere from 1 to 5 and it doesn’t APPEAR to make any difference. The D500 is shooting 10 fps, the D850, 9.

Here’s a sample from the D850, shooting the 150-600, ISO 250, aperture mode, f/8, 1/800 – 1/1000. I’m sitting on a bench, with a monopod, the geese are swimming slowly 26.61 meters (according to the exif data) in front of me, the camera is on AFC single. So, about as easy a set of images as I’m every likely to get.

ZERO post-processing has been done on any image. They’ve been snipped, assembled in PS, and resized to reduce bandwidth needed (I’m traveling and on a metered connection).

Here’s a full image so you can see how large things are. The geese are swimming slowly, but the images are all very similar and the distance in the exif data is 26.61meters. It didn’t change through the 9-shot series.

Here’s a set of images from Viewnx-i showing where the focus point (center point) was for each image.

And last, the same 9 images without the focus point… TO ME, one is pretty sharp, one is adequately sharp the rest are in various degrees NOT sharp…..A check on depth of field says at 26 meters, even at 600mm I've got almost a METER of DOF. Which means if it's missing focus it has to missing by a TON.

I did a similar thing with the D500, shooting the 150-600, ISO 400, aperture mode, f/10, 1/640 – 1/800. This time the camera is on the sturdy tripod, the geese are walking past me and the exif data SAYS the distance is 26.61 meters on some and 33.5 meters on others (I'm not getting SOMETHING about distance 'cause that MAKES NO SENSE).

The camera is on AFC single. So, again, about as easy a set of images as I’m every likely to get. The geese are walking a little faster than they were swimming, and the head is bobbing more, so I had a couple that weren’t FULLY on the head…

Again, ZERO post-processing has been done on any image. They’ve been snipped, assembled in PS, and resized to reduce bandwidth needed.

Here’s the set of images from Viewnx-i showing where the focus point (center point) was for each image.

And last, the same 8 images without the focus point… TO ME, one is fairly sharp, a couple are marginal, and the rest are in various degrees NOT sharp…..Same question as before - at 26 meters the D500 should have about .8 meters of DOF and at 33 about 1.2 meters. If it's missing focus I has to be missing it by a TON.

Looking at the above, I decided there’s a problem with the lens. I have other images of birds from 8 meters to 35 or 40, and the same thing is happening… BUT, before you agree there’s a lens problem, 15 SECONDS before I shot the geese I shot a sailboat in the harbor. Same equipment, same settings, 600 mm, distance farther than what the exif data says is “infinity” – it APPEARS that EVERYTHING past some distance is 125.89 meters. No matter HOW FAR past.

I shot NINE OF THESE, and every single one is SHARP…… I put the single focus point on “Hjordis” and EVERY image I shot is good.

ANOTHER sailboat… I shot SEVEN images of this sailboat, with the focus point on the white sail, and AGAIN, EVERY ONE is sharp. No problem at all. This time it’s at 440 mm instead of 600. Near as I can tell, that’s the only meaningful difference…

A second later, swing the tripod slightly on to the big sign at the Coast Guard station and shoot 3 shots… Starts soft, and totally composts in the three shots.

Swing back to the sailboat and shoot another half dozen shots with the focus point on the sail AND AGAIN THEY’RE ALL SHARP.

Swing back to the sign, let it stabilize, and shoot ONE MORE that’s totally out of focus.

I can put more images in here, but they look like the ones above...

I have NO idea what’s going on….. The birds are moving, but slowly. So are the sailboats, both moving and moving up and down with the waves. The SIGN on the Coast Guard Station is BIG and it’s sitting still. And it’s got at LEAST as much contrast as everything else I’m shooting. I can add more pictures to show what I mean, but at this point I’M TOTALLY BAFFLED…….

Two bodies can’t both be bad – and BTW, they BOTH work fine with EVERY OTHER LENS I HAVE…

The lens MAY be bad, but it CAN’T be bad SOME OF THE TIME… Fine and sharp on “larger” things like a sail or a car and very not sharp on a big sign or a bird 8 or 20 or 30 meters away…

SO, I figured I’d ask here and hope someone in here has some idea what’s going on…

First of all, if you shoot on a tripod, ALWAYS TURN IS OFF. This is a very important rule. You easily get blurred pictures with IS used on a tripod, because fixing your camera/lens is counteracting with the way IS works, it will make pictures blurry in many cases.

Second, you need to shot at 1/2000 or even shorter at slowly moving objects with 600 (900mm) to ensure freezing.

Third, you may need to fine tune for front focus, as far as I can see in the first geese picture, you have some frontfocus. I recommend the free programm 'fast raw viewer' and use focus peeking (key p until red) and watch where the focus area really is in all of these pictures. I had also front focus on 600mm and was disppointed with results. After fine tuning, this lens is a stellar performer. Yesterday I was shooting lift waterskiing even using a polarizer with 1/2000s, pictures are tack sharp in 99% of the cases, distances from 50 to 500m!

 RaLuC's gear list:RaLuC's gear list
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bryand7k
bryand7k Contributing Member • Posts: 874
Re: Nikon D500, D850, Sigma 150-600C and a LOT of bad images!
1

-If you find the sweet spot is F 8 then you don't have a great copy of the lens. I had the 150-600C and really liked it. Took me a couple of copies though to get a good one and it's sweet spot was 7.1 or less if under the 500-600 range

-You mentioned release+Focus. I use the reverse one, Focus+release. Seems to me that doing yours could be fraught with difficulties and inconsistencies. But for testing single shots try just Focus

-Shutter speed needs to be higher, around 1/2000 as mentioned by others.

-If you don't know anyone else with this lens then go to a camera shop and try another copy of it and compare your results.

-Then there is the fun... Lens Fine Tuning... you can try too. Do you have the USB dock and does the lens have the latest firmware?

You should be able to find settings that give you relatively consistent results otherwise it looks like that lens is just plain weird

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rz350 Regular Member • Posts: 171
Re: Nikon D500, D850, Sigma 150-600C and a LOT of bad images!

Have you tried the auto fine tune function built into your d500? Just curious. Steve Perry and others have offered videos with instructions on how to do this. I have the Sigma 150-600 Sport and the Nikon d500 and d7200. Both of them function very well with the 150-600.

There is a wildlife photographer Brad Hill who tested the Sigma 150-600 Sport extensively. http://www.naturalart.ca/voice/blog_2015_all.html

You should look at his testing because there are lots of nuggets of information there. He also has write ups of the d500 and a lot of other equipment.One of the things he stated is that he didn't like the sport over 400mm with the d500. I am more the happy with mine. He is currently testing the Nikon 180-400. I briefly tested one against my Sigma and I am very happy with my Sigma.

I have shot my Sigma wide open and find that for static shots, it is fine. But now I always shoot at f7.1. That seems to be where it functions the best. My friend has the Canon version. He shoots the 7d-2 with it. His experience mirrors mine. He also has the the Canon 200-400. It has attributes like better flare resistance and internal zooming that make it a better lens, but at a much higher price like the Nikon 180-400. But the lens he is trying to sell is the 200-400.

Leave the OS on unless you are on a tripod. It doesn't interfere with sharpness. And it is obviously great at lower shutter speeds.

The contemporary version is probably slower to focus and maybe doesn't work as well as the sport. Your mileage may vary. You can always send it back to Sigma to have it checked over.

I follow this thread with interest.

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RaLuC Regular Member • Posts: 125
Re: Nikon D500, D850, Sigma 150-600C and a LOT of bad images!
1

rz350 wrote:

Have you tried the auto fine tune function built into your d500? Just curious. Steve Perry and others have offered videos with instructions on how to do this. I have the Sigma 150-600 Sport and the Nikon d500 and d7200. Both of them function very well with the 150-600.

There is a wildlife photographer Brad Hill who tested the Sigma 150-600 Sport extensively. http://www.naturalart.ca/voice/blog_2015_all.html

You should look at his testing because there are lots of nuggets of information there. He also has write ups of the d500 and a lot of other equipment.One of the things he stated is that he didn't like the sport over 400mm with the d500. I am more the happy with mine. He is currently testing the Nikon 180-400. I briefly tested one against my Sigma and I am very happy with my Sigma.

I have shot my Sigma wide open and find that for static shots, it is fine. But now I always shoot at f7.1. That seems to be where it functions the best. My friend has the Canon version. He shoots the 7d-2 with it. His experience mirrors mine. He also has the the Canon 200-400. It has attributes like better flare resistance and internal zooming that make it a better lens, but at a much higher price like the Nikon 180-400. But the lens he is trying to sell is the 200-400.

Leave the OS on unless you are on a tripod. It doesn't interfere with sharpness. And it is obviously great at lower shutter speeds.

The contemporary version is probably slower to focus and maybe doesn't work as well as the sport. Your mileage may vary. You can always send it back to Sigma to have it checked over.

I follow this thread with interest.

I cannot see any improvement in sharpness above f6.3 at 600mm, it just widens the DOF. At first shots I was also disappointed until I found out with 'fast raw viewer' and its gteat focus peaking option, that it had visible front focus issues. After very decent adjustment, which is quite diffcult at 600mm and very long distances, it now performs really stellar. And this on the D850 with sublime crisp sharpness.

 RaLuC's gear list:RaLuC's gear list
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briantilley
briantilley Senior Member • Posts: 2,763
Re: Nikon D500, D850, Sigma 150-600C and a LOT of bad images!

dperez wrote:

After the disastrous Sandhill Crane debacle, I’m continuing to try to figure out if I have a lens problem, a body problem, a technique problem, OR I’m just expecting more of my lenses than they’re capable of.

I’m trying to figure out how to get the sharpest images in MY “real world”.

I’m using a Sigma 150-600C on a Nikon D500 and a D850.

Many of the replies so far are suggesting AF fine tuning as a solution.  Sure, fine tuning can give you a useful baseline to work from by eliminating one variable - but I'm pretty sure it won't "fix" the problems you're seeing.

For fine tune to be effective, there needs to be a focus error that is consistent in degree and direction (at each focal length and distance if using the Sigma dock).  That doesn't seem to be the case here, where your examples show some shots are consistently IN focus, whilst others seem to miss focus, but by a variable amount.

I would look elsewhere for the cause of the problem.

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OP dperez Regular Member • Posts: 306
Re: Nikon D500, D850, Sigma 150-600C and a LOT of bad images!

Thanks for the replies...

Perhaps I don't understand the Release + Focus setting versus the Focus + Release one... R + F SAYS it'll take the first shot then FOCUS before each successive shot so they'll all be in focus - it MAY slow the frame rate. F + R says it won't release 'til the first shot is in focus, but after that it'll shoot whether the image is focused or not. I PREVIOUSLY had all the bodies set to Focus + Release and my results are almost always out of focus. From the explanation I saw, it seems to me that using Focus + Release would be a great way to get a lot of out of focus images shot as fast as possible. Which is why I switched.

So what SHOULD I be using for things that move like race cars, birds, Air Show airplanes, and most anything I use this lens for?  Remembering it's almost always at 600 and almost always hand-held.

Beyond the testing I did with the birds and sailboats, I actually did a bunch of controlled tests ON the tripod with and without O/S. For the Sigma I had approximately 3x the shots be sharp WITH O/S on even on a tripod... Even this 3X was a VERY small percentage of the total shots, so it's not a huge improvement, but I definitely had better results when shooting bursts even on the tripod. This was the DEFAULT O/S, NOT the extremely aggressive one you can set in the Custom settings. That one drifts all over the place.

SO, yes, I agree, it's "normal" to turn off the O/S, and with any of my other lenses I do when on a tripod. And when I was testing using the single shot, on the tripod, O/S off, center point at various distances, it worked fine. But that's not what this lens does - it spends almost all it's time shooting high-speed bursts.

As for tuning - I turned OFF all the Sigma tuning, but I DID use the auto AF on BOTH the D500 and D850 with this lens, and I THOUGHT I got -7 on the 850 and -9 on 500. UNFORTUNATELY, I"m clearly missing something 'cause I can't SEE the values in the AF screen.

Click on menu and go down to the AF fine-tune screen.

AF fine-tune is ON

Saved value is -12 (FOR SOME LENS)

Default is 0

List saved values 4/20

I PRESUME this means I have 2 lenses tuned, which I do...

SO, hit the right arrow and DISPLAY THE 2 LENSES

150-600/5.6-6.3VR

28-300/3.5-5.6 VR

I can CENTER-click on either lens and see what it is BUT IT DOESN'T SHOW ME THE CURRENT VALUE FOR THAT LENS. It takes me back to the AF fine-tune screen with -12 in the Saved value no matter WHICH LENS I click on.

I and RIGHT-click on either lens and that takes me to a screen where I can set the NUMBER for the lens - NOT the AF value, just a number from 00 to 99 - I"m not sure WHAT it does.

Every time I center-click EITHER lens I get back to the AF fine-tune screen and the "Saved" value is whatever the LAST lens I adjusted was. If I GO to the saved value and click, I get a screen that ALWAYS shows the last lens I tuned and the adjustment value... In this case, lens number 2, the 28-300 is the ONLY lens I can see the current adjustment for, and the only lens I can adjust. I cannot figure out how to SEE the adjustment value for lens number 1.

So, HOW do I, in the AF fine-tune screen select lens number 1 (the 150-600) so I can SEE what the CURRENT adjustment is for THAT lens is rather than always seeing lens number 2?

So, YES, I THOUGHT I had done the Auto AF for the 150-600 with both bodies BEFORE I started testing, but now I have NO idea whether there's actually an adjustment value stored for that lens in EITHER body.

I can delete all the lenses from both bodies and rerun the test on each for the 150-600 (for each of which I ran at least 5 versions of the test to see if they'd all come up with the same adjustment), but with or without the auto AF, I can't see what I currently have for the adjustment in either body.

Back to TUNING! ICK! PRIOR to leaving last week, I set up a target. 48 feet (as near as I could tell the third block of settings in the Sigma Dock).  My intent was to take the 150-600 and tune it in the Sigma dock for the [approximately] 15 meter range and INFINITY.

Target was angled about 45 degrees, and composed of a 4 foot, aluminum ruler and a sheet with markings and a nice black "+" to focus on.  I shot 9 images from +20 to -20 in increments of 5.

Here's the output.

Unfortunately, my old, but in theory, better than 20/20 eyes, on a 30" monitor at 100% can't tell a thing from any of these.  I don't SEE the focus point moving in a drastic enough way to tell which is right...  They ALL appear to be sharp at the 24" line and don't get fuzzy 'til at LEAST 18" and 30"...  Clearly, I'm missing something.  I've read at least a HALF DOZEN different things on how to do this and they ALL make it look simple and idiot-proof.  'Course they're always using a 50mm or something at f/1.8 so in 1/4 inch it goes from blinding sharp to totally unreadable...  So how DO I figure out which of these is the right setting?

And I have NO idea how to check it at infinity...  I PRESUME, at 600mm I'm going to have to be at LEAST 100 yards away, how am I going to use this little print and ruler when even at 6.3, at 100 yards the DOF is is EIGHTEEN feet...  So, HOW do y'all calibrate these things at "infinity"?

BUT, back to my original question...  I can see that the birds are almost ALL out of focus - front or back I can't tell.  BUT, at 600mm the SAILBOAT that's at infinity, or at least further than 125 meters, is very sharp.  Doesn't matter if it's 440 mm or 600, they're sharp.

I've got replies that say they're getting 90% sharp images shooting moving subjects at 600mm.  I'd be tickled to death getting HALF that.  Currently if I get 10% I'd consider it a miracle...

And btw, it's NO BETTER using group mode of D9 or D25...

So, what DO I do 'cause if it's front or back focusing at 26 or 30 meters (the birds), and APPEARS fine at infinity (the sailboats), how come it totally sucked shooting the "cable crossing" sign behind the sailboat?

What should I do for the next steps?  Testing?  Calibration?  I have no hair left to yank out.

briantilley
briantilley Senior Member • Posts: 2,763
Re: Nikon D500, D850, Sigma 150-600C and a LOT of bad images!
1

dperez wrote:

Thanks for the replies...

...snip...

What should I do for the next steps? Testing? Calibration? I have no hair left to yank out.

A couple of things...

First, regarding the AF Fine Tune procedure.  This feature in Nikon DSLR's always displays the saved value for the lens that is currently mounted (if you have set it up).  I would advise you to check out the description on pages 164-165 of the downloadable D850 Menu Guide (not the D850 Manual).

Second, the test target you've used is probably going to give unpredictable results.  For accurate focus testing, the target itself should be set up parallel to the camera sensor.  With an angled target like you used, you'll never know for sure which part of it the camera has chosen to focus on.  It's fine to have an angled ruler next to the target, but the target itself should be perpendicular.  You'll find lots of discussions about this if you look around...

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jshen808
jshen808 Senior Member • Posts: 5,955
Re: Nikon D500, D850, Sigma 150-600C and a LOT of bad images!
1

..instead of 'pulling your hair out'..

..first things first..

..set up a target (subject) along a wall or fence, and can use the tripod to take pictures (in good light) at various zoom lengths..

..my focus accuracy test..

..no need to get fancy..

..use AF-S and Single Point Focus..

..also use f/8, 1/2000s, Auto-ISO..

..if use tripod, turn the VR 'Off'..

************

..the above picture is to help show is any 'front' or 'back' focusing (look at the 'out of focus' areas)..

..if the lens shows focused correctly, but the subject (object) appears 'soft', then the lens is possibly defective..

************

..if the D500 camera was used in the test, and the lens appears to be defective, best to return & exchange for another..

..if the D850 camera was used, and had tested using the 45mp resolution, then maybe suggest try setting the D850 to the (M)edium resolution mode of 25mp, and redo the testing..

*************

..if all else fails..

..then recommend refund the Sigma 150-600mm lens..

..and exchange for the Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6 lens, which can be used with the 1.4x teleconverter, and yield 280-700mm zoom range and use f/8..

*************

..Cheers..

-- hide signature --

Regards, John..
..down with naysayers!
[YI M1 camera, Olympus 17mm f/1.8 lens, firmware 3.0]

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OP dperez Regular Member • Posts: 306
Re: Nikon D500, D850, Sigma 150-600C and a LOT of bad images!
3

One of the earlier replies sent me to Brad Hill at Natural Art Images. I've read both tests he did with the lenses in the longer tele- zoom class. I believe I can safely say that at the distances he tested and with the methods he used, which aren't too awfully different than what I was doing, his results are DRASTICALLY different.  It appears he did NO AF adjustments in either the camera OR the Sigma dock.  Shot 'em straight out of the box.

He, like me, found using stabilization on a tripod did not degrade images (I suspect this is an artifact from the early stabilized lenses of 10-years-ago that did have problems sometimes on a tripod).  He also did his testing at .5*1/focal length (500mm = 1/250) on a stationary subject, FAR slower than the shutter speeds I've been trying to get, and so on.

He also tested hand-held and found minimum shutter speeds where his continuous images were consistently sharp on a stationary subject.

SO, as time allows, I'm going to replicate to the extent possible, what he did, and see how my results compare using BOTH the D500 and D850 bodies.  If what I get is significantly poorer than his testing indicated, the lens will go back to Sigma to see if they can correct it.

FrankG Senior Member • Posts: 1,762
Re: Nikon D500, D850, Sigma 150-600C and a LOT of bad images!

dperez wrote:

Thanks for the replies...

Perhaps I don't understand the Release + Focus setting versus the Focus + Release one... R + F SAYS it'll take the first shot then FOCUS before each successive shot so they'll all be in focus - it MAY slow the frame rate. F + R says it won't release 'til the first shot is in focus, but after that it'll shoot whether the image is focused or not. I PREVIOUSLY had all the bodies set to Focus + Release and my results are almost always out of focus. From the explanation I saw, it seems to me that using Focus + Release would be a great way to get a lot of out of focus images shot as fast as possible. Which is why I switched.

Until you get your focus tuning sorted out you are probably wasting your time worrying about the above settings. FWIW at present I suggest you use just the "Focus" setting while testing. Then switch to trying the "Focus + Release" setting later.

Incidentally anything I am going to say with regard to my experience is with the Sigma 150-600 Sports lens with the D500 (not the 150-600 C version).

So what SHOULD I be using for things that move like race cars, birds, Air Show airplanes, and most anything I use this lens for? Remembering it's almost always at 600 and almost always hand-held.

I would recommend investing in a monopod with a suitable head. I use a lightweight Gitzo monopod with a Sirui tilt head. Works great.

Beyond the testing I did with the birds and sailboats, I actually did a bunch of controlled tests ON the tripod with and without O/S. For the Sigma I had approximately 3x the shots be sharp WITH O/S on even on a tripod... Even this 3X was a VERY small percentage of the total shots, so it's not a huge improvement, but I definitely had better results when shooting bursts even on the tripod. This was the DEFAULT O/S, NOT the extremely aggressive one you can set in the Custom settings. That one drifts all over the place.

There are 2 alternative OS "view" settings available under Custom (at least on the Sports version of the lens).

SO, yes, I agree, it's "normal" to turn off the O/S, and with any of my other lenses I do when on a tripod. And when I was testing using the single shot, on the tripod, O/S off, center point at various distances, it worked fine. But that's not what this lens does - it spends almost all it's time shooting high-speed bursts.

As for using the OS with a tripod - I say that it works fine for me with either a lightweight Carbon Fibre type tripod or a monopod. I never bother to switch OS off. I get excellent results pretty much all the time. Others may disagree - perhaps there could be issues when using OS combined with some tripods.

As for tuning - I turned OFF all the Sigma tuning, but I DID use the auto AF on BOTH the D500 and D850 with this lens, and I THOUGHT I got -7 on the 850 and -9 on 500. UNFORTUNATELY, I"m clearly missing something 'cause I can't SEE the values in the AF screen.

Click on menu and go down to the AF fine-tune screen.

AF fine-tune is ON

Saved value is -12 (FOR SOME LENS)

Default is 0

List saved values 4/20

I PRESUME this means I have 2 lenses tuned, which I do...

SO, hit the right arrow and DISPLAY THE 2 LENSES

150-600/5.6-6.3VR

28-300/3.5-5.6 VR

I can CENTER-click on either lens and see what it is BUT IT DOESN'T SHOW ME THE CURRENT VALUE FOR THAT LENS. It takes me back to the AF fine-tune screen with -12 in the Saved value no matter WHICH LENS I click on.

I and RIGHT-click on either lens and that takes me to a screen where I can set the NUMBER for the lens - NOT the AF value, just a number from 00 to 99 - I"m not sure WHAT it does.

Every time I center-click EITHER lens I get back to the AF fine-tune screen and the "Saved" value is whatever the LAST lens I adjusted was. If I GO to the saved value and click, I get a screen that ALWAYS shows the last lens I tuned and the adjustment value... In this case, lens number 2, the 28-300 is the ONLY lens I can see the current adjustment for, and the only lens I can adjust. I cannot figure out how to SEE the adjustment value for lens number 1.

So, HOW do I, in the AF fine-tune screen select lens number 1 (the 150-600) so I can SEE what the CURRENT adjustment is for THAT lens is rather than always seeing lens number 2?

So, YES, I THOUGHT I had done the Auto AF for the 150-600 with both bodies BEFORE I started testing, but now I have NO idea whether there's actually an adjustment value stored for that lens in EITHER body.

I can delete all the lenses from both bodies and rerun the test on each for the 150-600 (for each of which I ran at least 5 versions of the test to see if they'd all come up with the same adjustment), but with or without the auto AF, I can't see what I currently have for the adjustment in either body.

In a nutshell - it is only possible to see the value stored for any particular lens while that lens is connected to the camera. So to see the in-camera settings stored for your 150-600 simpy re-connect the lens to the camera and then go back to "Setup Menu - AF Fine-tune - Saved value" ... then right-click on the multi-selector to see the "Saved Value" scale (which also allows you to modify the setting). The value stored here though is going to apply to that lens across all focal lengths. You need to get your testing done using the in-camera settings for each focal length and distance, as according to the recommended distances and focal lengths in the Sigma dock software. Build a table of values on paper first before you do any programming of the lens via the dock.

Back to TUNING! ICK! PRIOR to leaving last week, I set up a target. 48 feet (as near as I could tell the third block of settings in the Sigma Dock). My intent was to take the 150-600 and tune it in the Sigma dock for the [approximately] 15 meter range and INFINITY.

Target was angled about 45 degrees, and composed of a 4 foot, aluminum ruler and a sheet with markings and a nice black "+" to focus on. I shot 9 images from +20 to -20 in increments of 5.

Here's the output.

Unfortunately, my old, but in theory, better than 20/20 eyes, on a 30" monitor at 100% can't tell a thing from any of these. I don't SEE the focus point moving in a drastic enough way to tell which is right... They ALL appear to be sharp at the 24" line and don't get fuzzy 'til at LEAST 18" and 30"... Clearly, I'm missing something. I've read at least a HALF DOZEN different things on how to do this and they ALL make it look simple and idiot-proof. 'Course they're always using a 50mm or something at f/1.8 so in 1/4 inch it goes from blinding sharp to totally unreadable... So how DO I figure out which of these is the right setting?

First point I would make here is that is not a good focus target for your selected method - reason is that when using an angled target the use of a cross means that the vertical line of the cross is an ambiguous target for distance. So if using such an angled target you need to have just a horizontal line as the focus target. Some will insist that the focus target itself should be vertical and perfectly aligned with the camera sensor ... but unless you have a professional test bench that is in practice very difficult to achieve. The advantage of the horizontal line target is that it elminates the need to achieve correct vertical alignment of the target with the focus plane of the sensor. It is no problem for any modern camera, especially the likes of the D500 or D850, equipped with cross-type AF sensors, to achieve precision focus with a single horizontal line target.

Another point I would make is: use a much narrower angle of view than 45 degrees! Then the effect of changes of AF fine-tune settings become much easier to see. I can see some difference from your initial results (I am used to looking at these types of test results) and I would say your lens is front-focussing and from your results probably needs roughly somewhere liek a +10 to +15 in-camera setting for 600mm at the chosen test distance. The way I have done the tests in the past I could easily get down to discriminating + or - 1 in-camera AF fine tuning point with this type of AF test. I used a smaller target with finer calibrations and I angled the target at about 25 to 30 degrees or so. I also did the full set of calibrations (at 2.6, 5 and 15 metres for each focal length) via this method. I recorded all + or - values from in-camera settings in a paper table before going near the dock.

And I have NO idea how to check it at infinity... I PRESUME, at 600mm I'm going to have to be at LEAST 100 yards away, how am I going to use this little print and ruler when even at 6.3, at 100 yards the DOF is is EIGHTEEN feet... So, HOW do y'all calibrate these things at "infinity"?

I suggest you find something like a large road sign or advertising hoarding poster at a moderate distance (preferably more than 100 metres) and shoot test shots from an oblique angle making sure that the shots that you use to get AF settings readings from are shots where the camera has recorded an AF focus point on the target you want. Again - get a table of values on paper before you program the dock.

BUT, back to my original question... I can see that the birds are almost ALL out of focus - front or back I can't tell. BUT, at 600mm the SAILBOAT that's at infinity, or at least further than 125 meters, is very sharp. Doesn't matter if it's 440 mm or 600, they're sharp.

I've got replies that say they're getting 90% sharp images shooting moving subjects at 600mm. I'd be tickled to death getting HALF that. Currently if I get 10% I'd consider it a miracle...

And btw, it's NO BETTER using group mode of D9 or D25...

So, what DO I do 'cause if it's front or back focusing at 26 or 30 meters (the birds), and APPEARS fine at infinity (the sailboats), how come it totally sucked shooting the "cable crossing" sign behind the sailboat?

Something to beware of here: trying to shoot test shots in warm sunny conditions, especially across water! Why - because of a phenomenon called "air lensing" caused by air turbulence with air currents of different temperatures mixing. This gets worse the further away the target is. Which is likely causing some problems getting reliable focus on that distant sign. There is no lens made that can cure this when it occurs - it's an environmental issue. Re-do some testing when conditions are favourable. A tip is to wait until the air is cleared by a heavy rainstorm. Or get out early morning before the heat gets up!

What should I do for the next steps? Testing? Calibration? I have no hair left to yank out.

Calm down, start again and do things carefully and methdically and you might get somewhere!

Frank

RaLuC Regular Member • Posts: 125
Re: Nikon D500, D850, Sigma 150-600C and a LOT of bad images!

dperez wrote:

One of the earlier replies sent me to Brad Hill at Natural Art Images. I've read both tests he did with the lenses in the longer tele- zoom class. I believe I can safely say that at the distances he tested and with the methods he used, which aren't too awfully different than what I was doing, his results are DRASTICALLY different. It appears he did NO AF adjustments in either the camera OR the Sigma dock. Shot 'em straight out of the box.

He, like me, found using stabilization on a tripod did not degrade images (I suspect this is an artifact from the early stabilized lenses of 10-years-ago that did have problems sometimes on a tripod). He also did his testing at .5*1/focal length (500mm = 1/250) on a stationary subject, FAR slower than the shutter speeds I've been trying to get, and so on.

He also tested hand-held and found minimum shutter speeds where his continuous images were consistently sharp on a stationary subject.

SO, as time allows, I'm going to replicate to the extent possible, what he did, and see how my results compare using BOTH the D500 and D850 bodies. If what I get is significantly poorer than his testing indicated, the lens will go back to Sigma to see if they can correct it.

No, not at all. IS negative impact on IQ gets worse at higher shutter speeds. Also isnt it any different in todays systems when it comes to tripod use. The reason is due to the way IS works. And this is still the very same with todays lenses in this price range. I know of only few Nikkor lenses which hava a system incorporated that 'senses' if there is a tripod in use and automatically disables IS or changes at least the way it works.

And regarding other people with lenses that did work right out of the box, this doesnt mean anything at all as all lenses are completely different. Some have luck, some dont.

 RaLuC's gear list:RaLuC's gear list
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briantilley
briantilley Senior Member • Posts: 2,763
Re: Nikon D500, D850, Sigma 150-600C and a LOT of bad images!

RaLuC wrote:

dperez wrote:

One of the earlier replies sent me to Brad Hill at Natural Art Images. I've read both tests he did with the lenses in the longer tele- zoom class. I believe I can safely say that at the distances he tested and with the methods he used, which aren't too awfully different than what I was doing, his results are DRASTICALLY different. It appears he did NO AF adjustments in either the camera OR the Sigma dock. Shot 'em straight out of the box.

He, like me, found using stabilization on a tripod did not degrade images (I suspect this is an artifact from the early stabilized lenses of 10-years-ago that did have problems sometimes on a tripod). He also did his testing at .5*1/focal length (500mm = 1/250) on a stationary subject, FAR slower than the shutter speeds I've been trying to get, and so on.

He also tested hand-held and found minimum shutter speeds where his continuous images were consistently sharp on a stationary subject.

SO, as time allows, I'm going to replicate to the extent possible, what he did, and see how my results compare using BOTH the D500 and D850 bodies. If what I get is significantly poorer than his testing indicated, the lens will go back to Sigma to see if they can correct it.

No, not at all. IS negative impact on IQ gets worse at higher shutter speeds.

I've yet to see any meaningful softening of images when using VR at higher shutter speeds. At least in my hands, leaving VR on does not make the image worse, and can help with tracking of moving subjects. This one was hand-held with VR on at 1/2000th...

Also isnt it any different in todays systems when it comes to tripod use. The reason is due to the way IS works. And this is still the very same with todays lenses in this price range. I know of only few Nikkor lenses which hava a system incorporated that 'senses' if there is a tripod in use and automatically disables IS or changes at least the way it works.

It's not as straightforward as that. I don't know about the Sigma 150-600mm, but here's what the Nikkor 200-500mm manual advises about VR and tripods:

  • NORMAL and SPORT vibration reduction can reduce blur when the camera is mounted on a tripod. OFF may however produce better results in some cases depending on the type of tripod and on shooting conditions.
  • NORMAL and SPORT are recommended if the camera is mounted on a monopod.

That matches my experience with several long, stabilised lenses. The best advice I can give is to try it and see...

And regarding other people with lenses that did work right out of the box, this doesnt mean anything at all as all lenses are completely different. Some have luck, some dont.

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BobdoIe Regular Member • Posts: 139
Re: Nikon D500, D850, Sigma 150-600C and a LOT of bad images!

i noticed some issues with the sigma 150-600mm C  also. after having focus set to what i thought was perfect, i still noticed some issues. i think sigma might have some quality control or design issues.

short version of the story is that i pulled my hair out and spent too much time chasing down what i think was more than one issue. ultimately, i no longer have a 150-600mm C. i am thankful that it didn't work out because as a result i am now using the Nikon 200-5000mm.

i like sigma. i've liked some of their old primes and i love the 18-35mm f/1.8. i'm even looking forward to the 70-200mm f/2.8 sport and art lenses they 're supposed to unveil in the next 2-3 months. however, my experience with the 150-600mm C made sure that i won't ever even glance at any C badge lens they come out with.

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dwa1 Veteran Member • Posts: 4,142
Tried removing UV filter?
1

dperez,

Sorry to see you having this much difficulty getting the sharp, focused images.

If you are using a UV filter, see this thread...

Here is the post where the OP realized it was his UV filter causing AF and image IQ issues with his 200-500 VR lens.

https://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/61308900

Also, look at the images in his opening post. Use 100% view.

I hope that you get this resolved.

Wayne

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vbuhay
vbuhay Veteran Member • Posts: 3,434
Re: Nikon D500, D850, Sigma 150-600C and a LOT of bad images!
1

dperez wrote:

After the disastrous Sandhill Crane debacle, I’m continuing to try to figure out if I have a lens problem, a body problem, a technique problem, OR I’m just expecting more of my lenses than they’re capable of.

I’m trying to figure out how to get the sharpest images in MY “real world”.

I’m using a Sigma 150-600C on a Nikon D500 and a D850.

The lens spends the VAST majority of its time at maximum focal length. And at apertures around f/8 or less, f/11 once in a while, even in sunny conditions to keep shutter speeds reasonable and ISO to a value that keeps noise a non-factor - around 400 for the D500 and maybe 500 for the 850. Usually hand-held or on a monopod.

When I do SINGLE shots on a tripod, especially using AFS single, I GENERALLY get reasonably sharp images. But that’s NOT what this lens does, so after a LOT of garbage images I started paying attention to my results to see if there’s some pattern or method or setting… I’ve tested in AFC Single, Group, D25 on the D500, and D9 on the 850. Makes very little difference as near as I can tell. I’ve shot on a tripod with the O/S ON and OFF, and at reasonable shutter speeds it APPEARS to make virtually no difference. I’ve shot with the lens Custom settings ON to provide the fastest AF and most aggressive stabilization, and I’ve shot with the Customization OFF. AGAIN it APPEARS to make VERY LITTLE DIFFERENCE…

So, what should I reasonably expect from either of these combinations (lens on D500 or D850)?

At WHAT maximum distance SHOULD I be able to reasonably expect (say 50% or better) sharp images? Is there SOME distance (see the images of the sign at the Coast Guard building to see what I’m talking about)… I’ve got birds at 8 meters, 15, 20, 33, 40+ and further and they’re ALMOST ALL NOT SHARP…

Both bodies are set up in Release + Focus mode (so if I understand it correctly, the camera should shoot the first image, then NOT capture another one until it’s IN FOCUS), blocked shot delay usually at 2, but I’ve tried it everywhere from 1 to 5 and it doesn’t APPEAR to make any difference. The D500 is shooting 10 fps, the D850, 9.

Here’s a sample from the D850, shooting the 150-600, ISO 250, aperture mode, f/8, 1/800 – 1/1000. I’m sitting on a bench, with a monopod, the geese are swimming slowly 26.61 meters (according to the exif data) in front of me, the camera is on AFC single. So, about as easy a set of images as I’m every likely to get.

ZERO post-processing has been done on any image. They’ve been snipped, assembled in PS, and resized to reduce bandwidth needed (I’m traveling and on a metered connection).

Here’s a full image so you can see how large things are. The geese are swimming slowly, but the images are all very similar and the distance in the exif data is 26.61meters. It didn’t change through the 9-shot series.

Here’s a set of images from Viewnx-i showing where the focus point (center point) was for each image.

And last, the same 9 images without the focus point… TO ME, one is pretty sharp, one is adequately sharp the rest are in various degrees NOT sharp…..A check on depth of field says at 26 meters, even at 600mm I've got almost a METER of DOF. Which means if it's missing focus it has to missing by a TON.

I did a similar thing with the D500, shooting the 150-600, ISO 400, aperture mode, f/10, 1/640 – 1/800. This time the camera is on the sturdy tripod, the geese are walking past me and the exif data SAYS the distance is 26.61 meters on some and 33.5 meters on others (I'm not getting SOMETHING about distance 'cause that MAKES NO SENSE).

The camera is on AFC single. So, again, about as easy a set of images as I’m every likely to get. The geese are walking a little faster than they were swimming, and the head is bobbing more, so I had a couple that weren’t FULLY on the head…

Again, ZERO post-processing has been done on any image. They’ve been snipped, assembled in PS, and resized to reduce bandwidth needed.

Here’s the set of images from Viewnx-i showing where the focus point (center point) was for each image.

And last, the same 8 images without the focus point… TO ME, one is fairly sharp, a couple are marginal, and the rest are in various degrees NOT sharp…..Same question as before - at 26 meters the D500 should have about .8 meters of DOF and at 33 about 1.2 meters. If it's missing focus I has to be missing it by a TON.

Looking at the above, I decided there’s a problem with the lens. I have other images of birds from 8 meters to 35 or 40, and the same thing is happening… BUT, before you agree there’s a lens problem, 15 SECONDS before I shot the geese I shot a sailboat in the harbor. Same equipment, same settings, 600 mm, distance farther than what the exif data says is “infinity” – it APPEARS that EVERYTHING past some distance is 125.89 meters. No matter HOW FAR past.

I shot NINE OF THESE, and every single one is SHARP…… I put the single focus point on “Hjordis” and EVERY image I shot is good.

ANOTHER sailboat… I shot SEVEN images of this sailboat, with the focus point on the white sail, and AGAIN, EVERY ONE is sharp. No problem at all. This time it’s at 440 mm instead of 600. Near as I can tell, that’s the only meaningful difference…

A second later, swing the tripod slightly on to the big sign at the Coast Guard station and shoot 3 shots… Starts soft, and totally composts in the three shots.

Swing back to the sailboat and shoot another half dozen shots with the focus point on the sail AND AGAIN THEY’RE ALL SHARP.

Swing back to the sign, let it stabilize, and shoot ONE MORE that’s totally out of focus.

I can put more images in here, but they look like the ones above...

I have NO idea what’s going on….. The birds are moving, but slowly. So are the sailboats, both moving and moving up and down with the waves. The SIGN on the Coast Guard Station is BIG and it’s sitting still. And it’s got at LEAST as much contrast as everything else I’m shooting. I can add more pictures to show what I mean, but at this point I’M TOTALLY BAFFLED…….

Two bodies can’t both be bad – and BTW, they BOTH work fine with EVERY OTHER LENS I HAVE…

The lens MAY be bad, but it CAN’T be bad SOME OF THE TIME… Fine and sharp on “larger” things like a sail or a car and very not sharp on a big sign or a bird 8 or 20 or 30 meters away…

SO, I figured I’d ask here and hope someone in here has some idea what’s going on…

I have rented the Sigma C, the Sigma S, tested the Nikon 200-500 (friend loaned  for a week) , own the Tamron G1 and G2.... least sharp of all 5 is the Sigma C  specially with the D850. I have tested all of them on my D800e, D750, D500 and D850.... The sigma C is also not the fastest on the D750 and the D850. For sharpness the Sigma S, then the Nikon second and the third is Tamron G1 and G2...the sigma C is passable on my D800e and Best on the D750....I would not use it on the D500 or the D850....

I liked the Tamron G1 and G2 it has the least compatibility issues with the Nikon system and I like the ergonomics of both and compared to the Nikon 200-500....I believe that Nikon and Tamron has a closer technology relationship than the Sigma which is why they don't seem to compete(much) directly like with Sigma. I wish they could put Nikon Glass and coatings in the Tamron G2( even at  2x the price, I would buy it), I don't think that will ever happen . I would like to see Tamron make some Long Primes - 300 f2.8 VC, 400 f2.8 VC, 500 f4 VC, 600 f4 VC or the 800 f5.6 VC , but again, because of their close relationship with Nikon, that will probably never happen.

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Pentax K20D Nikon D500 Nikon D750 Nikon D800E Rokinon 85mm F1.4 +30 more
OP dperez Regular Member • Posts: 306
Re: Nikon D500, D850, Sigma 150-600C and a LOT of bad images!
1

Thanks for the replies.  The Sigma 150-600 went back to Sigma for them to fix/calibrate/whatever.

They may have done so...  And shipped it back.

UNFORTUNATELY, UPS can't find it.  They delivered it when we were gone with a medical situation (requiring a signature), knowing there would NOT be anyone here to sign for the package.  They refused to allow the package to be delivered to our local UPS shipper even though they've accepted past packages.  After three failed attempts, which UPS was aware would be unsuccessful (I explained the situation to the manager at UPS, who refused to change the delivery date), UPS then (in theory) gave it to one of their centers approximately 50 miles away, where I'd have to pick it up.

Except, according to the UPS person that left the voice mail:  "Don't come to get your package.  We don't know where it is."

Several days later, after multiple phone conversations with UPS and a conversation with Sigma, UPS STILL doesn't know where it is.  They're now at "It was here, then it wasn't" stage...

4-days ago Sigma wanted me to "wait 'til Friday" because UPS "usually finds them eventually".

UPS this morning wanted to know if the "shipper" had filed a claim because "NOTHING will happen here until paperwork is started and that doesn't happen until the shipper files the claim."  So Sigma wanted to wait for UPS to find it and UPS says they won't find it 'til Sigma files the claim...

UPS ABSOLUTELY REFUSES to allow customers to contact the distribution center - to the point where there appear to be NO published working phone numbers for these locations.  You're always forced to the 800 number.

SO, lens sent TO Sigma on 7/2/18.  Now 8/3/18 and lens is somewhere in UPS hell.

Sigma, in the conversation this morning said they'd look into it and "call back".  Hopefully this means they'll file a claim.

SO, it MAY be better.  Or not.

OP dperez Regular Member • Posts: 306
Re: Nikon D500, D850, Sigma 150-600C and a LOT of bad images!

SO, current lens is off in limbo, and may be fixed or not.......  Which leads me to my next question:

PRESUMING I end up replacing this lens (it may still turn up somewhere, though even UPS is saying it SHOULD have shown up by now), WHAT do I replace it with?  From my reading about the Tamron and Sigma offerings in the 150-600 range, the Sigma "S", while I"m sure it's a very nice lens, is too heavy for me to comfortably haul it around and use it as a casual, hand-held unit on either the D500 or D850.

Between the Tamron G2 and Sigma 150-600C, I can find a lot of reviews and comments proclaiming great sharpness for whichever one they have.  But actual comparisons from people who have both and have shot both side-by-side, and who have done a detailed examination of the output,  aren't plentiful.  And looking at small exports of full-frame images of subjects shot at 300mm aren't too revealing.  Of the comparisons I've found, some I've READ say the Sigma C is sharper.  Not a lot, but somewhat.  Others find the Tamron to autofocus faster.

At 600mm, which is where the lens will live 90% of the time, which of the two is consistently sharper across the image presuming an aperture of f/8.  At least a couple reviews claimed the Tamron is sharp in the center and gets soft toward the edges, but it seems like either of these lenses would have SOME of that.

At 600 mm, which has the better optical stabilization - more effectively making hand-held shots sharper and more usable when conditions aren't perfect and the shutter speeds get down to 1/500, 1/250 or even lower?  Again, this thing is going to be hand-held.  It may sometimes be on a monopod, but there are situations where it's not feasible (air shows for example) to use a support.

Which of the two will most efficiently autofocus (fast is great but accurate is just as important) on the Nikon D500 and D850?

Which of the two can actually use the company's "matching" 1.4X and still turn out images that at 1:1 aren't mush.

I know there will be folks who've used one or the other, and at some point I may have to do the 100+ mile drive to a dealer where I can take both outside for an hour and shoot both.  I'm looking for people that have shot both, who can provide an opinion based on their detailed examination of their images.

xGumbyx Regular Member • Posts: 187
Re: Nikon D500, D850, Sigma 150-600C and a LOT of bad images!
1

Between the Sigma 150-600C and the Tamron 160-600G2 I'd go with the Nikon 200-500

At the risk of being an irrelevant comparison in your situation, I bought both the Tamron G1 and the SigmaC and of those two individual copies I kept the SigmaC.  Later I moved on to the Nikon 200-500 and the SigmaC just sits on the shelf.  Fast forward to now and I also own the Sigma 150-600S and that is usually my go to unless I want something lighter and then it is the Nikon 200-500. To this day the 150-600C still just sits on the shelf.

 xGumbyx's gear list:xGumbyx's gear list
Nikon D500 Sigma 10-20mm F4-5.6 EX DC HSM Tamron SP 70-200mm F/2.8 Di VC USD Sigma 150-600mm F5-6.3 | C Nikon 200-500mm F5.6E ED VR +6 more
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