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Equipment review: Sigma’s 150-500mm super zoom

October 22, 2012

The new Sigma 150-500mm f5-6.3 OS super zoom lens

Let me start out by saying that I was super impressed by the sharpness of this lens. Over the past few years I have been using some of Nikon’s sharpest pro series lenses, and I didn’t want to be “let down” by some less than sharp glass by a third party manufacturer; so I was hesitant about the Sigma zoom when someone suggested I try it. I borrowed the lens from Cardinal Camera here in Lynchburg, and proceeded to photograph an airshow with it. It performed flawlessly! Some of the airplanes were flying in excess of 400mph and my images were tack sharp! In broad daylight, this lens is hard to beat.

My son Sam blocking out his man and giving the quarterback time to make a pass.

My next test for this lens was some football. First a night game under the lights. The lens doesn’t have a large wide aperture (f5-6.3), so you must crank up the ISO to get your shots. The camera I was shooting with at the time only went up to 3200 ISO, so that was a limiting factor. With a newer camera capable of higher, cleaner ISO levels, this lens would give more than acceptable results. Also I did notice the lens focused a bit slower than it’s high-speed Nikon counterparts.

Liberty U. vs Concord U. from Saturday afternoon’s contest (LU won 21-13).

In a daylight football game however, the cap between the best Nikons and this Sigma was greatly reduced. The Sigma focused much faster in daylight (some of that is probably due to the camera) than the night. Also, I was able to use much lower ISO values and therefore higher shutter speeds and the results were much better. Again, results similar to the Nikon pro glass costing thousands of dollars more. The going price of the Sigma 150-500 is $1,100; much more reasonable than the $10,000 or so the Nikon pro glass would cost. I would definitely have to consider the Sigma if I was in the market to buy some big glass!

A WWII vintage dogfighter hums by at 150mph.

A Harrier Jet traveling at over 400mph captured with the Sigma.

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