- Designed for use with full frame digital SLR cameras, but can be used with the smaller crop frame SLR cameras
- Minimum aperture: f22
- Minimum focusing distance: 50-180cm
- Filter Size: 95cm
- Dimensions: 104.4 x 219mm
- Weight: 1970g
When I received the Sigma 50-500mm lens to review I was quite excited. With this lens having the widest zoom range on the market, I was keen to see whether it could be a good all-round walk around lens.
This lens isn’t teasingly known as the “Bigma” by accident. This is one long and heavy lens. It comes with a handgrip, which doubles as a monopod/tripod mount. This grip is quite handy to use when using the lens without a tripod. Because I don’t have a very solid and sturdy tripod, all my testing was done handheld. Not only that, but I did my testing at the end of the day in relatively low light, and on a very cloudy day, so I did need to steady it quite a bit.
I don’t exactly go bundu-bashing regularly, so I didn’t manage to test this lens on wildlife (like I would have liked), so I tested it on the next best thing… my dogs and my kids. They move just as fast as wildlife would and are not all that tame
All images in the review taken with Canon 5D MKII and are all SOOC (unedited).
Camera setting: ISO400 373mm f6.3 1/125sec
As you can see from the photo above, was that if the subject was momentarily stationary then the photo was in focus, but as soon as there was movement, the sharpness is suspect.
I tried taking photos of my sons playing cricket, and that was even more tricky, the majority of my photos are not in focus… mostly due to camera shake, and when they are in focus I got a lot of movement blur (knowing that this is mostly because of the low light). As you can see in the photo below, Bradley is clear-ish but not actually completely in focus if you zoom on the image.
Camera settings: ISO800 167mm f5.6 1/80sec
Then I tried a few portraits, with stationary targets, hoping to get clear photos at the full 500mm.
Camera settings: ISO400 500mm f6.3 1/160sec
Camera settings: ISO400 500mm f6.3 1/125sec
Because the zoom is fully extended, even at f6.3 I loved the way that the subject popped from the background… and that’s the beauty of the lens.
In general, I found that my hit rate of properly focused photo was really, really low. However, when it worked, it worked well. In order to get good photos, I had to be exceptionally still, especially when the zoom was fully extended.
My idea when I got the lens, was that I would take it on my travels, and use it instead of my 70-200mm lens. I thought that it would be especially handy at the airshow that I went to. But that morning, as I was packing my camera bag, I took the lens out of its box again (like I had a number of times over the weeks that I’d had it)… I thought about it… and I tried to fit it in my camera bags again (all of them). And then I put it back in its box and left it at home.
There are 2 reasons for that decision:
- This lens is exceptionally heavy, it’s 500g heavier than my 70-200mm. There is no way I can use the 50-500mm for an extended length of time because of the weight.
- As a mom, carrying photo equipment around with me has to be handy. My camera and lenses have to fit into a smallish bag because I generally have so much else to take with me. This lens doesn’t fit into any of my general daytrip camera bags… I have a Kelly Moore bag and a Lowepro backpack bag. The lens is only 2cm longer than my 70-200mm, but the diameter of the lens is just too wide to comfortable fit in the bags. And even though the lens comes with a carry bag and a long strap, I’m not prepared to carry 2 bags on my daily trips.
I must say though, that it’s really handy to have the capabilities of a 50mm portrait-ish lens as well as the zoom of a wildlife lens in one lens!
If you’re in the market for an “all-in-one” lens, then this is definitely a contender. The only thing this lens won’t do is wide-angle landscapes and macros… it’ll be useful for portraits to wildlife photography. If you’re planning on going somewhere that’s really windy or dusty and changing lenses will be risky because of the dust, and you’re quite strong, and you have a good sturdy tripod… then this is probably a good idea… if you can find a camera bag for it.
- The amazing zoom range
- The weight, it’s a really really heavy lens, and I wouldn’t be able to carry it for an extended length of time
- It’s too wide and long to fit into a standard day-sized camera bag.