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10-16-2010, 11:40 AM   #1
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Sigma 50-500mm

I have a K10D and a K-7. My main lens is a Pentax 18 - 250. I love it, but at times I would like more power. I tried an older 1.4 converter and it only works part time on auto. I could live with manual for the price but even then some times it will not focus in manual.

I am thinking about the Sigma 50 - 500. I looked at the reviews on this forum and the reviews are all over the map. But I do not know what cameras it was used on. I want to shoot birds wildlife and sports.

Any comments on the reviews or the use with my cameras?

Any other lenses I should be looking at in this price range?

The FA 250 - 600 is a bit more. Is it an older lens and is it suitable for my bodies. To me sharpness is the most important thing.

The other thing I have noticed is the the reviews on the 50 - 500 are saying they paid $1,000. The best I can find is $1,500. Am I shopping in the wrong place? Any leads?

Thanks
Doug

10-16-2010, 11:50 AM   #2
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The sigma 50 - 500 tends to get pretty good reviews, there are plenty of threads on here and the other forum about it (in Pentax mount). I've never used one, but I've seen lots of very nice output. The price discrepancy is probably due to the fact that you are looking at reviews for the old 50-500, and the new one has HSM and OS, making it more expensive.

I shot with a Pentax A 400mm f5.6 plus 1.4 converter for a long time (see my flickr for my bird shots, never did any sports stuff). It's a big heavy manual lens, but costs half the 50 - 500 and produces great images. With a 1.4 converter you get more reach too. Great way to start birding because you learn discipline and manual focus.

I have just moved to a Sigma 100 - 300 f4 plus 1.4, which is cheaper than the new 50 - 500 if you buy it second hand. Possibly even cheaper new. This lens has a cult following and all the output I've seen online is great. I've literally only taken a handful of photographs with my copy though.

I'm not sure what planet you found the FA 250 - 600 for sale for 'a bit more than the 50 -500'. If you can pick one of those up for that kind of price, it's beyond a steal.
10-16-2010, 01:11 PM   #3
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I don't have a Sigma 50-500 "BigMa", but the old version (well regarded) was replaced with a new version with an AF motor and stabilization - along with a higher price.

The DA* 60-250 is a brand new lens, very sharp, and has developed a very good following.


10-16-2010, 07:05 PM   #4
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The last FA 250-600 I saw went for around $7,000 on eBay. That's over 4X the newest OS Bigma. A DA* 60-250 is a little more than a Bigma, but is only half the reach. If you can really find an FA 250-600 for a little more than a Bigma, please notify me. I'll buy every one that you can find at that price.

10-16-2010, 07:12 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by G_Money Quote
The last FA 250-600 I saw went for around $7,000 on eBay. That's over 4X the newest OS Bigma. A DA* 60-250 is a little more than a Bigma, but is only half the reach. If you can really find an FA 250-600 for a little more than a Bigma, please notify me. I'll buy every one that you can find at that price.
Thought second hand might not be that expensive. A little more is a relative term.
10-16-2010, 08:07 PM   #6
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I got the Sigma 170-500 instead of the new 50-500. I would say the 170-500 is very good, but at f5-6.3, its not a real speed demon for sports.
10-16-2010, 10:04 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by SpecialK Quote
I got the Sigma 170-500 instead of the new 50-500. I would say the 170-500 is very good, but at f5-6.3, its not a real speed demon for sports.
The 170-500 I tried was very soft compared to my M 400. I sold it off and kept the M.
10-16-2010, 11:04 PM   #8
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Not that it matters but it is actually the 150-500 not the older 170-500.

10-17-2010, 09:05 AM   #9
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Pics taken with the Bigma (Non OS) on my K10D.

Pics taken on K-7

I think it's a great lens for the money.
10-17-2010, 09:16 AM   #10
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I've got an older BIGMA and it is a spectacular lens, but it does have it's good and bad points.

Pros - incredible zoom range, "reach out and touch you" power, decent speed for a 500mm & the weight actually helps panning for motorsports.

Cons - HEAVY, can be a bit soft in less than perfect conditions, HEAVY, dangerous to people in front of you & HEAVY!

Mike
10-17-2010, 09:44 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by SpecialK Quote
Not that it matters but it is actually the 150-500 not the older 170-500.
From reports I have seen, it matters a lot. The 170-500 is no where near the lens the 150-500 is in the tests I have read.
10-20-2010, 06:49 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by MRRiley Quote
Cons - HEAVY, can be a bit soft in less than perfect conditions, HEAVY, dangerous to people in front of you & HEAVY!

Mike

Did He mention heavy, because if he didn't I'm going to. This thing is truly massive. If the zombie apocalypse comes soon, mine can dual as a weapon.

I have to be going somewhere I plan to use the bigma or I just dont take it. Also, as pointed out, conditions need to be really good. F6.3 is just really slow. I'm hoping my K-5 helps make up for that though.

As to your confusion as to why it's $1500, you're looking at the newer optically stabilized model. It's also got a larger front element, so there must be some optical redesign.

Since us Pentax shooters don't need OS, I picked up the previous model which is an EX DG for substantially less. You can find these used on the forums here, or on ebay from time to time. I picked mine up out of the classifieds section of our local newspapaer.
10-20-2010, 06:59 AM   #13
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I have this lens and used it on both a K20 and K-7 and have gotten excellent results with both cameras. I have the EX DG model which is autofocus but is not the newest model. I did find that the only TC's that work well all the time are the Sigma branded units. According to Sigma the lens will only function as manual focus when used with the TC's. As someone else mentioned this is a very heavy lens and if your doing any moon shoots or birding be sure the tripod head can hold it. I had issues where the head was suppose to hold it but it would creep due to the weight. I ended up getting a used Manfrotto Geared head and solved all the problems.
As far as price goes post a want ad on this site or watch ebay. You can make a saved search for it and get a daily email if anything new is posted on ebay. I paid $700.00 for mine and it was in excellent condition, had case, caps, box, etc. Typically there is usually one for sale on this site.
Good luck....
10-20-2010, 07:56 AM   #14
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I think one of the reason reviews might be all over the place is you might be seeing reviews of the new BigmOS (50-500 with optical stabilization) getting lumped in with the old Bigma.

I've heard a number of indications that the new BigmOS doesn't perform nearly as well as the classic Bigma. (In fact, I think it no longer carries an EX designation?)

Edit: I have the original Bigma, and it is a great lens, I love it. I really need to work on my upper body strength though...
10-20-2010, 09:13 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by dmoisuk Quote
Any comments on the reviews or the use with my cameras?

Doug
I purchased one a month or so back.

You can see read some thoughts i blogged about it here: Photomentalism: September 2010

But be warned it's not a professional review nor do i claim to be a professional, it's just my thought as i used it over a few weeks and as such it was really only ever meant for my eyes. (forget grammar, spelling and meaningful information) but perhaps it may be helpful to you in some way.



Here is a photo i took with it yesterday:
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