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11-11-2010, 08:31 PM   #1
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Sigma 150-500mm Impressions

I stopped in at the local camera shop near my home (The Photo Center in Brick, New Jersey) earlier this week to pick up the Panasonic 50-200mm lens for my micro four-thirds kit.

It's a friendly, family-owned shop and when I spotted the 150-500mm Lil' Bigma in the case (for some reason I hadn't noticed it before), the owner offered to take it out for me. The only one he had in stock was a Nikon mount so he put it on a D90 and let me walk around with it and play for a while.

This was the HSM version with OS. I have to say I was very impressed. The build quality was higher than I expected and what fun it was to use! While far from small and light, it was lighter than I expected and certainly lighter than the "real" Bigma, the 50-500mm. A tripod might be the best way to use it but using it handheld was quite reasonable.

In the absence of such a focal length in the modern Pentax lineup (I'd love to see a 135-400 to go with the new 18-135), I could definitely see this eventually joining my kit for wildlife work.

Surprisingly, the lens sells very well despite its price and size. The shop owner said he sells roughly four a week, if all mounts are taken into consideration. Of course, this small shop can't match pricing from B&H, Adorama or Amazon. Even though I can (and often do) visit B&H and Adorama when working in New York City every day, I like having this local shop around and might try hard to see if I can justify the pricetag (just under $1000).

Edit: I take that back. The price is no cheaper at B&H.

But it won't happen right away. I'll have to see whether the K-5, some DA Limited primes or this Sigma 150-500 comes first. Any other Pentaxians have any experience with this lens?


Last edited by Biro; 11-11-2010 at 08:41 PM.
11-11-2010, 09:03 PM   #2
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You wont regret buying the 150-500. Mine has HSM but not OS. Was advertised as having OS but when i got there it didnt. Decided i didnt need that anyway. Can get extremely slow speeds hand held with the inbuilt camera one. With my 50-135, 1/8 sec isnt unusual as im sure you already know from your own lens. Didnt want the Bigma as there is no way i wouldnt use the 50-135. Ill walk backwards or forwards to make use of that lens. Having said that, the IQ of the 150-500 blew me away. Very sharp and amazing detail. And dont worry about not enough light for such a big lens. A lot of light gets in through that big diameter glass.
Cheers.
11-11-2010, 09:30 PM   #3
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Do you guys mind the F5-6.3 "not so fast" aperture range?
Wouldn't be much of a problem if that lens was coupled with the K5 and using higher ISO I suppose?
Just curious.

Cheers.

JP
11-11-2010, 09:47 PM   #4
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I just put up some air show samples here:

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-dslr-discussion/113777-k-7-airshow...ml#post1261943

11-11-2010, 11:56 PM   #5
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I dunno. personally for the price, I would consider either Sigma 100-300/4 or Sigma 50-500.

I believe the Sigma 100-300 has enough resolution for further cropping, with a 500mm focal length equivalent.
11-12-2010, 07:04 AM   #6
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Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by jpzk Quote
Do you guys mind the F5-6.3 "not so fast" aperture range?
Wouldn't be much of a problem if that lens was coupled with the K5 and using higher ISO I suppose?
Just curious.

Cheers.

JP
I understand your point. But for outdoor work I don't think it would be a problem. My 18-250 is f/6.3 at the long end and my 55-300 is f/5.8 at the long end. I manage with those fairly well. And one buys a lens like the Sigma for the long end - 300mm and up.

Now if Pentax surprises us all and brings out a 135-400 to go with the new 18-135 (especially with WR), that could change my attitude very quickly. A 135-400 at f/3.5-5.6 or even f/4-5.6 would be a great piece of kit indeed. That's not a rumor... that's just me wishing.
11-12-2010, 10:34 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Biro Quote
I understand your point. But for outdoor work I don't think it would be a problem. My 18-250 is f/6.3 at the long end and my 55-300 is f/5.8 at the long end. I manage with those fairly well. And one buys a lens like the Sigma for the long end - 300mm and up.

Now if Pentax surprises us all and brings out a 135-400 to go with the new 18-135 (especially with WR), that could change my attitude very quickly. A 135-400 at f/3.5-5.6 or even f/4-5.6 would be a great piece of kit indeed. That's not a rumor... that's just me wishing.
For me, outdoor photography often involves being deep in the woods, trying to capture an image of a small forest bird for instance, Kinglets. In that case, I need all of the help I can get such as a fast lens (large aperture), good to great ISO handling (hence the K5).
Other than that, I would agree that most of the times, a F5.6/6.3 is good enough because there is enough ambient light.

I agree that Pentax should have a quality tele-zoom in that range you are mentioning: 135-400. They should also put their act together and at least produce a couple of fast tele primes. There are some available out there on the "used" market such as FA* lenses (300, 400mm and longer) but still, they are either very expensive or hard to find, or both.
Hopefully, one of these days, Pentax will actually surprise us.

Cheers.

JP
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