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04-25-2011, 06:31 PM   #1
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What's available if you want 500mm reach?

Since I didn't get to 400mm with my current lenses, someone tell me about 500mm lenses. Anyone know about the Sigma 50-500, 150-500. Are there any other choices out there that don't cost over $5,000? How do those two lenses stack up against each other? Is there anything else that might work as well?

04-25-2011, 06:51 PM   #2
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Sigma 70-200 + 1.7x TC?
04-25-2011, 06:59 PM   #3
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DA*300mm + AF 1.7x TC
04-25-2011, 07:06 PM   #4
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Sigma 500 f4.5 is at least a grand under $5,000.

I'm pretty happy with the Sigma 150-500.

04-25-2011, 07:13 PM   #5
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As far as I can tell from sample shots done by the guy who uses it regularly in my local forum, the Sigma 500/4.5 is the best one now as far as avaliable new long lenses go for the K-mount.
Just can't get the same quality and convenience of use using 200mm or 300mm with the 1.7x teleconverter.

Failing that for budget reasons, the obvious choice is the 50-500 or 150-500.
04-25-2011, 07:15 PM   #6
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I think you could find a decent 500 mm mirror lens for WELL under 5 grand. Probably under 5 bills if used doesn't bother you and you were patient.
You'd lose the zoom ability, but it might be worth it in saving$. In all likelihood a 500mm would be cheaper than a zoom, and be more convenient and better in IQ than a zoom (or prime) with a teleconverter. I'm not sure a teleconverter could even support such weighty lenses as a Bigma or 300mm cadiotropic.
04-25-2011, 07:27 PM   #7
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Sigma 55-300, the best cost value if you can get a used one
04-25-2011, 08:31 PM   #8
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You can look at buying a used 500mm mirror lens under $500.00. I own a Tokina 500mm lens I bought new over 20 years ago and I like it a lot. Mirror lenses have there problems like the small "donuts" in out of focus areas but I have seen people used photo workshop to make these look reduced in appearance.

Older used ones should cost under $300.00 and can be carried in a camera bag with now problems. There is a area in this forum discussing this lense in greater detail.


Last edited by stevbike; 04-25-2011 at 08:41 PM.
04-25-2011, 08:32 PM   #9
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QuoteQuote:
I think you could find a decent 500 mm mirror lens for WELL under 5 grand. Probably under 5 bills if used doesn't bother you and you were patient.
You'd lose the zoom ability, but it might be worth it in saving$. In all likelihood a 500mm would be cheaper than a zoom, and be more convenient and better in IQ than a zoom (or prime) with a teleconverter. I'm not sure a teleconverter could even support such weighty lenses as a Bigma or 300mm cadiotropic.
No doubt you can find a mirror for several hundred. I've seen shots from a Tamron that was pretty good but I would not count on the IQ being better than any other option. A TC will have no problem supporting the lens, neither will the camera. Normally with big lenses, you support them, not the camera.
04-25-2011, 08:52 PM   #10
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Sigma 120-400 gets very good reviews and is close to your range... not to pricey either.
04-25-2011, 09:09 PM   #11
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here comes...

QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
Since I didn't get to 400mm with my current lenses, someone tell me about 500mm lenses. Anyone know about the Sigma 50-500, 150-500. Are there any other choices out there that don't cost over $5,000? How do those two lenses stack up against each other? Is there anything else that might work as well?
Sigma 120-300mm f2.8 with 2x teleconverter, I've shot this lens with 1.4 tele before, the results were very good, and sharp with my previously owned D700; I sold the lens and tele on FM.com, the buyer was extremely happy with the lens and the results that the lens produces...

You'd be looking at about $3500 or so with OS
04-25-2011, 10:22 PM   #12
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You might want to check out the Bigma, it's one of the most cost-effective lenses out there: Sigma 50-500mm F4.5-6.3 APO OS HSM Lens Review

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04-26-2011, 02:36 AM   #13
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I have:

* Lil'Bigma 170-500/5-6.3 APO DGL (1270g, US$1k+ new)
* Pentax FA100-300/4.7-5.8 (silver, 380g, US$120 used)
* Sakar MC 500/8 Macro(!!) mirror (420g, US$13 used)
* Spiratone Telephoto 400/5.6 (tube, 770g, US$15 used)
* Rubinar MC 1000/10 Makpo mirror (1760g, US$227 used)

The Lil'Bigma is my most expensive lens and doesn't get used much. Maybe it'll see more action on my upcoming journey. The Pentax hasn't its reach but at 30% of its weight, is carried around more. The Sakar has the reach, hasn't the IQ, but being only 87mm long, is very easy to toss in my carry bag, and so is used much more. The Spiratone is useful for scaring children and crushing squirrels. The Rubinar... I'm not sure yet just WHAT it is good for.

My opinion: If you want to invest big money in a big lens, be sure that you'll use it enough to justify the cost. Be sure that it does what can't be done with a shorter lens and some cropping. For any Bigma or other heavy lens, be sure you want to haul its weight around, and its tripod.
04-26-2011, 07:23 AM   #14
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I would consider as well, any past pentax 300mmF4 lens (i.e. SMC, SMC-M or SMC-A 300F4,) used with the SMC-F 1.7x AF TC

Here are a couple of shots that show you what it can do. These have been posted before but since you want 500mm, here they are again

I use the K version myself but a KA mount lens would be great as you can do P-TTL flash with the newer bodies.

The first is with the above setup on my *istD plus use of a flash.

this shot is about 90% of the frame, and resized only to post.



the next shot is a 100% crop out of a larger image, using my K7 at 1600ISO and 1/40th of a second. This time natural light only

04-26-2011, 08:23 AM   #15
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Original Poster
Thanks for your replies one and all. I guess I should have been more specific. My wife and I are working towards an exhibition of landscape and wildlife work. I own a DA*60-250 that is giving me better images than I see from other Canikon types living in the area and that I'm quite happy with. Before I broke down and bought the 60-250 I returned two Sigma 120-400's, they just weren't sharp enough 300-400mm, I can't tell you how much I wanted that lens to work out for me.

Anyway the canikon guys have some razor sharp long lens wildlife shots out there. I'm just trying to be capable of competing on an even playing field. My DA* 60-250 gets me an advantage as far as it goes. I haven't had it a full season yet, so who knows, maybe it will be enough... but I'm preparing for the eventuality that I'll probably need more reach.

Thanks for your suggestions.
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