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04-19-2012, 05:11 AM   #1
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Sigma 70-200 2.8 w 2x telecov vs. Sigma 50-500

Which one would you recommend to telephoto and nature shooting
Sigma 70-200 2.8 with 2x sigma teleconverter, or sigma "bigma" 50-500?

I know, I should buy 300/2.8 prime with teleconverter but I find it too clumsy + too expensive + I'm not so hardcore photographer.
have been using pentax DA L 55-300 with quite good success so far, but would like to have more reach.

500mm prime would be good but then the lens use is limited only for supertele + might be to heavy to carry.
Sigma 50-500 would sound like a good choise espec with K5 where you can stretch the iso probably to 3200 or 6400.

I read somewhere that pentax might have new telelens coming? We're travelling to Africa in July and for that trip supertele might be useful...
on paper sigma 300-800 would be perfect, but in practice is way too expensive + too large lens to carry.

Is there good recommendations? 70-200 with teleconverter would give me better ability to shoot in the dark if necessary, but then, reach is not that higher what it is compared to 55-300.

If I had the money would probably buy sigma 300mm 2.8 prime with 1.4x teleconverter, but it is quite pricey..

thanks for your comments!


Last edited by mattipuh; 04-19-2012 at 05:12 AM. Reason: added one thought
04-19-2012, 06:00 AM   #2
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I think it comes down to the entire use of the lens. Here is my situation.

I own a sigma APO 70-200F2.8 EX (non DG Non macro) I also own a sigma APO 1.4x EX and Sigma APO 2x EX DG teleconverter.

The lens itself is amaxing, and from all I have read, with the exception of the latest OS version (i.e. version 2 with optical stabilization where they have changed the optical formula) it is the sharpest of all sigma 70-200 F2.8 lenses at 200mm especially wide open. Note between my lens and the latest offering there are at least 3 different optical formulas, the first macro lens was very soft, then the formula changed with the HSM lens again, and also with the first OS lens.

There are also other forum members that shoot this version of the lens with great success.

My preference over the BIGMA is as follows
- if I am shooting indoors, specifically dance and stage (which my daughter did for several years) 70-200 range is all you need, and I can shoot wide open and still have good shutter speed with only the stage lighting, the bigma in this range of focal lengths gives up 1-2 stops, which means 1/2 to 1/4 the shutter speed. that might be fine for someone standing still but not for action.
- even stopped down to F4 or F5.6 the 70-200 will be infinitely sharper than the bigma wide open
- when I need length I add a TC, and only then do I give up some speed, but that is under my control.
Even with the 2x TC added, the lens is easier to hold than the BIGMA

the only drawback is when using flash plus a TC. You need to compensate for the incorrect aperture fed through the TC, to get correct exposure, I usually add +1 EV on the flash itself, and +2EV on the body to get correct with flash exposure when shooting birds.

One additional point, and that is the zoom range, when out shooting wildlife I generally find that I shoot at maximum focal length. It is really hard to capture many small creatures like chickadee's close enough to fill the frame, I know, I posted one a long time ago, shot with a 500mm lens from 15 feet, and it did not fill the frame (although cropped in about 10% it comes close) so the zoom range comes into question, I personally dont think a 10:1 zoom is practical, and the trade offs to make it have to cost somewhere in IQ. for me a 2:1 or 3:1 in a tele zoom is just fine. If I want shorter i switch bodies and go to my second body which has a different length lens, usually a 28-75.

So for me I find a pair of F2.8 lenses 28-75 and 70-200, plus a couple of TCs a much more flexible option. You may find differently.
04-19-2012, 06:59 AM   #3
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i own the same 70-200 that lowell has and i have the bigma 50-500 plus i have several 300 primes...if i am going out with the intention of taking pictures of birds and possibly other things i take the bigma which gives me alot of flexibility...it is large and heavy...i can handhold it to take pictures but it does take a tole on you after you have carried it for awhile...i aslo tend to shoot it at 500 to get the pictures i want...you say you are going to africa...i am not real familar but seems like you could have a chance to be exposed to alot of dust or possibly rain...in that case taking the bigma isn't good because it is not weather resistent...the da * 300 is weather resistent but doesn't have the range you want...i might be inclined to take the 300 with the 1.7x adapter...the adapter isn't wr either but it would be easier to protect that then a bigma..if you do this i would take a shorter lens and ideally 60-250 but that would be another chunk of money...
04-19-2012, 07:44 AM   #4
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Personally I think you need both, they compliment each other well.

04-19-2012, 07:48 AM   #5
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I have the Tamron 70-200 f/2.8, the Lil Bigma 170-500, and just got a Bigma 50-500. The 70-200 is definitely sharper and I use it as my main lens for sports. I have a 2.0 TC but it is not a good quality unit (Quantiray) so I really use it very little and have not tried it much on the Tamron. For wildlife the Bigma and Lil Bigma have worked well for me. I have not had the chance to do much comparing since I just got the Bigma. If you want you can compare similar photos on my SmugMug site. I have photos I shot at the zoo with the 170-500 at Greenville Zoo Shots with Sigma 170-500mm APO Lens - James R Veazey's Photos | SmugMug and similar shots from the same zoo that I took with the 50-500 this past weekend at Zoo Shots with the Bigma - James R Veazey's Photos | SmugMug. The first shots were with a K20D and the last ones with a K5. I will probably list the 170-500 in the Marketplace soon since I really don't need both it and the Bigma. It is lighter than the Bigma but also longer.
04-20-2012, 03:38 AM   #6
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thanks for the photo links. dunno if the dust is issue. There's not many weather sealed lenses that reach to 500mm available with reasonable bucks so...
But maybe, both is good. ,)

I also thought one option to buy separate camera for tele shooting (nicon or canon) - root cause for this is that lenses are so expensive, that camera is not really and issue.
but, this is endless topic nevertheless. 300 /2.8 would be perfect with TC, but they cost so much...
04-20-2012, 10:02 PM   #7
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I think the 50-500 or the 150-500 is much better optically than the Tamron with the T/C.

I also think either 500 would be roughly as good as the sigma 300 f/2.8 with 2x. To be fair I've never directly compared them or used any other 300/2.8, but 2x t/c's aren't very good in my experience.
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