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05-11-2012, 07:56 AM   #16
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here is maybe another example of a hang glider...not the greatest picture in the world but the first is uncropped 500mm f6.3 1/800 iso 1250...the next is cropped about 28% of original...focus in on the 77 on the kite wing

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05-11-2012, 07:58 AM   #17
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Any of the consumer 500mm zooms are going to be softer at the long end. I've owned the Sigma 170-500mm, and I now own the Sigma 150-500mm HSM. Both lenses produced very good results below 300mm, and softened as you got closer to the extreme long end.

The 170-500mm was decent, but the 150-500mm is better in every way, and is appreciably sharper at 500mm. The nice thing about the 170-500mm though is that it was a quite a bit lighter, and a little smaller, so it was much easier for me to hand hold. But it didn't have a lens lock, which was kind of annoying because the lens would fully extend anytime you let the camera hang or pointed it down.

I haven't had the 150-500mm for very long, but I'll try to find some good pics so you can judge the IQ for yourself. If possible, I'll include one focused on a distant object.

Last edited by Edgar_in_Indy; 05-11-2012 at 08:04 AM.
05-11-2012, 07:59 AM   #18
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sigma 200-500 2.8?? where can you get that...didn't know it exists..i want one
05-11-2012, 08:10 AM   #19
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just saw the price and weight of the 200-500..now i know why i didn't know about it

05-11-2012, 08:10 AM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by pearsaab Quote
sigma 200-500 2.8?? where can you get that...didn't know it exists..i want one
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It's on the Sigma site. But I stand corrected: alas there is no Pentax mount.
05-11-2012, 08:57 AM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by pearsaab Quote
yes it is...i bought it about 1 year ago...the first picture is the full 16mp picture resampled...i don't know what the distance was but the lens was fully extended...what are you looking for specifically and maybe i can try some shots this weekend
Thanks for offering to try a specific shot but I don't think it's necessary. I've looked at more flickr and aviation groups - many positive comments and good aviation photos for the 50-500. I plan to buy it at Adorama on a non-rainy day next week. (I prefer Adorama to B&H simply because there's less standing on lines. B&H is great except for their "wait on this line to check the lens, wait on this other line to pay, now a 3rd counter to pickup your item" layout.)

My testing plan for the mini-monster will be the Hudson River shoreline on the same day I buy the lens. If sharpness is poor I'll return it for another copy to check for sample variation.
05-11-2012, 09:05 AM   #22
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Trivia about the 200-500 2.8:
  • Street price is approx. $25k USD.
  • It has a dedicated battery pack - camera batteries apparently aren't strong enough to power it.
  • There's an included TC to transform it into a 400-1000 5.6 lens.
05-11-2012, 09:06 AM   #23
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congrats and hope it works out...might want to give yourself a couple days just to get used to the weight and balance but i would be surprised if you didn't like it...keep us posted

05-11-2012, 09:07 AM   #24
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wouldn't mind seeing someone use it but definitely wouldn't want to have to worry about dropping it
05-11-2012, 10:06 AM   #25
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It sounds like you've already settled on the 50-500mm, but in case you'd like to save $600 and don't need the wider end when shooting airshows, the 150-500mm is an option. For your pixel-peeping pleasure, I'm posting some images from my copy of the 150-500mm (including one of my own amazing cattail images!)

The pictures of the fence posts and cattails are at close-focus distances, and the pictures of the barn and silo are shot from several hundred feet away. Judging by Google maps satellite imagery, the silo is 600 feet away (180 meters) from my shooting location, and the barn is about 700 feet away (210 meters). The pictures were all shot handheld on my K-x, bracing my lens against my car door window frame. (I was in my work vehicle while testing the lens...)

Click on the images for the original full-size, uncropped 12MP image. (I did not post a larger version of the 18mm image). You can judge for yourself, but I find the lens to be impressively sharp at 500mm throughout most of the central region of the frame. I usually shoot with the lens stopped down, but the cattail image was shot wide open.












Last edited by Edgar_in_Indy; 05-11-2012 at 02:52 PM.
05-15-2012, 05:21 AM   #26
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Hullo DeadJohn, I was faced with exactly the same problem, decided to go for the 150-500 Sigma and am very pleased with it.









Pctures were taken at the recent HARS "Wings Over Illawarra" airshow.
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05-15-2012, 06:04 AM   #27
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I've rented the 50-500 (last version) several times, and will most likely buy one this year. A few things to consider with the air shows. First, some will not allow bags in of any kind (like last weeks McGuire AFB show), so if you are also shooting static displays, getting down to 50mm may be a huge plus over trying to find a way to stash a second lens. Second, I ran into a situation last year where the spectators are allowed pretty close to some of the action. A few of the paratroopers were a little off target, and let me tell you I was really glad to have had the extra range at the wide end. Even though I blew the focus a bit (and had some guy jump in front of me in one of them), there's no way I could have gotten any of this with any other lens as the whole series elapsed in 42 seconds. No time for lens changes here! 500mm all the way down to 73mm in one series The only reason I didn't drop all the way to 50 was user error, as I was a little more concerned about if he was going to plow right into me or not, lol.
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05-15-2012, 06:22 AM   #28
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I have had pretty good results with the 150-500.

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-dslr-discussion/113777-k-7-airshow...ml#post1261943
05-15-2012, 08:43 AM   #29
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I would only consider the 150-500 if it was sharper, significantly lighter, or otherwise better than the 50-500. The 150s only advantage is less cost. The 50s extra width is great for unexpected nearby action. I'd need to carry a 2nd body for close action with the 150.

I'm impatiently waiting for the next non-rainy afternoon to buy and test the 50-500. Monday rain. Today rain. Maybe Wednesday...
05-15-2012, 10:10 AM   #30
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I've burned out on airshows. I was stationed in Las Vegas in the '80's and saw the Thunderbirds practice everyday at noon for 6 1/2 years. First time great....
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