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07-30-2015, 01:54 PM   #1
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Pentax 150-450 vs Sigma 150-500 questions

Howdy y"all

I currently own a Sigma 150-500. I cannot say I've been overly impressed with the lens (I also have a 400 Sigma f5.6 APO macro and 600mm f5.6 A both of which I love). I find the Sigma lens doesn't autofocus all that quickly, tends to hunt, and it isn't razor sharp on the long end. Not bad, but no match for the 600. I have given a lot of thought about the new 150-450. From what I've read it is heavier than I imagined, heavier even than the the Sigma 150-500. My eyes aren't what they used to be so bringing the 400 Sigma 5.6 (which is easy to travel with) means missing a lot of images. The Pentax 600 is too large generally to fly with.

The new Pentax 150-450 lens though has a couple of features I find attractive, it is water sealed (I go occasionally to Costa Rica and have had to deal with fog in my Sigma 400 and even my older Pentax 50-300 lens) and it sounds like it will be sharper than the Sigma 150-500 on the long side. It will be at least a year before I raise enough money for the Pentax 150-450 so I would really like to hear from those who have this lens and maybe owned the Sigma 150-500. My question is if the improvement in sharpness justifies the difference in prices of these two lenses. I am an Advanced Amateur, but image quality is critical to me. FYI-I almost always shoot off a tripod.

Thanks all

07-30-2015, 02:08 PM   #2
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If you use long lenses frequently I think the upgrade to the 150-450mm would be justified. It's a different caliber of lens and I think you might just really appreciate that! Plus, if you're often on a tripod then the added weight of the 150-450mm won't be much of an issue.

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07-30-2015, 02:29 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by stemked Quote
From what I've read it is heavier than I imagined, heavier even than the the Sigma 150-500
Hi Stemked
Even though I'm 64 and my eyes are fading, I find I can hand hold the sigma 500 prime. I hand hold it 90% of the time. It's heavy, but I don't hold it up for long stretches. You will have the same issue as with your sigma zoom as you will with the pentax 150-450 - it gets very long when you zoom out.

With my sigma 50-500 putting it on a tripod was a waste of time. I found using a very strong flash made the big difference. I'm assuming the pentax 150-450 is in a totally different class to any of the long sigma zooms.

As I'm one of those desperate type photographers, I'll cart stuff anywhere. I'm often on a flight with 17kg of camera gear and that's after I've stashed batteries etc in the suitcase. You may find if you psyc yourself a heavier lens is less of an issue. (maybe I'm a photographic nutter)
07-30-2015, 03:01 PM   #4
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I find the 150-500 adequate for my needs and I can't afford a 150-450 anytime in the foreseeable future, so I'm not going to be much help.

The 150-500 is better at 500 than my 55-300 was on a 1.4x TC, hunts less, and is silent. I shoot from a monopod or handheld because a tripod is just too much trouble IMO.

If you feel you need an AW lens the 150-450 is probably worth the cost.

07-30-2015, 03:05 PM   #5
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I'm not sure why you are not getting sharp pix with your Sigma 150-500.

I have a Sigma 150-500 and I use it handheld. I find I get sharp pictures from it...yes...even at 500mm. I use it with my Pentax K-5 (with grip and extra battery) and use the Pentax shake reduction, rather than the Sigma shake reduction (OS)...although the Sigma OS works fine. I support the lens by either holding the lens handle or holding the lens body with one hand and using the other hand to hold the K-5.

I'm an older man, but find I can handhold the body and lens ok, this way. I am 6' 3" and around 240 lbs...so maybe my size is a factor, when it comes to hand holding and supporting the K-5, Sigma combo. I don't know.

I find settings are very important for a large, heavy lens.

On my Sigma I use 800-1600 ISO, F 10, F 11 and shutter speeds over 1/1000th of a second if possible. I've used as low as around 1/350th, 1/500th...and although I've been happy with the picture...I find I'm pushing my luck if I use shutter speeds this low, on a large, heavy lens.

I use it to take pics of wildlife, wild birds...I always spot focus on the eye. If you get the eye sharp and have reasonable F stop/shutter speeds...the pix will be sharp....well so far, this works for me.

I also use it to take pix of racing cars at the drag strip. It is tack sharp here too.

What I'm saying is technique is important with any large lens....even when using a tripod. I'm sure you have both the Pentax and Sigma shake reduction switched off using a tripod. Again, with a long lens at the 500mm setting....F stop is critical for adequate depth of field.

Hopefully some of my experience is helpful.

Good luck .

Les

Last edited by lesmore49; 07-30-2015 at 03:13 PM.
07-30-2015, 08:08 PM   #6
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This is one of my better images from the 150-500 Sigma (sorry, it's reduced in size). It simply lacks the details of images I manually focus with the 600 f5.6 (or the 50-399, but I figured that was apples and oranges).


Whereas this is the 600mm



A crop of the 50-300


and slightly cropped 400mm f5,6 Sigma



I appreciate these aren't a controlled set of images, but I never got the detail out of the Sigma 150-500 as I did with other lenses. My [revious long lens was an old Takumar 500 f4.5, fun lens, but had chromatic issues. An image from that lens (long sold) I think on a K10D.



I think technique wise I'm a pretty decent photographer, but that's not to say I'm a true pro.
07-31-2015, 04:29 AM   #7
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I just don't have any problem with detail...



Maybe your problem is that you are trying to compare a * prime to a consumer zoom. But it's not really possible to tell anything from those tiny pics you posted without any EXIF.

One of the weaknesses of the 150-500 is when you have to crop a lot. This is cropped down to 1438x957 from 6000x4000.


Last edited by boriscleto; 07-31-2015 at 04:35 AM.
07-31-2015, 05:19 AM   #8
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The images I've seen with the 150-500 and 50-500 have been very good. As a whole the images I've seen with the 150-450 are better. SO from my perspective, it's the difference between very good, and a little bit better than very good. As a general impression I'm not sure either is as good as the DA 560... but never underestimate the utility of a zoom.

There are many possible reasons why that might be true however. It's quite possible that only those who have very high standards in image capture and PP, will think it's useful buying the more expensive lens, where as it's also possible many of those with less expensive lenses may still be in the "trying out long lenses" stage. There could be other reasons for these kinds of observations, than one lens is better than the other.


Last edited by normhead; 07-31-2015 at 09:41 AM.
07-31-2015, 09:34 AM   #9
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Wow. A Chestnut sided Warbler. I've only ever seen one once. Nice image. I will see if I can get anything more out of the 150-500.
07-31-2015, 09:44 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by stemked Quote
Wow. A Chestnut sided Warbler. I've only ever seen one once. Nice image. I will see if I can get anything more out of the 150-500.
You don't get the warbler with the lens... just like you don't get the girl with the wind blown hair with the Pontiac... boy am I dating myself.
"You got it Pontiac!"
07-31-2015, 09:44 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by stemked Quote
Wow. A Chestnut sided Warbler. I've only ever seen one once. Nice image. I will see if I can get anything more out of the 150-500.
The places I go birding are crawling with them, along with Yellow, Blue-winged (including Lawrence's and Brewster's), and Common Yellowthroat. And they all nest here so it is easy to call them in. You don't even have to play their songs, there are times they'll come in just to investigate the sound of the camera shutter.

But the important thing is having a place to get into the habitat so you can get close. And that's why the places I go birding are pretty special. What I really look forward to is migration, when the species that don't nest here are passing through. I added Northern Parula, Canada, Pine, Black-and-white, Tennessee, Nashville, Cape May, Blackburnian, Palm, Yellow-rumped, and Wilson's to my life list this year.
07-31-2015, 09:47 AM - 1 Like   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by boriscleto Quote
The places I go birding are crawling with them, along with Yellow, Blue-winged (including Lawrence's and Brewster's), and Common Yellowthroat. And they all nest here so it is easy to call them in. You don't even have to play their songs, there are times they'll come in just to investigate the sound of the camera shutter.

But the important thing is having a place to get into the habitat so you can get close. And that's why the places I go birding are pretty special. What I really look forward to is migration, when the species that don't nest here are passing through. I added Northern Parula, Candda, Pine, Black-and-white, Tennessee, Nashville, Cape May, Blackburnian, and Wilson's to my life list this year.
Impressive... I don't even have "life list." Now I feel like I've been slacking off.
07-31-2015, 09:55 AM - 1 Like   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
Impressive... I don't even have "life list." Now I feel like I've been slacking off.
It's easy enough to make one

eBird
07-31-2015, 10:46 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by boriscleto Quote
It's easy enough to make one

eBird
Can I just copy all the names out of the bird book?
08-02-2015, 08:03 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by stemked Quote
Howdy y"all

I currently own a Sigma 150-500. I cannot say I've been overly impressed with the lens (I also have a 400 Sigma f5.6 APO macro and 600mm f5.6 A both of which I love). I find the Sigma lens doesn't autofocus all that quickly, tends to hunt, and it isn't razor sharp on the long end. Not bad, but no match for the 600. I have given a lot of thought about the new 150-450. From what I've read it is heavier than I imagined, heavier even than the the Sigma 150-500. My eyes aren't what they used to be so bringing the 400 Sigma 5.6 (which is easy to travel with) means missing a lot of images. The Pentax 600 is too large generally to fly with.

The new Pentax 150-450 lens though has a couple of features I find attractive, it is water sealed (I go occasionally to Costa Rica and have had to deal with fog in my Sigma 400 and even my older Pentax 50-300 lens) and it sounds like it will be sharper than the Sigma 150-500 on the long side. It will be at least a year before I raise enough money for the Pentax 150-450 so I would really like to hear from those who have this lens and maybe owned the Sigma 150-500. My question is if the improvement in sharpness justifies the difference in prices of these two lenses. I am an Advanced Amateur, but image quality is critical to me. FYI-I almost always shoot off a tripod.

Thanks all
Well i have just bought the new Pentax 150-450
Got it in japan together with the new 1.4 tele.
Like you i had a sigma 150-500 which i used for some 3 years with some success, a few images in mags etc.
But it was soft above 400 and i was never totally happy with results in less than full sun
The new lens is working well much sharper across the range
Works well with the 1.4 on both a k3 and a k5
Not upgraded the firmware yet
It is heavy but i find my hand hold technique used with the sigma works fine with the new rig.
If you can buy in japan much cheaper than in uk
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