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03-06-2017, 01:50 PM   #1
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Pentax 150-450 vs Sigma 50-500 OS

Hi
I own a Bigma and I am very happy with it and the efectivity of OS for birding .
Has anybody compare the two lens ? Do you Think go for the Pentax worth it?
Sorry bad english.
Thnks

03-06-2017, 02:16 PM - 2 Likes   #2
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I used to have the little brother to the Sigma 50-500, the Sigma 150-500 HSM. I bought the Pentax DFA 150-450 on a killer deal (after cashback bonus I ended up at $1501 dollars). I compared the two. The Sigma was sold because that 150-450 was definitely sharper even wide open, and there really wasn't much of a difference on FOV at the long end, plus even with the HD DA 1.4 teleconverter the Pentax lens gave correct and accurate info and would focus well where the Sigma did not give accurate info and focus was iffy, plus that combo was still incredibly sharp even wide open. If you can get it I'd go for it.
03-06-2017, 02:23 PM   #3
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I have the Bigma 50-500 non OS and was happy with it on a K-50 and K-5ii, but not so much on a K-3ii.... so I bought the Pentax 150-450 from a Forum Member and have to say it is a much better lens on any Camera Body.
I am getting shots that "for me" are light years beyond the Bigma in terms of sharpness not to mention the much better Auto-Focus.
03-06-2017, 02:55 PM   #4
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Also consider the DA*300 f4 and DA 1.4x teleconverter. That offers either 300mm f4 or the equivalent of 420mm f5.6. The DFA 150-450 has the versatility of a zoom, but it is a stop slower at 300mm (f5.6 above 250mm). The Bigma is slower again: f6.3 above about 250mm.

A significant advantage of the prime + TC is that it is half the weight of the DFA or the Bigma: about 1200 grams v 2.3 kilograms (DFA with hood and tripod collar) or 2 kg for the Bigma.


Last edited by Des; 03-06-2017 at 08:39 PM.
03-06-2017, 03:32 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Des Quote
Also consider the DA*300 f4 and DA 1.4x teleconverter.
No. Because there are times I need less than 300mm, or 420mm with a $500 TC...If you have a prime that means a second body and lens...
03-06-2017, 04:09 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by boriscleto Quote
No. Because there are times I need less than 300mm, or 420mm with a $500 TC...If you have a prime that means a second body and lens...
Yes I would like the versatility of a zoom at times too, without having to change lenses. But far more often for shooting birds the problem is not too much reach but too little. The 300 + TC combination works better for me than the xx-500 zoom I had previously. I am happy to trade less versatility for lighter weight, less bulk, faster aperture and (in my case anyway) better IQ (especially wide open or one stop down). YMMV.
03-06-2017, 04:16 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Des Quote
Yes I would like the versatility of a zoom at times too, without having to change lenses. But far more often for shooting birds the problem is not too much reach but too little. The 300 + TC combination works better for me than the xx-500 zoom I had previously. I am happy to trade less versatility for lighter weight, less bulk, faster aperture and (in my case anyway) better IQ. YMMV.
The only advantage with that combo is weight. That is it. The DFA 150-450 is pixel peeping sharp even wide open on the K3 and K1. Even adding the 1.4tc still allows pixel peeping when pared with it, and gives up to 630mm f/8 that is very, very usable and nice and sharp too. Moon shots with that combo are awesome. Birds are good too.
03-06-2017, 05:05 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by VoiceOfReason Quote
The only advantage with that combo is weight. That is it. The DFA 150-450 is pixel peeping sharp even wide open on the K3 and K1. Even adding the 1.4tc still allows pixel peeping when pared with it, and gives up to 630mm f/8 that is very, very usable and nice and sharp too. Moon shots with that combo are awesome. Birds are good too.
That's helpful VOR because you have used both. And since the OP in this case is happy with the Bigma, weight might not be a big issue. But I pointed out the alternative because many people going to a longer telephoto option for the first time will find carrying and using a 2kg lens a challenge.

For completeness, we should add that the DA*300 + TC costs about $1100 + $500 whereas the DFA 150-450 costs about $2200 and the Bigma $1660 (using B&H prices in $US as a comparison). Even with the over-priced TC, the prime is the cheapest option.

03-06-2017, 07:45 PM - 1 Like   #9
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Had the original version of the 50-500, now have both a 150-450 and a DA 300 + TC. Up to about 300~350mm the Bigma is as good as you might want, but over the entire FL range and especially at the long end, the 150-450 as well as the DA 300 + TC are better by a easily seen amount.. BUT, the 150-450 is a beast to transport and use (IMHO) because of its weight. The 300 + TC is significantly lighter and is marginally hand-holdable. I would never attempt to hand-hold the 150-450. Generally speaking, the choice of zoom vs SFL is a choice between convenience and quality, but not in this case. IQ of the 150-450 is an a par with the DA300 with or without TC, and it covers a wide range of useful focal lengths, but its size and especially its weigh substantially restrict its convenience.
03-06-2017, 10:53 PM   #10
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I used the Bigma for years with a K-X and was very happy with it. When I moved up to a K-3, I rapidly became disappointed at the long end. At about 330mm, the Sigma is very nice. But inching out, even to 370mm, the image quality starts falling rapidly. At 500mm, wide open, its almost unusable if you try to crop at all. Stopping down to about f9 helps a bit. But by that point, I'm only able to use it on very bright days without cranking up the ISO to a very noisy level.
03-07-2017, 04:41 AM - 1 Like   #11
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Perhaps I can summarize:

1) 50~500mm

a. less expensive than the 150~450mm, by quite a bit, and good used copies are commonly available at bargain prices
b. a bit lighter and more compact than 150~450mm, significantly heavier than DA300mm
c. IQ very good out to maybe 350mm
d. 350~500mm (actually closer to 450mm) IQ declines and isn't very good at maximum FL
e. the short end has fine IQ and can be very useful - Was using this lens in Kenya when some elephants came walking between our vehicle and the one behind. I was able to capture the moment because I could pull back to 50mm

2) 150~450mm

a. very expensive
b. heaviest and bulkiest lens. IMHO not practical to hand-hold
c. very good IQ over essentially entire FL,
d. marginally usable with 1.4X TC on APS-C body or K1 in crop mode because of vignetting

3) DA 300mm + 1.4X TC

a. slightly less expensive than either zoom
b. much less versatile
c. smaller & lighter
c. very good IQ without or with TC
d. not quite as long, but in practice the difference is insignificant
e. TC only on APS-C bodies (or K1 in crop mode) because of vignetting

I have or have had all three lenses and the TC. I would rate the 50~500mm as the least satisfactory for IQ at the long end (but it is really good at the short end), at least in comparison to the newer 150~450mm and DA300mm. I used a Bigma for decades and got many very good images. The 150~450mm is really good optically, but it is awfully bulky and heavy to transport. The DA300 + 1.4X TC is easier to transport, but much less versatile. I was shooting some bighorn sheep and the 300mm alone was a bit too long to avoid cutting off their feet - no option to zoom back to about 200~250mm which is what I needed for the image I wanted.

What I really want is an 18~600mm f4 that's about 10 inches long, weighs about 2lb, and costs under $1000. Are you listening Ricoh?

Last edited by WPRESTO; 03-07-2017 at 09:15 PM.
03-07-2017, 05:32 AM - 1 Like   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by WPRESTO Quote
What I really want is an 18~600mm f4 that's about 10 inches long, weighs about 2lb, and costs under $1000. Are you listening Ricoh?
It's refreshing to read a realistic demand
03-07-2017, 06:04 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by mohb Quote
It's refreshing to read a realistic demand
Actually, if you are willing to sacrifice sensor size, Sony's 24~600mm (equivalent) F2.4-4 Zeiss-made zoom (RX 10 III camera) is really impressive. Boggles the mind what an equivalent lens for a K1 would look like, weigh, or cost.
03-07-2017, 06:12 AM - 1 Like   #14
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I tend to agree with the observations here but I actually shoot my D FA 150 - 450 hand held quite a bit. I have had remarkable success doing so. in fact it surprised me that I could hand hold this lens when using it at it's long end. Shake reduction for the win. Most of the shots I have posted on this site are hand held. At 65 I am not as steady as I used to be. The lens is simply sharp over it's entire range. When mounted on a tripod with a gimbal mount, I find that using a cable release works best to insure the sharpest images.

One other trick. I have found that using a bicycle glove on my left hand as I cradle the lens makes it more comfortable to hold during shooting. The padding in the palm really helps.
03-07-2017, 06:21 AM - 1 Like   #15
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I know some people can and do hand-hold lenses such as the 150~450mm, and get some good images, but I cannot manage it, not steady enough and I find it tiring. I always use at least a monopod, but much prefer to use a tripod (the accessory we love to hate, and probably the single item after quality lenses that contributes the most to sharp images).
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