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01-11-2014, 06:57 PM   #16
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This lens is exceptional value. It's great to see that there are other Pentaxians who use focal lengths in this range. Because some Pentaxians feel that this is a "specialised" area and that it isn't viable for Pentax to invest in this focal range. Some believe that only "bird watchers" require a lens like this....

It sickens me that I have to go to a third party such as Sigma to complete my kit, because Pentax have a huge gap from 300mm - 560mm and a huge gap in price between these focal lengths. (please don't respond with "just crop"). Some people might think I'm bashing Pentax, but it is a compliment to Pentax that I would rather a focal length in this range in Pentax glass, that compliments my Pentax camera as opposed to spending money on a third party lens. I WOULD RATHER SUPPORT PENTAX/RICOH!

The only issues that I have with this lens is the hunting factor in AF. But I learnt quickly that one of the best ways to overcome this issue was to keep the lens constantly "busy" and minimise the focus distances. Having said that - exactly 11 months after purchase, it is now in the hands of Sigma, because the AF was failing completely (I use this lens nearly everyday, so it's had a good workout). Still a nice lens for the cost. I did a framed print (920mm x 620mm) of an action shot that I captured in low light and the print is sharp as a tack (K5-ii). Pentax used to make awesome telephoto/zoom lenses (still do in the DA* range) but I hope that they can fill the gap before my K5-ii becomes my backup, because there's other companies out there who provide range and choice - even if it does mean forking out more $$$'s.

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01-12-2014, 06:50 PM   #17
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I owned a 150-500mm OS HSM for a couple of weeks. Focus and aperture were both slow. It was very soft at 500mm f6.3 and never pixel sharp, even when stopped down. I was also annoyed by the mammoth size, rings that turned opposite to my other lenses, and zoom lock needed to prevent creep.
01-13-2014, 12:00 PM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by audiobomber Quote
I owned a 150-500mm OS HSM for a couple of weeks. Focus and aperture were both slow. It was very soft at 500mm f6.3 and never pixel sharp, even when stopped down. I was also annoyed by the mammoth size, rings that turned opposite to my other lenses, and zoom lock needed to prevent creep.
I never shoot at F 6.3 at 500mm. I use F 10 to F 11. Everything's sharp .
01-13-2014, 05:37 PM - 1 Like   #19
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Two images attached. 1st one is straight out of the camera (RAW conversion) with no post processing at all. The 2nd pic was post processed in Lightroom. Whilst not the sharpest images, for what you pay for a lense with a focal length in this range, It's cheap. You can't expect champagne results on a beer budget. LOL.

I've never had zoom creeping issues, but I probably wasn't using this lens in the same way as the post above mine^. I imagine that it could definitely happen if you were using this lens for celestial type photography, but a lock would be a good idea, but in the meantime, you'd have to improvise if creeping was an issue. It is a mammoth size. Many lenses in this focal length are quite cumbersome.

In terms of focusing, like my previous post, I learnt to overcome some of the issues with this lens, but I use it everyday. If I only had this lens for 2 weeks (was it used everyday in those 2 weeks?), then I'd probably be frustrated with it too.

What are the alternatives for PENTAX/RICOH at this price range and this focal length? Any suggestions?

ISO 400 / f6.3 / 1/1000sec @ 500mm (Pentax K5-ii)

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01-13-2014, 07:23 PM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by PJay Quote
What are the alternatives for PENTAX/RICOH at this price range and this focal length? Any suggestions?
Any 300mm prime with TC.

I replaced the Sigma with an A*300mm f4 and Kenko 1.5X TC. I lost AF, but at least my photos were pixel sharp. I didn't lose any range, and I gained a fast aperture. There's not enough light to shoot at f10 in my normal shooting conditions (dim woods, low light Northern winters). Sometimes I can't even get away with f5.6 and maintain decent shutter speeds.

If you need a zoom, the Bigma is a bit better than the 150-500. Pentax should be releasing a TC and long zoom soon, IMO. I would wait for CP+ in February before doing anything.
01-13-2014, 08:12 PM   #21
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Dan,

Excellent feedback.

Thank you.
01-13-2014, 09:02 PM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by audiobomber Quote
Any 300mm prime with TC.

I replaced the Sigma with an A*300mm f4 and Kenko 1.5X TC. I lost AF, but at least my photos were pixel sharp. I didn't lose any range, and I gained a fast aperture. There's not enough light to shoot at f10 in my normal shooting conditions (dim woods, low light Northern winters). Sometimes I can't even get away with f5.6 and maintain decent shutter speeds.

I shoot in the Canadian Shield and southern Boreal Forest in Manitoba....all seasons and our Manitoba winters are brutal. Sometimes bright sun...sometimes light or heavy cloud cover...sometimes cloudy with sunny periods.

Also when it's a bright sunny day in our cold winters out here...the lighting is great...say if you're taking a photo of a Northern Hawk Owl on the top of a spruce tree.

I've taken Great Gray Owls in overcast conditions at F 10....these are the times when my shutter speed is down to 1/250th. With this low a shutter speed I didn't initially have much hope....but surprisingly...using the handle as a brace, the lens SR on, burst on low...things worked out. I'm fairly large (6' 3", 240 lbs)...so this may contribute to steadiness hand held.

For wildlife ....settings I use are generally 400-1600 ISO...mostly 800...all depending on lighting....shutter speed...I try over 1/500th/ 1/1000th plus...but on rare occasion I have shot with 1/250th...with the Sigma lens SR on...K-5 body SR off...spot metering and for wild birds/ animals use the eye as a focal point. Usually aperture control...hand held.

So far...very good success with this lens.


If you need a zoom, the Bigma is a bit better than the 150-500. Pentax should be releasing a TC and long zoom soon, IMO. I would wait for CP+ in February before doing anything.
I'm wondering if the 150-500 example you had wasn't a good one ?


Last edited by lesmore49; 01-13-2014 at 09:13 PM.
01-14-2014, 06:08 AM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by lesmore49 Quote
I'm wondering if the 150-500 example you had wasn't a good one ?
I tested for AF accuracy, and the lens was centered (consistent performance in each corner). It was good up to 300mm, but by then it's already at f/6.3 wide open, 1.5 stops slower than a DA*300.

I would say my copy performed exactly like this review:

The lens fares exceedingly well at 150 mm; at 250 mm its performance is average, then, unfortunately, it decreases further. The performance at the maximum relative aperture is especially weak, at the longest focal lengths crossing just 20 lpmm level. This behaviour is also very similar to the results of the Sigma 120 – 400 mm.
http://www.lenstip.com/184.4-Lens_review-Sigma_150-500_mm_f_5.0-6.3_APO_DG_O...esolution.html

Anyone contemplating this lens should also consider the graph below, which shows focal length vs. subject distance. It only approaches 500mm focal length at infinity. At closer distances it becomes a shorter lens, e.g. 390mm @ 5m (16') subject distance.
Focal Length versus Subject Distance - Sigma 150-500mm

Sorry to be a downer, but anyone buying a Sigma 150-500mm should be aware that it has significant limitations that are not apparent when viewing beautiful web-sized photos like the ones in this thread. Many owners love this lens, but it was the wrong lens for me. I am much happier with a DA*300, especially now that I have a K-3 and 24mp cropability.

Last edited by audiobomber; 01-14-2014 at 06:15 AM.
01-14-2014, 05:07 PM   #24
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Dan, I think that you could make the same comments about lens limitations for all lenses. They all have a sweet spot.

These are lab results and not real world. If you look at the EXIF data of the above image that I posted, you'll see that it's a tiny file. The high resolution image is quite sharp at f6.3/500mm.

If you took the lab reviews of the DA 18-135mm and took it for gospel, then you would never buy it. But the truth is, that it is a nice lens that serves it's purpose. That's how I see the Sigma 150-500. Comparisons with the professional grade DA*300 as opposed to a "budget" telephoto is not comparing apples with apples. I would expect the DA*300 to easily outperform this Sigma lens on all levels - except for focal length.

It all comes down to the environment, the subject being photographed and ultimately the photographers skill, knowledge, creativeness and equipment familiarity. There's no doubt that there are issues with this lens. But what's it competing against in Pentax land? Nothing.

So, the options seem to be adapting a TC (with no autofocus - to me, that's like going from power steering to driving a car with a front flat tyre) or the DA 560mm at 7 times the cost. Or, just continue to crop....

I hope that RICOH do release the TC soon. If they do, the DA*300 is back on the radar (for me at least). That's the other thing that I notice...there seems to be lots of Pentaxians who would cherish a focal length beyond 300mm. So, hopefully I'm not the only voice who continues to rabble on about this.
03-07-2014, 11:50 AM   #25
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Yes Ricoh have indeed released a new 1.4 teleconverter, plus firmware updates for many of the more recent cameras. However it states you need at least f4 maximum aperture.. I am jjust wondering, if it might just be compatible with the Sigma, doubt it but would be nice, since even the Sigma ones aren't
03-14-2014, 08:42 AM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by audiobomber Quote
Anyone contemplating this lens should also consider the graph below, which shows focal length vs. subject distance. It only approaches 500mm focal length at infinity. At closer distances it becomes a shorter lens, e.g. 390mm @ 5m (16') subject distance.
Focal Length versus Subject Distance - Sigma 150-500mm
All internal floating elements lenses have this behavior...
It would be more correct to say : my 150-500 at 500mm at 5m has equal magnification than a no-floating-element lens of 390mm.

There is an interesting article about focal length and magnification and Telephoto lenses from Pierre Toscani.

Only to say about AF, at 500mm the AF is really faster to focus than the SDM of the DA* 200mm !
06-13-2014, 05:56 PM   #27
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First couple shots with the lens. I hadn't even mounted the hood yet.





06-14-2014, 09:14 AM   #28
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I'm fully satisfied with my Sigma 150-500 and I have the DA*200 and DA*300. Thank you PJay and those others who can show better than I what this lens is capable of. My Buddy with the BIgma keeps trying to prove it's a better performer at 500 but hasn't yet. I no longer place credence on lab revues or those who quote them as very often I find them exaggerated.
06-14-2014, 09:34 AM - 1 Like   #29
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06-16-2014, 12:32 PM - 1 Like   #30
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