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Sigma 150-500mm F5-6.3 APO DG OS HSM

Reviews Views Date of last review
27 101,739 Tue April 7, 2020
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
100% of reviewers $834.57 8.77
Sigma 150-500mm F5-6.3 APO DG OS HSM

Latest OS version of the Sigma 150-500mm lens.
"The Sigma 150-500mm F5-6.3 is ultra telephoto zoom designed for Full Frame sensors but may also be used with smaller APS-c size sensors with a corresponding effective increase in focal length to about 255mm to 850mm on the Sigma SD format. An Optical Stabilizer (OS) allows for handheld photography even in low light scenarios, while a Hyper Sonic Motor (HSM) ensures quiet, high speed, and accurate autofocusing. This unique lens is an excellent optical performer featuring three SLD (Special Low Dispersion) glass elements for optimum color correction and sharpness throughout the entire zoom range, rear focusing system corrects for fluctuation of aberration due to focusing. It compact size of a mere 10 inches and weight of only 4 pounds for its focal length..." Sigma web site.

tech specs here.
Buy Lens: Buy the Sigma 150-500mm F5-6.3 APO DG OS HSM
Price: $1069
Mount Type: Pentax KAF3 (in-lens AF only)
Price History:

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New Member

Registered: October, 2008
Location: Chennai
Posts: 10

3 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: April 7, 2020 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $580.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: reasonably sharp at 500mm, price
Cons: slow AF
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 7    Handling: 8    Value: 9    Camera Used: K5iis and KP    Autofocus: 7    New Or Used: Used   

Though it is not supposed to be sharp at 500mm, mine is reasonably sharp (almost all of my photos are at 500mm). The AF tends to be slow and tends to get confused sometimes. I find the handling good (i don't use a tripod and all my photos with it are handheld). An absolute value for money.

Registered: December, 2012
Location: Blenheim
Posts: 684
Lens Review Date: November 29, 2019 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $650.00 | Rating: 7 

Pros: sharp up to moderate focal lengths, quiet AF, quick shift, cheap for focal length, Full frame
Cons: very soft at long end, heavy, slow AF, zoom creep, for bright days only
Sharpness: 7    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 7    Value: 9    Camera Used: K-70, K-50    Autofocus: 7    New Or Used: Used   

I found this lens to be a real mixed bag.
On one hand, anything in the super long focal length range tends to be expensive, and there are not many options in this range. I felt this was pretty reasonably priced for the range.
On the other hand, after using this quite a bit, I'd question whether it should really be considered a 500mm lens, as at 500mm it's horribly soft.
Up to about 200mm at f 8.0 it's very sharp, and I'd give it a 9/10 for sharpness around this focal length, but from 400-500mm it's soft, although stopped down to f 16 you can get reasonably nice images, although you'll need bright light and a high ISO so I'd only give it a 5/10 at longer focal lengths.

The trouble is, for the same price or a bit less, you can get a very sharp, fast 70-200 2.8 which though heavy, will weigh a bit less than this. I really wanted something with the extra reach, and I can make use of it right up to 500mm, but it needs some real work to get good images out of it at anything over about 300mm.

Would I buy it again? I'm not sure. The newer Sigma 50-500 seems like it gets better reviews, and can be had for a similar price but I haven't had the opportunity to try one. The official review on here does mention it too lacks resolution with distant subjects, so it might be a common problem to the long Sigmas.

In terms of usability, although the lens is big and heavy, it can be used hand held, although once you unlock it, it suffers quite rapid zoom creep due to its sheer weight. The lock only works at 150mm, the minimum focal length.

Focus is slow, but very quiet and accurate most of the time, and it seems to have quick shift capability.

I've used it on both the K-50 and the K-70, and I almost feel it produces results that look a little better on the K-50 at longer focal lengths. This might be related to the K-50 having a lower resolution, so the very obvious lack of sharpness at long focal lengths on the K-70 doesn't reveal itself quite so much.

This is supposed to be a full frame lens though, so if it produces mediocre results on APS-C I'm not sure how well it will perform on full frame?

Although this lens definitely comes with limitations, I'll still conditionally recommend it, because there are few other options at this focal range, and if you want something sharp and fast, you're going to need to spend a lot more money.

Who's it for?
If you want a versatile natural history lens that's sharp at shorter focal lengths and is at least good enough for species identification or better at longer focal lengths, or want to do photojournalism for online use or modest sized printing, where the reach is important, but you're not going to print or display the images too large, this lens is a handy addition to your kit.
Who's it not for?
If you want tack sharp images that you can print for display on a wall right across the focal range, or need to be able to shoot in conditions other than bright daylight, this lens is probably not for you.
New Member

Registered: September, 2015
Posts: 23
Lens Review Date: May 15, 2019 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $580.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: No CA, Bokeh is beautiful, Images are a bit soft
Cons: Anti Clockwise focusing,
Sharpness: 7    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 8    Value: 8    Camera Used: Pentax K1    Autofocus: 8    New Or Used: Used   

I already own a Pentax DA* 300mm f4 however the reach was not sufficient when using the K1 and I wanted to buy the big brother Pentax 150-450mm but budget was an issue.

I came across this lens on ebay and got it and gave it a try. I have not taken it outside for any trips and just used in the back garden.

I think, for its cost, its definitely worth the money. However, the images come out a bit soft and I had to sharpen them in post processing. The beautiful thing is the bokeh. It renders very well and also there is no purple fringing or CA even in bright sunny days.

I also use a Tamron 150-600mm G2 f5-6.3 with a Nikon d3 and the photos come out sharper on this compared to the sigma 150-500mm. It should be noted that the Tamron is a more recent lens and bit more expensive. Below are couple of photos taken with this lens. Please check my flickr account for more photo series.

Veteran Member

Registered: September, 2010
Location: Somewhere in the Southern US
Posts: 12,244
Lens Review Date: March 24, 2019 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $769.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Great reach, FF, well built
Cons: Big, not that sharp <f8
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 7    Handling: 8    Value: 9    Autofocus: 9    New Or Used: New   

A lot has been said about this lens already. The main thing that is important to me is that it was designed from the outset as a Full Frame lens! It gives excellent reach on the K-1, focuses very quickly, and at f8+ is plenty sharp enough. Sturdily built with a good hand hold that doubles as the tripod/monopod mount. Reversible hood is also pretty massive but works a treat except when reversed its just a bit too long to work the zoom ring well. Focus is faster than expected for this size and reach, which is very welcome. Overall, just absolutely pleased that it is as good as it is and was designed for FF!
New Member

Registered: June, 2015
Posts: 2

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: September 1, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $600.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Distance shots
Cons: Big
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Handling: 5    Value: 7    Camera Used: K-30    Autofocus: 7   

Climemountainway review is pretty good, even if posted in a literal translation of the Latin I think it was written in. This lens is a beast to be broken then ridden nicely. I'm still at the breaking. Birds is ok, but I generally shoot nature, yachts, at 5ks plus. If yer off the mark with red dot by even a fraction, yer done and a fence post or breaking wave gets the sharpness. Think, said the mountain, before you use the beast cos it don't do quick action anyway, much. It's not point and shoot. Although there's plenty of controls to make it work. I'm gradually increasing the per cent of shots worth saving as the bigma overtakes my much loved 55-300 WR for long distance stuff, but it's line ball below 100 meters.
Great fun, get one. You'll also need a gym subscription to build up yer strength to carry it - but that's a pro not a con.
Forum Member

Registered: September, 2012
Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado
Posts: 77

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: July 8, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $750.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Good size for field work, well made, sharp, excellent color. Better than old K, M, A, F, and FA single focal length comparable aperture series. Focuses well, stablizes well.
Cons: Usurped by the newer Sigma zooms up to 600 mm, but such only can be custom modified for Pentax. Needs adequate light, so do all extreme teles. Not moisture sealed.
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 8    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-3, K-5, MZ5n, LX    Autofocus: 9    New Or Used: New   

This lens surprizes and challenges in the field. Not good for fast sports, AF cannot quite keep up. The instructions verify it takes one second to both autofocus and stabilize. Its provided attributes must be understood to meet its rendering challenges of subject and environment. There are features switches, focus, and zoom controls on the lens body, a balancing support mount "foot", as bear on requirements placed on the camera controls for best employing its attributes. I tried matching it with the various mounting options for supporting and balancing such long lenses coupled to a camera body: large tripods, with and without gimbals, monopods, with and without varied ball heads, crouch low on the ground spreadable lightweight packable tripods, or window mounts with medium to beefy ball heads (for determining a workable shutter speed and aperture combo to achieve focal length sharpness needs, etc.). It is good to put drag on the support mount, but not lock it down if using the OS feature. Add to this the use of two switchable optical stabilizers inherent to the lens, or the one in the selected DSLR. Active users ask when and which to use?

I am challenged living by Rocky Mountain National Park, where resident animal behaviors are easily addressed by the autofocus, and its overrideable manual focus tweaking capability. I love the challenges of orchestration. I use the aps-c format for reach and stability (offers great detailing). The lens is not too big to be easily used support mounted as intended for stalking moving subjects. I most often use it premounted on a monopod. This carry-to-be-ready on one shoulder grasped-in-front by the extended leg gear posture is best used to enable ready set positioning once one stops, and with the in lens Optical Stabilizer, in position "1". The in camera OS does not work well with this configuration. Only one OS type can be employed at a time, or they will work against one another. For quick traverse or bad weather, the lens compacts in size into a special lowepro case (Toploader Zoom 55AW takes in the complete lens without the camera, is padded OK, and is quick in and out and as carried -- unlike the supplied Sigma storage case -- as grants quick weather protection for packing it in and out of wilderness without it becoming a drag when locating a shoot). I occasionally use the Tamron 1.4X F teleconverter when adding a tripod, which indeed achieves autofocus (by spin gear link to many lenses, or,) in this case by camera linked to power in lens silent HSM motor focus: where, in very bright light it indeed adds a sharp focal extension for light on the subject full autofocus (compares well with the SMC A-S 1.4X manual focus extender results).

One has to carefully use its capacities to handle properly lit subject luminance, as can be of diffused, and of front lit situations -- which it handles well. Always calculate in viewfinder available light to dark in scene ratios for possible flash, reflector, or led light fill when highlights or backlight can overarch the presenting subject's lens facing lighting details: when in low or shadow on subject light. Find this so by discovery first of to lens axis possible detail rendering within an acceptable subject exposure range. To avoid non lens facing reflected, or side, or back light off axis to facing the camera subject details blocking (or related noise, all the way up to ISO 3200 max): previewing the available evenness of presenting in the viewfinder light is the challenge. Moving one's vantage point can change the related situation. For in frame field view, the goal is to not blow out subject details with too bright highlights or back scene light taking over what is renderable as to main and of subject shadow light details. So watch for and learn to read the viewfinder display for indicative in scene on and off a subject illumination ratios essential iso conditions may or may not handle well.

Also, for low contrast or low illumination light, factoring exposure controls values to not mush any details or sharpness the lens can provide must be monitorable in the field. These are the leering realities which allow skill of lens control and light understanding choices to grow in a photographer's mind regarding subject details in scene capture allowances, to establish a go for the shot, or not, shutter activation (as is previewed through experiment, trial and error, and experience over time). This holds true too of fixed focal length extreme telephotos use, as well as for complex 21st century optical formula zoom multiattribute long telephotos like this one.

Chrominance adjustments can be predictably previewed on scene after dealing on site quickly with any of the above mutually affective exposure for available light compensations. Scene shifting toward red, yellow, or blue can be adjusted in post, if shooting RAW files. Setting JPEG first slot, and RAW for the second SD card slot offers image backup for post, and card images loss protection. Naturally early morning and late afternoon light shift warm, midday light cold, and snow and ice hue are true to their air affect. Shadows increase, and so too subject depth early and late, but the chances of front light on the subject increase detail potential.

There remain trade offs for constant observation of how too the various sensibilities and sensitivities of the in use DSLRs sensor color capacities may best apply the camera menu and lens adjustments capacities for use of this fine and fieldable optic. For its handling, it won't be merely a point and shoot day, but a calculate best settings and support way -- which will bring out the best of this lens. Likely a minimum of 1/500 of a second exposure at the lens reach end is called for, even then with very steady support. Yes, it can be sharp fully extended, if properly stabilized. The lens will be very slightly moving as I configured it, hence the compensation use of the on lens selectable OS feature. Sharpness works best when at least a stop or two down from wide open can be achieved -- all lighting realities mentioned considered.

It offers wonderful color, feather stand out details, intimacy discovery as to how to get the viewfinder eyefull to kiss its subject imagescape. The lens establishes better handling ability than early K, M, A, F and Fa fixed focal length 400 to 600 mm SMC Pentax extreme lenses of similar maximum apertures (there were older wider aperture long fixed focal lengths which are of better image quality but cost up to eight times more and seem too large for subject stalking. Plus, they did not offer the HSM autofocus and stabilization features. In other words, prestabilization cameras or lenses, or both, would blur subjects more readily than the K3 with this optic). I find I override the lens autofocus about 20 percent of the time to tweak shapness with manual focus. Better to get those older lenses as supportable manual focus lenses and use K3 in body stabilization, once a shooter learns his eye to head to hands synchronicity, than to rely on the older autofocus lenses worm drive gears. Ironically, they will be often much more expensive than this lens. A 250-600mm f5.6 SMC-FA does interest me.

Over the years lenses like this one have evolved to incorporate special glass and hybrid in lens elements, special coatings, internal focusing, self adjusting optical stabilizers, in lens focusing motors (now getting faster and quieter BTW): with complex movements of elements and element groups inside the lens when zooming, stabilizing, and when focusing, etc. Precise manufacturing and design must be of greatest quality control to produce such complex instruments for imaging consistency. A great value, where all the lens specs listed acronyms lettered features posted as available were made so for less than two years of its Pentax mount manufacturing product life. Dropped was the in lens OS for part of its Pentax KAF product life. And that is why the copy I mention is truly the best and most versatile one -- with all in lens lettered on the lens features. All these features work in concert together to grant tremendous possibilities for those wanting to master the deal.

I hope to get back here to post a few shots from this area.
Loyal Site Supporter

Registered: March, 2010
Location: Ocean Grove, Victoria
Posts: 4,306
Lens Review Date: March 19, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $900.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Accurate focus, quite sharp, OS
Cons: Slow focus

A heavy beast but I knew that when I ordered it used from Japan. I try to use it mostly on a monopod where I often use the OS on setting #1 I find the auto focus to be very accurate but quite slow. Not too good for sports action but OK for most other purposes. The zoom setting will not stay set if the camera is tilted which is a bit annoying but I can live with it.
Otis Memorial Pentaxian

Registered: March, 2015
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 7,391
Lens Review Date: April 24, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $585.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Focal length, hand holdable, build quality
Cons: Needs a lot of light to work well
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 9    Value: 9    Camera Used: K-3    Autofocus: 9   

I find this lens to be very good on my K-3. I use the optical stabilization in the lens rather than the shake reduction in the camera as Sigma has designed the system to suit their lens specifically. The in-camera shake reduction is great with Pentax lenses, but when 3rd party lenses with OS are used, I prefer the in-lens stabilization. I have tried both separately and found the in lens stabilization to be better. The camera / lens combination is quite hand holdable, but for prolonged periods I do recommend either a tripod or a monopod. The only real draw back that I have encountered with this lens is that it is quite slow and needs a lot of light to hand hold effectively. Raising the ISO to compensate for low light diminishes the image quality a little too much for me. This is a very good lens, but not a great lens. It has limitations, but I can recommend it highly.
Site Supporter

Registered: April, 2011
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 11

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: March 21, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $1,049.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Good when I used it with my K-5
Cons: Auto focus does not work with my K-3
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 8    Value: 9    Camera Used: 3 yrs.    Autofocus: 7   

I loved this lens when I used it with my K-5. But, when I bought a K-3 a year and a half ago, I found that the autofocus would not work with it. I could only use manual focus with the K-3. I wonder if any one else encountered this problem. Luckily, I am still comfortable using manual focus.
In either case, this lens is a little on the heavy side when using it hand held. But, if I was having a good day, I was able to pan with and get some sharp photos of ducks and geese in flight.
Due to some family issues, I haven't been out as mush as I used to. And now that I've tried to get out a few times, the auto focus issue seems to have reared its head at me.
I'm open to any help I can get on this issue.

Registered: May, 2008
Location: London, UK
Posts: 1,390
Lens Review Date: August 29, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $650.00 | Rating: 5 

Pros: Good reach and not TOO heavy
Cons: Vulnerable HSM motor?
New Or Used: New   

Bought used about a year ago from a UK forum member but a pity I didn't check it more closely when I bought it, but I was not very well at the time and for a few months thereafter - result is that I haven't used much and then found it very slow to focus on the K-5 and K-3, so used it even less.

So took the lens into Sigma UK this morning and they confirmed that it needs a new motor and they weren't too happy about the focusing at extreme distances - well that's Tariff 7 = 131.99/$200 (inc return P&P if necessary) and about 1-2 weeks, so could be worse (maybe?)

Therefore, maybe, I will adjust my ratings when I get it back and actually use it: confused:

Edited 20 March 2016:
Well, I tried the repaired lens with the K-3 last Autumn, and that showed the K-3 needed to be serviced - which was done soon after. However, I still think the AF focusing will be slower than the 100-300 F4 screw-drive, based on what Sigma told me this time last year about the relative technical designs of the two lenses.

Edited again 25 May 2017
Last year, after a lot of experimentation, I concluded that it works better on the K-5 (original) AF than on the K-3 AF! Why, because, it seems, the K-5 AF is slower and so it does not try to refocus as quickly as the K-3, and so the lens does not have to work so much to "stay with" the requested AF point" - but that only really works when a subject is moving across the field of view, and not when it is moving towards/away from me.
PS: Don't try to manually focus on a moving subject because the focus ring has to be rotated a lot, and the mechanism is very heavy (for that read "turgid"!) and takes a lot of manual effort to turn!

Edited again, again March 2019:

Finally got fed up with this lens for the reasons mentioned above - and sold it on early last year and so it's now somewhere in Russia!

New Member

Registered: May, 2014
Posts: 1
Lens Review Date: August 5, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 10 


Great focal length for photographing wildlife. The new version is to very good use already open. The autofocus may be a little faster, but is very accurate. Very quiet autofocus and OS. However, if you must wear all day, the weight, you do not need more gym.
Loyal Site Supporter

Registered: December, 2009
Location: North Syracuse, NY
Posts: 15,471

11 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: July 22, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $869.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Reach, Cost
Cons: Slow, Size

I almost switch to Nikon for the Tamron 150-600, but this lens found its way into my bag instead.

The autofocus isn't really faster than my DA L 55-300, but at least it is silent.

It would have been nice if it was a bit sharper at F6.3, but at F8 it is nicely sharp and at F10 it is very sharp.

The only issue I have had is that zoom creep set in after less than a month of use.

_IGP3153 by bmcgann1, on Flickr

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Junior Member

Registered: July, 2013
Posts: 41
Lens Review Date: June 17, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $600.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: telephoto range, value, image stabilization
Cons: big, long

I just got back from using the lens all weekend for the 2014 NCAA Track and Field Championships. It was very long, poking into the aisles when extended at 500mm but with my monopod and K20D it still felt balanced on its mount. I didn't use it handheld much but I think it is amazingly clear and sharp even when panning during the sprints on the monopod while zooming.

Site Supporter

Registered: July, 2007
Location: Arnold, Md.
Posts: 762
Lens Review Date: May 8, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $799.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Big bang for the buck
Cons: none so far

Bought this direct from Sigma as a refurb. Looks new and smells new. No gritty zoom feel, smooth and no creep. Super quiet focus and is faster on the K3 than the K5. Others have mentioned a clicking sound from the OS. I must be deaf, I don't hear it. I'm amazed at the hand held performance at 500mm, I didn't think it was possible and fully expected to have to use it on a tripod. I'll not complain about size or weight as it is what it is and I'm more than satisfied. It has exceeded my expectations.

Registered: November, 2007
Location: Western Canada
Posts: 8,212

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: January 13, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $950.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: sharpness throughout focal range
Cons: heavy...but with that much glass and size this is no surprise

I've had mine, which I bought new... for about 8 months. It's sharp and has very good AF. I generally use it for photographing birds of prey in the wild and drag racing cars at the track.

I use it with my K-5, haven't tried it with my Km or K10D yet.

The only issue so far, is the physical size .

As far as the size goes it's not a huge deal.

To me, it's just a function of the amount of glass and after is a 500 mm lens.

I'm an older guy and generally either sit with it...or if I do take it on a nature trek...I'm good for about 45 minutes before I tire from the weight.

I know I could use my monopod or tripod but I do like to use my lenses, hand held.

All in all I love this lens.

It's definitely a keeper. The end product the photographs are very sharp. I like the lens handle attachment...very effective in handling this sizeable piece of equipment.

I'm quite pleased that Sigma has produced this excellent 150-500 with a Pentax mount.

I just wish I had bought it sooner.
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