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Sigma 150-500mm F5-6.3 DG HSM APO

Reviews Views Date of last review
12 34,915 Mon October 13, 2014
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
92% of reviewers $852.00 8.50
Sigma 150-500mm F5-6.3 DG HSM APO

There are versions of this lens both with (see other listing) and without (this one) OS optical stabilisation.
There is a detailed comparison between this lens and the D FA 150-450mm in this thread.
Sigma archive info page for OS version.

Filter Size 86mm
f/Stop 5-22
Minimum Focus Distance 7.2' (2.2 m)
Magnification 1:5.2
Angle of View 16.4-5
Groups/Elements 15/21
Tripod Collar (removable)
Length 9.9" (252mm)
Maximum Diameter 3.7" (95mm)
Weight 4.2 lbs (1.910kg)

Mount Type: Pentax KAF3 (in-lens AF only)
Price History:

Add Review of Sigma 150-500mm F5-6.3 DG HSM APO
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Forum Member

Registered: July, 2013
Location: Ontario
Posts: 90
Lens Review Date: October 13, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $550.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Value, IQ, balance
Cons: very poor in low light situations
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 8    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-5    Autofocus: 9   

I picked this lens up used. Slightly used. The buyer claimed his wife bought it exclusively to shoot bald eagles on a trip to Alaska. She found it heavy and didn't use it and it's sat ever since.
I bought it and soon after, realized that it was the non-OS version. I felt a bit ripped off. The brochure that comes with it says OS, bin fine print, "except Pentax."
All right. It is what it is. I mounted it on my K-5 and it hasn't been removed yet.
I love it!
It took some time to overcome the learning curve, but once I read some tips and applied those tips, I have an awesome lens, in my opinion.
It struggles in low light. So much so, that I cap it and forget it once dusk begins.
But for good light, at f8, it does a fine job for me.
Forum Member

Registered: February, 2011
Posts: 84

4 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: May 3, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: IQ, AF, tripod mount / handle
Cons: Slow. MF & zoom rings have issues, and the lens is a bit.... big.
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 5    Value: 9   

I'll give this big thing a 9. It's a really good lens. Come on. It doesn't cost all that much for a 500mm lens, and it does perfectly adequate job. Here's a bird air braking, at 500mm, f/8, 1/1000 sec:

IMGP8590.jpg by jiimaa, on Flickr

Here's a swan giving a show

IMGP8761.jpg by jiimaa, on Flickr

Then another one takes a quick bath

IMGP8867.jpg by jiimaa, on Flickr

And proceeds to one-up the show, only to find audience not impressed

IMGP8939.jpg by jiimaa, on Flickr

Eventually gives up and patrols around the nest turf instead

IMGP8970.jpg by jiimaa, on Flickr

The obvious flaws with this are the size, and that you can't get a good 500mm without shoving in some 4-digit $$$. Those are a given. Now that you're looking a budget lens, here are the less obvious things you'll run into with the 150-500 non-os:

Sharpness isn't very good. Nothing like a 70-200 would do, or a DA*300. Just forget it. Still, it does very good job... if you don't pixel peep any closer than 1:2, then it is needle sharp. And that's pretty good. So stay away from the crop tool, resize to 50 % when you're done in the post, and you're good.

Aberrations are very much controlled. You do not have to worry about those.

Handling is where this thing has issues... Big ones. Just silly things. The zoom ring feels horrible. It is lumpy, no feel at all, and you'll end up jiggling it back and forth to get it to stop somewhere in the ballpark of what you want. It does not obey you. It's stiff, and disobedient. Yet by some black magic it creeps. There's a zoom lock which only locks to 150mm, and you'll soon understand why. Point the lens down for a second, and 500mm it is. Like magic. Every time. Except when you turn the ring, then it's a stiff no-no-maybe-wait-no. This isn't an issue if you shoot like any sane person shoots, keeping it mostly level, but you'll run into the issue. You'll also forget to lock it when you're carrying it, and as this thing extends quite a bit, I wouldn't be surprised if you bumped it into one or two things during the time you own it, or if the 2nd hand copy has an increasing frequency of dings and scratches at the barrel towards the front.

Also, the focus ring. Wh-- Just stop. Why'd anyone put a focus ring, which needs a careful light touch to adjust, into a place obscured by the tripod mount, is beyond me. I'm not even going there.

The tripod mount itself is good. It doubles as a handle, and boy, that handle is good when you're making your way through the swamp, fighting off branches with the other hand and an angry moose and bear with the lens & camera. It's very sturdy as a handle, and holds the 2,5 kg comfortably upside down. You don't feel like it's going to drop and sink into the swamp at all. It won't. It's a good handle.

On the subject of tripods, it should be mentioned that yes, you need a tripod. Or a monopod. But going with tripod may be a better idea, since you can anyway forget about being concerned about the weight - the lens is so heavy, it's really heavy anyway, so you might as well take a tripod, and just use one of the legs when you want to have a monopod. Because having the tripod at the swamp really is the only way you don't have to carry it.

The biggest issue I have with it is the 5-6.3 isn't very bright. To get to the good stuff you need to stop down a couple stops to f/8 at 500mm, and that means it's gotta be pretty bright outside when you shoot.

Overall, I'll still give the lens a solid 9, because while it has issues, come on - it's a very good lens, and staying off pixel level, gives reach and image quality combo which is tough to beat with anything at the price point.

This bird sees something funny:

IMGP8523.jpg by jiimaa, on Flickr
Emperor and Senpai

Registered: June, 2010
Location: Mishawaka IN area
Posts: 6,011
Lens Review Date: January 23, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $640.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Reach, sharpness, fast and silent AF
Cons: Heavy, non OS
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 7    Handling: 6    Value: 9   

I bought this used from a forum member and so far my only complaints have been it's heavy when hiking around all day and since there is no OS on this version there has been a learning curve in regards to making sure the shutter speed is sufficient to reduce shake, especially on the long end while handheld sicne SR can't quite keep up with it.

I took this on a trip out west and found that having that length is fun! It allows you to reach out to birds and mountaintops that you wouldn't otherwise get, but I would recommend having a monopod along! It's also great for moon and even Jupiter shots too. I would definitely recommend it.
Lens Review Date: October 20, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $999.00 | Rating: 9 

New Or Used: New   

I received this lens as a gift last christmas, and up until this past Sunday (17 Oct 10), I have been extremely pleased with the lens, and the results.

Unfortunately, half way through shooting wildlife while hiking, the K-X started acting differently. The camera no longer recognized the focal point, which in turn shut down the SR and AF actions. No matter what settings I went to manually through the cams menu, the pics then came out horribly.

At home, I changed the lens to the K100D Super, and all actions were like the K-X. Changing to my other Pentax and Tamron lenses, both cameras worked normally.

Not being a tech type person, it seemed that the Sigma went "south". I sent it to Sigma in NY, and am awaiting either the warranty repair/replacement (Hopefully they just replace it), and can't wait until I get it back.

I've been fortunate to have many pics published since I began DSLR - and more so, by having the Sigma 150-500....many more items have been published too.

Definitely a fantastic lens, but as my luck is, it decided to not transfer the data from the lens to the cam

Sorry about being long winded, but has anyone else had this issue?

Thanks for your time and have a nice day!
Forum Member

Registered: October, 2009
Location: Alberta
Posts: 62
Lens Review Date: August 14, 2010 I can recommend this lens: No | Price: $900.00 | Rating: 5 

Pros: focal length, HSM
Cons: inconsistent IQ

I bought this lens for the 500mm focal length for birding but, while the FL was certainly nice to have, I really wasn't impressed with the IQ. I only kept the lens for about a week before returning it to the store for a refund. In the week that I had this lens, I took approx. 300 shots with it and only got about 10 or 15 shots that I was somewhat happy with. While trying out this lens, I was also using my trusty Pentax-A* 300mm f4 lens in similar situations and then comparing the shots afterward. Overall, I just didn't find the consistency with this Sigma lens to be very good.

I always tried to keep the aperture around f8 and the shutter speed sufficiently fast to try and minimize issues with DOF or camera shake, and I tried the lens both hand held and on a tripod, but nothing really seemed to matter. I generally found that if I took a shot with my old 300mm MF lens and then cropped the picture to fill the frame roughly about the same as a comparable shot that I took at 500mm with the Sigma lens, the IQ from the cropped shot from my 300mm lens was almost always better than what I was getting with the Sigma lens.

I have some friends using this same Sigma 150-500mm lens on Nikon and Canon bodies, and they are getting some fantastic shots with their I was somewhat disappointed with the results that I was getting. I'm hoping that I just received a bad copy of this lens, and if I ever have a chance to try out another one, I would certainly like to do so. Based on the results that I got this time around, however, I would have a difficult time recommending this lens.

Registered: August, 2009
Location: The British Isles
Posts: 2,400
Lens Review Date: July 30, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $900.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: range, build, hsm, contrast
Cons: heavy, but that's hardly surprising

After looking for a lens to take me into the 500mm lens and considering the alternatives, I bought this and I've been delighted with the result.

It has good build quality and comes in its own proper bag. Focusing is fast and at f8/f11 with a little pp the results are as perfectly sharp. The results are nice and contrasty.

Handy tripod collar/carrying handle. You can lock the focal length to prevent zoom creep and there's a manual/autofocus switch as well.

Super lens to add to the kit bag.
Forum Member

Registered: March, 2010
Location: Modesto California
Posts: 59
Lens Review Date: April 29, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $950.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: good focus, very useful for birding
Cons: big, finish prone to smudging, awkward hood

If you realize that long focal lengths require lots of patience and practise to use for small, nervous animals like birds, you can have a lot of fun with this lens. It looks pretty big, but actually it is modest in size compared to the large primes that the serious guys use. It is also substantially cheaper. Well built, and with good HSM focusing, I think it does a very good job in giving me the reach I need for this hobby at a reasonable price.
Inactive Account

Registered: October, 2009
Location: none of your business
Posts: 96
Lens Review Date: March 29, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $999.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharp Enough
Cons: Cheap lens hood

OK, so maybe it's not a big old Prime lens, but for 1000 bucks, it's a very very fine lens.

I primarily use it to shoot birds, and have been very happy with it. I tend to shoot it around F8 or smaller, and at 1/500 or better. It does tend to hunt a little bit in dim light, and the focus is sometimes hard to obtain in tangled backgrounds. Otherwise, it gives some very nice photos, even cropped significantly. When I first put it on my camera, I thought it was broken as I could not hear it focus. My first HSM lens you can tell but I've come to really enjoy how quiet and quick it is.

Search out some articles on Long Lens Technique and mount it on a good sturdy tripod and ball head and I think you will be very impressed with it. I certainly am, and think it was well worth the money. It's just a fun lens to shoot with.

My only concerns with it are the lens hood, which is plastic. It should be metal, or at least sturdier. It reminds me of the cheap plastic hood on the DA 55-300. It works, but it sure could be more substantial.
Inactive Account

Registered: September, 2009
Location: West Sussex UK
Posts: 235
Lens Review Date: February 4, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Image quality, value for money. range
Cons: some may find it heavy.

Generally I stick with Pentax lenses, but with brick wall at 300mm, I was left with few options. I did try teleconverters on my DA* 60-250 and 300, but the results were disappointing so I bought the Sigma 150-500.

As soon as I opened the box I was impressed. The lens arrives in a proper substantial soft case rather than the usual cloth bag with various straps and the paperwork. It feels solid and well put together. It has a matt black finish which I was a little concerned about, but nearly a year later it is intact.

The lens has a tripod collar which doubles as a carrying handle (bigger and more useful than the DA* equivalent). It also has an AF/MF switch and a zoom lock switch which locks the lens at 150mm. If you point the lens down you will get zoom creep. There is also a large hood stored reversed on the lens. One tip, when removing or fitting the hood, space your fingers out evenly around it rather than pinching it from opposite sides, and it will be easier to get on or off.

The lens does weigh 1915gm or just over 4Lb so substantial tripods and carrying equipment please. I have a Lowepro Flipside 400AW which will take the lens on or off the camera with loads of room left over. Remember also that it uses 86mm filters which are not cheap.

It has HSM (the Sigma equivalent of SDM) focussing which is nearly silent, and if anything, faster than the Pentax system.

In use, the lens does have some limitations - some say it is not sharp at 500mm. The truth is that at F6.7 it is not really, but close it down a couple of stops and it really is capable of taking a very good picture, to the extend that it will knock a TC into a cocked hat.

So not a perfect lens then? Arguably not but consider this - I have not quoted a price because I bought mine in GB and we pay silly prices, but the street price of this lens is around 2/3 of the price of a DA* 60-250.

Suddenly it makes sense and I would strongly recommend this lens to people who need 500mm.
Senior Member

Registered: July, 2009
Location: Greenville SC
Posts: 179
Lens Review Date: November 8, 2009 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $850.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Good IQ, long range
Cons: soft at long end, wish it was a bit faster

Great lens and glad I bought it, but have some peeves with it. I wish the lens manufacturers would consider why people would use a lens like this and try to get optimal IQ at the 500mm end since that is where a lot of us need it for. I like the zoom for tracking purposes, and the 500mm is great for birding, but I usually keep it at 400mm ish for the extra F-stop and better IQ. Was fully prepared to buy a FA* big lens, but alas, couldn't find one. Got this to hold me over until I find a 250-600.
For the price, I couldn't be happier and don't see myself selling this.

That's handheld

I use this for a walkaround lens and for some sports stuff when I don't want to bring out the real heavy lenses, as well as zoo's and backpacking/hiking for birds and what not
Handheld, it's not mounted on a big honkin tripod, but that's part of the reason why I bought it. I want to be able to take it out and be able to take good shots without lugging the tripod around. It works extremely well for that, and in good light it takes some very nice shots.

all handheld at 500mm and unedited. Not perfect, but to get those shots with anything else would have been a bear and a half. Last was shot off of a boat
New Member

Registered: March, 2009
Location: NWT
Posts: 3
Lens Review Date: April 19, 2009 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: $

I picked this up used a while back, for the price I can't complain. It has a plastic feel, pictures are a little soft on near the 400-500 range, a little practice and it is reasonably fast.

For this price, I couldn't be happier.
Veteran Member

Registered: July, 2007
Location: Florida Gulfer
Posts: 3,057
Lens Review Date: February 4, 2009 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $880.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Great IQ, Quick Focus, HSM
Cons: Sticky Zoom, Heavy
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 7    Value: 9   

The more I use this lens the better I like it. The Picture Quality is very good and it's not as hard to shoot hand held as I thought It was going to be.

I'm not a Pro. so I can't give a technical review I can only tell you what I like.

The only real problem I see with the lens is the zoom. It's a little hard to extend and retract. The zoom mechanics are not smooth. But I can live with that.

I've carried the lens pointed down and it hasn't did any creeping so far.
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