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Sigma 400mm F5.6 Mirror

Reviews Views Date of last review
1 13,545 Thu June 10, 2010
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
No recommendations None indicated 5.00
Sigma 400mm F5.6 Mirror

According to Sigma Corp in Japan

Release year: 1985
Lens Construction: 7 elements in 7 groups
Minimum Focusing Distance: 200cm
Maximum Magnification: 1:4.3
Dimensions: 92x111.5
Weight: 625g
Mount Type:

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Registered: June, 2009
Location: Sydney
Posts: 171
Lens Review Date: June 10, 2010 I can recommend this lens: No | Price: None indicated | Rating: 5 

Pros: compact, light, cheap
Cons: soft, low contrast, low saturation, no AF, poorly aligned elements (on this copy), slow.

Reviewed was the black version of this lens, which is cosmetically similar to the review photo for the 600mm mirror, with no tripod mount.

Test shots were done in the closeup range of 2-3m on a tripod using a remote release and a 3 second delay, with a DA*16-50 was used as a reference lens.

The copy reviewed has some marks on the mirror (I expect fungus and possibly a cleaning attempt by a previous owner).

It exhibits all of the usual idiosyncrasies of a mirror lens - low contrast and saturation, super thin depth of field, and a distinctive bokeh.

Although contrast and saturation can be easily corrected in post-processing, other characteristics are harder to deal with.

This lens is very soft and almost a full stop slower than the reference lens at f5.6. On a bright, overcast day, ISO of 400-800 is required to approach 1/500th, where camera shake should be sufficiently attenuated. Noise doesn't compete with softness until 1600-3200ISO.

High contrast shots show some blooming, but no chromatic aberrations.

From a user perspective it's all relative to price. At a price point of $10-80, options are probably limited to digitally zooming (cropping) and/or second-hand, low-end glass of the kit-zoom variety.

When fully zoomed, then cropped to match the view of the 400mm, the 16-50mmDA* was easily out-resolved by the mirror lens. This is not surprising, given that this involved reducing the effective resolution of the 16-50 to 12.5% of its full-size. If you need the magnification, you can't do it by cropping from a quality lens in the normal range.

In the $10-80 price range, you just might get an AF glass lens of about the same speed, that's not as soft or bloomy, but it will be soft. It will also be heavier, and have more CA.

Without a price component, I would rate this lens as a 2-3. Considering the alternatives, it's a 4-5.
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