View Full Version : Digital Lenses Sigma 50-500mm lens f4-6.3

07-30-2006, 01:04 AM
Sigma has recently announced a number of new lenses please pre order below and support our site. We will get as much info up as possible.

Lens Construction: 20 Elements in 16 Groups
number of Diaphragm Blades: 9
Minimum Aperture: F22
Minimum Focusing Distance: 39.4-118.1" Inches
Maximum Magnification 1:5.2
Filter Size: 86mm
Lens Hood: DiaPetal Hood
Dimensions 3.7x 8.6"
Weight 64.9 oz.

<iframe src="http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=fourthirdspho-20&o=1&p=8&l=as1&asins=B000FBFXYM&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&lc1=0000ff&bc1=000000&bg1=ffffff&f=ifr" style="width:120px;height:240px;" scrolling="no" marginwidth="0" marginheight="0" frameborder="0"></iframe>

07-22-2007, 09:25 PM
Sigma 50-500

sharp images
good contrast
huge range
well built
fast and silent focus
tripod mount included
front lens doesn't rotate (this only matters if you can afford the 86mm polarizer filter)
best 'bang-for-the-buck'
about $5000 less than a prime (put that money towards food and shelter)
Very pleasing Bokeh

two hands plus handling
a little large and front heavy
hard to find one to buy
a little slow on the long end f6.3 (but workable)
focus hunting occationally (camera setting helps)
86mm filters cost big

I dont have any difficulty hand holding the lens to shoot 500mm in close but at any range you must have a good tri/mono pod. It is too big/heavy to hand hold the camera while working the zoom or manual focus. My work around is to preset the zoom and use auto focus. This is a great bird lense. The images are sharp with good contrast and good color saturation and no signs of color fringing. I did upgrade the heads on my mono/tripods to goitto mh7001-621's. Now if it would stop raining long enough for me to get out and shoot.


07-23-2007, 10:59 AM
I gave up on this one and the 135-400. I'm saving my dough for more studio equipment. My three lenses are doing me well for now.


E-300, 14-45mm, 40-150mm, 35mm, FL-50

Rob Bye
07-23-2007, 02:10 PM
Ever since Sigma’s acclaimed 50-500mm f/4-6.3 APO DG-EX “Bigma” lens became available in Four-Thirds mount, I’ve wanted one! Who could blame me? All that optical firepower for only a thousand bucks?! Hell, I’ll take two!! :)

… I settled for just one, which arrived from Adarama last week. I shopped for this lens in Canada, but dealers are charging sky-high prices, and nobody carries it in stock. Why pay more, then have to wait weeks for delivery, when Adarama can Fed-Ex it to me in just a few days, with savings of over $400?

My first impressions of the 4/3 Bigma were entirely favorable. Naturally, it’s a big lens – let’s say two sizes up from the well-known Digital Zuiko 50-200mm f/2.8-3.5, and at 1.9kg, almost twice the mass. With the lens retracted to its minimum 50mm focal length, and the plastic petal-shaped lens hood locked in place (the only way a lens like this should ever be employed), it measures in at 30cm in length. Fully extended, it’s a whopping 39cm. Held in your hands, it conveys the impression of being solidly built, using quality materials.

The lens arrived, well packed, in a sturdy, zippered carrying case. As is typical of so many such cases, there’s no loop sewn-in to allow for carrying on a belt, thereby rendering it useless. Come on Sigma! For the price of a scrap of material, you could have done a complete job there!

The front lens cap was the only other little letdown. The 86mm cap that ships with this lens is one of those useless side pinch types. The petal-shape of the Bigma’s lens hood would allow quick and easy removal of the lens cap - if it were a center pinch design. Proper style caps are available, so I’ll get some.

As I said before, my impressions of the lens are favorable. This Sigma is first rate all the way, with a beautiful matte finish that looks and feels like black graphite. Very nice.

The tripod/monopod mount is brilliant, and could be used as the model for future Zuiko long lenses. When mated to an E-1 and its battery grip, the balance is nearly neutral. I prefer a little more front-heaviness, so it would’ve been nice if Sigma had thought to include a second screw socket just a couple of centimeters further back – something they easily could do. There’s plenty of clearance between the lens and its mount, so even my big hands can easily fit the gap. There are even finger grooves cast into the mount for better purchase.

This isn’t the sort of lens you attach to a camera. Rather, you attach your camera to this lens. That distinction is very important. This lens will put a tremendous strain on any camera’s lens mounting ring. Your smart move is to support the lens and just let the camera hang off the back. The Bigma has obvious reinforcement at its back end for this very reason. Sigma also took the wise precaution of including a good quality shoulder strap for the lens. When I shoulder my gear I use the lens’ web strap, and just let the camera’s strap hang free. It works extremely well and is comfortable.

The big 50-500 has many of the features I like in long lenses. It can be locked into its compressed size for transport, without having to worry about lens creep. The mechanically linked focus ring doesn’t rotate while the lens is focusing. While Olympus’ Digital Zuiko lenses require power to turn their fly-by-wire focus rings, you can focus the Bigma, even if the camera is powered down - a much preferable arrangement in my opinion. When the camera’s autofocus system is used to direct the Bigma’s focusing, that’s accomplished using a Hyper Sonic Motor. The HSM motor works like a dream. It doesn’t hunt for focus, it’s fairly quiet, and it’s quick. I love it, and I can’t wait to get my hands on Olympus’ Silent Wave Drive version of this technology. I won’t buy any more lenses that don’t have this type of motor.

In an effort, I suspect, to appeal to everyone, Sigma made the focus ring turn one way (lets call it the Canon direction), while the zoom ring turns the other way (lets call that the Nikon direction). I came to Olympus as a long-time Canon user, so I have my Olympus lenses programmed to turn like Canons. Having to turn the Bigma’s zoom ring the other way seems odd, but I’ll get over it (I’ve also owned a few Nikons in my time).

A note accompanying my Sigma warned that 4/3rds users cannot manually override the focus in S/AF mode. I found that not to be the case, and routinely fine-tune the autofocus whenever I want to. Just as with Digital Zuiko lenses, you really cannot manually override the focus in C/AF mode. The Bigma has a M/AF switch on the side. To use manual focus, you must set to MF on both camera and the lens. Same with AF, it has to be selected on both. Kind of a pain, one more thing to remember, but certainly not a showstopper.

Just a few other points worth mentioning: the focus distance scale is well located and easy to read. The lens hood fits nice and tight and feels pretty sturdy. The grooves on the focus and zoom rings give good grip and look nice. This is one of Sigma’s high-end APO DG-EX lenses, so they put a nice, tastefully thin, gold band around the barrel to denote that. Overall, the Bigma seems like a worthy partner for my trusty DZ 50-200.

Within minutes of the lens’ delivery to me, I had my Bigma on a sturdy Manfrotto tripod to do some careful static testing on optical targets.

What I found was this lens simply cannot be used at wide-open apertures. At f/6.3, this lens lacks the degree of sharpness I require. A slight cyan colour tinge is noticeable, as is cyan colour fringing around high contrast subjects. Stopping down, even 1/3 of a stop to f/7.1 shows marked improvement. At f/8, this lens will deliver the type of result I need. Images show snappy contrast, and good colour rendition. Speed wise, f/8 isn’t too bad. On bright sunny days, I’ve found a formula of ISO 200, f/8, 1/1000 to be pretty effective for my sports shooting needs. If required, I’ll open up to f/7.1, but f/6.3 is for emergency use only.

By the way thinking of this as an f/4 lens is a bit of a joke. It only registers f/4 at 50mm. By the time you reach 65mm, f/6.3 is your fastest available aperture, and, as I’ve said, you don’t want to go there. I honestly haven’t given my Bigma much testing below 200mm of focal length. There are better choices available to me in that range. No, this is a lens intended only for long-range targets.

Limit your use of apertures to f/8 or smaller, use a good support, like a tripod or monopod, and this is a reasonably good lens for capturing distant subjects. The Bigma's limitations mean it's not for everybody, but if you think you could use it, the affordable price should have you looking for a way to fit it into your lens collection.

07-24-2007, 09:05 AM
I got mine from Tri-State Camera,

It looks like they still have stock. From what I can see, the 135-400 should be available in mid August. The 135-400 don't stay around for long, when I was looking they would last only a few hours.


10-06-2007, 11:52 PM
Here is an example of the Sigma 50-500mm compared to the 14-45mm kit lens.
The 1st is 14mm the 2nd 45mm and the third is 500mm. The fishing boat is on the left edge of the photo.