Anyone have the Bigma (Sigma 50-500 f4-6.3 EX)?

I've been looking to sell off my old Sigma 70-200 2.8 and get something with more on the telephoto end so that I'm no longer frustrated whenever I really want to zoom in on something. I've seen a lotta good reviews for the lens that has been nicknamed the "Bigma" (the Sigma 50-500 f4-6.3 EX). Has anyone here ever owned or used one? Did you like it? I do have a good tripod for the 500 end. How far can you handhold it? Ever feel limited by the slow glass?
 
IF you're constantly going completely telephoto (so always shooting at 200mm/400mm etc), you may look at getting an indidividual prime such as the 400mm f/5.6 or the 300mm f/4 IS. Either will be sharper than any of the zooms.

Aaron
 
I got the chance to use one of these a few years ago. It's a monster!

It's adequate for it's uses, but for really good shots, you'll be better off with quality prime lens.

Find yourself a quality 2X or 1.4X tele-convertor for your camera and continue to use the 70-200 f2.8 lens. You'll get roughly the same results on the long end with the TC as you would with the "Bigma".

Lens that long, you'll need on a tripod anyway, especially if you want good sharp shots. You're 70-200 is some excellent glass as the Sigma lens are known to be right up there on their quality lens. Not quite on par with the Canon L series, but still, right up there.

Look for the good Canon TC. There are two versions and you'll want the better one (You'll tell by price). I'm sure Sigma has TC's but I know there lower end stuff sucks. I really think you could get away with the Canon 1.4X TC and learn your tripod technique and you'll be able to walk away with some really nice stuff. The f6.3 on the long end of the Bigma, really softens anything at a distance and cuts down any quality light coming in. With the TC and 70-200, you'll cut your light in half and be 100mm short of the 500, but the glass and long end are better to begin with thus the better photo.
 
Yeah, you do get a lot better quality outta primes in the extreme telephoto end. And they're lighter, too. But with my 70-200 I tend to bounce around the range a lot; I use the variable zoom to do a lot of composition. I'd probably feel pretty constricted with a 400 or 300 prime.
 
Originally posted by John Diel
I got the chance to use one of these a few years ago. It's a monster!

It's adequate for it's uses, but for really good shots, you'll be better off with quality prime lens.

Yeah, I totally agree when it comes to the primes. The 300 4L prime, even with a 1.4x TC outperforms the Bigma at 500. I'm not sure about the 70-200 2.8+ TC thing, though. I came across a really interesting test image that compared the resolution/color of a whole slew of lenses:

http://www.pbase.com/drip/image/42148952/original (DUW, 350K image)

It would appear that even the 200 2.8L prime with the 2.0TC doesn't beat the Bigma, but the fact that it comes close is pretty impressive. The Canon 70-200 2.8L + 1.4TC also doesn't seem that impressive next to the Bigma (though the Bigma is at 5.6 and the Canon is at 4.0), so I have doubts that my Sigma 70-200 will do even that good:

http://www.pbase.com/drip/image/21661756

Prime + 1.4TC seems like a good bet. Which makes sense to me... most of my friends who've shot 2.0TCs seem disappointed with the quality.

Obviously, the lens to REALLY have is the 400 2.8L. ;) That's one freakin' sharp lens. As a bonus, I could do curls with it in the downtime to build up my biceps!

He's got way more tests on this lens here:

http://www.pbase.com/drip/lens_tests

Granted these are just center-focus snaps so it doesn't say anything about edge quality, fringing, vingetting, or any other of the things to watch out for. But what really made me stop and wonder if this wasn't a lens worth having was the Photozone test review:

http://www.photozone.de/8Reviews/lenses/si...0_463/index.htm

I've heard that Pop Photo was equally surprised and impressed, but their review isn't in their online archive.

Lens that long, you'll need on a tripod anyway, especially if you want good sharp shots. You're 70-200 is some excellent glass as the Sigma lens are known to be right up there on their quality lens. Not quite on par with the Canon L series, but still, right up there.

Yeah, I really do love that lens. That's kinda why I'm hemming and hawing and looking for tons of tests and opinions. I'd really kick my own ass if I sold off the 70-200, got the 50-500, and hated the thing. I can't find any local shops around here that carry the thing to test, though maybe if I make a trip to Omaha I'll find it. The main thing I'm worried about is handholding. I can handhold the 70-200 I have easy all the way up to 200 in good light. Can I handhold the Bigma up to 200 in good light? It's at least a stop slower at that range, and it looks like it's about as light as a bazooka. Obviously I wouldn't be able to handhold it over 300mm ever, but I can't even go that high right now, so even tripod 500mm shots would be something new and cool. I do have a pretty high-end tripod with a 13lb ball head, so I think it'd be do-able. Might finally motivate me to get a monopod, too. ;)

I wish Canon made a non-push/pull zoom telephoto IS ultrazoom. My friend has a 100-400 IS L that's really, really, cool, but I cringe every time he pumps that thing. I have enough dust getting onto my sensor as it is! And the competeing Sigma 80-400 OS lens has crappy-slow zooming and lackluster optical performance. If they made a 50-500 OS HSM with the same optical quality as the current model, I'd be all over it in a heartbeat.
 
I wasn't able to hand hold the 50-500 at the long end (300mm+). What I ended up doing was pulling out a bean bag and using my truck door as a rest and shot out the window. Make darn sure the engine is off!

I got the chance to borrow a friends Bigma and took it down to the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge for a day and then tried to shoot a football game the next day with it.

It was just too much.

I would say, if your going to look at anything like that, I've heard a few good rumors about Sigma 80-800 monstor? It's image Stabilzed (VR = Vibration Reduction) and has roughly the same performance values but better reviews at the long end.

If you're looking for a good all around GP lens, take a look at Canon's 35-300 L. It's reasonably priced and doesn't leave you behind. It's not quite up to par with most L series lens.

Now that assuming you've got a Canon EOS series camera.

What ever you do, DON'T get rid of the 80-200 f2.8!!!! You will kick yourself several times if you do. Hang on to that puppy like it was gold.

I can tell you that you can look at all the lens tests in world, but you won't really know until you have the lens in your hands and actually get a few shots off with it. I was really looking forward to using the 50-500 and after a day with it, I was really dissapointed with it. It just didn't have the punch or the sharpness I was looking for.

In fact, my ancient 70-210 f4.0 lens (Non L glass) did a better job than the 50-500. It also cost hundreds less. I finally gave up on the quest for long glass. I'm not a real long shooter and most of the bird shots I wanted, I can generally sneak up on them close enough to get what I want anyway. The only trouble I ever had where a really long lens would have REALLY helped was when I was after a close up of a meadowlark.

I think I followed that stupid bird over half of Osage County trying to get him to sit still long enough to get a good shot of him. No sooner that I would get the camera up, ready and squeeze off the shot, that bird would take off and fly another quater mile down the road and sit there begging me to try again. Before it was done, I finally ended up tossing rocks at him. Missed every time. Bird got the better of me that day!
 
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