December 21, 2014, 07:08:19 PM

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Topics - colvinatch

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Lenses / Sigma Big Glass Impressions
« on: September 05, 2014, 12:01:18 PM »
First let me say that I am a lens snob, fanatic etc... I have always only purchased Canon lenses and recently mostly L series glass.  My experience with "off brand" lenses has not been that stellar so I have avoided them in the past.  Recently I was about to purchase a long Canon lens (the 100-400 L pumper zoom) and I noticed that my local camera store had a Sigma 150-500 used for less than half the cost of the Canon. 

I was reluctant but the store manager gave me a 30 day trial period and I could return the lens no questions asked.  What could I lose? I was about to head out to a trip to the Smokies to shoot wildlife so I thought I would give the new Sigma a trial run.  Fully expecting the lens to be a dud and looking for reasons to return It I put it on my trusty 7D (I wanted the crop factor, making this effectively an 800mm lens with image stabilization). 

The first few images were soft and unimpressive, until I put the camera on a tripod and began to adjust the micro focus, of the lens profile in the 7D.  Once that was dialed in the lens performed well at 500mm with a wide open aperture.  Stopped down to f10 it was very sharp, zoomed back to 300 and 400mm the results were excellent.  Not quite as sharp as my 70-200 f4.0 but very good.  The autofocus is a bit slow, but if you are already in the ballpark the lens can make small adjustments in focus more quickly than asking it to change focus from min focusing to infinity

Once I got it into the field and was able to evaluate the real world image making ability of this lens they were excellent, the lens is long, heavy and unwieldy, but on the crop body 7D they are very sharp with excellent color and contrast.     

I fully realize that this is not a Canon L series lens, it is not weather sealed, but the build feels very solid, the controls are smooth (not quite as smooth as my 24-70 L or 70-200 L but not as raspy as my 50mm 1.4) and I am getting excellent images.  I have shot with the best glass Canon offers and love it, but when I need to go long I have found this lens to be more than adequate to produce a sharp, saturated and contrasty images that makes a outstanding prints.  I will post some images soon, has anyone else owned this lens and if so are you experiencing similar results?

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