Any experience with the 150-500 Sigma with bird photography?

Discussion in 'Nature' started by naturegirl99, Jun 22, 2009.

  1. I have a Nikon D90 and my longest current lens is the Nikon 70-300 mm f4/5.6 AF-S VR IF ED. I would like to increase my focal length range in order to improve my bird and wildlife photography, and am considering purchasing the Sigma APO 150-500 mm f5/6.3 DG OS HSM telezoom. Although I know the value of working with prime teles when it comes to birds, I simply cannot justify purchasing a $5000 - $10,000+ lens.
    If anyone has had experience in the field working with this lens, I would very much appreciate your input. Many thanks!
  2. it really depends on your demands for output quality. . . If i were you I'd skip that lens entirely and buy a nikon 500 f4 (P) a good support and start learning how to use it. You will so often be at 500mm and at 500mm that lens is not worth much. . .

    Go with the 500 f4 (P) and you can start producing stunning images. . .

  3. What you really need to do is to step up to the Sigma 200-500 f/2.8
    bhphotovideo link
  4. There is a review of the 150-500 Sigma here
    I use the 120-400 Sigma as my long telephoto and it gets heavy after lugging it around for an afternoon. The 150-500 wasn't available when I made my purchase or I would have probably purchased it instead. That said, I've been reasonably happy with images I get from the 120-400.
  5. I use a Canon with several of these Sigma telezoom for two years. Most of the time I didn't use anything but 375-425mm because at the max length the photos are not sharp. These lens wide open just don't proform as well as you may hope. Most of the time you'll never be close enough to use 150-200mm. Plus there is the weight issue if you hike any distance. So I finally purchased a prime, 400mm. What a difference in the quality! And I don't miss the other options of having a zoom.
    Not to knock this forum but there are some very good reviews of other options on the These people are mostly birders with experiance on what works in the field. Very helpful info before making a big purchase on all types of lens.
  6. Forgot to add one more thing...twice the AF motor burned out on one Sigma lens. And the lens was never abused/dropped. I'm not impressed with the quality of the lens as well as the photo quality.
  7. I like Sigma lenses. I currently have two. Both work superb and one of them is about 15 years old and running strong. But I once owned the 150-500. I bought it for a trip to Alaska. What I noticed was that past 425mm the image quality began to take a real hit and focusing in the infinity area was real haphazard and sloppy the closer you went to 500. I had bought it because I could not afford a big straight prime or a better quality zoom. I thought it would be a good budget zoom but it really wasn't. The 50-500 believe it or not gets better reviews than the 150-500. But if you can wait a little, stash a little extra money to the side, I'd opt for another choice.
  8. You might find this interesting:
    Cheers! Jay
  9. A shame you don't shoot canon... you could avail yourself of the excellent 400/5.6 or 100-400/5.6 L. You might want to try the 300/4 with a 1.4x TC for optimum image quality at a longish focal length.
    That being said, I have heard good things about that lens out to about 450mm or so. I had some success with the older sigma 50-500 (again, out to about 450mm) but was never really a fan.
  10. Hi Nancy,
    All my sigmas have needed service one time at the other, so I've kinda stopped thinking about sigma. I currently use a 300/4 AF-S plus TC14EII to give me a 420mm/5.6 lens. It doesn't have stabilization and definitely takes quite a fair bit of effort to get shots that are tact sharp. The TC17E will give 510mm/6.? equivalent. You'll probably need to weigh cost, easy of transport, zoom functionality, optical quality and stablization, and possible loss of autofocus at apertures smaller than 5.6. I definitely have no qualms about shooting my 300 with the 14e tc.
  11. Hi Nancy,
    I purchased the 150-500 last week. Today half way through my shoot the AF failed. I am not happy with the quality of pictures too.
    Though it comes with a world wide warranty - it gives me little confidence any more. I have all along been owing Nikon lenses and this is my first indiscretion. I am going to stay with Nikon glass henceforth.
    Meanwhile my complaint to sigma is lodged already and I hope things should be resolved soon.
  12. Just another vote for Canon or Nikon ..and not for Sigma.
    Sigma has a few fine optics, but they have been known for decades as making lenses that fall apart.
    Tamron is a better 3rd part lens maker, in my opinion only
  13. Sriram & Nancy, I have had a 150-500 Sigma for ~1 year and am very very pleased with it. I have a Canon 100-400 IS/L and for birds but have stuck with the Sigma since I got it.
    To get the most from it I found you really need to avoid f/6.3 or even 7 if possible, it's not as sharp it seems. Also, I found PS sharpening of images needs a totally different radius (bigger) than the Canon does in order to get the same relative sharpness. Sure, it's not the fastest lens but considering the cost and weight benefits, it's okay with me.
    I posted this in another thread and then saw this question about the Sigma 150-500.
  14. Thanks for all your great suggestions, everyone; most of the advice seems to suggest what I guess I already know; that a prime lens is always better. It would probably take me a looong time to save up that kind of $$$, but I suppose it's worth it in the end. Many thanks!
  15. If you would like to look at my Flickr site, most of the recent shots are with the 150-500 Sigma.
    I have to say that I am still struggling to determine the best settings but overall, for the price, I dont think there is better value out there.

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