This lens was in my sights about 2.5 years ago when Tony Tham of Pasir Ris Elias CC PIC bought it with his Canon camera. Then there is a friend who bought it for car sports photography and I tried it and it was pretty fun too. Since then there were some updates to the lens and it generally grew to be rather popular. Various websites such as Adorama and B&H has very good user ratings except for a few complaints:
– Too heavy
– Focus slow
– Not so great in bad light/indoor
This is one lens you can basically hand hold shoot because of the OS/VR. Do note, you can shoot a slower shutter speed but once the subject move very quickly, the image will still have movement blur.
Otherwise, this camera works really well. I shot indoors during church service with spot light on subject so the auto focusing is not too bad actually. I do find zooming is tight/heavy so i actually zoom to roughly where I want to telephoto to and then shoot. Once the lens is in good light, the focusing is as good as any other top end lens.
The focus tracking is actually not that bad as the child slowly climbs up the stairs and caught him looking up.
The cost for this lens actually went as low as SGD1K but gradually went up again because of Tamron 150-600mm failed to materialise for Nikon mount. Even so, one pays about SGD1650 for the Tamron for that extra 100mm extension which I personally think can be done with a slight crop if needed be. Tamron may also justify the price premium because DxOMark has tested it to be better than competition (click here).
Sniper shots easily done.
Skin tone is really not bad especially coming from a D300.
The subjects are sitting in a shaded area but the focusing is still quite good. Colour saturation is a tad cool but is ok.
My personal feel is that for what I paid – SGD1150 – the Sigma didn’t sacrifice too much in terms of performance. Even if DxOMark says it is slightly worst off in terms of sharpness and vignetting, the Sigma actually distort lesser. Considering that the closest Canon close equivalent 100mm-400mm which is more or less the same, the Sigma is really value for money.
Sharpness is not an issue as far as I can see. Colour rendition is good too again towards the cool side.
If the Tamron and Sigma costs the same, it is a no brainer to get the Tamron. But Sigma is 500 dollars cheaper and for a APS-C user like me the difference is at best negligible (vignetting is worst on full frame since APS-C only use the centre of the image circle). So the conclusion is that the Sigma is something one can get if one is into birding, nature and have a budget to meet.
For me, I will attempt the more challenging sports photography for next year’s SEA Games in Singapore with this lens but the lens will go through its paces in Sabah this coming week.
More information: http://www.sigmaphoto.com/product/150-500mm-f5-63-apo-dg-os-hsm