Sigma 500mm f/4.5 EX DG HSM APO

Lens Reviews / Sigma Lenses i Not yet tested
500mm $4,849
average price
image of Sigma 500mm f/4.5 EX DG HSM APO

(From Sigma lens literature) This ultra-telephoto lens has a fast maximum aperture, and also features a new super multi-layer coating, which optimizes the characteristics of digital SLR cameras. Two ELD glass elements in the front lens elements reduce chromatic aberration to a minimum and also ensure sharp, quality images of high contrast.

The new multi layer lens coating and lens design reduce flare and ghost, which is a common problem with digital cameras and also creates an optimum color balance.

Two ELD glass elements in the front lens elements reduce chromatic aberration to a minimum and also ensure sharp, quality images of high contrast.

It also features a drop-in 46mm filter holder in the rear part of the lens barrel, which can be rotated to facilitate the use of filters, including a polarizing filter.

The AF drive for Sigma SA, Canon and Nikon SLR cameras features Sigma's ultra-quiet and high-speed Hyper Sonic Motor (HSM).

Inner focusing retains external dimensions for ease of handling.

By adding an APO teleconverter (optional extra), you can use this lens as a 700mm f/6.3 MF ultra-telephoto lens with a 1.4X EX teleconverter, or as a 1000mm f/9 MF ultra-telephoto lens with a 2X teleconverter.

Sigma 500mm f/4.5 EX DG HSM APO User Reviews

8.3/10 average of 6 review(s) Build Quality 8.3/10 Image Quality 9.0/10
  • 6 out of 10 points and recommended by bananitax (24 reviews)

    reviewed June 18th, 2023
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by andre_ (31 reviews)
    Lightweight, sharp, good AF both in DX and FF
    no water sealed, TC 1.4X without AF on Nikon cameras

    I've purchased this lens for handheld using, and it work perfectly for birdwatching.
    This 500mm is relatively lightweight, few weight more than Nikkor 300/2.8.

    The AF is quick and precise with both the D2x and D700.

    Sharpness is great from f4.5, colors are ok, with no cromatic aberration or fringing.
    I have the DG version, with the HSM motor for Nikon.

    I'm only disappointed to lost AF with the Teleconverter: it is indispensable for a lens like this.

    reviewed June 15th, 2010 (purchased for $2,000)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by Airphoto (3 reviews)
    Sharp as tack
    Heavy, HSM would be good OS would be great

    On sony, Super lens, sharp and fast focus, image stabilization doesnt do much at this point IF you have time wait for a optical stabilized version

    reviewed March 3rd, 2010 (purchased for $3,800)
  • 8 out of 10 points and recommended by Badmono (15 reviews)
    Excellent sharpness at full aperture - Cheap as chips
    I have the earlier APO version which has manual focus nad Naff 'Camo' paintjob

    I bought my lens used from a charity shop - it's the earlier APO version which has the 'Camo' paintjob and manual focus. IQ is fantastic at full aperture and the sliding lens hood makes the lens easier to store and use.
    Compared to my Canon 400 F2.8 IS L. this lens is very small and compact.
    I now have 2 sigma super teles and would recommend either. The other a 400 F5.6 APO is also excellent and a fraction of the cost of the similar Quality & aperture Canon lens.
    Well worth checking out if you can find one used for a good price.

    reviewed November 20th, 2008 (purchased for $30)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by Hokum (5 reviews)
    No weather/dust sealing

    The 500mm sigma offers few compromises yet offers excellent value for money and supurb performance. Perhaps not quite as sharp as my previous 300mm f2.8 but it is sharper than the 300 + 1.4x tc. AF is swift and sure, plus the lens nails the focus, none of the slight front focus my 300mm had.

    Build quality:
    Very good but it would be nice to get weather and dust sealing into the bargain. Even without this all you need is a sleeve cover and its fine. The tripod mount is stable and in just the correct place for a handle when hand holding.

    Image quality:
    Fantastic, i dont really need to say anything more. Good colour, contrast, sharpness. The Bokeh is not the best but certainly above average.

    Some examples:

    I would recommend this lens to anyone who is looking for more than what the 80-400's and x-500mm zooms offer.

    reviewed April 16th, 2007 (purchased for $1,800)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by macpurity (4 reviews)
    Fast AF, easy access to controls, capable of sharp images
    AF irratic with 1.4X converter, f/4.5 max

    [Please note: this review is for the previous version of this lens. The review below is for the Sigma 500mm, f/4.5, EX APO HSM lens, with aperture ring. The current marketed lens has a DG designator. It is very similar in design and construction but lacks an aperture ring.]

    This is a well made lens, what I call "a poor man's 500." I bought it, used, in September 2003. It has been a joy to operate. The Hypersonic Motor is as fast and quiet as the AF-S motors on my Nikon lenses.

    My experience has been that it is very capable of sharp images, but you do have to be spot-on with what you use as your focus target. Because of this lens, I have learned to use the AF-lock feature of my camera. Once the focus is set and locked, then recompose the shot. I normally operate this lens at f/4.5 and it performs admirably, with nice bokeh often resulting, even from busy backgrounds.

    The foot is solid and well made, with rotating collar that is easy to operate and adjust. The lens hood (not shown in this illustration) is a bayonette type of mount with thumb screw to lock it on. The lens hood reverses for storage. The Sigma soft case for this lens is just fine in its construction, offering ample protection.

    Filters can be used via a drawer located near the mount end of the lens. The drawer rotates which makes it easy for use with a circular polarizer.

    You'll need a good mount for this lens. I opted for a Gitzo Pro Studex 1325 CF set of legs and placed a Wimberley head with quick release and P50 plate for the lens. I also put a Manfrotto 3502 level head between the legs and mount, just to make set-up that much easier. I spent just more than half the price of the used lens for the mount and its been worth every penny.

    Concluding—I'd really prefer to have a Nikon 600 f/4, but given that I lack resources to own such a lens, I opted to go with the Sigma 500. I've not regretted it, and, after I win the lottery, I'd still keep it as an adjunct to the 600mm dream lens.

    reviewed November 7th, 2005 (purchased for $2,200)