Chuck Lantz's reviews

  • Sigma 150-500mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM APO

    10 out of 10 points and recommended
    Reach, Silent motor, fast target acquisition speed, reasonable price, sturdy build, lightweight for its size
    Some may find it "plasticy", but the use of plastic keeps it both lighter and less expensive. MF only with a TC.

    This is the third Sigma 500mm zoom that I've owned. The first was their non-OS 50-500mm, and then their 50-500mm OS and finally the 150-500mm OS. I use the 150-500mm on Nikons, including a D3, D700, D7100, D300 and D2X.

    At 5-6.3 it isn't the fastest 500mm zoom on the planet, but considering the cost and performance, it's definitely a bargain. I paid $799 for a refurbished, like-new model from Sigma in New York.

    I use it for action sports shooting, almost all of it outdoors during daylight hours, including yacht racing, and occasionally for large artificially-lighted stadium events, such as baseball and Super-cross motorcycle racing. Shooting in such light is not a problem with the higher ISO capabilities of the D3, D700 and D7100.

    The exterior finish of the 150-500, being mostly plastic instead of painted metal, holds up very well. It still looks brand-new, after a year of salt-water spray, dust and dirt.

    Functionally, the Sigma HSM AF motor is smooth, quick and dead-silent, even when used on non-internal lens drive Nikons such as the D5300. The long tripod/monopod mount, with finger-indents, makes it very easy to carry even with a heavy D3 attached.

    As with any lens with this range, you can only use MF with a TC, but that's a minor issue. Though no lightweight, it's not as heavy as you might expect, weighing 62.8 oz, much less than Sigma's 120-300 2.8 lens, which weighs 104 oz.

    Shooting hand-held is not a problem, for me anyway, and the OS makes it even easier. I shot my non-OS Sigma 50-500 hand-held most of the time, and at any speed of 125s and above, at 500mm, I could get sharp images. The weight of both lenses is similar, as is the tripod handle shape and location, which is a big help when hand-holding.

    As others have mentioned, f8 seems to be the sweet-spot for sharpness, though I haven't noticed any marked sharpness drop-off at any aperture.

    All things considered, it's my favorite lens for sports shooting. With a minimum focus distance of 86.6 inches, and a 500mm reach (about 750mm on a DX body), it's got all the coverage I usually need. I would definitely recommend it, and I'd buy it again.

    Please note: Sigma has discontinued this lens, though it appears to still be available at the Sigma website, both new and refurbished.

    reviewed May 8th, 2015 (purchased for $799)