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PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2009 12:23 am 
I was scratching my head for a while because I wanted more reach than my 70-300 IS USM would give me, but super-teles usually are pretty expensive. My choices were budget limited to two (as many many others): Canon 100-400L or Sigma 150-500 OS.

After reading many reviews and checking every single post on internet forums for results of both, I made my mind on the 100-400L. At that time it was a bit more expensive, but then the bad times came and now you can find the Canon for 1400 USD while the Sigma is around 800 USD (900 USD delivered in Brazil). That made my decision simpler, since I just could not afford the Canon anymore. 8)
So Sigma that is.

It arrived today, so these are pretty much my first impressions.

What's in the box?

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- Sigma 150-500 OS f/5-6.3
- Lens Hood (HUGE, made of plastic but very well finished)
- Carrying Bag (EX logo on it)
- Straps for both Case AND lens (to help carry it mounted on the camera. Very handy!)
- Instructions Manual
- Warranty card

First Impressions

This thing is HUGE and HEAVY. It's not big. It's HUGE.
It weights 2Kg, but is extremely well balanced. Once mounted on the body, the center of gravity stays right on the tripod mount, so it is very comfortable to handhold. Bad news are that since its weight, your arms will suffer after a while, even with the good balance.
Some pictures for you to realize the size:

BIGMOS and 70-300 IS USM - all retracted
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BIGMOS and 70-300 IS USM - all extended
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BIGMOS and 70-300 IS USM - all extended with hoods
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BIGMOS and 70-300 IS USM - all extended with hoods side by side with the 40D
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The Lens Itself

This is not an EX lens, but it sure looks and handles like one. It is very solid, well damped, and has the EX finish on it (opaque). The 70-200L 2.8 I have seems more robust tough. If the 70-200 2.8 was a 10, I would give the Bigmos an 8.5 with honor.
The switches on the other hand, I didn't like. Oh the Canon they are small and protected. On the Sig they are salient and you can easily turn your OS (IS) on and off accidentally.
An focusing limit switch would help a LOT. Sig misses this one. :(

Zoom ring: very stiff and solid. I'm sure it will wear with time tough
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Focusing window and Logos:
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Switches: Could be better and an Focus Limit would help a LOT
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Using the Lens

The HSM ring motor proved to be... surprising. It is way faster than my non-ring USM on the 70-300, but is way slower than my ring USM on the 70-200 f/2.8.
The video at the end of the review shows the speed.
On the other hand, it focused precisely with "not so good" light conditions (6:00 PM on a cloudy day). It even kept track of an flying swallow (pretty quick bird) on that conditions! I was really surprised :shock:
The OS is ROCK SOLID and worked perfectly for all shots. It's more solid than my 70-300 IS. 10 of a 10 here. It could only start faster.. (1 sec. delay to start).

Bigmos retracted on the 40D:
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Bigmos extended on the 40D:
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My serial number is over 102000, so I didn't have any problems with the 40D that the serials below 100000 used to have.


AUTO FOCUSING SPEED VIDEO:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4MyCTadlx7o


Working with Tele-Converter

The Bigmos will work with the Kenko 1.4x Tele if you tape the pins only. If you don't, it will report f/9.0 and the 40D will lose AF.
When you tape the pins, the camera will read f/5.6 and will AF with any AF point EXCEPT THE CENTER ONE. It is an drawback, but you get yourself an 700mm OS handholdable lens! Pretty good deal to me.
The IQ is not much affected, but AF speed is. It will hunt a bit before locking in.

Conclusion

Up to now this proved to be an great value lens. It's an keeper for me and I just loved every aspect about it. Great price against its rival, the 100-400L, but with pretty close IQ, better OS, bigger range and not "look at me" white.
8)

EDIT: A few more pics with the 150-500mm and the 40D:

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Last edited by Alex_Venom on Fri Apr 03, 2009 6:36 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2009 1:23 am 
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Hi Alex,

Sounds like great value. Thanks for the review and I'm looking forward to some images once you've had a little more time with the lens. 8)

Bob.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2009 3:23 am 
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Looking fwd to your pics Alex.
Lil bit of practice and handholding will be okay, theres almost always something to use for a rest.
Never when you need it but sometimes... :lol:
Good light days it's not an issue :wink:

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2009 5:26 am 
Looks like an excellent lens Alex!

Maybe I should look into picking it up... hmm...

*Must Resist Temptation*


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2009 8:17 am 
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While I'm unlikely to swap from the 100-400L any time soon, it certainly sounds like a winner :)

Also very interesting about the AF with TC. I thought the center one was supposed to be most sensitive... not the side ones so maybe that's where I was going wrong when I tried similar. I'll have to give that a try myself later.

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Lenses: EF 35/2, 50/1.8, 85/1.8, 135/2+SF, 28-80 V, 70-300L, 100-400L, TS-E 24/3.5L, MP-E 65, EF-S 15-85 IS
3rd party: Zeiss 2/50 makro, Samyang 8mm fisheye, Sigma 150 macro, 120-300 f/2.8 OS, Celestron 1325/13
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2009 12:48 pm 
Hi, everyone! Thanks for the kind comments! :wink:

@Popo: You should not swap, Popo. The 100-400L is a better lens IQ and build wise. If you didn't have it, I would say "Ok.. get the Sig and save a few bucks", but if you have (or can afford) the 100-400L, you will probably get better results, even using an 1.4x tele, @ 560mm.

Well, I took some pics today for you all to evaluate. The sun is shining so the light conditions are pretty good. I included one from yesterday (@ 6:00 PM on a cloudy day) for you to see the high ISO results too.
All those shots are straight out of the body, converted from RAW to JPEG and resized by Flickr. No sharpening applied, no adjustments at all. What you see is what you get, ok? 8)

This one is from yesterday, @ 6:00PM, cloudy day and pretty bad light conditions:
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100% Center Crop
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100% Corner Crop
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Tower @ 800m away
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Just for you to have an better idea, this one was taken with the 70-300 IS USM @ 250mm from the same spot:
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100% Center Crop
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100% Corner Crop
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Building
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100% Center Crop
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100% Corner Crop
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Church around 1 mile away
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100% Center Crop
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100% Corner Crop
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Cherries at 15 meters away
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100% Center Crop
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100% Corner Crop
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2009 1:00 pm 
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Interesting... in some of those pics, I do wonder if the corner crops look sharper than the center? Particularly the tower one. Slight mis focus perhaps?

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Canon DSLRs: 7D, 5D2, 1D, 600D, 450D full spectrum, 300D IR mod
Lenses: EF 35/2, 50/1.8, 85/1.8, 135/2+SF, 28-80 V, 70-300L, 100-400L, TS-E 24/3.5L, MP-E 65, EF-S 15-85 IS
3rd party: Zeiss 2/50 makro, Samyang 8mm fisheye, Sigma 150 macro, 120-300 f/2.8 OS, Celestron 1325/13
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2009 1:04 pm 
popo wrote:
Interesting... in some of those pics, I do wonder if the corner crops look sharper than the center? Particularly the tower one. Slight mis focus perhaps?


Yep.. I noticed that too. I'm pretty sure it's my technique tough. As I said, all those were handheld and I'm kind of a skinny guy, so call me "Sir Shake A Lot" 8)

I could try doing it on the tripod, but I really think the purpose of this lens is to be handholdeable so I wanted to test this feature first.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2009 1:42 pm 
Here is the same church but with the 1.4X Tele attached.
It auto-focused on the very right AF point so I had to recompose. The original focus was exactly on the border between the windows and the dome, right above the left window.

@150mm, AF, for comparison purposes:
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@700mm, AF
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100% Center Crop:
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100% Corner Crop:
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CA is more evident on the corners, but I don't think there's a big impact on sharpness (for my taste, considering we're adding 200mm to the lens).
What do you guys think?


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2009 4:10 pm 
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I think....

It looks to be a good day for pic takin....
GET THE HECK OFF THE PUTER AND GET OUT THERE!!!

Birds in flight....
Big rodents....
Ducks....

Go man go!!! :D

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2009 4:33 pm 
kpr wrote:
I think....

It looks to be a good day for pic takin....
GET THE HECK OFF THE PUTER AND GET OUT THERE!!!

Birds in flight....
Big rodents....
Ducks....

Go man go!!! :D


I would love to, KPR, but I got a cold during the Carnival and am pretty sick. Can't go out looking like a zombie... :cry:
But I'm taking all my medicines and I hope I'll be good for the weekend, so I can get you all some wildlife with this baby :wink:


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2009 4:38 pm 
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Impressive pictures, looks like a great lens, apart from some chromatic abberation. :)

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 28, 2009 2:38 pm 
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Alex_Venom wrote:

I would love to, KPR, but I got a cold during the Carnival and am pretty sick. Can't go out looking like a zombie... :cry:


Got a "cold" from Carnival.....hmmmmm :roll:
Yup, this sailor has suffered a few of those "colds"... :lol:

Get well soon, hopefully before I go back to dialup Monday :roll:

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 04, 2009 1:01 pm 
Two more on a "not so good" light condition with the 1.4x Tele attached.
Both AF ( :shock: ). Looks pretty good to me considering the light AND the 1.4x Tele together.

Subjects at around 16 Meters away @ 1120mm effective f/9.0 (500 * 1.4 tele * 1.6 body). On the yellow bird you can see some "high ISO sharpness" due to noise. I wonder how it will behave on perfect light conditins..


Full:

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100%:

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Full:

Image

100%:

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 04, 2009 1:37 pm 
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That chroma noise is most likely due to your sensor, and not the lens though.

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