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.
So Sigma that is.
It arrived today, so these are pretty much my first impressions.
What's in the box?
- 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
This thing is HUGE
. 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
BIGMOS and 70-300 IS USM - all extended
BIGMOS and 70-300 IS USM - all extended with hoods
BIGMOS and 70-300 IS USM - all extended with hoods side by side with the 40D
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
Focusing window and Logos:
Switches: Could be better and an Focus Limit would help a LOT
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
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:
Bigmos extended on the 40D:
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:
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.
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.
EDIT: A few more pics with the 150-500mm and the 40D: