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Sigma Telephoto Zoom lenses for Four Thirds DSLRs

Zoom lenses with a focal range above 50mm are known as telephoto zooms. Like telephoto prime lenses with fixed focal lengths, these fit less in, and are therefore ideal for getting closer to distant subjects or picking out detail; they also give a more flattering effect when taking photos of people. In contrast to wide-angle, lenses with longer focal lengths have an inherently smaller depth-of-field, which means it’s easier to get a blurred background effect – again ideal for portrait, wildlife and sports photography.

Good focal lengths for portraits are typically between 85mm and 135mm – these are often known as short telephotos. Appropriate focal lengths for sports or wildlife are generally much longer – at least 200mm, and ideally 300mm or more. Professional sports and wildlife photographers often use 600mm lenses, or even longer still. These are known as super-telephotos.

The most popular telephoto zoom range is 70-300mm, which covers portrait work while getting reasonably close to distant subjects. Depending on your preferences, you may prefer a longer range, or sacrifice the range for a brighter aperture. As before, lenses with smaller f-numbers gather more light thanks to their bigger apertures, which makes them better in dim conditions and for minimising the depth-of-field. Bigger apertures however mean a larger, heavier and more expensive lens.

As focal lengths increase, the risk of camera-shake becomes greater, so telephoto zooms with image stabilisation are preferred. Sigma refers to these models with the letters OS and these can let you handhold shots with shutter speeds three to four times slower than normal. Note these won’t stop a moving subject from blurring though, which brings many enthusiasts back to large aperture models.

As always, bear in mind any reduction in field due to your DSLRs sensor when choosing a lens. Models complying with the Four Thirds standard have a reduction factor of 2x, which effectively multiply lens focal lengths by two times. So if you go for a typical 70-300mm lens, you’ll actually have an equivalent of 140-600mm. For a full explanation of lens specifications and examples of coverage at different focal lengths, check out our Camera Labs Lens Buyers Guide.


Sigma 50-500mm f4-6.3 APO DG HSM

Focal length: 50-500mm
Aperture: f4-6.3
Lens mount: 4/3-mount
Equiv on 4/3 DSLR: 100-1000mm
  Anti-shake: No
AF motor: HSM
Closest focus: 100-300cm
Filter thread: 86mm
Lens hood: LH935-01
  Construction: 20 el. / 16 groups
Diaphragm blades: 9
Weight: 1840g
Size (diam x length): 95x219mm

Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 II APO EX DG Macro HSM

Focal length: 70-200mm
Aperture: f2.8
Lens mount: 4/3-mount
Equiv on 4/3 DSLR: 140-400mm
Anti-shake: No
AF motor: HSM
  Closest focus: 100cm
Filter thread: 77mm
Lens hood: LH850-01
Construction: 18 el. / 15 groups
Diaphragm blades: 9
Weight: 1370g
Size (diam x length): 87x184mm

Sigma 300-800mm f5.6 APO EX HSM

Focal length: 300-800mm
Aperture: f5.6
Lens mount: 4/3-mount
Equiv on 4/3 DSLR: 450-1200mm
Anti-shake: No
AF motor: HSM
  Closest focus: 600cm
Filter thread: 46mm (rear)
Lens hood: LH1571-02
Construction: 18 el. / 16 groups
Diaphragm blades:9
Weight: 5880g
Size (diam x length): 166x544mm

Sigma lenses for Four Thirds DSLRs
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