Hi Guys.. I need some advice..
For a Nikon D300s, What’s the best 500mm zoom lens on the market for around $2000 or less. ??
Sigma have a few like the.. non stabilised 50-500 f/4-6.3 or the stabilised 50-500mm f/4.5-6.3 or 150-500mm etc.
Is one of these faster in focusing ?? I would really like it to be fast in focusing with very good IQ,
I would prefer 500mm but if there’s a 400mm zoom that blows all the others away I would then consider that one.
I think Nikon’s 80-400 has good IQ but not that fast to focus ( ? )
I’ve also heard that Sigma’s 120-400mm is not too bad in IQ. ( ? )
Anyway.. some advise would be good.. thanks for any comments.
Best 500mm lens..(31 posts) (15 voices)
Hi Guys.. I need some advice..
Are you sold on a zoom? If not, you could do something like the 300 f/4 with the TC-14 for about $2000, and the image quality would be better than either of the Sigmas in my mind.
Yeah… I know image quality would be better with the prime.. I guess the zoom would be just handy for a lot more shots in general.. But I will keep that in mind, Thanks.
I have been keeping an eye on the 500mm zooms myself but have not been so interested that I have gone and handled them. so from what I have read.. the 50-500 sigma seems to do much better than all the other sigmas in that range. There is also the 200-500 tamron that has had good reviews. finally that 80-400 nikkor is really sharp in the center and on a DX camera performs very very well. I have forum friends that report that there is a significant jump in focusing speed and accuracy from using it on the older and consumer cameras to a D300. some now use it for "Bird in Flight" photos.
Good luck with your lens hunt!
Thanks for your comments.. I'm still searching for more info myself. I'll look into the ones you've mentioned... Thanks.
I rented the Sigma 50-500 (non OS) lens. Overall I was generally pleased with the images if I shot at f8 or better. However, using it anything other than bright daylight was something of a challenge most of the time. Interestingly, the short range wasn't something I used much, generally I was out at 300+ for most of my shots. On a camera that could reliably shoot at ISO 800 or better it might be worth while to get the shutter speed cranked up.
Autofocus was slower than I expected,certainly slower than my 18-200 Nikon. That may have something to do with the long length and might be quite normal for this type of lens.
The lens is heavy (no surprise there) I ended up putting it on a monopod most of the time. I would like to try it with the Bush Hawk and see how that works. This lens really wants a tripod and a gimble head though. The collar on it is very nice, I wish everyone made the collar with a foot like the one on the Bigma.
I decided not to buy one after renting it, largely because of the speed of the lens more than anything.
If you are looking at the new 50-500 OS lens, you might want to check out the comments on Lens Rentals about the lens. Apparently there is a recall for a bunch of their lenses released recently, and they are still selling the effected serial numbers as I understand it. If it has problems (not all do) they you get to send it back and they will fix it, but not until it has problems. My issue with that is how long will they stand behind the lens, if you get one that doesn't have problems until it is out of warranty will they still fix it?
nobby - for Your budget there's a plenty of different choices, although IMHO only two worth considering:
- 80-400 - is still my number one choice, was using this lens on d200, d90, d300s and I'm more than pleased with IQ, as for AF, well it's not lightning fast but fast enough to capture jets in the air
- used sigma 500/4.5 - this lens is amazing, only one thing it lacks is f4 instead of f4.5, apart from that super quality for it's price (although a little bit above budget)
do not buy:
- sigma 50-500 (non os) - I had a really nice copy, very sharp but... to get good results You need to stop it down to f8, AF is slower than from 80-400vr
- sigma 50-500 (os) - played with it and the IQ is better, AF also, but still too overpriced
- tamron 200-500 - great IQ, but so f*ing slow, 70-300 is faster than that
might be or might not be good:
- sigma 100-300/f4 - nice lens, fast, great IQ - haven't field test it, but played with it couple times and it perform well
- sigma 120-300/2.8 - stop it down to f4 and You get a great IQ, fast, only drawback - zoom works like canon (opposite direction to nikon lenses, which is really annoying)
- sigma 150-500 os - forget it, bigma has better IQ than this one, I would rather get 70-300vr than this s*t
Just my 2 cents, but when I was looking for a long lens I was considering two things. thing 1 - How am I likely to use it. and thing 2 - what's the best image quality. On thing 1, I decided I would probably use it most of the time at the maxed out zoom range. (and if I shot below 200mm I would be better off with a lens I already own 80-200 f2.8). Considering this and the best image, I went for a 300mm with a 1.4 converter. Although not a zoom, it doese give me two lenghts to use and probaly even with the converter the image quality is at least as good as one of the zooms. One more factor was I read on the Sigma's was that the image quality falls of a bit once you get over 400mm, and since most of the pics would be in that range I thought it was better to go for the prime.
It’s great to get peoples comments from their own experiences.. & especially when they have tried the different lenses in question to compare etc..
( Obviously being new to photography or limited funds restricts this.. )
I'm sort of leaning towards the 80-400.. but will keep an open mind for now..
I know Primes are better for IQ.. just worried I might miss an extra shot or two by having less range when needed in a hurry.
Also, did I hear that Nikon were going to update the Nikon 80-400 or even make a 100-400 ???
Anyway.. Thanks again for all comments to this post.
I have the 'Sigma 150-500 F5-6.3 APO DG OS' and use it on my D300s and previously on a D3000 for surf photography/video.
In general terms - short of spending an-arm-and-a-leg then it is not an unreasonable lens for the price. You could certainly spend ALOT more on serious glass that performs way better, but that isn't always possible on all budgets.
One word of warning: If you plan to use it anywhere other than outside on sunny days then it may not be the right choice for you. I'd be lying if I said it performed well in cloudy/low light situations. This for me is no real show stopper - as I mainly shoot surfing, and only really like shooting on sunny days. (unless there is a good reason)
Given the choice again I'd probably have saved a bit more for a better lens, but when it was purchased it was all the budget allowed for. Having said that I still use the lens 100% of the time when shooting surf photos/vids - and don't regret buying it for a second.
Hope this helps!
Wondering if there are any new opinions here. I am going to take the plunge on a long zoom and I'm really torn. Here's my situation: I'm going to Antarctica/S. America next November. I already have the 85 f/1.4, have the 135 f/2 on long-term loan, and I can borrow the 200 f/4 macro if I want (debating that: lovely lens but bloody heavy and I'm already looking at this new heavier option below). I'm going to be hand-holding my D90 (assuming it lives that long). I know I should be using a tripod, but I want some suit case space for clothes, not just gear. So I don't need the short end because I'll have that covered with primes.
What I want is the Nikon 200-400 but at roughly $7K that's a non-starter. So I've narrowed the field to:
Nikon 300 f4 plus tele (which at $2K all-in is a little more than I wanted to spend
I have ruled out the 50-500 Bigma because I don't need the shorter lengths as mentioned plus if going Sigma I think I want the stabilization feature on the 150-500. As mentioned, the 200-400 is ruled out on price.
So... what should I do? I live in a small town so it's tough to get lenses on loan to try. I want to get this sooner rather than later BUT I'm posting here in case there are solid rumours of anything popping up in the next six months that might make the decision easier.
All advice appreciated.
By strange coincidence I'm looking at the Sigma 150-500 and Tamron 200-500 too, so I'm following this thread with interest....
Just one thing I neglected to add: I'm not really worried about low light. I totally get that at this price-point there is always going to be trade-off, and scruffiness in low light is one thing I can accept. (Like everybody else, I'm waiting for the 18-800mm f/1.8 that is tack sharp wide open and weighs 1.5 lbs. Like everyone else, I think we'll be waiting awhile.) It's going to be constant daylight in Antarctica anyway, so low light performance is the first thing I'm willing to pitch out the window.
Anyway, if anyone has tried several of these recently, please help out.
This summer I went on a 3 hour hike with my D90 and 70 - 200 2.8. If I wanted more reach I would not look for a bigger lens. I would consider a smaller camera. Why not a V1 and a 200 mm? A lot smaller combo when traveling/hiking. Just an idea to consider
@ Henrik: That is some outside-the-box thinking. Serious food for thought.
as a wildlifer I came across most of the long telephoto lenses on the market, I personally had sigma 50-500 (non os), N80-400vr and have Nikon 300 af-s f4, out of this three lenses the sharpest is N300/4 (You can get a used one from ebay for $600-$700 most), it's also the fastest AF out of this three.
N80-400 is an excellent lens, extremely sharp but it's a screwdriver driven lens, means it will only work on d300s & up bodies, no manual override is the biggest con of this lens - that's why I sold it, af is fast and accurate,
if You will go for sigma, than Your only reasonable choice is to go for 50-500 (preferably with OS), forget the rest as it's one big piece of crap, You will end up better buying N70-300vr and kenko TC. the 50-500 non OS is decent, but it needs to be stopped down to f8 (that's why I've sold this one) = You need a lot of light, which shouldn't be a problem for You in Antarctica :) I've test shot the new 50-500 OS and it's an amazing lens for it price. It's as sharp as N80-400, has OS, the only drawback is the enormous front glass and it's priced reasonably well.
Your other choice, slightly more expensive is to get sigma 500/4.5, which can be bought for $3000-$3500 used on ebay or Nikon 300/2.8 AF-S (non VR), around $2500-$3000 used on ebay.
forget any other lenses You mentioned, Tamron is excellent for static images when used on good stabilization platform, sigma 150-500 and sigma 120-400 are craps, not worth a penny IMHO, at least not in the extreme range.
edit: I've just realize that I was posting to this thread some months ago, and my feelings haven't changed that much:)
one more lens on the market, sigma 120-300/2.8 OS, excellent for it's price, works with all sigma and kenko TC
That's really helpful Adam. Thank you.
I've done internet searches and the debate between IQ on Sigma 150-500 vs 50-500 seems split down the middle, esp. now that 50-500 has stabilization (what Sigma calls "OS" and Nikon calls "VR"). Does anyone know why there is such a difference in opinion? I had assumed the 150-500 would have better IQ strictly because its range would be smaller, and I had been leaning there because I don't need the 50-150 part of the range regardless. But Adam comes along and writes off the 150-500 as crap, and he's anyone but the first. Really the debate is down the middle.
So why is that--does one side of the debate have tech specs to back it up, or is this a situation where there might be just huge variance copy-to-copy?
Further opinions on that, and opinions on the broader issue much appreciated. And again, I'd like to buy soon to get experience in N. Hemisphere summer, but if anyone has heard rumours of lenses to be released in future, I'm curious about that too.
The Sigma 150-500 has had loads of great reviews. I also could do with (OK fancy) a long lens and would normally wait until I could afford/justify a 400 2.8, but at the moment neither of those options are looking likely so the Sigma might be the way to go. If I get one it will be my first non Nikkor lens, so the dilemma for me is........if I NEED a long lens get the 400..........if I don't need one, don't buy the Sigma. Decisions decisions.
I'm going to Antarctica/S. America next November. I already have the 85 f/1.4, have the 135 f/2 on long-term loan, and I can borrow the 200 f/4 macro ... So I don't need the short end because I'll have that covered with primes.
what are you shooting? is the 85 your shortest lens? if i were you i would try to get a wider lens.
@shawnio - the variations between one sigma copyand other can be dramaticall and that's unfortunatelly true, especially with the older lenses. as for the 150-500 and 50-500, as I've mentioned before I had the bisgma and was also thinking to get the 150-500 at that time, unfortunatelly I've tested couple of copies and neither one of them was good beyond the 350-400mm range - and that's why we buy this lenses anyway. the af on bigma is also a little bit snappier. apart from that bigma was (the non os version) marked as EX lens - better support, better quality control, slightly better build. the new bigma with os lacks this but got the fluoride glass, which helped it a lot in the area of contrast and sharpness. the OS is really working and You can easily handheld it.
re 150-500 vs 50-500 .. I dont think that there is actually a "split" in opinions. most of the reviews that say that the 150-500 is good doesn't actually compare it with the 50-500 version(or many other lenses). so I think if you read the reviews carefully the consensus is really that the 50-500 is the better lense (just as what adamz says)
Thanks one and all. I sure do appreciate it. But don't stop posting.
@Gareth: I'm all set below 85. It's amazing what a thousand dollars can buy at the normal and wide end. Or rather, it's amazing to me.
Or, more dramatically, just based on B&H prices, a person can buy either:
600mm nikon tele prime
D700 + 85mm 1.4 + 50mm 1.4 +35mm 1.4 + 24mm 1.4 nikon primes (what a whack of lenses that is...) and have a few hundred dollars left.
It's frustrating/aggravating to me that the long lenses are so expensive.
Basically I'm going to Antarctica shooting three things in mind:
Birds that fly (looking for a long lens...)
Birds that don't (35mm prime will shoot penguins all day long and I have my 85mm too)
Landscape (have a perfectly serviceable wide zoom and the 35 and 85 will do a job here too)
...of course as I've never been, it may not turn out that way. I may fall in love with the penguins and the 35mm will stay on my body all month. No clue. I should plan more, but I find my first trip anywhere sees me reacting and trying to keep an open mind instead of planning.
you might want to check your luguage restrictions to antarctica. i had to use all of my and my wifes cabin allowance just to bring my camera stuff back from japan. your are usually restricted to 10kg, which is the main issue.
are you leaving from chile? there will be strict baggage allowances on those small planes.
@gareth: good call. As it's kind of nature/photo-centric, the allowances are very generous. I checked before booking but if I could take your comments, put them in bold, and make them flash for the next traveler, I'd do it in a second. Sage advice, and thanks for raising it.
Facing an amazing opportunity like this one I would be looking to buy a used 300, 400 or 500 Nikon prime off of ebay and then sell it when I got back from the trip for exactly what I paid for it.
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