Sigma 170-500mm F5-6.3 APO Aspherical A-mount lens review by skm.sa100

reviewer#10315 date: Jun-20-2012
sharpness: 4.5
color: 4
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.5
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP24MP24 MP36MP36 MP42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Beercan
Sony 75-300
price paid:300 USD (used)
Reasonably sharp wide open.
negative:No focus limiter
MFD (almost 10 ft!)
comment:For the price that I paid for it, I have no complaints.
The big advantage is obviously the long end.
It is reasonably stopped at 500mm and wide open and I'm happy. I don't expect the same performance from this lens as my 85mm/1.4 GD. Neither should you.

I got sharp images at 1/80s, thanks to SSS at 500mm f/6.3.
At f/8 and f/11 it is remarkably sharp but obviously not as good as the 70-400G.

Focus hunts a bit in low light but that's common to lot of other cheap zooms.
It is a slow lens, though, and I think it hits f/6.3 by 250mm or so. This is a good daylight/bright light lens but not suitable for hand held indoor low light shots. But then one would need to be quite inexperienced to expect that kind of performance from this lens.
The immediately obvious uses of this lens is for birding, airshows, sports, moonshots etc. I haven't used it on my A700 (yet) but I'm expecting quicker focus locking than my A100. Still, it could be a little slow for airshows, sports etc unless you pre-focus and shoot.
I don't have a problem hand holding at 500mm even at 1/80s.
On the whole, I am very satisfied. Check out some of the sample images I have posted.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 16
  • sharpness: 4.16
  • color: 4.19
  • build: 4.25
  • distortion: 4.63
  • flare control: 4.50
  • overall: 4.34 - Home of the alpha system photographer
In memory of Cameron Hill - brettania