Sigma 170-500mm F5-6.3 APO Aspherical A-mount lens review by Hobgoblin

reviewer#1484 date: Nov-28-2006
sharpness: 4.5
color: 4
build: 5
distortion: 4
flare control: 4
overall: 4.3
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:
price paid:Ł200 on e-bay
positive:Very sharp throughout range
robust build
extremely good for African wildlife
negative:prone to zoom creep
sometimes slow to focus
comment:I bought this lens on e-bay to take on safari to Tanzania and Kenya with my 5D and couldn't have made a better purchase.
It performed really well handheld and rested on roof of landrover (took tripod but had no chance to use it). Coped extremely well with the inevitable dust and none seems to have been sucked inside the lens.
Took well over 1,000 shots. Found that I could see more through the lens than most of my companions saw through their binoculars.
I also used a 70-300mm Sigma APO lens for when on walks in bush as the big lens was rather heavy. Took a Dimage A2 as well which, with its 28-200mm fixed lens, was great for wider angle work.
On the African plains I found that an aperture of F8 worked best under most conditions. I didn't get the chance to shoot a high speed chase but had I done so I think that opening up as wide as possible would have been my best course.
While the performance is not quite upto the same standard as Minolta G series of prime lens it does come close to the pictures I have seen taken with those.
For anyone looking for a reasonable cost wildlife lens I couldn't recommend this more highly.

Now I have tested it on the A100 I am even more impressed with its performance and sharpness

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