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

reviewer#414 date: Jan-19-2006
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.9
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 have experience with this lens
compared to:Sigma 50-500
Canon 100-400L IS
price paid:
positive:Image quality
Build quality
negative:no zoom lock
comment:I've owned & used both Sigma 50-500 and Canon 100-400L IS on my Rebel XT and used the Sigma 170-500 on my KM 7D.
The Sigma 170-500 I have is not the latest DG version and I bought it new for $300. IMHO the DG does not provide any significant benefit on this (telephoto) lens.

The 170-500 is every bit as sharp if not sharper than the 50-500 and appeared to have better contrast than the 50-500.

Neither the 170-500 or the 50-500 were as sharp as the Canon 100-400L, but it was only evident on 100% crops.

Of course the Canon costs 5 times as much as what I paid for the 170-500.

When using the lens with my 7D, I was pleasantly surprised (shocked is a better word) that handheld shots @ 500mm were very sharp (it was freezing cold and I was shaking so bad I thought there was no way the pics were going to be any good).
I would highly recommend this lens.

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