Sigma 170-500mm F5-6.3 APO Aspherical A-mount lens review by spmcfarland
|spmcfarland#4755 date: Jan-28-2009|
flare control: 5
|ownership:||I own this lens|
|compared to:||Sigma 70-300 4.5-6 Apo Macro|
|price paid:||375 USD (used)|
Reasonably Sharp when stopped down
|comment:||While this lens certainly pales in comparison to the faster $1000+ lenses out there, it's still a pretty good value.|
It's sharpness degrades somewhat at 500mm and it works best when stopped down to about F/8. This should be expected for a zoom lens at this price range.
It is substantially sharper than the Sigma 70-300 APO, even at 500mm, which surprised me, as I have been very happy with that lens.
The AF is quieter and faster than the 70-300 (and the Sony 18-70 kit lens) but it definitely hunts in low light or at full zoom.
The construction feels very solid, despite being mostly plastic. When mounted the lens and camera feel like a single piece, which is very reassuring.
When pointed down, the zoom has a tendency to extend, so I have to be careful when carrying it out of the case.
Speaking of the case, this lens is huge - much to large to fit in my normal walkabout camera bag, so I have to carry a separate case for it. Often I know that I'll be using this lens exclusively (shooting birds nesting, for example) so I can leave the rest of my kit in the car. But if I'm not sure what lens I'll need, it's a hassle to carry an extra case along just for this lens.
Overall, this is a nice lens that falls into a much-neglected middle ground between small zooms (70-300) and truly big glass (400mm F/4). Many people advise to wait until you can afford the big glass, but that's not always feasible.
If sharpness is all that matters, then you should spend 4-5 times as much on a long prime. But if you're willing to sacrifice a little sharpness for affordability, this lens is a good option.