Sigma 500mm F4.5 APO A-mount lens review by Bob S.
|Bob S.#8107 date: Oct-17-2010|
flare control: 5
|ownership:||I own this lens|
|compared to:||Tokina 100-300/4|
|price paid:||Probably too much|
Build quality (tank!!)
Fast 4.5 aperture
Built in lens hood
No focus limit switch
|comment:||I've only had this lens for about 2 weeks and I probably haven't used it enough to do a great in-depth review, but for the short time that I've had and used it - it's a great lens - especially for it's age (it's an older "ZEN" model).|
This lens is very sharp - even wide open - but really blows away almost everything else I own once it's closed down to say f/6.3 or f/8 - even f/5.6. The bokeh is incredible; soft and buttery and really makes your subjects pop out of the picture. The colors are also pretty nice, although a little tweaking doesn't hurt. Same with the contrast; it can be the tiniest bit on the flat side.
It's a HUGE lens, built like a tank and it weighs a ton (actually it's a little over 7 pounds) and it can be pretty unwieldy when used only with a monopod; a sturdy tripod would probably be a best bet with this monster.
AF is slow, a focus limit switch would have been nice. And I can confirm that the Sigma 1.4X EX APO TC will work with this lens and it even auto-focuses on my A700 - it's slow, but it does AF. I also noticed that the TC doesn't degrade the image by any noticeable amount.
One other tiny negative about the lens (and, again, this is probably due to it's age) - the drop-in filter holder does not have a dial or wheel so using a CPOL or Split ND filter would be out of the question. The newer versions of this lens have a wheel/dial for using these filters, but they are a different size to this version of the lens so I couldn't even buy a new version's holder and use with this lens.
Compared to the older Sigma "ZEN" lenses that I've owned in the past (and sold); 400/5.6 APO and the 500/7.2 APO - what can I say? They can't come close to this lens so there is no comparison - this lens blows them away.
My version has the gold APO lettering on the side - not the white lettering like in the pictures. Also, I have no red ring around the front. I don't think this makes any difference to the quality of the lens, I just wanted to note that there are different versions of this same lens. Mine came with an aluminum carry case, a leather hood cover and an additional screw-on hood that attaches to the built-in hood (making this monster look even bigger!)
I'm hoping to get to some sporting events in the near future and really put it through it's paces.