Sigma 500mm F7.2 APO A-mount lens reviews

reviews found: 11   
reviewer#11739 date: Mar-21-2014
sharpness: 3
color: 3
build: 5
distortion: 3
flare control: 3
overall: 3.4
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 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sigma 70-210 2.8 APO and Beercan
price paid:~90 USD (used)
positive:Cheap 500 mm. Build quality. Sturdy.
negative:Color is not the best and it seems be quite unsharp.
comment:I will get back with a more thoroughly review when I have tested this lens in bright sunlight. I suspect that the unsharpiness could be a consequence of the grey weather today and the need of going up in ISO and exposure time. I did this rewiev mainly to say that it works as it should with my A77 because noone had said anything about this lens on a 24 mp aps-c camera yet and I would have had an second thought and wouldn't bought it if I hadn't have the opportunity to test it with my camera before the deal was done.
reviewer#6007 date: Sep-7-2009
sharpness: 4.5
color: 4
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.7
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 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:
missing
price paid:300 euro(used)
positive:price
lightweight
negative:
missing
comment:
missing
reviewer#5951 date: Aug-31-2009
sharpness: 3.5
color: 4
build: 3
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.1
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 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I used to own this lens
compared to:Minolta 400mm f4.5
price paid:230 EUR (used)
positive:lightweight & compact for a 500mm
nice travel lens for safari
price for a 500mm
negative:slow.... only f7.2
AF hunts,
not too sharp
comment:I bought this lens in 2001 when I went on a safari Kenya. Only had a film camera back then. I was really pleased with it, since it allowed me to get better shots of animals compared to the other photographers using 'only' 200 or 300mm lenses.

For the bright light conditions on the savanne it works pretty ok. In dim light it becomes harder to work with it, especially since the AF tends to overshoot, backtrace, overshoot again (might be my copy only that had this?).

On digital camera's I started to notice the sharpness is not really great and compared to the minolta 400mm it surely gets it ass kicked in sharpness.

But ... you can get a 500mm for a relatively low price and it is not a huge beast to carry around.
reviewer#4001 date: Aug-25-2008
sharpness: 3.5
color: 4
build: 5
distortion: 4
flare control: 4
overall: 4.1
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 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I used to own this lens
compared to:Beercan
Minolta AF 75-300 F4.5-5.6
Tamron SP 500
price paid:140 GBP (used)
positive:Focal length
Relatively close minimum focus distance
Solid build
Nicer bokeh than the Tamron mirror lens
Not too heavy
Nice manual focus
AF works on KM 5D and Sony A700
negative:Slow speed
Soft at 7.2
Center AF point only
comment:I blow hot and cold over this lens.

I use the 500 for birds and wildlife. With a beanbag or tripod/monopod and a bit of post processing, it's capable of some good results; but, its main drawback is that, even with ISO pushed high, this lens is often too slow to reliably capture moving targets in less than perfect light.

Focus on the A700 is quick and precise; but, due to the lens's small maximum aperture, only the center AF point works - because of this there's a tendency towards composing shots with the target subject at dead center of the frame.

Overall, for what it cost, I think that this lens has been a good buy.
reviewer#3487 date: Apr-19-2008
sharpness: 4.5
color: 4
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.7
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 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:
missing
price paid:180 EUR (like a new)
positive:Cheap
Very Good Build
Light Weight
negative:A bit slow
Slow AF
comment:
missing
reviewer#3076 date: Dec-16-2007
sharpness: 4.5
color: 4
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.7
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 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sigma 400mm/5.6 - I like the 400mm and find both of these quite good especially considering the usual prices asked. I think they go for less than they are worth because most are afraid they will get a copy that won't work on digital.

Minolta 500mm/8 - Heavier than the Minolta but a tick faster at 7.2 with ability to stop down without having to use filters, no doughnut shaped bokeh highlights.
price paid:160 USD (used)
positive:Cheap (usually) when you can find one though... Solid and not overly heavy. Sofar photos looks quite sharp even at f7.2 although A100 reports f7.1
negative:Hunts a bit especially in low light although in good light it focuses quickly and in not so good light it may go back and forth once or twice before locking on. In poor light it really has difficulties. Of course don't think it was intended for poor light... A touch on the heavy side but not too much, still "hand holdable"
comment:This lens is quite good especially considering the usual prices asked. I think they go for less than they are worth because most potential buyers are afraid they will get a copy that won't work on digital. I have had three 500/8 pass through my hands and they all focused very well and were quite sharp and they definitely work with digital so are a safer bet, however for that safety you have to pay much more. Had I not come across the "gem" I would have kept a 500/8. Now I wonder whether I should keep the 400/5.6, I think I will, for now...
reviewer#3027 date: Dec-3-2007
sharpness: 4
color: 4
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.6
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 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:minolta 500 mirror
price paid:Ł200
positive:its a 500 mm
reasonable price
good build
reasonable weight
negative:a bit slow max aperture
a bit slow focussing
needs a tad post processing
comment:Ok its not a G lens but its built to compromise

It isn't the fastest lens but the DOF is OK at 7.2
Its well built but you don't need a small truck to carry it around It shouldn't leave to large a hole in your pocket and no guilt if you don't use it every day

Focus - even on spot - can hunt a little on some subjects and you will probably have to boost the color and contrast in post processing

Just about hand holdable on a sunny day - given the sony in body anti shake

reviewer#2029 date: Mar-25-2007
sharpness: 4
color: 4
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.4
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 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sigma 70-300 APO
price paid:200 USD (Used)
positive:Cheap
Solid Build
Relatively Light - Can be shot handheld!
Integrated Hood
negative:Poor Color and Contrast
Pictues need lots of PP
Slow
comment:In my opinion an excellent option to get into the long telephoto range. The lens can be used handheld with anti-shake effectively or tripod mounted using the standard mount. At f7.2, the lens is slow, but usable outdoors where the lens will likely be used. I probably would not recommend it for birding or where fast AF is required, but in other situations where af speed is not important (or where manual focus is an option) it is a good alternative to higher price lens.

I marked down the sharpness and color rating, however nice photos can be made using some post processing.

Update: After learning how to best utilize this lens, I increased the sharpness and color ratings to 4 from 3.5. It can get some amazing shots straight out of the camera under the proper conditions.
reviewer#1334 date: Oct-17-2006
sharpness: 3.5
color: 4
build: 5
distortion: 5
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 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I have experience with this lens
compared to:1.4/50
2.8/100 Macro
price paid:550 Euro (new)
positive:solid build. compact.
negative:not very sharp
comment:This lens is not really worth it. You can get o.k. pictures, but they are really not very sharp. No comparison to G-quality primes.
If you plan on selling your pics, then this lens is not going to work for you. Even stopping down doesn't help here.
reviewer#624 date: Mar-24-2006
sharpness: 4
color: 3
build: 4
distortion: 4
flare control: 4
overall: 3.8
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 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I have experience with this lens
compared to:- Minolta 70-210/4, 85/1,4G(D), 135/2,8
- Nikon 80-200/2,8
price paid:130 Euros (used)
positive:- light weight, long range
- very good value for money
- quite sharp
- autofocus works quite well
- retractable lens hood, focus stop button, rotating tripod mount
- bokeh generally quite nice wide open in normal scenes, not so much with extreme highlights
negative:- chromatic aberations
- colors and contrast a little dull
- only central autpfocus point usable due to slow maximum aperture
- focus limiter would be useful
comment:Owned one for about 3 months. Got it for 125 € in nice condition.

Built quality is very good, I liked it much more than a Sigma 24-70/2,8 EX DG I owned for a few days before returning it.

This lens is actually able to produce surprisingly sharp images from a tripod. Hand-holding is quite possible as well with higher ISO settings. Chromatic aberations are pronounced wide open but get better stopped down. Flare hasn't been much of a problem thanks to the useful retractable lens hood.

Autofocus isn't lightning-fast, actually it is quite slow. But probably not worse than the 70-210/4. It works perfectly with static subjects but not so much with moving ones.

However, in the end it kept sitting on my shelf because it did'nt suite my shooting style well. It's very hard to track fast moving objects like birds at 500mm with the central autofocus point. Furthermore, I found the lens to be just not flexible enough. I will probably try to get a xx-400/x-5,6 zoom to substitute this lens some day... or a 70-200 SSM with 2x converter, if I can afford it.

Also, while it's a very short lens for its focal length, it still takes quite a bit of space in the backpack.
reviewer#312 date: Dec-21-2005
sharpness: 4
color: 4
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.6
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 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I have experience with this lens
compared to:Tokina 100-300mm f/4 ATX
Tokina 400mm ATX f/5.6
price paid:200 USD
positive:lightweight, sharp 500mm lens
good bokeh
price
negative:slower than pro 500mm lenses
comment:I have only owned this lens for two weeks and the sun hasn't appeared in that time. However I was able to get some shooting time, so here is a preliminary review.

Overall, a very usable 500mm prime lens. It is sharp (with appropriate technique for this focal length). It is a reasonably sharp at 7.2, but sharper at f/11. I will do a more scientific controlled measure of sharpness later.

This lens appears to offer good value. It can be bought on E-bay for less that $250 and there is no other fixed focus 500mm lens that can compare in this price range. It is light and handholdable, although the 750mm effective focal length limits how much handholding you can do with the 7D/5D, even with AS.

The KM 500mm reflex is more expensive, but I don't like reflex lenses in general. This 7.2 lens will obviously have better bokeh than the reflex lens.

So far I am very pleased with this lens. It is at least as sharp as my Tokina ATX 400mm f/5.6. It isn't as sharp as my Tokina 100-300 f/4, and the longer focal length makes that comparison difficult.

I was a little disappointed in the contrast I got in my shots, but I will reserve full judgement until I get to shoot on a day where the sun comes out!

I will update this and review the Sigma 500 f/4.5 for comparison in a few weeks.

For now, if you can find a good copy of this lens for around $200, I can recommend it.

If you want a good 500mm lens for wildlife, I recommend the Sigma 500 f/4.5. I have reviewed that lens on dyxum as well.
reviews found: 11   

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 11
  • sharpness: 3.91
  • color: 3.82
  • build: 4.64
  • distortion: 4.64
  • flare control: 4.55
  • overall: 4.31

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