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Sigma 50-500 or 80-400 OS

Marc_Andrews 11 100 Wales
7 Aug 2007 9:21AM
On Stevie's advice I've re-posted with a more meaningful title.....hoping for more replies (previous post replies here !

My main interest is with dogs, wildlife & nature photography but also do a bit of sport work for the local paper and for most of these practices I need a big lens. I have two in mind but cant decide which one. I've read both reviews on epz but am still a little stuck for choice.

The lenses areSigma-50-500mm-f4-63-EX-DG-APO-HSM & Sigma-80-400mm-f45-56-EX-APO-OS-DG.

My gut is to go with the 400 because of the OS capability. However, the 500 is far more versatile & has sigma's HSM. Will I REALLY benefit from an optical satiliser unless I'm working in low light for the purpose that I want to use the lens which will be for birds (large & small), small animals (rabbits, squirrels, badgers etc) and a bit of sport action for the local paper.

All comments appreciated, especially from others who have used either of these lenses, or anyone that could maybe suggest an alternative without me having to re-mortgage. 1,000 is about as far as my budget will stretch.

Thanks you all in advance,


EDIT: Suppose I should add that I currently use a 300 with a 1.4x converter and the converter will be available for use on the new lens.

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vaughar 13 242 United Kingdom
7 Aug 2007 10:06AM
I have the 80-400 OS and it have been very good to me. It's now about 3 years old and taken around 5k-7k shots and is now finally in need of a service (as the OS appears to have stopped working!)

The only real problem with it has been the focussing - it works ok in good light conditions and as long as it's not way off to begin with. But in low light or where it has to search a long way it can hunt about a bit and need some manual assistance - it's also not very quiet!

This hasn't bothered me as I almost always have the lens prefocussed for car shots or just use manual focus anyway.

I'd guess that this would only be made worse by putting the 1.4 converter on it as you'd lose a stop of light. In which case you'd be better off with the 50-500 and no converter.

People usually comment about the weight of the 80-400 compared to the Canon 100-400, but as you're comparing it to the 50-500 I guess that won't be an issue as they're both big lenses.

Given that you're after taking wildlife shots, if I were in your position I'd buy the 50-500 as you'll be waiting around a fair bit and will have something to rest the lens on. I bought the 80-400 as I tend to walk around a lot at race tracks and setting up a tripod/monopod just wouldn't work and for panning shots it's just perfect.

Hope that helps.

Squirrel 11 450 6 England
7 Aug 2007 12:38PM
I've just bought the Sigma 50-500 to use with my 400d and the 350d and I love it. Got a 1.4x convertor as well but haven't had the chance to try it. Took it to the zoo last week got some shots of a red panda who was happily sitting up a tree about 15 feet above. Bear in mind that I also had the barrier to contend with too so I was probably about 30 feet away. They are in my gallery if you want to have a look. I'ts a heavy lens so get a really sturdy tripod.
regards Squirrel
eonisuk 11 108 England
18 Aug 2007 10:30PM
I also have the 50 - 500 brilliant lens for wild life although heavy monopod is good for that just sold my 75 - 300 canon lense as i will not be needing it anymore my wife says that the images that i have taken with it seem sharper as well got mine from onestop digital for just over 500
hope this helps

paulbroad 10 123 1238 United Kingdom
19 Aug 2007 9:13AM
I have the 50/500 and it fully lives up to the EX tag. Providing you hold it still the results are pin sharp but it is VERY heavy at nearly 2 KG. The lens is permanently mounted on one of my EOS digital bodies and some slides shot with it in an EOS 600 are spot on.

I use a Benbo tripod if time allows or a good Manfrotto monopod - one at home, one in the car boot. I have hand held at the lower end of the zoom with success and shot sharp pictures of flying birds and aircraft hand held at 500 (800mm) by panning.

I certainley do not regret buying this lens and I've already had numbers of images published from it including a couple with Alamy.


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