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Sigma 500mm F4
  
 
guitardirky
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Sigma 500mm F4


Is anyone using the new Sigma 500 F4 yet?


Jun 12, 2017 at 09:15 PM
Thang
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Sigma 500mm F4


I tried one and returned it. My experience with it wasn't as positive as some other folks. I bought the lens with the intention of using it primarily to photograph birds in flight which I love to do. I used it exclusively with the D500. With the copy I had, AF-C wasn't as stable as my two other primary lenses - 200-500 VR and 600 f/4G VR. In bursts of 30 shots or so, I would constantly get sharp/oof/sharp/oof/sharp...images. Regardless of what AF block delay sensitivity I set it at, the lens had a mind of its own. It didn't respond very well with the camera in this regard. The unstable AF-C reminded my of my Canon setup (7D2 and 600 IS II) which was the whole reason why I dumped Canon.

The unstable AF-C wasn't as bad with larger birds, i.e. Canadian Geese, Great Blue Heron...But with birds about Mallard size or smaller, the AF was unreliable. Don't get me wrong, when the image is sharp, it's tack sharp. But I just don't like the inconsistencies it gave me.

$6k with unstable AF-C as well AF-S is just not worth it to me. YMMV



Jun 13, 2017 at 04:58 AM
guitardirky
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Sigma 500mm F4


Thang wrote:
I tried one and returned it. My experience with it wasn't as positive as some other folks. I bought the lens with the intention of using it primarily to photograph birds in flight which I love to do. I used it exclusively with the D500. With the copy I had, AF-C wasn't as stable as my two other primary lenses - 200-500 VR and 600 f/4G VR. In bursts of 30 shots or so, I would constantly get sharp/oof/sharp/oof/sharp...images. Regardless of what AF block delay sensitivity I set it at, the lens had a mind of its own. It didn't
...Show more

do you think you got a bad copy or one that needed further fine tuning?

I've been reading Brad Hill's 500 Wars and it raves about that lens.



Jun 13, 2017 at 08:17 PM
Creative Edge
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Sigma 500mm F4


Thang wrote:
I tried one and returned it. My experience with it wasn't as positive as some other folks. I bought the lens with the intention of using it primarily to photograph birds in flight which I love to do. I used it exclusively with the D500. With the copy I had, AF-C wasn't as stable as my two other primary lenses - 200-500 VR and 600 f/4G VR. In bursts of 30 shots or so, I would constantly get sharp/oof/sharp/oof/sharp...images. Regardless of what AF block delay sensitivity I set it at, the lens had a mind of its own. It didn't
...Show more

Thang, did you try adjusting the focus speed with the Sigma Doc.
The 120-300 2.8 Sport did something similar until I used the doc and selected the fasted focus speed.



Jun 13, 2017 at 09:41 PM
Lance B
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Sigma 500mm F4


Creative Edge wrote:
Thang, did you try adjusting the focus speed with the Sigma Doc.
The 120-300 2.8 Sport did something similar until I used the doc and selected the fasted focus speed.


Which brings up the question, why do you have to adjust to get the fastest focus speed via the Sigma dock? I mean, wouldn't they just install the fastest auto focus speed direct from the factory? If they don't then surely there is a reason for this, maybe that it is less accurate?


Edited on Jun 15, 2017 at 12:17 PM · View previous versions



Jun 13, 2017 at 10:17 PM
Thang
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Sigma 500mm F4


No I didn't use the dock. I have read from Bryan Carnathan review that adjusting the af speed to af priority would make the af LESS accurate. I am with what Lance said below the factory default for af should be accurate from the get go. AF fine tune wasn't needed as af-s is deadly accurate. Lens is as sharp as my 600 f4G at wide open in af-s or when it nailed focus.

I was able to confirm af shift in af-c for static subjects that Brad Hill found. The copy I had didnt stop there. AF shift also exists in af-c for moving subjects specifically BIF my specialty. It was extremely frustrating when it could not consistently nail focus w a mallard flying across blue sky. No question I can get tack sharp images in a burst. But it is not acceptable to me when an oof image appeared in every one or two shots.

Yes I have been following Brad Hill review last three months. It was this review that made me gave the lens a shot to be in my bag. It is possible that I had a bad copy. But for now I have no interest in trying another one out.




Jun 13, 2017 at 10:49 PM
TightLines
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Sigma 500mm F4


Tagging along for any other first hand experience.


Jun 16, 2017 at 01:50 AM
SoundHound
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Sigma 500mm F4


You can buy a used 500mm F4.0 VR Nikkor lens for less than $6K use it and sell it close to what you paid for it. Why mess with a tweaks off brand lens that you will loose $1000s on upon resale?


Jun 20, 2017 at 10:14 AM
saaber1
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Sigma 500mm F4


Good info on your experience Thang.

I second the suggestion re using the Dock to make the lens fit ur needs and camera body. My experience in this regard using the sigma 150-600 S for BIF on d7100 and d750 illustrates this. On D7100 the "accuracy priority" setting for the lens AF behavior gave the best BIF results for me. My camera af settings were the same (AF-ON, AF-C, dynamic 9) but if lens af was set to "speed priority" it was just two quick to re-acquire AF for BIF. It kept snapping to the background then back to bird. This was regardless of AF delay setting on the camera (just like u described).

On the d750 the same lens behaves quite differently. If set to "accuracy priority" it is too slow to acquire/re-acquire for me. "Speed priority" gives excellent BIF results on the d750.

So if u get a chance to use the Sigma 500 again it might be worth the effort to use the dock to change the lenses af behavior. It sounds like u had the same experience I did on a crop body and changing the lens Af behavior might make a big difference.



Jun 20, 2017 at 03:29 PM
Thang
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Sigma 500mm F4


saaber1 wrote:
Good info on your experience Thang.

I second the suggestion re using the Dock to make the lens fit ur needs and camera body. My experience in this regard using the sigma 150-600 S for BIF on d7100 and d750 illustrates this. On D7100 the "accuracy priority" setting for the lens AF behavior gave the best BIF results for me. My camera af settings were the same (AF-ON, AF-C, dynamic 9) but if lens af was set to "speed priority" it was just two quick to re-acquire AF for BIF. It kept snapping to the background then back to bird.
...Show more

Excellent info Saaber1! Thanks I may give it another try down the road.

In ref to 500 os sport vs 500 vr G, I have used the 500G before. IQ on the sport is better but primary factor for me to go w Sigma was the weight. 500G is too front heavy for extensive handhold



Jun 22, 2017 at 03:43 PM
 

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guitardirky
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Sigma 500mm F4


yeah I had the Nikon 500/4 G VR and I ended up trading it in for a 400/2.8 G VR. The new sigma 500/4 seems to be more on par with the FL series glass which is much sharper than that G VR line.


Jun 22, 2017 at 04:50 PM
Thang
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Sigma 500mm F4


saaber1 wrote:
Good info on your experience Thang.

I second the suggestion re using the Dock to make the lens fit ur needs and camera body. My experience in this regard using the sigma 150-600 S for BIF on d7100 and d750 illustrates this. On D7100 the "accuracy priority" setting for the lens AF behavior gave the best BIF results for me. My camera af settings were the same (AF-ON, AF-C, dynamic 9) but if lens af was set to "speed priority" it was just two quick to re-acquire AF for BIF. It kept snapping to the background then back to bird.
...Show more

Based on your experience w lens on DX bodies, by setting lens at "accuracy priority" does focus acquisition slow down at all?




Jun 22, 2017 at 05:17 PM
tntcorp
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Sigma 500mm F4


Thang wrote:
I tried one and returned it. My experience with it wasn't as positive as some other folks. I bought the lens with the intention of using it primarily to photograph birds in flight which I love to do. I used it exclusively with the D500. With the copy I had, AF-C wasn't as stable as my two other primary lenses - 200-500 VR and 600 f/4G VR. In bursts of 30 shots or so, I would constantly get sharp/oof/sharp/oof/sharp...images. Regardless of what AF block delay sensitivity I set it at, the lens had a mind of its own. It didn't
...Show more



"... sharp/oof/sharp/oof/sharp...images..." - af seemed consistent to me. you just need to discard every other frame... :')



Jun 22, 2017 at 06:23 PM
saaber1
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Sigma 500mm F4


re: ..."Based on your experience w lens on DX bodies, by setting lens at "accuracy priority" does focus acquisition slow down at all?"

I would say for the d7100 the 150-600S was very fast in terms of acquisition when using "accuracy priority" for sitting birds in busy backgrounds (such as shooting through branches where you have to refocus quickly if bird is jumping around -or if you focus on a branch and have to quickly refocus on bird) and BIF. Whether it slows down at all? Yes it does but was not noticeable for BIF at all for me but is slightly noticeable when teasing out perfect focus of birds in branches.

An important side note is that for the bird in branches example is that neither "accuracy priority" or "speed priority" causes the lens to "hunt" more for focus for static subjects. The reason I mention this is that people often talk about AF speed in reviews etc. but don't talk much about how prone a lens is to hunt when faced with a hard to focus situation. I recently rented a Nikon 200-500 and shot it along with the SIgma 150-600S. Shooting a hummingbird in branches the difference in "hunting" was quite remarkable between the two lenses. Please keep in mind I'm talking about "hunting" in terms of static subjects in busy backgrounds/foregrounds only here, not about lens snapping to background and then back to bird for BIF.

One unknown in your situation is that the d500's AF system is much more advanced than the d7100 AF system that my experience came from.

Testing "accuracy priority" with the Sigma 500mm lens on the d500 would of course tell you for sure what kind of AF behavior it has (perhaps renting for a day if available?), but short of that you might ask Brad Hill (he is good about responding to emails) or find other d500 + sigma 500mm shooters to see if they tried "accuracy priority" AF and if it made a difference.

Another thought I have is that it should be pretty easy to find a d500 shooter shooting the 150-600S to ask as those lenses are cheaper/older and therefore have wider use. But that is of course an indirect indication as it's not the same lens as the 500mm. If you were local to Portland area I would let you borrow my 150-600S to see if it makes any difference on your d500.

Thanks for sharing your experience with the Sigma 500mm because the more real-world experiences we hear the more we learn. It would be interesting to see if your lens was simply a bad copy, whether focus behavior could be improved via using the dock to change the lens's AF priority, or if it is a common behavior of most of the Sigma 500mm lenses when used on the d500.



Jun 23, 2017 at 02:25 AM
guitardirky
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Sigma 500mm F4


Just wanting to bump this up and see if there are any new user experience on the forum with this lens. Im thinking about getting the 500/f4 and selling my 400/2.8 and adding the Sigma 100-400 along side it.


Nov 24, 2017 at 07:20 PM
morris
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Sigma 500mm F4


saaber1 wrote:
re: ..."Based on your experience w lens on DX bodies, by setting lens at "accuracy priority" does focus acquisition slow down at all?"

I would say for the d7100 the 150-600S was very fast in terms of acquisition when using "accuracy priority" for sitting birds in busy backgrounds (such as shooting through branches where you have to refocus quickly if bird is jumping around -or if you focus on a branch and have to quickly refocus on bird) and BIF. Whether it slows down at all? Yes it does but was not noticeable for BIF at all for me but is
...Show more

I shoot D500 + 150-600 Sport and find the default focus quick and accurate. I have had no reason to experiment with those settings.

Morris



Nov 25, 2017 at 12:51 AM
reggieb
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Sigma 500mm F4


guitardirky wrote:
Just wanting to bump this up and see if there are any new user experience on the forum with this lens. Im thinking about getting the 500/f4 and selling my 400/2.8 and adding the Sigma 100-400 along side it.


I just took delivery of one today - I've been watching the Sigma outlet for a refurb 14mm f/1.8. Then one of these popped up on Monday for $4,000. Couldn't turn that down.

I'm going to try to take it out this weekend and do some birding, don't know what I'll see, but I'll have my D3s and D500 for impressions. The refurb did come with the normal accessories, which I was happy about. The backpack and all.



Dec 08, 2017 at 12:27 AM
morris
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Sigma 500mm F4


Lance B wrote:
Which brings up the question, why do you have to adjust to get the fastest focus speed via the Sigma dock? I mean, wouldn't they just install the fastest auto focus speed direct from the factory? If they don't then surely there is a reason for this, maybe that it is less accurate?


Hi Lance,

The manual clearly states that the fast focus setting dose reduce initial focus accuracy. I'm thinking if you are shooting AF-S the lens reports focus before perfect. If AF-C is used the photographer is in charge of when the shutter is released and it dose not matter if in focus.

Morris



Dec 08, 2017 at 12:50 AM
guitardirky
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Sigma 500mm F4


reggieb wrote:
I just took delivery of one today - I've been watching the Sigma outlet for a refurb 14mm f/1.8. Then one of these popped up on Monday for $4,000. Couldn't turn that down.

I'm going to try to take it out this weekend and do some birding, don't know what I'll see, but I'll have my D3s and D500 for impressions. The refurb did come with the normal accessories, which I was happy about. The backpack and all.


Lucky you! I just picked up a 100-400 (C) for backpacking and am going to test is out this weekend. I'm still thinking I may trade in my 400/2.8 for a Sigma 500/4 S.



Dec 08, 2017 at 02:06 AM
Lightsearcher
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Sigma 500mm F4


Lance B wrote:
Which brings up the question, why do you have to adjust to get the fastest focus speed via the Sigma dock? I mean, wouldn't they just install the fastest auto focus speed direct from the factory? If they don't then surely there is a reason for this, maybe that it is less accurate?


From "The-digital-picture.com" review of the Sigma 500mm f4:

When reviewing the Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM Sports Lens, I asked I asked Sigma why the faster AF speed was not selected by default. Their response indicated that the faster setting comes with a "slight risk of decrease in accuracy". The slower "Focus accuracy-priority" speed setting yields a higher accuracy rate while the "Standard" speed is a better general purpose setting. I was led to believe that the slower speed setting may be a better choice in low light. I programmed custom switch 1 for fast and custom mode 2 for smooth. While capturing video in Movie Servo mode may benefit from smooth, I haven't felt the need to use the smoother mode beyond testing it.



Dec 08, 2017 at 02:41 AM
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