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Used Sigma 150-500mm f5.6-6.3 DG OS HSM. Good buy?

Discussion in 'Lens Matters' started by newbonic, May 9, 2019.

  1. newbonic

    newbonic Well-Known Member

    I've been thinking of trying wildlife photography, and am considering a used Sigma 150-500mm f5.6-6.3 DG OS HSM. I've tried a Canon 70-300mm zoom and it didn't quite have enough pull.

    Has anyone here used one, and could give it the thumbs up/down? They've been discontinued by Sigma so their used prices are mostly under £500. Their replacement seems to be the Sigma 150 - 600 mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary, which are around the £800 mark, and I'm reluctant to shell out that much, even if it is bang up to date and has 100mm longer reach.

    The body it will go on is an EOS 6D mk 1.

    Recomendations for other similar sub £700 lenses welcome.
    (Edit for typo)
    Last edited: May 9, 2019
  2. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

    I don't have experience of that particular lens but there is one golden rule when buying a Sigma lens for a Canon body: try before you buy! Not all Sigma lenses will work with all Canon bodies and the further apart in time of manufacture the less likely they are to work together.
  3. El_Sid

    El_Sid Well-Known Member

    The 150-600mm Contemporary is generally well regarded, reputation has it being sharper at 600mm than the 150-500mm is at 500... Ffordes have a used example for £639
    Bill Stewardson likes this.
  4. nimbus

    nimbus Well-Known Member

    I seem to recollect that this is regarded as not being as good as the current 150-600 or indeed the 50-500 that was available at the same time as the 150-500. It was a cheapish and relatively cheerful lens.
  5. newbonic

    newbonic Well-Known Member

    I can find this look up table for their contemporary range of lenses:

    I'm still looking for the same for discontinued lenses.
  6. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    You have to try the lens with your camera to be sure. I would advise this anyway. Such a big lens is not easy to use and the max aperture is quite small so AF might not be brilliant. The new Sigmas (of which there are 2, one better built than the other I believe) and Tamron are quite well regarded.

    I started birding with a Canon 400 mm F5.6. On a crop sensor camera (I use a x1.3 crop) this is not bad for larger birds and is quite widely regarded. It doesn't have IS which poses some limitations but is relatively light as these things go and on a monopod or resting on something I can hold it at 1/125. On a full frame camera, although optically it is great, you'll find the viewfinder image small. If I use my 5Ds, for the pixels, it is a struggle when the subject is smaller than the focus point!
  7. Bazarchie

    Bazarchie Well-Known Member

    I have the Sigma 150-600mmContemporary which from the reviews I read was deemed to be better than the 150-500. For most bird photography you need the longest focal possible, but on a crop it is often not enough. For larger widelife it is less of an issue. I am pleased with the Sigma, it is not perfect but very good for the price.

    As mentioned above, try before you buy if possible.
  8. GeoffR

    GeoffR Well-Known Member

    If you can afford to do so, either buy the Sigma new or an equivalent Canon (as you are a Canon user). If that isn't possible ensure that you will be able to try it on your camera or that you will be able to return it, for a full refund, if it doesn't work. I'm not saying that there is anything wrong with the Sigma, optically they are fine in my experience, but they produce the interface without the agreement of the camera manufacturers and as the lenses age, and new cameras are introduced, compatibility is not guaranteed.

    Sigma do recognise this and will update lenses free of charge for the original owner but will charge if you buy the lens second hand.

    As long as you are aware of what is becoming a well known issue with some third party lenses there are some very good alternatives to OEM lenses..
  9. newbonic

    newbonic Well-Known Member

    Good point. I will probably replace my 6D at some point, and would hate for my lenses to not work unless I spend additional money getting their firmware updated (if that's what is done).

    Is it a Sigma thing, or do Tamron lenses have the same issue? There are some nice Tamron tele zooms out there too.
  10. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    Most of the correspondence on here has regarded Sigma lenses. I don't off-hand recall queries about Tamron or Tokina but I'd still try before you buy. Lately Sigma have been proving means for users to update their new lens software as an alternative to replacing the physical silicon-chips, how well this works I don't know. Lenses are becoming more integrated with cameras. Fuji produce firmware updates for both cameras and lenses at a bewildering rate and apply custom optical corrections to the raw image data.
  11. GeoffR

    GeoffR Well-Known Member

    I don't know, I have asked elsewhere but not, so far, had a response from anybody.
  12. rd6743

    rd6743 Well-Known Member

    I've got the 150-600 C lens, I know it's normally more than what you've budgeted which was the same for me. I waited until the right one was available and snatched it from either mpb or camerajungle. I think the extra 100mm is worth it as going any longer see a significant prize increase and you won't wonder / think about a shot "I wonder how it would have looked had I got the 600mm"

    If you don't already have a monopod it may be worth considering as I under estimated how heavy it is.

    I'm really really happy with mine, took these photo's with my D610 (not that I'd consider myself an authority or accomplished!);

    [​IMG]Studley Royal D by Dawns Prey, on Flickr

    [​IMG]Clara Vale Mar19 18 by Dawns Prey, on Flickr

    [​IMG]Clara Vale Mar19 14 by Dawns Prey, on Flickr

    [​IMG]Ravenscar Seal Colony Mar19 7 by Dawns Prey, on Flickr
  13. Bill Stewardson

    Bill Stewardson Well-Known Member

    I have that lens, bought brand new and love it. It takes some getting used to handling wise though.
    One thing which you must realise, it needs light, dull days and it struggles quite a lot.

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