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Super zoom recommendations

Discussion in 'Lens Matters' started by Aspadora, Jun 15, 2020.

  1. Aspadora

    Aspadora Well-Known Member


    I'm looking a bit more seriously into a proper superzoom lens for my Nikon d3500 (cropped, f mount). I wondered if anybody. Has recommendations for a budget one? I've seen the Sigma 150-600mm F/5-6.3 DG HSM on amazon (link below) for £750. It's got great reviews, but is there any chance I would find something cheaper?

  2. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    There isn’t really a “budget” super telephoto zoom (I’d understand superzoom to be 28-200) for the reason that optical quality really is important and that costs. Sigma have had a number of super telephoto zooms so be sure which one you after and check the reviews. Tamron do one and Nikon also does one. To put a perspective on prices a Nikon 500 mm F4 prime is £10k.
  3. Aspadora

    Aspadora Well-Known Member

    Thanks, I was afraid of that answer. I guess I just wanted to check I wasn't missing anything before I seriously consider forking out that much. My terminology is probably off, im really looking for something 400mm and above.

    £750 is the cheapest I've seen so far, and the reviews do look good. It's not something I'm going to jump into quickly so I've got time to think!
  4. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    Wex is the “standard” price as most retailers will match it. They have the “contemporary” at £789 and “sport” version at £1329. I think the sport is better built and sharper but Incan’t say that I follow these lenses.There was speculation that the Government might drop VAT for a short time to boost retail, whether this will happen I dunno.

    Edit. I wouldn’t buy one without trying it. These are big lenses. You need to be able to hold it.
  5. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

    I got my Sony fit Tamron 16-300mm for £370 via Amazon's marketplace about 2 years ago. I'm very happy with it. Some samples...

    Airbus A400M over the Clyst Valley A65 DSC02470.JPG

    Architectural detail at St Bridget's nursery on the A3076 at Clyst St Mary A65  DSC02254.JPG

    Chimneys The Colony Exeter A65 DSC00790.JPG

    MGB sports car Langport A65 DSC02605.JPG
    Aspadora likes this.
  6. Aspadora

    Aspadora Well-Known Member

    That's handy to know, thanks. I'll look into renting one at some point maybe!
  7. Stephen Rundle

    Stephen Rundle In the Stop Bath

    Cheaper yes, better no

    I have the Sports version and was the second person in the UK to get one, (thanks LCE Plymouth and Sigma rep).

    The combo of price, build, spec (including the C version) is amazing.

    It rarely comes off my D810

    Last edited: Jun 16, 2020
    Aspadora likes this.
  8. Stephen Rundle

    Stephen Rundle In the Stop Bath

    But he was asking about a X to 600 super zoom which 300mm is not

  9. Stephen Rundle

    Stephen Rundle In the Stop Bath

    Again a 500mm is not a zoom
  10. Stephen Rundle

    Stephen Rundle In the Stop Bath

    Do NOT buy from amazon unless (a) it is a known reputable dealer and (b) you know what you are buying.

    But you can try it for a few weeks and under the UK distance selling regulations return it if 6you feel it is "not right"

    Personally, or similar


    Review here

  11. Aspadora

    Aspadora Well-Known Member

    Thanks for your help! I've just looked at the Sigma you've linked above, I can't see anything to say it has optical stabilisation or did I miss it? Also, I would worry about getting a second hand one having seen lots of horror stories. Is a "good" lens going to be good enough? It makes me a bit nervous going second hand...
  12. GeoffR

    GeoffR Well-Known Member

    As already pointed out, the distance selling regulations provide plenty of protection. If you buy the lens and it isn't up to standard you can return it for a full refund. If you want the 50-500 the only option is used because the current lens is 60-600, no idea of price or availability. A good second hand lens can save you a lot of money which is why you need to use a reputable dealer, to ensure that it is a good lens.

    That said, my preference would be the 150-600 at your budget.
  13. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    Agreed it is not a zoom but the majority reason for buying a super telephoto for bird photography isn't because of the zoom, it is to get an affordable lens to be used at the maximum focal length. The "affordability" issue is important because the cost of the primes that deliver this focal length is very high. Part of that cost is in the wider aperture F4 cf F6.3 which means much bigger glass. Zooms are not generally optimised for best performance at maximum extension - possibly the Sigma sport is - I've not used it.
  14. MJB

    MJB Well-Known Member

    Castle Cameras in Bournemouth are listing 2 used Sigma 150-500 with OS for £399. All used gear is tested and warrantied. They're my preferred dealer as they have a branch locally and have always received good service from them.
  15. AndyTake2

    AndyTake2 Well-Known Member

    Bear in mind that the os on the older 150-500 sigma is a bit clunky. Assuming that newer versions are better, but the older one can be a bit noisy for birds.
  16. Dorset_Mike

    Dorset_Mike Grumpy Old Fart

    Tamron 150-600 gets good reviews.
  17. Aspadora

    Aspadora Well-Known Member

    Thanks everyone for your help and suggestions, it's answered my questions and given me a lot to think about. Now I need to consider if I'm going to use it enough to justify the purchase!!

    Thanks again :)
  18. Learning

    Learning Ethelred the Ill-Named

    A further thought on the older Sigma 150-500 . The original firmware is not compatible with some Nikon cameras. I had one which used to work with a D800. After one of the D800 updates the lens stopped working. The lens firmware can be updated by Sigma. They only offered that service free to original purchasers. Newer Sigma lenses can be updated using a widget and downloaded file. Strangely the lens works on a D500. A dealer might be able to test compatibility with a D3500.
    The OS on the old Sigma is not as effective as the VR on the 200-500 Nikkor.
  19. Chester AP

    Chester AP Well-Known Member

    Perhaps better to buy a decent secondhand lens from a reputable dealer rather than assuming that Amazon is the best place to but a new lens. For example, look at these two pages on the London Camera exchange website:

    Searching with keywords '500' and '600' produces some Sigma zoom lenses, but if image stabilisation is important to you (and you want to pay for it), check the model numbers carefully on Sigma's own website to get the specifications.



    This one must be an older model without image stabilisation, selling at £445


    As you say, the cheaper of the current Sigma 150-600 zooms is about £750 new (again, from a reputable dealer)


    If you can, you really need to visit a retailer and have some 'hands on' time before buying something expensive and heavy, in case you later decide it's too heavy to carry anywhere and so never gets used. Also, at the long end of the zoom the angle of view on your APS-C camera body will be so small that you might find it more difficult to use than you expect. I have an ancient Tokina 80-400 that I use on and APS-C body, and suspect using anything longer would not be easy.
  20. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    Yes. I did a one day 1:1 bird photography course to be sure I wanted to spend a lot of money on a big lens, that was before the prices went up 50%. It won't change the fact that, at Martin Mere, the main action from the hides is far too far away unless you are sticking to swans and the bigger geese. Rule of thumb for the smaller birds is that it it is further away than 30 m forget it. Even at 10 m a small bird is tiny in the frame, even with a 500 mm lens.

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