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Old Sep 23, 2006, 4:44 PM   #1
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Is there a 500 mm zoom lensthat will work with my 20D that will not cost a fortune? If there is an off name that is OK if it will produce a fairly good picture. I may be asking for the impossible.
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Old Sep 23, 2006, 5:33 PM   #2
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i have heard good things of the bigma (sigma 50-500) not the best IQ but then again its a 10 times zoom, but decent for the range... just a suggestions... just do a search for BIGMA
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Old Sep 23, 2006, 5:38 PM   #3
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The 50-500 is my first choice but I was wanting to find out if there was a cheaper alternative.
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Old Sep 23, 2006, 5:49 PM   #4
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The Sigma 170-500 is a cheaper option,and its not that bad.
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Old Sep 23, 2006, 6:07 PM   #5
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Indeed, Sigma's 50-500mm EX zoom (aka Bigma) may be your best bet. I've got one. I also have a Canon 100-400LIS,a Canon 500MM F4 LIS, and the Canon 1.4xII and 2xII extenders, so I do have a clue about long lens quality and value.

In the tests I've seen, Bigma outperforms the lesser zoom 500's, like the Sigma 170-500 and the Tamron (I forget the range just now). Advantages are good picture quality even wide open at 500mm; extreme range which reduces the frequency of lens changing; rugged construction; works well with a Tamron (base, not Pro) 1.4x extender--including autofocus; and it is somewhat hand-holdable. At around 4.8 pounds, it's no lightweight, but you can carry it. Add a set of Kenko extension tubes and you have a surprising good semimacro for dragonflies, butterfiles, bees, etc.

Drawbacks--to me at least: No image stabilization; and it's not as sharp or fast at 500mm as the 500mmF4LIS, but come on. Bigma sells for around $1,000 compared with the 500mm F4LIS at $5,500 (and that Canon lens weighs 8.4 lbs!)

In all honesty, I use my 100-400LIS a lot more than the Bigma, but 400mm is not 500mm. Put a 1.4x extender on the 100-400 and you have a 140-560mm F8--a pretty dark lens that does not autofocus with a Canon extender and with unreliable AF with a Tamron (base-not pro) extender.

[In case you don't know, Canon's consumer DSLRs will not AF with a lens slower than F5.6. Bigma is F6.3, but it "lies" to the camera and says it is F5.6. Canon, Sigma, and Tamron Pro extenders communicate with the camera give the new adjusted focal length and aperture with the extender. The base Tamron extender lacks the extra pins to pass through the info, so the camera doesn't know it is there. That means, the camera will try to AF, and will usually succeed in situations with good light. Bigma will AF pretty well with the Tamron extender, the Canon 100-400 not as well.]

In my opinion, if you need 500mm, and you are on a budget, Bigma fills your bill. However, the 100-400 has IS, and that is a major advantage for me and the reason I usually leave Bigma at home and go out with just the 17-85 and 100-400 (plus the Tamron 1.4x) as my entire lens complement. The 100-400 is about $400 more than Bigma, and you'll have to spend another $80 or so for the Tamron 1.4x or $250 for the Canon 1.4x. The "little bit more" syndrome is the beginning of a slippery slope that leads to major expenditures for minor improvements.
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Old Sep 24, 2006, 7:59 PM   #6
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The Tamron 200-500 is not a bad choice.* It has pro grade glass and is specially made for digital cameras.* It doesn't* have image stabilization.* It gets good reveiws at Fred Miranda.com and photozone.de.**
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Old Sep 27, 2006, 2:34 PM   #7
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I agree... the Sigma 50-500 is an nice choice. If you don't mind buying used you can pick them up in excellent condtion for around $600 to $800 on FM. Definitely soft wide open so you need to stop down for sharpness, which means you need more light. Works well as a wildlife lens. I used the 50-500 the shot below.


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Old Sep 27, 2006, 3:18 PM   #8
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Widowmaker wrote:
Quote:
Definitely soft wide open so you need to stop down for sharpness,
Can you explain what you mean by stop down.
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Old Sep 27, 2006, 3:35 PM   #9
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When someone refers to a lens being shot wide open they are referring to the aperture. Since this is a zoom lens, its wide open aperture changes as the focal length changes. F4 at the 50mm end and f6.3 at 500mm end. Stopping down means you close the aperture. So at 500mm instead of shooting wide open at 6.3, you could set the aperture to f8. The sharpness will improve as well as how much depth in the scene is in focus, referred to as DOF.

Actually the aperture increases the DOF. A really good lens will be just as sharp wide open, only needing to be stopped down to get more DOF but that is usually not the case.


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Old Oct 6, 2006, 11:22 AM   #10
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Tamron 200-500 much better than the Sigma 50-500 but the focus is very slow. I have it. This isa example




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