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Old Jul 13, 2005, 12:26 AM   #1
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Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 12

I'm an amateur surfing photographer, researching and preparing to upgrade to some semi-pro equipment. I'm stuck on telephoto lenses.

I shoot from the beach, so almost always at some distance (100-200 feet)

I am planning to get a Canon 20d.

While I would love to get a 500 or 600 prime lens, there isn't any way I can afford it. I need a much more affordable alternative. Someone suggested the newish Sigma 50-500mm F4-6.3 telephoto zoom lens. I like the price very much (around $900) and have read some glowing reviews. But I still want to hear more opinions before giving it a try.

Anyone with an opinion of this lens, or any opinion on my situation really, please respond. Thanks very much.


Rob K is offline   Reply With Quote
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Old Jul 13, 2005, 12:30 AM   #2
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 92

Fantastic lens, nothing else like it that gives you 10x zoom and this kind of quality (considering it's 10x zoom) and at this price. The "Bigma" is a Sigma favorite and is suited to exactly what you want to do. For example, see this link:


Other good choices might be the 100-400L or 80-400EX, but this new Bigma is a serious option. Best wishes, and see my site for some test shots:

fstopjojo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jul 16, 2005, 1:03 PM   #3
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Posts: 155

I've had a Bigma for a year and a half. One of the reviews I read that helped me decide was by a surfer photographer who bought it so that he could zoom back for context images to go with his closeups. Here are some thoughts. I don't shoot surfers, though.

At 500mm wide open (F6.3) the lens is kindof soft. F7.1 or F8 and it's good. Note that this lens "lies" to the camera. It says it is F5.6 at 500mm so that the camera (10D, 20D, 300D, 350D) will not disable autofocus. It does AF fine, though, because Canon cameras are overengineered and will accurately AF beyond F5.6. With really good light, it will AF with Bigma and a Tamron standard 1.4x converter (which makes it effectively F9).

Motorcycle races from the infield. The lens is too heavy and lacks image stabilization, so I found it not suitable for me. The Canon 100-400IS worked much better in this application, with its less weight and Mode 2 (vertical stabilization only) IS.

I did some handheld shots at a wildlife refuge, shooting low flying sandhill cranes, and a few were very good--just luck, although with practice and a little working out with weights, and it could be OK handheld.

With extension tubes, this is good for dragonfiles and other insects that you can't get very close to, although it's a little clumsy for fast moving bugs like butterflies.

Filter size is 86mm--very hard to find and very expensive when you do find them. There is no Cokin filter adapter for that size.

Finally, since I started using the 100-400IS, I hardly ever use Bigma any more. The Tamron 1.4x works on the 100-400 and allows autofocus, so that one is my telezoom of choice most of the time. But if you need the additional length, Bigma works.
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