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Old May 1, 2008, 12:52 PM   #1
JTF
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Would this lense work for birding on a D50.

SIGMA AF170-500MM APO DG


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Old May 1, 2008, 3:35 PM   #2
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The lens is f/6.3 at the 500mm end which would be slow for shooting birds as you will have trouble getting the shutter speed up high enough to stop action even in bright sunlight. You may even have autofocus hunting in dim light.

It also doesn't have Optical Stabilization (OS) which is the Sigma implementation of Vibration Reduction (VR) whcih means shooting on a tripod or monopod. I don't think this is good for birding.

Unfortunately the old saying Fast good cheap, pick any two applies here! Fast 500mm with VR are in the $5k and up range!
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Old May 1, 2008, 5:51 PM   #3
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Bob Nichol wrote:
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The lens is f/6.3 at the 500mm end which would be slow for shooting birds as you will have trouble getting the shutter speed up high enough to stop action even in bright sunlight. You may even have autofocus hunting in dim light.
I don't quite agree as a lot of bird shots are taken at f8 and I will sometimes go narrower to f10 or 11 to get the dof needed so wouldn't say that you will struggle to get the shutter speed up enough. However it's not renowned for its fast AF speed which is important for birding.

I'm not sure about Bob, but this is not a lens that I personally use so can't say for sure as this is all hearsay from what I've read. I would advise seeing if this lens has been used by people shooting wildlife so they can tell you first hand how it performs.

Oh, I've put this in the Nikon lens section as well for you rather than the body section.

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Old May 1, 2008, 6:46 PM   #4
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The other option may be a slighty smaller lense the Nikkor 80 - 400 mm AF-S VR . I appreciate your input.
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Old May 1, 2008, 7:32 PM   #5
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I was basing my answer on experience with the Nikon 70-300mm VR lens which is f/5.6 at 300mm and I have to jack up the ISO to keep the shutter speed at stop action for birds. I also use a Kenko 1.4x TC on occasion which cuts me down to f/8 and I get hunting at times.
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Old May 1, 2008, 9:00 PM   #6
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I tend to agree with Mark1616 as I shoot with a Bigma 50-500 f/6.3 as well: http://www.pbase.com/nhl/sigma_50_500

-> As you can see f/6.3 is fine for birding and it's only a 1/3 stop away from f/5.6 (i.e. barely any difference) and definitely OS (or VR) is not required for birds in flight as many pictures in my previous link have demonstrated! BTW a 500mm f6/3 is still faster and longer than a 300mm f/5.6 with a 1.4xTC (i.e. effectively only a 420 f/8 )

If you are really desperate for VR or OS then you might want to check this lens out:
http://www.sigmaphoto.com/lenses/len...mp;navigator=3

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Old May 2, 2008, 6:00 AM   #7
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JTF wrote:
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The other option may be a slighty smaller lense the Nikkor 80 - 400 mm AF-S VR . I appreciate your input.
As fas as I recall the 80 - 400 mm VR is not AF-S, therefore I would rather lean toward the Sigma for the ultrasonic drive (HSM) which will give you a faster AF for those birds in flight...

The 80-400 VR is f/5.6 but would you trade that tiny 1/3-stop (i.e. f/6.3) to have a longer reach and the faster HSM AF ?
-> With a 1.4x TC, the 80-400 would have a longer reach than the Bigma (or the new 150-500 with OS) but then at f/8 - it will be a full-stop slower on a lens that's already non-AFS!
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Old May 2, 2008, 2:48 PM   #8
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JTF wrote:
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Would this lense work for birding on a D50.

SIGMA AF170-500MM APO DG
While the 170-500 will work on a D50, it has a rap in that its a hit or miss on getting good copies. The current consensus of the top 3 ways to get to 500-mm are the 300 f/4 + 1.4X TC; Tamron 200-500 Di or the Bigma 50-500

Its unknown at this time if the new Sigma offering of their 120-400 OS/HSM or the 150-500 OS/HSM will have equal or better IQ than the Bigma...

I've posted an extensive list of reviews on longer lens alternatives that might be of interest at--

http://www.dslrgeeks.com/forum/showt...=2726#post2726

For my part, the Bigma has the bigger bang for the buck in useful, quality zooms. My galleries have a lot of Bigma images hand held -- usually at Shutter-priority and Auto ISO









It also takes to a Kenko Pro 300 1.4X TC at 50-mm (Note surfers at the pier)-->



and at 500-mm -->


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Old May 6, 2008, 8:47 AM   #9
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Thanks for allthe helpful input, much appreciated.
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