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Old Aug 2, 2008, 2:08 PM   #1
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Since I joined this forum and saw what people were doing with it, I've wanted a Sigma 50-500mm, and it finally came in yesterday evening. This morning, I took it out to the local fish hatchery, where I found some kildeers poking around in a drained pond.



At the next pond, I found a green heron hiding in some tall grass at the end of the pond.



He flew away, circled around, and landed even closer to me....just to get a better look at what I was doing.



At another pond, I found a different heron who wanted to try out for a new position on the front of a ship (what he's hitting on is actually one of the aerators used by the fish hatchery, obviously not in use)



On the way home I stopped by the botanical garden, where a cardinal wanted to get his pic taken



Each of these was taken with the Bigma and the matched 1.4X Sigma APO teleconverter, shooting off a monopod for all but the cardinal, which was handheld.

I found there's a lot to get used to in using such a heavy lens; I was particularly unsuccessful on flight shots. I think that the AF was doing excessive searching because of the teleconverter. Still, a wonderful new toy, and I'm looking forward to learning with it.

Paul
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Old Aug 2, 2008, 2:40 PM   #2
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Hey Paul,
Looks like it's going to be a fun learning curve! Great pics.
That is the lens I plan on getting just as soon as I can save the money.
Enjoy it and show us the pics.
GW:-)
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Old Aug 2, 2008, 4:33 PM   #3
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Hi Paul,

Congrats on the Bigma! What I can't figure out is how you managed to get such a wide range of cooperative subjects on your first outing. There's a squirrel that hangs around my place, and whenever I get a new lens, he spots me leaving the house with it and spreads the word, so all the local creatures go into hiding for at least a couple of days. . . or one of my cats is a "mole" and is tipping off the squirrel. . .:-)

About the BIF -- I've found that without a sighting aid (I use a red-dot gunsight), that it's much easier to use shorter FLs (300 and under). TCs are a hinderance because they slow AF speed, and I don't need them for this since I don't need the extra reach.

I'm considering getting one of the 1.4x APO TCs for my EX 300/2.8. What are your impressions so far, and do you have a Tamron/Kenko AF 1.4x to compare it to? Any feedback would be appreciated.

BTW, I'm sure you're aware of this, but it's worth mentioning the possibility of the front element of this TC physically contacting the rear element of the Bigma when it's zoomed to the short end.

Looking forward to seeing more from this -- you're gonna have some fun!

Scott

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Old Aug 2, 2008, 9:05 PM   #4
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snostorm wrote:
Quote:
Congrats on the Bigma! What I can't figure out is how you managed to get such a wide range of cooperative subjects on your first outing. There's a squirrel that hangs around my place, and whenever I get a new lens, he spots me leaving the house with it and spreads the word, so all the local creatures go into hiding for at least a couple of days. . . or one of my cats is a "mole" and is tipping off the squirrel. . .:-)
*****************
I'm considering getting one of the 1.4x APO TCs for my EX 300/2.8. What are your impressions so far, and do you have a Tamron/Kenko AF 1.4x to compare it to? Any feedback would be appreciated.
Scott,

I'm glad to know why I had to leave mylittle patch of mountainsto go find something to shoot because none of the "regulars" were anywhere to be found this morning. I'm sure that the temperature being 95 degrees by 9am had nothing to do with it. I think the "snitch" in my case is my Labrador. She covers the whole neighborhood, particularly when she sees me heading outside with my camera.

Fortunately, I have some pretty good areas to shoot within 10 miles--the national park (and national forest about 25 miles away), a very good botanical garden, and the fish hatchery where I started the morning.

I have very little experience with TC's. I used the Sigma 2X APO some with my 70-200 f2.8 before that lens was stolen--results were uniformly good. My only other experience was with a very old Takumar MF 2X, and it was uniformly bad. I did use the Sigma 2X some this morning with the Bigma. Of course, you lose AF with that combo, and I was not really pleased with what I got shooting off a monopod. I think the results will be far better off a tripod.

Paul
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Old Aug 2, 2008, 10:44 PM   #5
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Quote:
and I was not really pleased with what I got shooting off a monopod. I think the results will be far better off a tripod.

Paul
Hey Paul,
what I can't figure out it how to use the mono pod. When I tried one with my 500mm all i got was steady up & down but, side to side was worse than handheld. What's the secret?:-?
GW


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Old Aug 2, 2008, 11:03 PM   #6
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Quote:
Hey Paul,
what I can't figure out it how to use the mono pod. When I tried one with my 500mm all i got was steady up & down but, side to side was worse than handheld. What's the secret?:-?
GW
Terrific buy, those shots are very good.

I agree with GW, even just with my Sigma 70-300mm, I have that side to side problem, what is the secret.
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Old Aug 2, 2008, 11:31 PM   #7
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Goldwinger wrote:
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Quote:
Hey Paul,
what I can't figure out it how to use the mono pod. When I tried one with my 500mm all i got was steady up & down but, side to side was worse than handheld. What's the secret?:-?
GW

First, my "secret" is that you don't see the ones that exhibit side-to-side movement :-). There are, however, a couple of things I do that may have an effect.

1. Don't fool with a tiny little monopod. I have a Giotto that you could use to whack a bull across the snout and know you'd have time to run before he recovered his senses. My first one had a small bottom section that never seemed to get a firm grip on the ground and would bend if a heavy lens was mounted on the camera. My current one has a flex-pad on the bottom and even hasthe option of a spike that I can best compare to the lower end of a ski pole to use on soft surfaces. (I've never used it.)

2. I get very "up close and personal" with my viewfinder and put a little pressure on my face with the back of the camera, using my face as a steadying point.

3. Whenever possible, I shoot from a little collapsing three-legged camp stool that I carry in my car and have the least amount of monopod stretched out as possible.

4. Finally, and probably most important, I treat most monopod shots like a sports shot. That means maximizing shutter speed. To do that I shoot in Aperature priority with a relatively high ISO. I'd rather deal with with noise that I can take out with NR software than motion blur, for which there is no cure.

All of that being said, I have my percentage of shots that need leveling, etc. because of side to side wobbling and I caught myself today holding my breath to the point of being winded when I breathed again after a high-speed shutter sequence of 15 or so shots.

Paul
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Old Aug 3, 2008, 12:03 AM   #8
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Goldwinger wrote:
Quote:
Hey Paul,
what I can't figure out it how to use the mono pod. When I tried one with my 500mm all i got was steady up & down but, side to side was worse than handheld.* What's the secret?:-?
Hi GW,

Here's a link to a good article on monopod use.

http://www.outdooreyes.com/photo5.php3

With really heavy lenses, I mainly use one to keep the camera up near eye level, so the pod is basically straight vertical, but as shutter speeds go slower, I'll angle it more to make it steadier.

Scott
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Old Aug 3, 2008, 12:47 AM   #9
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Welcome to the "Bigma Owner's Club" Paul. It'll take a little while to sort out how you use it. I've found that with the APO Teleconverter the Auto Focus is just a tad too slow. I usually wind up going to manual focus a lot with the APO on board. That combo likes lots of light or it will hunt a whole lot. Without the converter the lens will auto focus pretty good to f/11 or so in good light then the manual focus takes over again. I hope you have a ton of fun with yours. I know I have and still do with mine. It stays on the camera about 90 percent of the time.

Dawg

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Old Aug 3, 2008, 5:46 AM   #10
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Enjoy the Bigma, Paul. It does take some practice to use but it is worth it.

I haven't tried mine on my monopod yet. I need to!

Dennis
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