Sunday, 25 August 2013

Using the Sigma 150 - 500mm f5 - 6.3 APO DG OS

Hi All,

I hope you're well and enjoying this wonderful summer we're experiencing. It's a bit unusual for the UK to be enjoying so much sunshine !!

Back in May I purchased a Sigma 150 - 500mm lens.

 I'd always wanted a good long lens but for some reason I never actually got around to purchasing one. I've been attending quite a few motorcycle race meetings but the images I was getting from my existing long lens really weren't as good as I would have liked so I took a deep breath and purchased the Sigma. 

One Sunday morning when I had a few hours to spare I went out around the Castle Donnington area of Derby to try out the lens. One of the interesting features of this lens is that it has two versions of optical stabilisation. Setting 1 gives stabilisation in both the horizontal and vertical axes which is good for using the lens hand-held. Setting 2 only stabilises the lens in the vertical axis which is great when shooting sporting events such as motorcycle racing where panning in the horizontal axis is required. 

Unfortunately the morning I decided to put this lens to the test was bright but particularly hazy which made for difficult photographic conditions but beggars can't be choosers !

I decided to use the church at Breedon on the Hill as my subject for the tests. 

Using my Nikon D300s I mounted the camera / lens combination on a tripod as sown below. 

Setting the Optical Stabilisation to the off position I focussed on the church with the lens set at the 150mm (shortest length) position. Using a cable release I took the shot below.

Sigma 150 -500mm Lens set at 150mm on a tripod (no stabilisation)

This image has been processed in Lightroom 4 and a slight vignette added to tone down the sky a little.

Next I set the lens to 500mm (longest length) position, re-focussed and then took the shot below to show the available magnification. As with the shot above this image has been adjusted in Lightroom 4 but NO cropping was done just a vignette.

Sigma 150 -500mm Lens set at 500mm on a tripod (no stabilisation)
As can be seen the lens is equally capable of performing well at both ends of its range.  The next test was to try out the optical stabilisation. I moved position and removed  the camera from the tripod. Putting the lens to its maximum focal length (500mm) and using it hand held with the camera in the Program (P) mode I took the shot below. 

Sigma 150 -500mm Lens set at 500mm hand-held (stabilisation setting 1)
Once again no cropping has taken place just some slight tweaking in LR4 to adjust exposure. As you can see the optical stabilisation in Setting 1 (both axes) has effectively eliminated camera shake.  

The next test involved trying Stabilisation setting 2 (one axis). This meant waiting until I had a fast moving object that I could pan with. I had to wait until I went to the Cock O' the North motor cycle road race in Scarborough  before I could really put this one to the test. Once again I was hand-held with the lens at maximum focal length (500mm) and the camera in manual. The example below is just one of many taken that day using the lens in this mode. As you can see the stabilisation has allowed for the camera to be panned without affecting the focusing ability of the lens. 

Sigma 150 -500mm Lens set at 500mm, hand-held (stabilisation setting 2)

All in all I'm very pleased with the performance of the lens and I'm looking forward to getting out and putting it to use again soon.

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