Bigma Sample Shots

From Brian..

The Sigma 50-500 f/4.5-6.3 OS HSM is quite a lens.  I got it Wednesday and had some time (briefly) to play with it on Wednesday and then to test it out a little bit with the test chart yesterday.  A couple observations before I get into pictures.

The range is incredible to say the least.  See the pictures below:

IMG 8709

Canon 6D, Sigma 50-500 OS HSM @ 50mm

Canon 6D, Sigma 50-500 OS HSM @ 500mm

Needless to say, the lens has quite a range.  I did find the optical stabilization to be a huge help at the 500mm point (no duh!)

The lens is big… really big - I was able to hand hold this lens without a whole lot of trouble, but I wouldn't want to do so for very long.  A monopod will be a neccessity for using this lens for any length of time as you won't want it to hang around your neck.  

Some Test Shots - I did a series of test shots on my ISO Chart from 100mm up to 500mm on my 6D.  Here's two full size samples from 300mm.  What you'll see is that like any lens, it improves when stopped down from 6.3 to f8.0.  I found that pretty consistent across the range.  

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300mm, f6.3 - Center of Frame

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300mm, f8.0 - Center of Frame

Below are the full charts.  They were taken on a Canon 6D and I realized too late that the camera wasn't quite level so they're all a bit skewed but you should get the picture.  

Comparison with Canon 70-200 f/2.8 IS USM (Mark II) + 2x Mk II Converter

The other test I wanted to do was to compare the new Sigma against  my standby for 400mm shooting - the Canon 70-200 f/2.8 IS USM (Mark II) with a Canon 2x Mark II Converter.  I expected the Canon to outperform the Sigma even with the extender, but I was a little surprised.  Once I put everything into post, the Canon won out.  But there was a huge difference in the contrast straight out of the camera that favored the Sigma.  But in the end, the sharpness test went to the Canon.  Here's the samples:

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Canon 70-200 + 2x @ 400mm (f8.0)

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Sigma 50-500 @ 400mm (f8.0)


You can see the full size charts below:


Conclusions

The lens is not about image quality - it's about flexibility.  Whenver you take a lens with this range you're going to sacrifice something and here you sacrifice two things: aperture and image quality.  If you're going to compare this lens to the Canon 70-200 f/2.8 IS USM Mark II @ 200mm, the Canon is going to crush.  But, if I'm carrying the Canon I can't go to 50mm no matter what, and I can't go to 400mm without popping off the lens and putting on a teleconverter.  This is also not a good indoor lens, for most of the range it's got a maximum aperture of 6.3.  This lens, in particular for sports, is going to be a great asset because in sports the action can vary quickly from close up (perfect for 50mm) to far away (perfect for the 300-500mm range).  The optical stabilization is a nice added feature that make this lens usable.

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