A Site for Photographers by Photographers

Community > Forums > photo.net > Lenses > Has anybody used the Sigma...

Has anybody used the Sigma 500mm f7.2 APO lens?

andrew schank , Jul 29, 1999; 01:50 a.m.

I was thinking about trying to find this discontinued, fairly compact (but slow) Sigma 500mm f7.2 APO lens for use with my Nikons. I have seen them going for about $400 used, which is about what a used Nikon TC-301 2X would run. It seems like a decent design, and would probably be sharper than a 300mm f4.O ED Nikkor with the TC-301, don't you think? Has anyone any experience with the Sigma lens? Is it average-good-great optically & mechanically? Any difference between the manual or autofocus versions? I can't imagine blazing AF speed at f7.2, so I was leaning towards manual focus.




Mark Wilkins , Jul 29, 1999; 02:53 a.m.

I don't know the lens, but I do not believe any Nikon supports autofocus at a wide-open focal ratio higher than 5.6, so the leaning toward manual focus would be something the lens would do for you.

-- Mark

Ken Munn , Jul 29, 1999; 04:08 a.m.

No, but I have their 400 f5.6 APO HSM which is a very creditable performer.


rob McHattie , Jul 29, 1999; 11:34 a.m.

I had a 500mm f7.2 apo lens for my canon eos 3 and loved it.

The autofocus isnt the quickest, but worked well enough for me.

I would say that for the price, it gives a very good performance.

Go for it, you wont be disapointed!

Bruce J Leventhal , Jul 29, 1999; 11:50 a.m.

The 500 7.2 has received less than stellar review from Georgle Lepp and others. As I recall (thus 3rd hand knowledge) it is not sharp wide open, and not very contrasty. While it is not quite 500mm, I would buy the Nikon TC14b mount it with your 300 f4.0... this will give you an exceptional 420 f5.6 that will be sharp and contrasty at f5.6 & slower. Take a step or two in, and you will be at your 500mm framing.

regards bruce

Nico Smit , Jul 29, 1999; 12:00 p.m.

If you are expecting high optical performance you will be disappointed in the Sigma 500 f7.2. You may just as well buy the newer Sigma 170-500 zoom which is marginally faster (f6.3), more flexible and at least as sharp even though it is a zoom. I have owned them both, but has since changed to Canon primes (300 f4 L IS and 400 f2.8 L). There are no comparison and I suspect the Nikon plus TC will also give you better results.

Neil Walden , Jul 30, 1999; 09:04 a.m.

I would avoid this lens. It is a clunker. For bird photography, I bought this lens to replace an all-manual Cambridge Camera Cambron 500mm f8.0 lens. The Sigma was considerably softer wide open, and waiting for it to autofocus on a Minolta 8000i was like watching grass grow. I sold the Sigma, and used the Cambron (BTW an inexpensive and good, if limited, "starter" long telephoto) for several years until I sprung for an all EOS system.

andrew schank , Jul 30, 1999; 10:18 a.m.

Thanks for the help to everyone who responded. The last note about the Sigma beeing softer than the $100 Cambron 500mm preset wide open did it for me. I just read a test of the 300 f4.0 & the TC-301 and it is a surprisingly good combination-fairly good even wide open. Tc-301 will take up a lot less space in my bag as well!

Roland Spoon , May 09, 2000; 05:15 p.m.

I just bought a Sigma 500mm 7.2 APO New from KEH and I Shot 3 roll's of film of surfing here in Hawaii it is just as sharp as my Reflex Nikkor 500mm f8 mirror lens but with a lot more dept of field. I have read all the questions and answers on this lens and say that most of the answers are very wrong I would recomend this lens very highly. I also used it with a TC-201 and found the shot's very good as long as you use a good tripod. I owned one of the Cambron 500mm lenses and it sucked big time.

Steve Pearson , Dec 07, 2007; 11:07 a.m.

Hi Andy Don't know if you have this lens now but I have one which use on my Nikon D50's and it has taken some good photos. As you say the AF isn't the fastest in the world but you learn to adjust. I'm actually selling it on ebay to fund a macro lens as I want to concentrate on insect photography.

Back to top

Notify me of Responses