Sigma 500mm F4 Sports

The Sigma 500/4.5 was my very first lense, and it is still the lense I use for almost all of my photos. The only things I don't like about it is that it doesn't work well with converters, it lacks os/vr and I have a feeling that focus could be more accurate. I also would like it to be slightly longer, but that is another question.

So now Sigma comes out with a new Sigma 500/4 Sports that seems to solve all my issues and be on level with the Nikon 500/4. I have found two reviews so far (one is in dutch):

I would like to hear what you all think about this lense. Two qestions that comes to my mind are:
Will there be any reason to buy the Nikon 500/4 instead of this new Sigma lense?
Will Sigma continue and come out with a 600/4 and/or a 800/5.6 in the Sports series?


  • CoastalconnCoastalconn Posts: 527Member
    I've been awaiting real reviews as well. I'm not sure why someone would pick the Sigma over a used vr-g, unless you really need the little over a pound weight reduction unless the sharpness, af speed and accuracy is on par or better than the E. Or if you only buy new lenses for depreciation in tax write offs. I got my used bargain grade vr-g for well under 4k. Having the USB dock with the Sigma doesn't seem quite as necessary as say a zoom unless it has a focus shift at various distances, but will be handy for future firmware updates as new cameras come out. I guess we will have to wait for some real tests heads up again the Nikons..

    I would think that Sigma would introduce other big primes depending on the success of the 500.
  • PistnbrokePistnbroke Posts: 2,429Member
    The other advantage of the dock which I have not seen mentioned is that you can match the camera fine focus to a D3xxx or D5xxx. I have been lucky with my sigma 150-600 G1 that is needs no adjustment for my D3300 but other lenses I have are not usable
  • NikoniserNikoniser Posts: 100Member experiences. I have owned Nikon 500mm F4 AF-S/ and Manual P version and currently have Nikon 600mm F4 AF-S V1.

    I have tested Sigma 500 F4.5, Nikon 500mm F4 AFS-VR II

    I also own the Sigma 180mm F2.8 Macro.

    My conclusions are that :

    Optically, Nikon super telephoto primes are their best lenses. They are sharp, free from distortion and CA ( other than the 500F4-P which has fringing wide open ) . The primary difference in later lenses optics is how sharp and contrasty they are at F4. The later the version, the sharper they are at F4.

    The Sigma 500f4.5 is quite a poor lens wide open and needs to be at f8 to be really sharp ( the Nikons reach 98% of peak sharpness at f5.6 ) . The autofocus is also much slower than the Nikon primes and lock is not as accurate.

    Fast forward to todays lenses, and the Sigma 180mm F2.8 is optically stunning, even wide open, so if the new 500 matches that it should match the Nikon Superteles. My main complaints are the VR ( only 3 real stops ) and autofocus, which does not "target lock" on flying birds the way the Nikons do, and sometimes misses and chatters on static subjects.

    I have been watching Sigma carefully - I see simliar complaints for the autofocus of the new 50-150 and VR of 150-600 is also only 3 stops.

    So if we extrapolate, the new Sigma 500 F4 will match the Nikon lenses optically, but fall down on autofocus and VR. Autofocus is utterly key for these lenses, field of view at 500m F4 is so tiny. You will need a proper independant external lab report from someone like lens tip to really find out the truth when it is launched.
  • snakebunksnakebunk Posts: 991Member
    I have big hopes for this lense since I think Sigma in recent years have proven that they can make good lenses in all aspects. I think my 50/1.4 Arts is equally good to focus as my 300/4 PF for instance. But we need a thorough review. I would like to see it compared to the Nikon 500/4E.

    Here is one more short initial impression kind of review:
  • SterlingFoxSterlingFox Posts: 1Member
    I've had the Sigma 500 f4 sport for the past 10 days, but due to business commitments haven't had the chance to put it through its paces as yet. The build quality on initial inspection is every bit as good as my Nikon 300 f2.8, and the balance when coupled with my D5 & D500 with grip feels really good-with it's weight distributed evenly. The AF speed is what I'd expect from an f4, quick but not as fast as my 2.8. The OS of the Sigma is different to Nikons VR on their latest lenses, as it doesn't snap in & gives the impression that it's not active,but it is. The AF & OS are very quiet. The large carbon hood feels lighter than the carbon hood of my 300 2.8, and is the same length as my 300 f4 PF lens! The lens comes with a backpack & when the packing foam is removed a pro sized body can be fitted for transportation purposes albeit with the lens hood reversed. I hope to do a full review of the lens when time permits but my intitial instincts make me optimistic about its performance. Sigma test each & every 500 f4 lens on their specially developed 45mp sensor for accuracy before it leaves the factory. It's worth keeping an eye on Brad Hills blog at as he's undertaking extensive testing of the lens against the current Nikon 500 f4 FL beginning next week....real world testing as opposed to lab testing.
  • snakebunksnakebunk Posts: 991Member
    @SterlingFox: Interesting! I hope you have time to write more when you have used the lense for a while. I also look forward to the review from Brad Hill, especially since he will test it side by side to the Nikon 500/4E.
  • About all I know is its $822/pound... which is pretty good for decent, super telephoto glass.
  • snakebunksnakebunk Posts: 991Member
    edited December 2016
    I ordered one, got a good price at 51,000 swedish crowns (including VAT), which is about half of the price for the Nikon 500/4E. I hope to have a durable and relatively lightweight lens, which can give me sharp images at 700/5.6 with converter. Will let you know how it goes.
    Post edited by snakebunk on
  • snakebunksnakebunk Posts: 991Member
    edited January 2017
    I have used this lense for a couple of weeks now, and it is just as good as I hoped for. I give build quality, auto focus and sharpness five out of five. Compared to my Sigma 500/4.5 it is basically better at everything except the foot and the size. According to Brad Hill the optical quality is identical to Nikon 500/4E,

    One special nice thing is the tripod collar with click stops (that you can unselect if you want). I think I will use the collar loose all the time. The click stops are firm enough to keep the lens in place although I can still turn it around if I want to.

    I will buy the gigantic protection filter you can put at the front, LPT-11. It is expensive, but I think it is a smart accessory.

    The supplied lens foot is too small and I think almost everybody will replace it. Has anybody tried the Sigma TS-81 foot replacement? Some people say it is not compatible with RRS clamps.

    Post edited by snakebunk on
  • EiTaroEiTaro Posts: 35Member
    Snakebunk TS-81 is great on 150-600 but you need screw-knob RRS clamps to lock it in place. I suppose that it'll be compatible with 500 but it is not made with that lens in mind.
    D800 | 16-35mm f4 | 50mm f1.4 | 70-200mm f2.8 | 150-600 Sport | SB910 | RRS
  • snakebunksnakebunk Posts: 991Member
    @EiTaro: Thanks for info. If I understand correctly it will work with my Wimberley head but not with the RRS lever release clamp.
  • EiTaroEiTaro Posts: 35Member
    I don't have a Wimberley head but I believe it'll work fine with TS-81. In order to use it with RRS lever release clamps I put a piece of Dust-Aid Dust-Cloth between the clamp and TS-81!
    D800 | 16-35mm f4 | 50mm f1.4 | 70-200mm f2.8 | 150-600 Sport | SB910 | RRS
  • snakebunksnakebunk Posts: 991Member
    Good to know. Thank you!
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