Sigma 170-500mm f/5-6.3 APO RF 35mm Zoom

Sigma 170-500mm f/5-6.3 APO RF 35mm Zoom 

DESCRIPTION

This great lens combines a 5 lens group zoom system with an aspherical lens element to deliver sharp high contrast images throughout the entire zoom range. Using Sigma's unique apochromatic lens design and three SLD glass elements, the aberrations usually found in ultra-telephoto lenses have been eliminated. And with Sigma's new focusing system, the front lens group doesn't rotate, which makes using polarized filters a snap. A convenient built-in rotary tripod mount eliminates vibration during shutter release.

USER REVIEWS

Showing 1-10 of 41  
[Feb 14, 2020]
jeffbozo


Strength:

I was lucky and purchased a truly mint condition used Sigma 170-500 for use with my Nikon D80 10.2MP DSLR w/grip. It has been an excellent investment. I have not used any other brand of lens in the 300 to 500mm range, where I use this lens the most (primarily for wildlife and nature), so I cannot compare one vs the other. What I can say is that, when using a tripod with a remote shutter release, the results of images throughout the focal range has surpassed my expectations, especially considering what I paid. And, even handheld, the percentage of shots that were perfectly in focus was pretty good, though nowhere near the nearly 100% when using my tripod. As a note, I use a Manfrotto Bogen 3221W with 804RC2 pan/tilt head. And, on that subject, the Sigma tripod collar is excellent and operates smoothly. At times the lens can be a bit slow focusing, when compared to, say, my Nikon 55-300mm Zoom Lens, but the difference has not been that much to make me dislike the lens in the least. I am quite sure that the Nikon 200-400mm f/4G Super Telephoto Zoom would surpass this lens in every way, but for the price I would expect that to be the case. The colors are very nice and there is good contrast in the images I have taken. The depth of field produces a sharp and clear main object and a great Bokeh (blur) in the background. The zoom operates very smooth throughout, no stickiness or hang-ups. It can suffer from chromatic aberration (CA) in very high-contrast situations where the background is quite bright and foreground objects are dark. There is definitely lens creep, no way around that unless you decide to use a band. For me, I simply have the strap around my neck and hold the camera in my palm, with the lens pointed up, when walking. Keep in mind that this is not a light weight lens. I cannot give it 5 stars for honest all-out performance only 4. For the money, however, I am very pleased with my Sigma 170-500 and would recommend it to anyone who needs to have more than 300mm focal range and does not want to (or cannot, like myself) lay out thousands for a solid performing lens with this focal range. Added Nov 19, 2012: This lens will work in both AF and MF mode with camera bodies that have the motor to drive the lens, such as a D80, D100, D3, etc. It will only manual focus on models such as the D40, D60, D3000, D5100, etc.

Purchased:
Used  
OVERALL
RATING
4
[May 02, 2011]
Ted
Intermediate

Strength:

you can have photo from this lens on front page CBC ottawa or montreal your photography. or from my page
http://hajiagha.tripod.com

Weakness:

is slow and dust going in I am looking to clean dust from inside of the lens ?
but for price I pay working fine for me

looks to me slow but great and have sharp image , I was pay for canon sigma $1200 paint go off and dust go in ? but this older lens looks to me have all and is working fine on my sony A100

Similar Products Used:

sigma 150-500mm for canon
Tamron 70-300 mme for Nikon I do not likes

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
[Apr 07, 2009]
yc
Intermediate

Strength:

Great optics - sharp even wide open, great color and contrast. Flair and AC are not bad to be noticed. Good tripod collar.

Weakness:

Lens cap is a joke. Lens creeks terribly. AF not good for moving tracking, MF not accurate. Heavy (not the lens fault for sure, but still, it's heavy) To me a 1.5lb lens is not heavy, but 3 pounder is.

A great tele with crystal sharp image and beautiful color, if the subject is not moving. Basically this is a poor man's tele that happens to have great optics, yes, the optics is fantastic, but not much else.

AF is slow, tracking a flying bird is impossible for me. Manual focus ring is added as an afterthought for sure, it's loose with very limited travel, so not very useful at all. The lens creeks a lot if not careful. I bought a custom lens cap so I can actually close and open the cap when the hood is on. It's quite heavy. So tripod is very useful if not a must for this lens. The tripod collar is great though - smooth, secure and solid. Shooting slow moving or stationary animals in the zoo is perhaps the best use of this lens for me. The AF is quite accurate if you allow it to work its way through it.

Customer Service

None

Similar Products Used:

None. This lens is perhaps the cheapest 500mm tele out there today. With the Mark II out with HSM, this lens is even cheaper today, which makes this a great buy if you are not shooting flying birds. I tried the birds a couple times and give up - AF is just impossible - with 350D and 40D and 5D. AF Canon 70-200 USM is instant, on the other hand. But at 200mm, it's way too short.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
[Oct 24, 2008]
Hoang
Casual

Strength:

Good value of money (of course can not compared with the L lens but alot better than the Cosina 400mm that I used before)

Weakness:

Heavy, blur photo in bad weather

I just bought the lens well used from a private seller at £230 (around $378 at current exchange) and tried tens shot with my Canon 20D. The photos at 170mm is quite good while 500mm is well acceptable. I picked a pine branch around 15m away at F76.3 and F7.2 and still see the spider web very clearly in hand-keep mode.

I, however, believed using tripod or monopod is a must to avoide handshaking as this is truly heavy monster. Without tripod/monopod or other supporting tool you can not make more than a few shots continuously.

Given that outdoor/wild life shooting is not something regularly and only are carried out in good weather, I still recommend to buy this lens as it is only 1/3 of the payment I paid for my Canon 300mm L USM and photo, in some certain conditions, are acceptable. Should the potential photographer is less than 170cm and 60kg weight he.she should think twice before going ahead due to its heavy weight.

Customer Service

None

Similar Products Used:

Cosina 400mm, Canon 300mm L USM

OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
3
[Jun 14, 2008]
John
Expert

Strength:

Sharp images, reasonable price

Weakness:

Very unforgiving of less-than-perfect technique, zoom creep if the lens is pointed downward, CA in certain situations with overexposed or very bright background with darker foreground objects.

My experience has been a bit different than most others here, as I find this lens to produce very sharp images. I use it on a Nikon D70, and shoot RAW files. I've shot mostly in the focal length range of 400mm to 500mm, still good and sharp.

It does suffer from chromatic aberration (CA) in high-contrast situations of very bright (overexposed) backgrounds with darker foreground objects, had that happen when shooting birds in trees a few times, but under most conditions, CA is negligible-to-non existent. I've used this lens mainly for nature stuff, but have also shot a couple college football games with it, and it worked great for that, sharp, great contrast, no CA.

It does demand that your technique be almost flawless. It definitely requires a sturdy tripod or monopod and ideally an f/stop in the range or f/8 to f/11 for the sharpest results. For the money, I am very happy with this lens.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
[Jun 02, 2008]
Bob King
Intermediate

Strength:

Zoom range, quite reasonable image quality, price - it includes a tripod ring, a hood and a carry case.

Weakness:

No zoom lock, filter size, though mine (used) came with a uv filter, noisy focus.

This is a good lens for what it is - a "consumer zoom". You would have to spend a lot more money to get significantly better image quality such as provided by a Canon L zoom such as the 100-400 L. It can be hand held with an appropriately high shutter speed but I find its best used with some sort of support, even if its a monopod. I find I get the best images with the lens mounted on a sturdy tripod, stopped down a bit and using a remote shutter release. I use it on my Canon DSLRs but haven't used it on my film bodies.

Customer Service

Not needed

Similar Products Used:

Canon 70-200 f/2.8L with 1.4x teleconverter, Canon 70-300 IS

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
[May 03, 2008]
Bob Howen
Professional

Strength:

None

Weakness:

not capable of producing a sharp image

Useless lens. This is my second attempt to "save" money on a non-nikon lens and it has been a complete waste. I have shot with this lens on a tripod, mirror lock-up and remote trigger and still can not get an image I would even consider offering for sale.


Customer Service

N/A

Similar Products Used:

Nikon 2.8 70-200mm VR

OVERALL
RATING
1
VALUE
RATING
1
[Jan 17, 2008]
BobMcBob
Expert

Strength:

Price (for a new lens). Its a budget means of getting closer to sporting events, but not a professionals lens.

It takes great photos for postcard size prints, even up to 10x12.

Looks the business and if you accept the limitations, you can work around them. In this vein, try renting a variety of lenses before committing to buying one.

Judging from the limited successes I've had, this lens does well in photographing sports events (fast cars/F1, hockey, etc). Not so great for wildlife, unless there is full sun (which kind of defeats the purpose).

No flare that I've ever noticed (I've never really experimented much). Just use the supplied lens hood. I would however reccomend coating the inner (plastic) surface of the hood with black felt.

Weakness:

Price: You may get a better match with a new 100-300 lens and a second hand 500mm prime with an adapter. But you will need dedicated research and reading up on blogs to find lenses that meets your requirements.

Soft focus when aperture wide open. Admittedly, I have gone as far as using this lens on a bean bag with a remote release (never a tripod) but as far as I've been able to determine even in extremely bright sunny weather, stopped down and at 1/000th second exposure, you still get soft images.

Does not enhance the advantages offered by high res (8MP+) digital photography at anything beyond 300mm.

"Floppy" lens. It does wobble about a bit when the tube is extended. I've never fiddled to see if that significantly alters the focus.

Despite being a heavy monster, it feels plasticky. You get what you pay for.

Hopeless as a macro lens (1.5m? focal length)

I don't think this should be your first zoom lens.

Chromatic abberation abounds (at least Photoshop can fix this)

Some vignetting noticeable at long reach (500mm). Recommend using only a UV or only a circular polariser at any one time.

Using a 1.4x image extender is a hopeless excercise with this lens; don't even consider it.

Poor storage case design. Yes, you get a bag with the lens, but it's a tube (lens fits in one end of tube and you slide the lens out). I forget about the lens creep so often that I have had to put a label on the lens cap to warn me when I remove it from it's bag. If you try remove it vertically, if frequently creeps unexpectedly from 170mm to 500mm in a splitsecond. Hopeless for astrophotography with that kind of creep!

Dust specks are a problem inside the lens now. I'll have to take the lens apart to clean it. I have not had any other experience to say if it's a poor design, or if I've been unrealistic in expecting it to stand up to the beaten tracks that I travel.

Focus is loud and mechanical. Loud enough to scare timid wildlife subjects a couple of meters away. About as loud as rubbing your hands together quickly.

I've been dissapointed with this lens from the time I've spent going from amateur beginner photographer to semi-pro/expert. I bought it a few months after my first SLR: a film Canon Rebel 2000 (EOS 300)

It's never really produced sharp images at anything beyond 400mm. I've mainly used it for wildlife photography, originally on the Rebel 2000, then film Canon EOS30, printing to as large as A5 (at most). After I upgraded to a 20D, I really noticed the shortcomings of the lens: softness that not even Photoshop can fix.

The UV protective lens for the Sigma was not that expensive, but the circular polariser was quite expensive. Not terribly difficult to find lens filters: I phoned around in an afternoon and found some.

I've never really had focussing issues on any of the Canon cameras I've used. I simply set the focus to centrepoint and away it goes, with minimal hunting. Maybe I got lucky? Tracking focus is -however- unrelaible.

Customer Service

Have never sent it in. - No comment.

Similar Products Used:

Recently I bought the Canon 100-400L IS USM lens. This lens is fabulous on the 20D reduced sensor size. Every bit as sharp as a L series lens claims to be. Understated genius in design. Sure, the L lens broke the bank at $1800 (I had to ship it in :s, but no more fuzzy details in images. For me, it is quite important to be able to creatively crop a poorly framed image at (say) 400mm and not have to really worry about softness ruining the resulting crop. I've managed to take some pretty amazing hand-held images in next to no light thanks to the image stabiliser. Is this lens three times better than the Sigma? Yes. If you can find one second hand for $800, then go for this rather! The L lens has made the Sigma obsolete overnight and Iit is now being sold.

My first zoom is an early 70-300mm EFII Canon lens which is much sharper in the 170-300 range compared to the Sigma lens. I will also suggest that with a high quality good lens extender (1.4x or 2x) on the 300mm zoom, I can get about as sharp an image as the Sigma lens (but with much less light entering the lens and using a 20D smaller-than-35mm CCD)

OVERALL
RATING
2
VALUE
RATING
3
[Apr 28, 2007]
RoadieRob
Intermediate

Strength:

Reliability
Price

Weakness:

Image Quality
Focusing

This lens has been a big disappointment. I have owned this lens for 5 years and have yet to take a photo that I would consider sharp. Even stopped down, tripod mounted, mirror locked up with cable release still will not produce a sharp image. I would not consider this lens usable at 500 mm. Acceptable soft images can be achieved around 450 mm.

Outside of bright, sunny days I could only rarely use the autofocus. It is always slow and regularly hunts. The micro servo motor is noisy. Manual focus is made difficult due to the sensitivity of the focusing ring.

When extended out past 300mm there is significant wobble in the barrel (at least 1/8"). Color and contrast are just OK. I have had no problems with flare. Reliability has been excellent.

This lens is not recommended for professional photgraphers or discriminating enthusiasts. Images taken with this lens may be suitable for low resolution web or newsprint. However, the softness of this lens is very apparent in high resolution web and printed images over 4x6. This is a good lens for taking snapshots of the kids playing outdoor sports. However, once you enlarge the images to 8X10 or larger, the optical shortcomings are evident.

Other options are the Sigma 50-500 ($1,000), Tamron 200-500 ($900) and Canon 100-400 IS L ($1,400). I do not have any experience with the Sigma or Tamron, but the Canon is outstanding. The $1,400 price tag was offset by the $450 trade-in on the my Sigma 170-500.

Customer Service

None

Similar Products Used:

Canon 100-400 IS L

OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
3
[Apr 30, 2006]
beefcurry
Intermediate

Strength:

Cheap

Weakness:

Slow aperture, Heavy (all refracters are heavy so its not really a weakness), slow and noisy focus.

If you are expecting Sharp Clear crisp images then this is not the lens for you. It is somewhat soft throughout the zoom range but is still sharp enough to not be classified junk. Its clearly what you get for what you paided, a okay Super Telephoto for some crazy price. Its heavy, but you cant expect much from a defracter that goes up to such a focal length. Unless your going for a Reflecter (which is worse in terms of sharpness and functionality) then this is your best choice. The softness could be fixed using an USM in photoshop but then it still cant replace the sharpness from a Proffessional lens. I brought this because i needed a cheap lens with okay sharpness with a long reach since i wanted to take a few pictures of the moon. You can see the craters large and clear with this so it did its job well. There wasnt much flare (tested on a 350D) while using a MC UV0 Filter but then my version is the DG version with better coating. The focus is slow and noisy which is inoying when you want to keep quite but it is quite stupid bringing quite a big heavy consumer lens to a formal place where you can just crop from a image taken with a better quality lens. Personally if you want a cheap lens that could reach up to 500mm i would recommend the Sigma 50-500 f4-6.3 EX, that has a MUCH faster and a WAY more quite focus as well as being alot sharper. The removable tripod colour is well placed and well designed and it comes with a really good soft padded case for it. Kudos Sigma for including that.

Similar Products Used:

EF 100-300mm f/4.5-5.6 USM
Sigma 50-500 f4-6.3 EX

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
Showing 1-10 of 41  

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