Sigma 500mm f/4 DG OS HSM Sports Lens for Nikon F

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Sigma 500mm F4 DG HSM OS Sports is a member of Sigma’s new Global Vision Line of products. The lens was designed and made in Japan by 2016. It was announced at Photokina on Sep 19, 2016. A group of talented engineers from all over the world beautifully crafted new Sigma’s outstanding product again.

Right from the start I like to mention that new Global Vision 500mm F4 Sport is right there in line with Canon’s and Nikon’s newest equivalent and represents high degree Professional class of lenses. It is weather resistant and dust proof. A half a pound heavier and about an inch longer then competition. The lens is constricted with rugged metal magnesium alloy and carbon and build like a tank. Along with great construction Sigma designed a new HSM high speed motor for this lens to speed up focus and optimize overall performance of the lens. The quality of the body is up there with Zeiss standards and optics are fantastic. The lens has all latest coatings and superb polish. With a new Global Vision Line Sigma has proven that they can make outstanding lenses their 135mm and 85mm lenses proved to be optically better then Canon or Nikon equivalent. Yes, they are a bit heavier and larger in size but optically better.

LENS CONSTRUCTION

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Sigma 500mm F4 DG HSM OS Sports comes with three mounts: Canon, Nikon and Sigma. (There is a rumor that Sigma will also release this lens with Sony E-Mount. At this time a Canon version can be easily adapted to E-Mount systems via Sigma MC-11 lens adaptor which will provide most of E-Mount capabilities with some minor limitations and slower focus tracking. According to Patrick Murphy-Racey the Sony E-Mount user will need some time to adopt to use Sigma 500mm F4 DG HSM OS Sports with MC-11 and with this combination the lens cannot perform with Sigma 1.4X TC. This problem could be solved with the future software updates and can be completely ignored with future E-Mount construction. Although Sony E-Mount users will be forced to get Sigma’s new 1.4x and/or 2x TCs. Along with new motor Sigma 500mm lens got new electronic aperture control for all available mounts and it can be configured with Sigma’s lens docking station which comes with special software and enables user to adapt lens for its own personal workflow. The configurable options are: Focusing, Stabilization OS, and Custom Options 1 and 2. It can be optimized for High Focus Speed, Focus Precision or it can be set to Standard what supposed to be a compromise between speed and accuracy. The Sigma 500mm ƒ/4 lens utilizes 16 elements in 11 groups and uses rounded aperture blades for smooth out of focus highlights (bokeh). It uses the most effective Optical Image stabilization in any Sigma to date and has positions for normal use and for panning.

Here are some technical specification of Sigma 500mm F4 DG HSM OS Sports lens:

SPECIFICATIONS

Lens Construction: 16 elements in 11 groups

Angle of View (35mm): 

Number of Diaphragm Blades: 9 (Rounded diaphragm)

Minimum Aperture: F32

Minimum Focusing Distance: 350cm/137.8in.

Filter Size (mm): Φ46mm (Rear)

Maximum Magnifications: 1 6.5

Dimensions: (Diameter x Length): Φ144.8mm × 380.3mm/5.7in. x 15in.

Weight: 3,310g

Corresponding Mounts: Sigma, Nikon, Canon HSM/DG

IMAGE STABILIZATION

Sigma’ stabilization system is called OS for Optical Stabilization and claims 4 stops in-lens stabilization. The OS is fully manageable with Sigma’s Lens Configuration Dock.

In many ways Sigma 500mm ƒ/4 behaves like Nikon 500mm ƒ/4E lens or the Canon 500mm ƒ/4L II lens. The lens can be short time handholdable and perform well with Optical Stabilization turned ON.

 

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Here are some points highlighted by B&H:

·       As part of the Sports line within Sigma's Global Vision series, this lens' is designed to offer excellent optical performance, speed, and other customizable features that make it an ideal choice for wildlife, sports, action, and other fast-moving subjects.

·       This super telephoto 500mm f/4 prime lens is designed for full-frame format Nikon F-mount cameras, and can also be used with APS-C models where it will provide a 750mm equivalent focal length.

·       A relatively fast f/4 maximum aperture provides excellent illumination for a lens of this focal length.

·       One SLD and two FLD elements have been incorporated within the lens design to correct for chromatic aberrations throughout the entire focusing range and help to ensure high image sharpness, clarity, and contrast regardless of focus point or aperture setting. This optical design also helps to control distortion and limit vignetting.

·       A Super Multi-Layer Coating has been applied to lens elements in order to minimize lens flare and ghosting and contribute to producing contrast-rich and color-neutral imagery, even in backlit conditions.

·       The integrated HSM (Hyper Sonic Motor) realizes quick and quiet autofocusing, which is further complemented by an optimized AF algorithm to produce smoother focusing performance. A dedicated switch on the barrel of the lens provides multiple AF modes, including a focus recall setting and AF off. The HSM also permits full-time manual focus control simply by rotating the focus ring at any time. Two manual focus modes are available, the standard AF/MF option and an MO setting that switches the lens into manual even during continuous AF.

·       Optical Stabilizer system can compensate for approximately 4 stops of shutter speed for sharper images. Two modes are available, one for general use and one for panning, which uses Intelligent OS for more effective panning in any direction.

·       Compatible with Sigma Global Vision Teleconverters, this lens can be extended into a 700mm f/5.6 lens with the 1.4x teleconverter or a 1000mm f/8 lens with the 2x teleconverter.

·       A rounded nine-blade diaphragm helps to produce an attractive out-of-focus quality.

·       Specialized electromagnetic aperture mechanism provides greater exposure control stability that is especially beneficial when working with fast continuous shooting rates.

·       Drop-in filter system works with 46mm filters. An optional RCP-11 Circular Polarizer filter is designed specifically for the lens and can be rotated while it is inserted.

·       The lens barrel is constructed using a magnesium alloy that is lightweight and durable, which allows this lens to perform in a wide range of situations.

·       The bayonet mount is constructed from brass for ensured accuracy and durability.

·       The lens hood is made of carbon fiber, a lightweight but strong material that will perform in tough conditions.

·       A rotating tripod foot helps keep this lens secure during shoots and features antistatic nickel plating to improve durability. It features click stops every 90° and can be turned off with a de-clicking switch for smooth movement. The lens also comes with a dedicated strap for the tripod foot which limits strain on the camera mount.

·       Dust- and splash-proof construction with rubber sealing to protect the mount and a water- and oil-repellent coating on the front and rear elements.

·       This lens is compatible with the optional Sigma USB Dock for fine-tuning different lens characteristics and updating its firmware.

METRIX FROM DXO

Overall image quality

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The Sigma 500mm f/4 achieves its highest overall DxOMark score of 30 points on the EOS 5DS R, dropping to 27 on the EOS 5D Mark IV, and to 25 points on the EOS 1D X Mark II. This puts the Sigma lens just fractionally behind the equivalent Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM alternative for low-light performance on all three full-frame DSLRs, but the results are very close.

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For sharpness, the Sigma 500mm f/4 offers high levels of uniform resolution just under 80% acutance in the field, using the wider apertures between f/4 and f/8 on all three full-frame Canon DSLRs. Resolution drops a little at f/11, to around 70% acutance, but that’s still very good, and sharpness remains uniform at this setting with no noticeable edge softness.

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The heaviest vignetting of –1.3 EV occurs at the maximum f/4 aperture, but corner shading is significantly improved at f/5.6 and non-existent from f/8. There’s no geometric distortion to worry about, and the Sigma 500mm f/4 handles chromatic aberrations extremely well, too, with no noticeable fringing evident.

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IMAGE QUALITY COMPARED

The Sigma 500mm f/4 achieves remarkably similar scores to those of the Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM own-brand equivalent on the 5DS R1D X Mark II, and 5D Mark IV DSLRs. There’s virtually nothing to separate them in terms of distortion, vignetting, or chromatic aberration. The Canon 500mm f/4L II offers slightly improved light transmission of 4.5 T-stop compared to 4.8 for the Sigma, which could help you achieve the same exposure with a 1/3 stop faster shutter speed using the own-brand lens, but it isn’t a significant difference.

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On the lower-resolution 1DX Mark II and 5D Mark IV sensors, the Sigma 500mm f/4 boasts a greater overall sharpness score compared to its Canon equivalent. At all apertures the Sigma is fractionally sharper on these DSLRs, but there’s so little difference that it’s hardly noticeable in terms of real-world results. Both lenses achieve close to 80% acutance in the field using apertures between f/4 and f/8, which is excellent.

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On the lower-resolution 1DX Mark II and 5D Mark IV sensors, the Sigma 500mm f/4 boasts a greater overall sharpness score compared to its Canon equivalent. At all apertures the Sigma is fractionally sharper on these DSLRs, but there’s so little difference that it’s hardly noticeable in terms of real-world results. Both lenses achieve close to 80% acutance in the field using apertures between f/4 and f/8, which is excellent.

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SAMPLE PICTURES

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Sigma 500mm F4 OS HSM DG Sport

500mm with 1.4x TC and Nikon D850. Auto ISO, 1/1200, F/8

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Sigma 500mm F4 OS HSM DG Sport

500mm with 1.4x TC and Nikon D850. Auto ISO, 1/1200, F/8

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Sigma 500mm F4 OS HSM DG Sport

500mm with 1.4x TC and Nikon D500. Auto ISO, 1/1000, F/8

Sigma 500mm F4 OS HSM DG Sport

500mm with 1.4x TC and Nikon D850. Auto ISO, 1/1200, F/8

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Sigma 500mm F4 OS HSM DG Sport

500mm with 1.4x TC and Nikon D850. Auto ISO, 1/800, F/8