Thursday, January 31, 2013
Shooting 700mm with the Sigma 150-500mm lens
Yes, you read the title correctly. I took Paul's advice last summer and bought a 1.4x teleconverter for the Sigma lens just to see what it would do. I have to admit that the results were less than spectacular. Keep in mind that these whales were waaaaay out there but even factoring that in I still wasn't that happy with the photos.
This first shot is an uncropped version so you can see the actual results. The lens shoots a lot darker and less crisp than a Nikon prime or even just the Sigma 150-500mm by itself. It also vignettes some in the corners and the colors weren't true to the scene. This photo was shot at f10 during the middle of the afternoon with full Hawaiian sun and I even brightened it up a little in photoshop. Even at f10 the background isn't clear and you don't get a clean, crisp photo.
The next photo is the same image cropped at 50% and the photo after that is another shot from the same distance and also cropped 50%.
As a comparison, here is a shot taken on the same day with the Nikon 28-300mm lens at f8. The whale in these shots was at about the same distance as the shots with the Sigma and teleconverter give or take 50 feet or so. The first shot is an uncropped version and the 2nd shot is the same photo but cropped 50%.
All in all I can say that if you have to have a photo and need to really reach out there the Sigma 1.4x teleconverter will do the job but your not going to get National Geographic qulaity photos with the combination. The only other negative I found was that you can't auto-focus with the teleconverter on the Sigma. That wouldn't be a problem if you are shooting a subject that is stationary for a few seconds or more at a time but when it comes to shooting whales, you never know when they are going to pop up or where so I had to just set the focus at a distance I thought one would jump at and hope for the best.
Next trip to Hawaii I hope to have a Nikon prime lens to replace the Sigma with.