Save up to 60% on all Fstoppers tutorials

Sigma 500mm Sport Lens Real-World Experience

Super telephoto prime lenses are not very common except in the world of professional nature and sport photography. Today, Australian photographer Blake Parry talks about his experience with the Sigma 500mm f/4 lens.

After his Nikon 400mm F2.8 AFS-II broke, Parry had to find a replacement. The native options such as the new Nikkor 400mm f/2.8E VR and the Nikkor 500mm f/4 VR cost around $10,000. This kind of price tag makes you hesitant. Older generations of both the above lenses were somewhat available second hand at around the $7,500 mark, but having been burnt by a dead lens in the recent past, he wanted something new and under warranty. He explains that “on price alone, the Sigma 500mm f/4 Sport piqued my interest, could something nearly half the price of the comparable Nikon lens really compete?” The fact that the Sigma lens takes a 1.4x teleconverter helped him to pick this piece of glass.

The Sigma lens comes with all the usual focus and image stabilization options.

After a couple of months shooting sports and wildlife in Western Australia, Parry says “I cannot comment directly on the competing Nikon 500mm lenses, I suspect they are also very good in all the ways that the Sigma excels. However, I do find it very hard to believe that they are delivering twice the value of the Sigma Sport, which is pretty much what you are paying.”

You can consult his real-world review on his photography blog.

Log in or register to post comments


Daryl Hunter's picture

I don't have one, but many of my friends do. When my photo tour guests ask about lens recommendations, I always tell them that although I really like my EF500 F/4L, it isn't $5,000.00 better than today's Sigma and Tamron's 150-600s.

Spy Black's picture

I wonder if the days of exotic telephotos are numbered.

Blake Parry's picture

It really depends what you're shooting - I also own the Nikon 200-500 and shot with the Sigma 150-600 Sport while waiting for the 500mm
Optimum IQ vs versatility and price, just good to have choices these days.

I do notice the extra stop of light, better bokeh and the AF speed is significantly faster.
Taking the TC provide some extra options too.

FYI where I am the Sigma 150-600 sport retails for about $2800, the 500mm for about $6500

michael buehrle's picture

6k ? ya, probably not.

brian williams's picture

Click bait. . . really, one entire post for a vague comment??? Standards. . . you'll need to up them if you want to stay on staff!

Oliver Kmia's picture

I know, I'm on probation already.

Bill Chase's picture

Ah yes, because most 500mm f4 lenses are incompatible with teleconverters. Come on, even the old 500mm f4.5 from Sigma works with teleconverters, it's not like this is a rare feature.

With that said, the Sigma 500mm f4 certainly offers great value, and it is good that it does work with teleconverters.

Blake Parry's picture

On the blog i just made mention that the 1.4x TC was available (and mine was on order) - not that the competing tele-primes didnt have them :)

On a side note, the TC is very good, not a huge cost in IQ or focus speed.
I had the older Sigma TC's previously and they weren't very good

Leif Hegdal's picture

Saw this lens come. It is an interesting improvement from the older F4.5 lens. For wildlife a 500mm that handles a 1.4TC is a well is a big plus.