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Sigma 200-500mm F2.8 EX DG APO IF Lens Review

Sigma 200-500 f2.8 photo 1 Sigma 200-500 f2.8 photo 2

This is the Sigma 200-500mm F2.8 EX DG APO IF lens reviewed by Hoosh Multimedia. I have actually purchased this lens (it is not rented), so if there are any questions you may have thats not covered in this article please let me know and I will do my best to reply.

The Sigma corporation has created a world's first in the 200-500mm F2.8 lens, in that it is the only lens in the world (zoom or otherwise) with a 500mm focal length at an F2.8 aperture! This is a review based on my ownership of the Sigma 200-500mm F2.8, a more in-depth review will be written when the UK is not under a COVID-19 virus lockdown.

Right from the start let us clarify that this is a VERY specialized lens. This is why very few people in the world own this lens. BUT the ones that own it rarely want to part with it! It is an exceptional lens but because of its weight (15.4kg) and size, it is not the kind of lens that can be useful unless you need a 200-500mm F2.8 lens!

Sigma 200-500mm F2.8 EX DG APO IF Lens Specification

Lens Construction: 17 Elements in 13 Groups
Angle of View: 12.3-5 Degrees
Number of Diaphragm Blades: 9
Mininum Aperture: F22
Minimum Focusing Distance: 200-500 cm / 78.7-196.9 in
Drop in Filter Size (mm): 72mm
Maximum Magnifications: 1:7.7
Dimensions(Diameter x Length): 236.5 x 726 mm/9.3 x 28.6 in
Weight: 15700g / 553.7oz
Corresponding Mounts: Nikon, Canon, Sigma
Sigma 200-500 f2.8 MTF 1 Sigma 200-500 f2.8 MTF 2

Sigma 200-500 F2.8 Manual

Sigma 200-500mm F2.8 operation

Its important to point out that this lens relies on a Fly-By-Wire system for its operation. Meaning, the lens uses a motor and needs power to zoom and to focus, which is supplied via a dedicated battery (Sigma BP-21 battery). Unlike most other lenses, when you turn the zoom or the focus ring, you are not moving the lens elements directly, rather, you are telling the motor to move the lens element, which inevitably introduces some delay.

One important factor to consider is that if you are planning to use the lens with a different branded camera to the mount, you can only do this if you can find a smart adapter (with electrical connections) for the mount of the Sigma 200-500 F2.8 and the camera, otherwise the lens will physically not switch on, at all! Being Fly-By-Wire means it needs power to move the lens element for the zoom and the focus, so without power you can not even use the lens as a manual lens. Its important to buy the mount for the system you already use (Nikon, Canon or Sigma). Considering the cost of this lens, you really need to make sure you consider the future of your system. Sigma offers a service whereby you can change the mount on certain lenses to whatever you choose, but they have confirmed that they are unable to offer this service for the Sigma 200-500mm F2.8

If you buy a Nikon mount, you should be able to use Commlite Pro adapter with AF capability to connect it to certain Sony cameras (we will test this once the UK is out of a COVID-19 lockdown!). The Canon mount version can use a Metabone AF enabled adapter (we have seen other people that have been able to use a Metabone with the canon mount on Sony cameras). Whichever adapter you use, it absolutely must have electronic connections otherwise the lens will not even switch on and without power you can not even manually zoom or focus the lens.

Finally, if you want to turn the camera/lens from landscape to portrait, you can do this by turnning the camera from landscape to portrait position (the mount end of the lens turns, while the rest of the lens stays stationary).

Who is Sigma 200-500mm F2.8 aimed at?

This is not a lens you can use for fast and erratically moving subjects. One thing to consider is the size of the lens elements, they are VERY large and heavy (this is the worlds largest zoom lens). So it will never focus or zoom as fast as a normal zoom lens (although, there is an AF range "limiter switch", with three settings that will help the speed in which Sigma 200-500mm F2.8 auto focus). This is a very specialized lens, in that it is perfect for low light photography of subjects that do not require fast autofocus or zoom. The other factor to consider is that your DSLR tripods will not hold the weight of this lens.

Ideally you will also need a heavy-duty filming tripod (usually costing thousand plus UK British Pounds). But then the tripod usually weigh significantly more than the usual DSLR tripods. Something else to consider is that it is not just the tripod that needs to be able to hold the weight of this lens, but also the tripod head needs to be able to cope as well. So combining the weight of this lens, plus a suitable tripod, will make this system far too heavy for most wildlife photographers.

Something else to consider is that with the 2x converter that comes with the lens, will in effect transform this lens to another worlds first, i.e. 400-1000mm F5.6! Nothing in the world comes close to this focal range and aperture! Just please consider that as with most 2x converters the autofocus and the image quality is adversely effected, be it slightly.

Image Quality

The initial testing shows a truly spectacular image quality from this lens. The copy I have is very sharp and the Chromatic Aberration is controlled very well.

An in depth review of the image quality will be written once the UK Covid-19 country wide lock down is lifted.

Sigma 200-500mm F2.8 for filming

If you use this lens for filming, the first thing you will notice is how loud the Zoom and the autofocus is. You WILL hear the motor every time the lens elements are moved. If you use this lens for filming please ensure the microphone is no where near the lens or you will hear the motor as it operates.

I am using this lens to film a few events later on in the year (when the UK is pout of COVID-19 lockdown), so will comment on how it performs later on when I connect the lens to the Sony NEX cameras.

Sigma 200-500mm F2.8 drop in filters

It uses a 72mm drop in filter. So you can easily take out the filter (located in the back, near the mount) and replace it with a polarizing one (included) or potentially an ND filter (I will have to test this at a later date).

Carrying the Sigma 200-500mm F2.8

The lens comes in a HUGE heavy-duty Pelican 1780 Long Gun Firearms Travel Case, which itself is almost as heavy as the lens. Its near impossible for one person to easily lift the case and the lens, and, be able to carry it. The case has solid plastic wheels but we would never recommend rolling the case via hard plastic wheels. The vibration caused by these solid wheels could damage the lens. I have also seen a video where a YouTuber hired a Sigma 200-500mm and carried it using a large rucksack on his back. I personally will not recommend this, as the lens elements are so heavy that if you carry the lens in a vertical position, then the weight of the lens elements can potentially damage the internal gearing and/or motor. Sigma 200-500mm is designed to be carried horrizontally.

The Sigma 200-500mm F2.8 Camera compatibility

The lens is only compatible with following cameras:

Sigma 200-500 F2.8 Camera Compatibility

DISCLAIMER: The content, veiws, thoughts and opinion expressed in this website is purely based on the author's personal experience and any action taken upon the information provided in this website is strictly at your own risk. The author of this article will not accept any liability of any kind in connection with ANY information provided. The information contained in this website is provided on an “as is” basis with no guarantee of completeness, accuracy, usefulness or timeliness and without any warranties of any kind whatsoever, express or implied.

. Swansea. Cardiff. Bristol. London

All photos on this site were captured by Hoosh Arabi (Who is an award winning photographer).
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