on February 19, 2010
I must admit I did not buy this monster of a lens - it came to me the old fashion way (no it wasn't stolen) my parents purchased it for me - they have more disposable income than I. Well after having had it for a little while, there are a few things I have learned: 1. Don't unleash this beast around other photographers or anyone else for that matter unless you are a total camera snob and are trying to compensate for certain inadequacies. 2. Use a monster tripod - this beast weighs over 100 lbs.. 3. Let the lens come to ambient temperature before using. 4. Do not use it for photographing ANYTHING from the deck of your home in San Francisco - unless you want your neighbors phoning SFPD complaining that you are a voyeur - SFPD was impressed with my photos of the Palace of Fine Arts and Alcatraz. Now I wanted this lens for nature photography - this is what I do for fun. Unfortunately, I think the lens is much too large and heavy to be transported with any ease other than hiring a Sherpa.
on August 28, 2015
I rented this lens after I passed the background check so I could go birding. Saw a nesting and pointed the lens, soon as it came into focus the poor thing dropped dead from the suns reflection off the lens. So I headed off to a shelter. I saw a beatiful wood duck framed the image in the viewfinder. I tell you what, I was not ready for the recoil when I hit the shutter release. The whole thing rocked on the tripod and gave me a black eye. The duck was gone, nothing but feathers on the water. I checked the image on the canon, captured it beautifully just before the duck exploded. Cant wait for deer season, hope to catch some bucks fighting and use the antlers to make the frame.
A co-worker has one of those camera lens coffee mugs and is always yammering on about how it shows how much he's into photography.
So I got this, removed the optics, and turned it into a significantly bigger mug and shut my co-worker up.
$25,000 well spent.
on October 11, 2011
Took this bad boy to the top of the Chrysler building and threw it off. It shattered into a million pieces, exactly as expected. Completely satisfied, would highly recommend.
on March 30, 2015
To be honest, this lens has its ups and downs. I’ll obviously the good aspects about this lens, but let’s rewind a bit about my life before this lens came into my life. I am a marketing student, in my final semester of school. I am completing my degree in 2 weeks and planning to move to Harvard for my Masters. As you all know, Harvard MBA fees comes at about $50,000 a semester (books, travel and living expenses excluded). I had no problems financing my studies, since my family had a separate funding account for my studies. On one holy evening, my friend told me about this lens. Being a professional photographer, I was excited and obviously researched for this amazing lens. After looking at the price tag, I had two options. Either to sell my BMW 5-series or use money from my funding for Harvard. Since I won’t be able to carry this lens anywhere without my car, I decided to go with the second option.
Once I got the lens, I did some test shots and was able to click photos from across the Canadian border. One day, it just occurred to me what if I could find a location from where I can focus on one of Harvard University’s classrooms and may be record videos and self-educate myself. After months of searching, I finally found the perfect spot on top of a mountain. The amazing part is I have to zoom to complete 500 mm to have a good view. If you plan on doing the same, I would suggest keeping the aperture at f/14-plus since white boards at Harvard are quite big, and you don’t wanna miss the content due to shallow depth of field.
Now talking about the bas of this lens. I used to be super active, had six-pack abs and never stayed at home. After this lens, I have been doing most of my work from home. I have shot weddings, events and even baby showers right from my bed. I don’t need to go to school either, since I can focus right from home. Since I can earn money right from home, I am turning rich while laying on bed. This has turned me lazy, fat and inactive. But it feels good, since all this money makes me happy.
So guys, there must be bads. But I believed owning this lens has more goods. I saved more than $100,000 dollars from my studies at Harvard by just investing $26,000 on this lens. I get to self-educate myself, don’t have to relocate and don’t have to right s***ty exams. Who knows, once I am done with my MBA from Harvard, I might start doing my Ph.D. right from my bed.
on October 5, 2015
First off, this lens is NOT for the inexperienced. I know that sounds snobbish, but when you are melting army men and burning ants, you have to be very capable with this lens because, with great power comes great responsibility. I found this out the hard way when I lent this to my friend, who had never used anything more powerful than a magnifying glass. He immediately set the town hall building alight, even though it was over two miles away, and then inadvertently melted all the tires on the fire truck as it responded to the blaze. Drunk with power, I saw him aiming this at the international space station. Fortunately, I was able to talk him out of it.
After that incident, I vowed never to use it for anything but it's intended use: Macro photography.
on June 22, 2010
First of all, many of you seem to be getting a laugh from the reviews and comments. The intimidation of this lens would probably lead everyone to think its a missile, rather than a piece of photo gear. Though I haven't dished out $30k to buy this, (no average Joe will)I was able to borrow it for a few from a friend's dad, who owns a large photography company in my town. I thought I would give an actual honest review.
Alas, it's large. Paraphrase that a bit better -- it's huge. It is virtually impossible to take rewarding photos without a heavy-duty tripod. It weighs about as much as my three year old son does. That being said, this lens is downright outstanding for nature, animal, or sport photographers. I personally used it for scenic photos, and it got the job done in a fashion never thought possible. I was able to take a photo of small birds from great distances in a way that I could see the specks of dirt on their feathers. Keep in mind, its not a considerably long focal range. 200mm in reality is not very long, but when used with a tele-convo, I can take pictures at focal lengths close to 1000mm. All in all, build quality is stellar.
When used on my 5D MII and 1D Mark III, I noticed the colors didn't pop as much as my other lenses, in particular the ones apart of the "L" series by Canon, but I did notice that this lens works great in a large array of light sources. At a mere f/2.8 or so, you can take pictures without having to worry about low light conditions. Obviously, larger light = clearer pictures.
If your looking for a great lens that portrays a great focal range, great build quality, and a nice companion for your (hence) professional photo career, this lens is for you. Its no small cost, obviously you all know that. Besides the cost, there is nothing bad to say about this bad boy. Honestly though, I don't truly recommend this to any hobbyist because I know you all can use the money toward something a little bit more 'down to Earth'. If you make a decent amount of profit from your company, go for it. You won't regret taking the plunge if you do.
on December 25, 2014
It’s a bargain, at only $743 per pound. AND, it has a nice top-mounted carry handle, which also serves well for tying on a rope to anchor your boat. My Nikon D800 cost $1,364 per pound and does NOT have the anchor rope handle.
on May 18, 2015
A while back, I was using my Canon 500mm f/4 and realized I needed another stop of light. But how to achieve that? Drop shutter speed to 1/500th? Boost ISO all the way up to 800?
In the end, I concluded the only way to get there was to sell the Canon at a loss and spend $20,000 on an f/2.8.
They were out of stock, but by paying in advance I was able to convince Sigma to start growing the fluorite
crystal required for the low-dispersion elements back in 2010. The first crystal broke when one of the lab people tuned a radio to AM instead of FM. But they finished growing the second crystal last month and quickly assembled the lens for me. Free shipping was a godsend, as this lens normally is lowered by helicopter and requires at least a quarter acre of land for dropoff.
I mostly use it street photography and weddings, plus the occasional boudoir photoshoot.
It takes a standard 550mm filter, I was able to attach a closeup filter to bring the minimum focusing distance down to 16 feet. The bokeh is a bit "nervous" so for wedding shoots, I sometimes pair this lens with my 500mm f/1.4, which I normally hate to carry because it's a bit bulky at 627 pounds.
Autofocus is fast and smooth, and is achieved via a customized car battery. The mechanism is fairly quiet, making it perfect for capturing skittish birds and taking unobtrusive shots in public places. Full-time hug-method manual focus is also available - you simple encircle the lens hood with both arms, bite a corner of the camera with your teeth, and twist your head.
All in all I'd say this is an outstanding value, and very cool looking. It works great when shoulder mounted. Try it on government installations, water treatment plants, the white house, and military bases!
on April 12, 2011
Well, I finally decided to spring for the Sigma 200-500 f/2.8. For under $30,000 I couldn't pass up the deal. I know, carrying a 37lb lens around may seem like a chore, but the savings in gas to drive to photo shoots more than compensates for it. I actually do most of my Florida and Georgia area outdoor wedding and landscape shoots from my rooftop now. The IQ is tack-sharp even wide open at 1000mm (w/ 2x converter, obviously) The issue I had, was when the FBI and Homeland security showed up at my house. I was shooting a wedding in downtown Orlando, which is only about 30 miles away, from my roof. The house was surrounded and guns drawn on me. You see, I live near enough to a major airport that the neighbors mistook it's green color and imposing size as some sort of ground to air missile launcher. I would strongly consider coloring it a light color to minimize thermal expansion during the day, and marking the side "Not A Stinger Missile". Also, it is a nice walk around lens for family trips to the zoo. Low light performance is superb. Most photos can be taken without flash, on a moonless night, following a massive power outage, by simply lighting a fart during the exposure. Experiment with differing brands of beans, as it affects the color temperature of the raw shot.