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View Full Version : Sigma "Bigma" 50-500mm tale of woe with a happy ending!


CaptainD
15th February 2008, 05:20 PM
I learnt a life lesson yesterday following a visit to Sigma UK but the story starts back in 2006.

I bought a new Sigma "Bigma" 50-500mm lens in September 2006 from a dealer in America which was the first Sigma lens I had ever owned. However when I tried it on my E-1 the auto focus performance was very poor, hunting and rarely locking on. So I ended up, for some reason doubting myself, that it was happening because of something I was doing or that my E-1 body was some how affecting it. Result, I only ever used it 3 or 4 times until I bought a E-510 last summer.

The lens still did not perform well on my sparkling new E-510, but again for some reason I did not believe that such an expensive high quality lens could be defective when new. Next thing I decide to do is put the lens back in its box and put it in the cuboard. Net result being that I never used the lens and every time I thought about it I simply got stressed and fed up! So I now let the lens go past its 1 year warranty and on a rainy Sunday afternoon I decide to clear my cuboard up and rediscover this monster that makes me frustrated and stressed.

By chance I sold some of my spare Olympus gear to a lovely guy in Scotland and while we were chatting on the phone he mentions that he has a "Bigma". He then tells me how happy he is with the lens and when I ask about the auto focus he tells me that it is great no problems at all. He also tells me that our great administrator Ian has some contacts at Sigma UK and I should talk to him. Then a miracle happens I decide to actually do something about it before Christmas !!

I sent Ian a PM who encourages me to return the lens to Sigma. So I rang them and spoke to one of their service engineers who tells me they would be happy to test the lens but they may have to charge me as the lens is out of warranty but please leave it till after Christmas to post it back. So yours truely then gets sick after Christmas just to delay things further until yesterday when I decide that as I do not live too far from Sigma UK I will drive up and deliver the lens rather than risk posting it.

I arrive at Sigma and ring the bell and a smiling friendly face welcomes me and listens to my tale inaction very sympathetically. He then he disappears with my lens saying "give me 5 minutes and I will be back". He returns and tells me that having done a quick "out of the window" check that there is definitely something wrong with the lens and that they will be very happy to repair it and make no charge for it as it must have been faulty since new.

So for any readers that have kept reading all this, I have learnt a very big life lesson. Simply, if something bothers you just get on and actually do something about it and do not let it wind you up by not doing anything!!

I have nothing but praise for the wonderful guys at Sigma UK who could not have been nicer. Hopefully in a couple of weeks I will have the pleasure of returning to Sigma to pick up my fully working "Bigma". So that will bring to a close this frankly pathetic 16 months of dithering by "Captain Inaction"!!!

Cheers

Chris

P.S. A big thank-you to Ian for giving me a reason to do something!

P.P.S. Could this be the longest post on our great forum?

P.P.P.S. Thanks for staying to the end! :D:D:D:D

theMusicMan
15th February 2008, 05:35 PM
Great story Chris, thanks for sharing.

I must admit, I do very much like the look of the Sigma Bigma and would love to see some shots of yours taken on your E-510 with this lens if you'd be willing to post some.

I am loving the Zuiko 70-300 and would like to consider the next step up in terms of zoom range.

Please let us know how you get on with it, thanks.

emirpprime
15th February 2008, 05:37 PM
Wow! Glad you got it sorted :D Thats some tale and a lesson to us all. Whats more, it brings me a little more confidence in Sigma and the 50-500, which I hope to add to my kit before too long!
All the best,
Phil

j.baker
15th February 2008, 05:42 PM
I am thinking about getting the bigma sometime in the next year. Could someone do me a favour?

Can someone take a picture of the moon, at full zoom, so I see what it looks like?

It good that Sigma are fixing the lens for you.

CaptainD
15th February 2008, 06:02 PM
I will be more than happy to post some Bigma pictures when I reunited with my fully functional Bigma. Sigma will be at the Focus on Imaging show, they will be happy to welcome visitors to their stand. If all of Sigmas staff are as nice as the chap I met it will be well worth the visit to their stand. I wonder if Sigmas new monster 200-500 F2.8 lens will be on display, no four thirds option but it would be fascinating to see it.

http://www.dpreview.com/news/0801/08013101sigma250500.asp

My Bigma adventure will hopefully continue in a couple of weeks!!

Cheers

Chris

scanny
15th February 2008, 06:29 PM
Hi Chris

Glad you got the lens sorted and hopefully you can now enjoy its potential when you get it back, just a pain to carry about on a long day!

J Backer, ive posted up moon pics on another forum ill put the link to the pics, ive took a load of moon pictures much the bemusement of my gf who had to stand in the freezing cold with me opps. I read reviews saying that the lens went a little soft at 500mm so i took most of mine at 400-450 and they come out well, they were taken with an e400.

http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v249/scannee/18-180%20Pictures/?action=view&current=PB2002161.jpg

I thought it lacked a little sharpness but overall it sharpens up well. Have a look at the next picture in the bucket and it surprised me, the object was a good half mile away at least and pushing 50mph!

Steve

HughofBardfield
15th February 2008, 06:34 PM
That's a very interesting and useful story. It's good to hear Sigma were so helpful.

Unfortunately, their quality control does seem a bit "iffy" given the number of similar stories of faults one hears on various forums. However, I have three Sigma lenses, a 55-200, which I think is brilliant value for money and has had a lot of use, a 105 which is lovely and crisp, and a 135-400 acquired, used, just before Christmas.

Because of an accident (to me, not the lens), I have only just been able to get the 135-400 out of the box and try it out this past weekend. To say I was disappointed is an understatement, with unacceptably soft results but I am witholding judgement as operator error could well have been the problem. I have seen very good results with the lens on Flickr. I need to try again with the lens stopped down.

Your story encourages me to think that if there is a problem, I can simply take it over (presumably to Welwyn Garden City?) and get Sigma to fix it. That's quite heartening, even if it costs me money!

CaptainD
15th February 2008, 07:18 PM
Dear Hugh,

I must admit I was letting off steam about my Bigma story to a fellow Olympus nut at work today. He metntioned that he had tried 3 55-200mm 4/3rds Sigma lenses which all had faults in his opinion so he returned them all. This may support your comments re Sigma quality control.

But I have to say that my experiences so far with the Sigma UK staff has been great. Following just a phone call to initially have a chat about my problem and ask if I could deliver the lens rather than posting it. They staff have excelled themselves, a smile and a sympathetic ear go such a long way.

Cheers

Chris

PeterD
23rd February 2008, 02:18 PM
Hi all,

Just found this review of the Bigma

http://www.phototakers.com/forum/archive/sigma-apo-50500mm-f463-ex-dg-30461.htm

I am quite impressed. The review is of the old version and not of the HSM version.

PeterD

theMusicMan
23rd February 2008, 02:22 PM
This is the next lens on my wish list... simply gotta have a Bigma!!!

PeterD
23rd February 2008, 02:36 PM
This is the next lens on my wish list... simply gotta have a Bigma!!!

John

Here is the link to the tech specs and four review comments

http://www.sigma-imaging-uk.com/lenses/telezoom/50-500mm.htm

PeterD

theMusicMan
23rd February 2008, 03:52 PM
Thanks Peter, much appreciated.

emirpprime
23rd February 2008, 04:52 PM
It is supposed to be the best of the 3 500mm (consumer atleast) lenses Sigma make, and ironically its the one with the longest zoom range! As the review PeterD pointed to says, its only really the performance at the long end I'm interested in, but its very good to know its still usable at shorter lengths too.
Phil

theMusicMan
23rd February 2008, 04:56 PM
Me too Phi re performance at long end. I am getting on very well with the ZD 70-300 and am enjoying the reach of this lens so for me, it's an inevitable next step I guess.

Not sure when I'll grab one, but I am certain it will be added to my arsenal!

PeterD
23rd February 2008, 05:18 PM
Me too Phi re performance at long end. I am getting on very well with the ZD 70-300 and am enjoying the reach of this lens so for me, it's an inevitable next step I guess.

Not sure when I'll grab one, but I am certain it will be added to my arsenal!

John, Phil, Its only since the very interesting 'getting better' thread of last weekend that I was seriously looking for more reach. Nick's comments regarding image size versus detail etc clinched it for me. Whilst I like the 70-300 very much, I have been looking at my options. Should I go for the x1.4 or x2.0 converter in conjunction with this lens or not or, should I go for something bigger? This thread made me look towards this lens. It is also capable of working with a 2x converter! Not sure if the 4/3 fitting lens works with af or not. If anyone has info on this I would appreciate it.

One thing for sure is that I must invest in a monopod. John, as I recall santa gave you one this year. Any feedback you can give me will be very much appreciated. I already have permission from 'she who must be obeyed' to buy one:D.

Cheers

PeterD

tom
23rd February 2008, 07:40 PM
John, Phil, Its only since the very interesting 'getting better' thread of last weekend that I was seriously looking for more reach. Nick's comments regarding image size versus detail etc clinched it for me. Whilst I like the 70-300 very much, I have been looking at my options. Should I go for the x1.4 or x2.0 converter in conjunction with this lens or not or, should I go for something bigger? This thread made me look towards this lens. It is also capable of working with a 2x converter! Not sure if the 4/3 fitting lens works with af or not. If anyone has info on this I would appreciate it.

One thing for sure is that I must invest in a monopod. John, as I recall santa gave you one this year. Any feedback you can give me will be very much appreciated. I already have permission from 'she who must be obeyed' to buy one:D.

Cheers

PeterD


Peter

I have a Bigma and use the EC-14 converter with it almost all of the time. The AF works fine with this combination on my E510 unless you ask it some really hard low-light questions - but then the Bigma isn't much use in such conditions anyway because it's not really fast enough. But in reasonable light it is capable of some great results. If you get one - especially teamed with a 1.4 or 2.0 converter - you'll become addicted. You have been warned ;)
Not sure about the monopod though. At full reach, you are way, way over 1000mm full-frame equivalent and I've found that only a tripod gives enough support at such extremes. But maybe your hands are a bit steadier than mine!

Tom

PeterD
23rd February 2008, 07:55 PM
Peter

I have a Bigma and use the EC-14 converter with it almost all of the time. The AF works fine with this combination on my E510 unless you ask it some really hard low-light questions - but then the Bigma isn't much use in such conditions anyway because it's not really fast enough. But in reasonable light it is capable of some great results. If you get one - especially teamed with a 1.4 or 2.0 converter - you'll become addicted. You have been warned ;)
Not sure about the monopod though. At full reach, you are way, way over 1000mm full-frame equivalent and I've found that only a tripod gives enough support at such extremes. But maybe your hands are a bit steadier than mine!

Tom

Thanks for your reply Tom. Some very useful info there. The more I think about it the warmer I feel that this is the way to go. The latest version comes with SWD so I guess this will speed up focussing somewhat.

I am now glad I hung onto my E500 as, with it fitted with the 12-60 lens and the E3 with a Bigma it will give me a terrific focal range. I use the above combination at the moment but with the 70-300 lens. I am finding that more often than not I am using the telephoto at 300mm and still not getting close enough.

I have a tripod but with the weight of the E3 and Bigma, I am not sure it is going to be steady enough.

Thanks again Tom

PeterD

DerekC
23rd February 2008, 08:32 PM
This thread has been interesting reading. I have the 70-300 which I'm very happy with.
At the moment we are looking to book soon a safari holiday for later in the year. Of course the camera's will be going with me. So I have been looking recently at my options regarding lens. I like the 70-300 but how will it perform with either the 1.4 or 2x converter? So my thoughts turned to the 50-200swd which is a faster lens than the 70-300 and as it is a pro lens better quality. I could use this with either the 1.4 or 2x converter. But then I read this thread, I had never considered the Sigma 50-500mm. This lens I think would give me more than enough reach with out the need for teleconverter. Now I've another lens to consider:confused:

Jim Ford
23rd February 2008, 09:35 PM
I am finding that more often than not I am using the telephoto at 300mm and still not getting close enough.

Reading this and your previous postings on telephoto lenses, and the fact that it looks like you want to photograph birds, I don't think you'll find a lens long enough to make the job easy and fill the frame with a small shy bird from a distance that won't alarm it. Your expectations are probably too high and if you get (say) a 'Bigma', after a short while it still won't be powerful enough!

Jim

PeterD
23rd February 2008, 10:26 PM
Reading this and your previous postings on telephoto lenses, and the fact that it looks like you want to photograph birds, I don't think you'll find a lens long enough to make the job easy and fill the frame with a small shy bird from a distance that won't alarm it. Your expectations are probably too high and if you get (say) a 'Bigma', after a short while it still won't be powerful enough!

Jim

Thanks for the friendly warning Jim. You are correct of course and that is why I am being cautious.
I suppose the fundemental problem for me is not the focal length but the fact that I take my dog with me and hence it is impossible to get close enough with the 70-300:(. I cannot do anything about the dog as he is the reason for me going out for a couple of hours in each busy day and he (like me!) needs the exercise.
My first stage in this is to purchase either the 1.4 or 2.0 converter. If this fails, I still have not lost anything as these will work with the Bigma and I can sell the 70-300. From what I have read though, the quality of the Sigma lens is better than the 70-300 anyway (although at a price) so it would be a true upgrade. For instance, some Canon (wash my mouth) users have compared the lens quality favourably with their sacred L glass.
Anyway I look at this the Bigma is a serious contender for my cash. We shall have to wait and see.

Cheers

PeterD

Ellie
24th February 2008, 12:27 AM
I am finding that more often than not I am using the telephoto at 300mm and still not getting close enough.
It sounds exactly like my first efforts with the 70-300, trying to take a picture of a Buzzard I could barely see and then I tried to take more pictures of birds I could only just make out in the distance.

Since then I've only taken the lens out a couple of times and was more realistic with expectations, and it has helped me identify birds without resorting to binoculars. I know I wouldn't be able to handle (or carry for any length of time) a bigger, heavier, lens and am actually very pleased with the results from the 70-300 and I now also know I can use it without a tripod if I'm careful. Mind you, I might one day think about getting a teleconverter. :rolleyes:

Nick Temple-Fry
24th February 2008, 01:13 AM
<snipped - extremerly heavily>

Nick's comments regarding image size versus detail etc clinched it for me.

PeterD

Peter

Forgive me for so heavily snipping your post.

I'm not a great birder, but I think I've posted some reasonable shots of common birds. I've also said the trick is not reach, but getting close enough and remaining still enough so that the birds 'fill' the frame. You already posses more reach with 70-300 than I have with my 50-200 ec1.4 combination.

I would love the sigms 50-500 but it's a lot of money to pay for a non-weathershielded lens and it's a big hunk to carry and I'm really not sure that it'll solve your problem.

Others may disagree, but my view is, if you want to photograph small birds you need to get close enough. If you want to get close enough then the trick is to put yourself in the right position and move slowly (if at all).

If I had the 50-500 then I wouldn't use it to get shots from further away, but to get more detailed shots from the same distances.

Maybe you need to engineer some dog free time, at least to try it, before you fork out on the 50-500 as your solution.

Nick

CaptainD
24th February 2008, 10:49 AM
Dear Nick,

For me you make a very interesting point indeed. I myself have noticed almost by accident that the more I develop my bird snapping style I have found the Zuiko 50-200mm lens fitted to my body more amd more. Like you suggest I have simply moved closer to the subject. I am a very big fan of the 50-200mm lens which has become one of my favourites which often amazes me with the IQ that it produces. I did buy the EC-14 but very rarely use it as I find that the cost of being forced to shoot at higher F stops makes life difficult.

Mind you as you will realise from this thread my Bigma has yet to become a reliable tool in my collection. But again I have a feeling that you hit the nail on the proverbial "head" that when those lovely guys at Sigma have fixed it I will be interested in getting more detailed head shots rather than shooting from further away.

Cheers

Chris

Jim Ford
24th February 2008, 11:35 AM
Anyway I look at this the Bigma is a serious contender for my cash.

If you're set on a 'Bigma', SRS in Watford had one in the 2nd hand section in their window a couple of weeks back. I didn't look too close as I might have been tempted!

SRS are here, but they don't list their 2nd hand items:
http://tinyurl.com/28wbzx
Of course, they may not still have it in.

I've noticed that there are quite a few 2nd hand listed on Ebay - maybe this is a bad sign because perhaps they're from disapointed owners! There's a 4/3rds one here:
http://tinyurl.com/2p2ng3

Jim

PeterD
24th February 2008, 11:59 AM
If you're set on a 'Bigma', SRS in Watford had one in the 2nd hand section in their window a couple of weeks back. I didn't look too close as I might have been tempted!

SRS are here, but they don't list their 2nd hand items:
http://tinyurl.com/28wbzx
Of course, they may not still have it in.

I've noticed that there are quite a few 2nd hand listed on Ebay - maybe this is a bad sign because perhaps they're from disapointed owners! There's a 4/3rds one here:
http://tinyurl.com/2p2ng3

Jim

Thanks Jim. I shall keep watch. The models on ebay do not have HSM which has only hust been introduced. All other aspects, as far as I know, are the same.

PeterD

PeterD
24th February 2008, 12:05 PM
Dear Nick,

For me you make a very interesting point indeed. I myself have noticed almost by accident that the more I develop my bird snapping style I have found the Zuiko 50-200mm lens fitted to my body more amd more. Like you suggest I have simply moved closer to the subject. I am a very big fan of the 50-200mm lens which has become one of my favourites which often amazes me with the IQ that it produces. I did buy the EC-14 but very rarely use it as I find that the cost of being forced to shoot at higher F stops makes life difficult.

Mind you as you will realise from this thread my Bigma has yet to become a reliable tool in my collection. But again I have a feeling that you hit the nail on the proverbial "head" that when those lovely guys at Sigma have fixed it I will be interested in getting more detailed head shots rather than shooting from further away.

Cheers

Chris

Chris,

That is precisely my objective, getting more detailed shots, but in my case from the same sort of distance that I am taking them now. I have not seen a negative quotation on this lens and the aperature size matches the 70-300 except at the 500mm end where it is f6.3 against f5.6.

Hope yours comes out of repair soon and then you can let us know of your experience.

PeterD

art frames
24th February 2008, 12:15 PM
I have found the discussion here very helpful. I have wondered about getting a longer lens than the 50-200 for 6 months (I tend not to make quick decisions!) and it is helped by these sorts of debates.

I have been surprised how close I can get to many birds and how quickly they accept I am there when they are feeding and I would like to try some hide work to improve on that. But 200 still seems to short. I am developing my stalking and agree with Nick that this is the best option (as it is with close/macro work)

......Teleconverters seem to be better than they were in my film days....based on Nick and others good experience. And they could help with other lenses. I waited for the 2.0 teleconverter and am studying the views closely. It seems to be a fairly level spread, with fans and doubters.

.......My best mate in photography has a sigma 135-400 and it seems excellent (sony fit so can't swap it). But doesn't seem much different to the 50-200 plus the 2.0 teleconverter and I love the sharpness on the 50-200. That seems to swing my thinking to reject that one.

.......Musicman, PeterD and others get great results with the 70-300. It would complement the 12-60 and mean one less to carry but has a huge overlap with the 50-200 and is a lower grade lens. That seems an easy decision to pass too.

The bigma seems in a different space if you can use the 500 end. But clearly this would not have any use handheld and suggested not even a monopod. So I would need to adopt a tripod style I don't currently have (I have two tripods from the past but prefer to use my nice monopod). The weight would mean I would leave it behind more than take it out. This seems to be a luxury purchase or a second hand bargain only.

So I come back to not actually making a clear decision. If Olympus had a shop near me that allowed you to try them out...they would make a lot more sales.

Anybody else have some clarity for me. Please. :confused:

Peter

Jim Ford
24th February 2008, 12:26 PM
The models on ebay do not have HSM which has only hust been introduced.

This one does:
http://tinyurl.com/2p2ng3

Jim

Jim Ford
24th February 2008, 12:32 PM
From what I have read though, the quality of the Sigma lens is better than the 70-300

I'm not so sure that the Bigma is better than the 70-300 - there were quite a few negative comments on image sharpness in dpreview shortly after the Bigma came out.

Jim

PeterD
24th February 2008, 12:40 PM
I have found the discussion here very helpful. I have wondered about getting a longer lens than the 50-200 for 6 months (I tend not to make quick decisions!) and it is helped by these sorts of debates.

I have been surprised how close I can get to many birds and how quickly they accept I am there when they are feeding and I would like to try some hide work to improve on that. But 200 still seems to short. I am developing my stalking and agree with Nick that this is the best option (as it is with close/macro work)

......Teleconverters seem to be better than they were in my film days....based on Nick and others good experience. And they could help with other lenses. I waited for the 2.0 teleconverter and am studying the views closely. It seems to be a fairly level spread, with fans and doubters.

.......My best mate in photography has a sigma 135-400 and it seems excellent (sony fit so can't swap it). But doesn't seem much different to the 50-200 plus the 2.0 teleconverter and I love the sharpness on the 50-200. That seems to swing my thinking to reject that one.

.......Musicman, PeterD and others get great results with the 70-300. It would complement the 12-60 and mean one less to carry but has a huge overlap with the 50-200 and is a lower grade lens. That seems an easy decision to pass too.

The bigma seems in a different space if you can use the 500 end. But clearly this would not have any use handheld and suggested not even a monopod. So I would need to adopt a tripod style I don't currently have (I have two tripods from the past but prefer to use my nice monopod). The weight would mean I would leave it behind more than take it out. This seems to be a luxury purchase or a second hand bargain only.

So I come back to not actually making a clear decision. If Olympus had a shop near me that allowed you to try them out...they would make a lot more sales.

Anybody else have some clarity for me. Please. :confused:

Peter

Hi Peter

Like you I have been completely bewildered by the choices available. I love the 12-60 Lens but its not really up to taking detailed bird images as the little things tend to dissappear long before I get close enough to them. But, wait until the spring/summer and the butterflies and other creatures are about:D. Thats when it will come into its own.

I have been toying with the x1,4 and x2 converters with the 70-300 lens and still am open to them.

The Bigma is a better quality glass than the 70-300 and would therefore be an upgrade as I have said earlier in this thread. Reading some of the reports people have used this lens at 500mm, hand held, with success. Some say that a heavier kit is more stable and, when you think about it, within limits of course, that makes sense.

I am reluctant to spend too much money on this but from my point of view, and the type of photography I am attempting, a longer focal length is of benefit. I would hate to have to leave the dog behind:(.

PeterD

Jim Ford
24th February 2008, 01:42 PM
I would hate to have to leave the dog

I think this is what it boils down to - you take the dog for a walk, or you do wildlife photography. The two are mutually exclusive!

Jim

art frames
24th February 2008, 02:16 PM
Hi Peter

But, wait until the spring/summer and the butterflies and other creatures are about:D. Thats when it will come into its own.


I am reluctant to spend too much money on this but from my point of view, and the type of photography I am attempting, a longer focal length is of benefit. I would hate to have to leave the dog behind:(.

PeterD

Peter, I really feel I have butterflies covered with a 50macro, 105macro, 50-200 with extension tubes and also a fine tamron 90 macro with the 4/3 converter. Flowers and butterflies are my first love. Of late I have moved on to dragonflies and damselflies as well. I am struggling with shooting dragonflies in flight but we'll be testing the very fast shutter speeds this year.

My stalking of butterflies was developed as a child but continues to today. I have hand caught many of our finest species including a purple emperor. Getting close to insects is easy for me (but I don't have a dog but believe one would make me move too quickly)

The thought of shooting insects with a long lens hadn't even entered my equation. I will see if that helps with the decision willingly. Does the long length plus a EX25 make sense and/or does the 2.0 converter work with the macro lenses?. All worth looking into.

PS I'm hoping that the 12-60 will be magic with bluebells! :)

PPS I hope this broadening of the initial 50-500 subject is annoying to anyone. :o

Peter

Nick Temple-Fry
24th February 2008, 02:27 PM
PPS I hope this broadening of the initial 50-500 subject is annoying to anyone. :o

Peter


Well that's honest anyway, even if not intentional

Nick

PeterD
24th February 2008, 03:41 PM
Peter, I really feel I have butterflies covered with a 50macro, 105macro, 50-200 with extension tubes and also a fine tamron 90 macro with the 4/3 converter. Flowers and butterflies are my first love. Of late I have moved on to dragonflies and damselflies as well. I am struggling with shooting dragonflies in flight but we'll be testing the very fast shutter speeds this year.

My stalking of butterflies was developed as a child but continues to today. I have hand caught many of our finest species including a purple emperor. Getting close to insects is easy for me (but I don't have a dog but believe one would make me move too quickly)

The thought of shooting insects with a long lens hadn't even entered my equation. I will see if that helps with the decision willingly. Does the long length plus a EX25 make sense and/or does the 2.0 converter work with the macro lenses?. All worth looking into.

PS I'm hoping that the 12-60 will be magic with bluebells! :)

PPS I hope this broadening of the initial 50-500 subject is annoying to anyone. :o

Peter

Peter,

I didn't mean to use a 500mm lens on insects:o. What I meant was the 12-60 lens will come into its own at that time.

I too caught butterflies in my youth in Malaya, Singapore and UK. I have to say with great regret that at that time butterfly collections were just that. I prefer it nowadays where you come into close proximity, admire and take a souvenir shot, then you both get back to what it was before meeting:D.

Jim,

I am afraid it is a no brain-er as far as I am concerned. The dog stays with me and it is not mutually exclusive. I am trying to think of ways of making it inclusive. The distances to small birds that I currently achieve is easily repeatable. With the extra reach I shall just fill the frame which is what I want to achieve. I am not looking for a longer lens to take images from further away.

Cheers

PeterD

art frames
24th February 2008, 05:01 PM
Well that's honest anyway, even if not intentional

Nick

Sorry, I do try and check before I post as well! I meant just the opposite..:o

Ellie
25th February 2008, 02:07 AM
Hi Peter and Peter :)

Using a longer lens with insects can work out quite well, because you're that bit further away and can see where they go more easily.

These two aren't maybe the best of pictures, but I wouldn't have got either of them with a shorter lens - I couldn't get close enough because there was water in the way. dragonfly (http://ellie.shutterchance.com/photoblog/Broad-bodied_Chaser._Male./) and damselflies (http://ellie.shutterchance.com/photoblog/Azure_Damselflies_mating/)

I wonder though if the Sigma, at about four pounds, is manoeuvrable enough, or is that just a woman's point of view?

I think you can hire lenses from Calumnet, would it be worth trying it? I think it's quite expensive though.

PeterD
25th February 2008, 04:43 AM
Hi Peter and Peter :)

Using a longer lens with insects can work out quite well, because you're that bit further away and can see where they go more easily.

These two aren't maybe the best of pictures, but I wouldn't have got either of them with a shorter lens - I couldn't get close enough because there was water in the way. dragonfly (http://ellie.shutterchance.com/photoblog/Broad-bodied_Chaser._Male./) and damselflies (http://ellie.shutterchance.com/photoblog/Azure_Damselflies_mating/)

I wonder though if the Sigma, at about four pounds, is manoeuvrable enough, or is that just a woman's point of view?

I think you can hire lenses from Calumnet, would it be worth trying it? I think it's quite expensive though.

Thanks Ellie, Can't wait for Spring. Lovely images.

PeterD

CaptainD
25th February 2008, 09:35 PM
I arrived home from work to find a message from Sigma to tell me that my Bigma is ready to be picked up. Great news, I will look forward to posting some test shoots soon.

Happy days!

theMusicMan
25th February 2008, 09:38 PM
I arrived home from work to find a message from Sigma to tell me that my Bigma is ready to be picked up. Great news, I will look forward to posting some test shoots soon.

Happy days!
You lucky devil... I envy you this lens. Looking forward to seeing some of your images from it though.

PeterD
25th February 2008, 09:49 PM
I arrived home from work to find a message from Sigma to tell me that my Bigma is ready to be picked up. Great news, I will look forward to posting some test shoots soon.

Happy days!


Great news. From what I discovered today you should have no trouble throughout the focal range. Look forward to seeing your shots.

PeterD

Jim Ford
26th February 2008, 04:43 PM
If someone's looking for a 'Bigma':

I just checked in SRS, Watford. They have a 'Bigma' for 629.
It's 'HSM' and when I inquired about it they said that it was second hand and that it was bought for someone - that didn't have an Olympus, so it's only been put on a camera in the shop!

Jim

CaptainD
28th February 2008, 05:49 PM
Just a quick update, I rang the guys at Sigma this morning to ask if it was ok to collect my Bigma. No problem came the reply, so I am now reunited my repaired lens. Mind you I could not wait to test it so I stopped on the way home to try it out. This exotic location turned out to be a Shell garage on a roundabout!

But what a difference, gone is the slow AF response that rarely locked on in under 20 seconds. Now the AF response is fast and quick to lock on at all focal lengths. Me pleased? Over the moon would be a better description, as I prevoiously promised, when I go to somewhere more interesting I will post some pictures. Mind you that might turn out to be a while as my wife has plans for me this weekend!!

Sigma UK have been a joy to deal with, a very big thank-you to all of them.

Cheers

Chris

PeterD
28th February 2008, 06:00 PM
Just a quick update, I rang the guys at Sigma this morning to ask if it was ok to collect my Bigma. No problem came the reply, so I am now reunited my repaired lens. Mind you I could not wait to test it so I stopped on the way home to try it out. This exotic location turned out to be a Shell garage on a roundabout!

But what a difference, gone is the slow AF response that rarely locked on in under 20 seconds. Now the AF response is fast and quick to lock on at all focal lengths. Me pleased? Over the moon would be a better description, as I prevoiously promised, when I go to somewhere more interesting I will post some pictures. Mind you that might turn out to be a while as my wife has plans for me this weekend!!

Sigma UK have been a joy to deal with, a very big thank-you to all of them.

Cheers

Chris

Chris,

Wonderful news. Sorry that 'she who must be obeyed' has given you your orders for the weekend. No chance of negotiating a compromise? Trouble is, the lens is too big to smuggle undetected and claim you hadn't realised it was there.

Good shooting when you get a chance and don't forget to share the images.

PeterD

CaptainD
28th February 2008, 06:19 PM
Dear Peter,

I had better hope that my dear lady is happy to negotiate (hopefully without a Colt 45) then I can get some images posted sooner rather than later.

Cheers

Chris

art frames
6th March 2008, 10:59 AM
Dear Peter,

I had better hope that my dear lady is happy to negotiate (hopefully without a Colt 45) then I can get some images posted sooner rather than later.

Cheers

Chris

Chris

Have you anything to share yet? I would be really keen to see if this is the ultimate solution for birds.

Peter

PeterD
6th March 2008, 11:11 AM
Chris

Have you anything to share yet? I would be really keen to see if this is the ultimate solution for birds.

Peter

Ditto

PeterD

CaptainD
6th March 2008, 12:14 PM
Dear Peter,

I must get some images for you.

Apologies

Chris :o

theMusicMan
6th March 2008, 12:17 PM
Dear Peter,

I must get some images for you.

Apologies

Chris :o
... and me... :):D

tom
6th March 2008, 07:57 PM
... and me... :):D

Hi Peter and John

While you're waiting for Chris, you may find these pics interesting. They were taken with E510, Bigma and EC-14. The sparrowhawk and collared dove were taken from inside my house on an overcast day. The oystercatcher was taken outdoors (obviously!) on a very bright but freezing day and all were taken with the kit perched on a Manfrotto 190CL.

Actually, I'd be interested in your views on the doughnut-shaped artefacts in the water behind the oystercatcher. I can't decide if they're caused by the Bigma or the EC-14 (or a combination of both). They remind me of the effects you used to get with those old fixed f8 500mm reflex lenses dating from before the Boer War.;)

Tom
http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/500/sparrowhawk.jpg
http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/500/collared_dove.jpg
http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/500/oystercatcher.jpg

PeterD
6th March 2008, 08:19 PM
Tom,

I am impressed. The Oystercatcher was taken at fl 708mm, f8,9, ISO 400 and shutter speed 1/800. I could not hope to achieve this. The lens is clearly bright enough to take the converter with plenty of headroom.

I am seriously re-considering my options. Does the weight help in steadying the lens or is it absolutely imperitive that a tripod is used?

Thanks for posting these shots. Some of the best I have seen.

As for the artifacts, I seem to remember reading somewhere that this type of effect could be caused by reflections between lenses. I have the EC14 + 70-300mm lens and have not seen this effect with this combination. The donuts are at the brightest part of the image where reflection is at its greatest.

PeterD

CaptainD
6th March 2008, 08:39 PM
Guys,

You really have made me feel guilty, so I am going to get my excuses in early about the 2 images. The light was very poor this afternoon, and I had to shoot at 800 ASA. I took them from further away that I normally would just to push the Bigma to 500mm. Both are taken with my E-3 at f6.3, 1/125, tripod mounted. The goldfinch image is approx 20% of the original image but the woodpecker image is full frame, poor composition I know. The conditions were far from ideal but I just thought I had to get some pictures posted!!

Cheers

Chris

PS When conditions are better I post some more images that will truely reflect the Bigmas capabilities

tom
6th March 2008, 08:49 PM
Tom,

I am impressed. The Oystercatcher was taken at fl 708mm, f8,9, ISO 400 and shutter speed 1/800. I could not hope to achieve this. The lens is clearly bright enough to take the converter with plenty of headroom.

I am seriously re-considering my options. Does the weight help in steadying the lens or is it absolutely imperitive that a tripod is used?

Thanks for posting these shots. Some of the best I have seen.

As for the artifacts, I seem to remember reading somewhere that this type of effect could be caused by reflections between lenses. I have the EC14 + 70-300mm lens and have not seen this effect with this combination. The donuts are at the brightest part of the image where reflection is at its greatest.

PeterD

Thanks Peter

The Bigma is a hefty piece of glass and metal. I have read on other forums about people claiming to hand-hold it but I think it would be beyond me unless there was some support to rest it on such as a wall or a fence. The main problem is that - especially with the EC-14 - the focal length is so extreme that the slightest, teeniest wobble at the camera end translates into a massive great lurch at the bird end - if you get my drift. As for the artefacts, I'm sure you're right. I'll see if they still happen without the EC-14.

Chris - a really smashing woodpecker. I'm envious!

Tom

PeterD
6th March 2008, 08:55 PM
Guys,

You really have made me feel guilty, so I am going to get my excuses in early about the 2 images. The light was very poor this afternoon, and I had to shoot at 800 ASA. I took them from further away that I normally would just to push the Bigma to 500mm. Both are taken with my E-3 at f6.3, 1/125, tripod mounted. The goldfinch image is approx 20% of the original image but the woodpecker image is full frame, poor composition I know. The conditions were far from ideal but I just thought I had to get some pictures posted!!

Cheers

Chris

PS When conditions are better I post some more images that will truely reflect the Bigmas capabilities

Chris

Thanks for your posting.

My first thoughts

The full frame woodpecker image is superb. Lots of detail present and on a par with the images posted by Tom.

Now for the Gold Finch. You have cropped this to 20% of the image size so it must have formed a small part of the original image. Given this, I am pleased to see how much detail has been retained.

Your images, and those from Tom, both demonstrate the quality of the glass. I remember in one of my earlier postings, how some had favourably compared the quality of glass with the Canon L glass. Now I see why. I am sure that John will be equally impressed when he gets on line and sees them.

Well done and thanks for sharing.

PeterD

PeterD
6th March 2008, 08:59 PM
Thanks Peter

The Bigma is a hefty piece of glass and metal. I have read on other forums about people claiming to hand-hold it but I think it would be beyond me unless there was some support to rest it on such as a wall or a fence. The main problem is that - especially with the EC-14 - the focal length is so extreme that the slightest, teeniest wobble at the camera end translates into a massive great lurch at the bird end - if you get my drift. As for the artefacts, I'm sure you're right. I'll see if they still happen without the EC-14.

Chris - a really smashing woodpecker. I'm envious!

Tom

I thought that would be the case. Would a monopod be acceptable, do you think? I have a great reluctance to carry around a tripod.

PeterD

CaptainD
6th March 2008, 09:26 PM
Sorry Chaps,

There is one thing I forgot to mention. Despite the light being very poor the auto fucus performance of the Bigma was most acceptable. Yes it did hunt occasionally but for the most part it locked on very well. It is difficult for me to believe that this is the same lens that I returned to Sigma. I must admit that even though I am not best pleased with the 2 images I posted the difficult conditions have made me appreciate the Bigma more. Given better conditions I am confident I should be able to show you some nice images.

For reference I always use the RM-CB1 remote to try and reduce any unwanted movement. I will also try shooting with a monopod, whilst this may not be ideal, given care I think it would be ok. Normally there is something to lean on that will steady the ship.

Nice chatting with you all as ever

Chris

PeterD
6th March 2008, 09:42 PM
Sorry Chaps,

There is one thing I forgot to mention. Despite the light being very poor the auto fucus performance of the Bigma was most acceptable. Yes it did hunt occasionally but for the most part it locked on very well. It is difficult for me to believe that this is the same lens that I returned to Sigma. I must admit that even though I am not best pleased with the 2 images I posted the difficult conditions have made me appreciate the Bigma more. Given better conditions I am confident I should be able to show you some nice images.

For reference I always use the RM-CB1 remote to try and reduce any unwanted movement. I will also try shooting with a monopod, whilst this may not be ideal, given care I think it would be ok. Normally there is something to lean on that will steady the ship.

Nice chatting with you all as ever

Chris

Thanks Chris,

I had forgotten to ask about AF in all the excitement.

Thanks for your offer to try a monopod. I will look froward to your appraisal.

PeterD

theMusicMan
6th March 2008, 10:01 PM
Hey Chris

How fast is the AF when you move onto a target with the Bigma? I really need to get myself one of these, thanks for posting the pics.

art frames
6th March 2008, 10:10 PM
Thank you very much Tom and Chris for posting. I think the pictures show me what I expected, that I would love to have this option in some situations. Clearly it would be great fun in a hide or in the house looking out at a feeder. I think I would have problems taming it though. and can't imagine walking far with it

I wish I could say it answers all of the needs and now I can get it and it is done ....but part of me wants every lens anyway. :) I guess that makes it a hobby! And greed is the only sin I'm allowed now.

thanks again

Peter

CaptainD
6th March 2008, 10:15 PM
Dear John,

Wow, Bigma auto focus speed, what a tricky question to answer! I have not got any of the SWD lenses yet to go with my E-3 so no comparison can be made there. However, compared to my 50-200mm lens I would say that my initial feeling is that the Bigma may have the edge on it. I think to give you a better idea I had better do a back to back test with the 2 lenses. Of course another thing that might have some effect is the 2 BLM-1s in the E-3 power grip that I had fitted today.

I really feel that I ought to come back to you on this one when I have some more information based on an equal test of both lenses.

Cheers

Chris

CaptainD
6th March 2008, 10:23 PM
Dear Peter,

Carrying the Bigma is not too much of and issue, I have taken both my favourite 50-200mm and Bigma out without any problems in a rucksack with a tripod.

I am lucky, if my gear gets too heavy my dear lady kindly carries some of it. Mind you this could all becoming to an end as she tells me that she might retire her C***N Ixus and buy a E-410 or a E-420 so that she can enjoy our walks out.

Worrying times in the Captains life!!

Chris :D

PS apologies to all for mentioning the C word

PeterD
6th March 2008, 10:28 PM
Dear John,

Wow, Bigma auto focus speed, what a tricky question to answer! I have not got any of the SWD lenses yet to go with my E-3 so no comparison can be made there. However, compared to my 50-200mm lens I would say that my initial feeling is that the Bigma may have the edge on it. I think to give you a better idea I had better do a back to back testing with the 2 lenses. Of course another thing that might have some effect is the 2 BLM-1s in the E-3 power grip that I had fitted today.

I really feel that I ought to come back to you on this one when I have some more information based on an equal test of both lenses.

Cheers

Chris
Thanks Chris

We are really indebted to you for the offer of AF testing and use of the monopod. Its personal experimentation like this that is far more informative than a formal review.

PeterD

scanny
6th March 2008, 10:33 PM
Whenever ive got bigma out i use the strap on the tripod collar to take the weight and camera strap to support it. Have a manfrotto monopod as a walking stick. When not in use the sigma bag it comes with is fine for carrying. If im traveling i have two Pelican 1500 cases to keep everything in and keeps the insurance happy not to mention it being "everything proof"

CaptainD
19th March 2008, 04:17 PM
I got a quick chance to take a few pictures with the Bigma today. Attached is a picture of what I think is a female Brambling. The light was not great but even though the feeder was blowing in the wind I think this is begining to show exactly what my repaired lens is capable of.

The Easter weekend will give me a chance to play with the Bigma to answer the monopod and AF speed queries. I have to say that based on todays quick play the AF seems to be quicker than my dear non SWD 50-200mm lens.
I promise to report back with my findings.

Cheers

Chris

PeterD
19th March 2008, 05:30 PM
I got a quick chance to take a few pictures with the Bigma today. Attached is a picture of what I think is a female Brambling. The light was not great but even though the feeder was blowing in the wind I think this is begining to show exactly what my repaired lens is capable of.

The Easter weekend will give me a chance to play with the Bigma to answer the monopod and AF speed queries. I have to say that based on todays quick play the AF seems to be quicker than my dear non SWD 50-200mm lens.
I promise to report back with my findings.

Cheers

Chris

Thanks Chris. I am still sitting on the fence and it hurts:eek:.

Nice shot of the bunting though - appetite wetted. Now its up to you;)

PeterD

theMusicMan
19th March 2008, 07:00 PM
Chris, can you hand hold the bigma? or do you really need a monopod?

tom
19th March 2008, 08:08 PM
Chris, can you hand hold the bigma? or do you really need a monopod?

I'd be interested to hear what Chris thinks (nice brambling, by the way!) , but I think hand-holding the Bigma is not for the faint-hearted - especially if you have an EC-14 attached for extra pull. Having said that, I did manage this hand-held shot earlier this week which has come out very well. But I put it down to a complete fluke to be honest. They usually come out as wobbly as hell :o
Tom
http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/500/great_crested_grebe.jpg

CaptainD
20th March 2008, 05:11 PM
Tom,

I am really impressed, Bigma + 1.4 handheld, wow!! I am going to struggle to do as well. I had better get my excuses in early.

A great effort, fluke? I don't think so just raw talent !!

Cheers

Chris :D

tom
20th March 2008, 07:57 PM
Tom,

I am really impressed, Bigma + 1.4 handheld, wow!! I am going to struggle to do as well. I had better get my excuses in early.

A great effort, fluke? I don't think so just raw talent !!

Cheers

Chris :D

Thanks very much, Chris - but honest to god it was a fluke. I've got the umpteen other dodgy shots to prove it. What it does show, though, is that if you do get it right, the E510, Bigma and EC-14 can produce really nice shots. I'm quite sure you'll enjoy using yours (and it does become quite addictive quite quickly!)
Tom

Ellie
23rd March 2008, 11:29 PM
Crikey, wow, they're some smashing pictures, handheld or not!

PeterD
24th March 2008, 03:38 AM
Thanks very much, Chris - but honest to god it was a fluke. I've got the umpteen other dodgy shots to prove it. What it does show, though, is that if you do get it right, the E510, Bigma and EC-14 can produce really nice shots. I'm quite sure you'll enjoy using yours (and it does become quite addictive quite quickly!)
Tom

Tom

I just realised that I had lost contact with this very interesting thread. Your photo is excellant, fluke or not. As I mentioned in my earlier posts (before I left) I am really interested in the images produced and the best way to use this lens.

Chris looking forward to your experiences too. Not too far off now, I hope.

PeterD

Jim Ford
24th March 2008, 12:00 PM
I've been tempted by a 'Bigma', and have gone as far as handling one in a shop - but I've now cooled off the iidea.

For a lot of wildlife shots - whatever lens you have, Bigma or longer - it'll never be long enough.

I now have a Zuiko 50-200mm SWD and EC-14 which seems to me to be a good compromise, giving a relatively light weather resistant setup, and producing excellent images that will withstand enlargement and cropping. I can visualise myself taking the 50-200 and EC-14 backpacking, where it will add a little weight to my pack and take up not too much room. But I can't imagine taking a Bigma far in the Cairngorms where I'll be treking for 50 miles or more!

It's better to have a lighter lens and when the decision comes whether to take it to say 'I might as well, it's not too inconvenient', than to say with a Bigma 'Hmm, it's a bit heavy and bulky - I think I'll leave it at home this time'!

Jim

CaptainD
24th March 2008, 01:24 PM
At last some answers to your Bigma queries. I have been playing this morning to answer the handheld and monopod questions you asked.

My observations are based on the following setup

E-3 with power grip, IS - turned off, ISO 400, F6.3 with a resulting shutter speed of 200/250th sec at a focal length of 500mm. All photo samples are full frame, just resized to 800 pixels at 180 pixels / inch and saved at low quality jpg to get a file size of approx 80kb


1) Hand-held, unlike some very talented members of this forum, this for me was not a success. Despite the tripod mounting ring being a very handy support at 500mm it was not a steady enough platform for good results.

2) Monopod, a different story all together after I realised that bulky Manfrotto monopod had some play in it! So, I got out my small cheap 4 section Manfrotto 790B which worked very well. Then I remembered I had bought a Manfrotto 361 shoulder brace which really was a great help. In case you have not seen one of these, I have attached a picture of one. They are very light and better still great value at around £15. Made of plastic, the 361 is fitted so that it is between the tripod collar of the lens and the monopod. Together this forms a really nice solid base. With this set up I took the 2 images of the squirel that I have attached. Results, not bad I think considering the conditions here today which resulted in a shutter speed of no more than 1/250th with the Bigma at 500mm.

So what does this prove? Please remember I am just an ordinary photographer who is lucky enough to own some very nice kit. So, I really do think that the Bigma can produce good results in the field with a monopod. I will now get on with some auto-focus tests!

Cheers

Chris *chr

CaptainD
24th March 2008, 01:55 PM
Re - Auto-focus performance

As some of you may know I spend my time at work training pilots. So let me first introduce you all to a scientific unit used by many pilots at BA, this is the "banana". Seconds are a funny things, but in the time it takes to say "banana" approximately a second has passed. So if a pilot has to wait for 2 seconds, just say to yourself 1 "banana", 2 "banana" and there you have it 2 seconds have passed.

Right so based on this exact science, I decided to use the unit of "banana" to measure the auto-focus performance of the Bigma and my non SWD 50-200mm lens.

I have to admit that results have really surprised me as I had been thinking since the return of my repaired Bigma that it was quicker. But no, there is a definite difference between the 2 lenses with the 50-200mm being noticably faster by as much as 0.3 of a "banana". I tried the response from 5m to infinity and vice versa. The Bigma AF motor is very quiet but slower and will more often hunt before locking on. Fortunately today is quite dull so it gave both lenses a good test of locking on in dull and relatively low contrast situations.

Sadly of course I did not have an electronically triggered "banana" counter so the times quoted cannot exactly be classified as accurate! So here we have my conclusions:

50-200mm - quicker and noisy

Bigma - slower but quiet

So a definite difference but then the Bigma does have some serious optics to move around quckly.

Hope this helps, just ask if it does not!!

Chris *chr

PeterD
24th March 2008, 03:14 PM
Re - Auto-focus performance

As some of you may know I spend my time at work training pilots. So let me first introduce you all to a scientific unit used by many pilots at BA, this is the "banana". Seconds are a funny things, but in the time it takes to say "banana" approximately a second has passed. So if a pilot has to wait for 2 seconds, just say to yourself 1 "banana", 2 "banana" and there you have it 2 seconds have passed.

Right so based on this exact science, I decided to use the unit of "banana" to measure the auto-focus performance of the Bigma and my non SWD 50-200mm lens.

I have to admit that results have really surprised me as I had been thinking since the return of my repaired Bigma that it was quicker. But no, there is a definite difference between the 2 lenses with the 50-200mm being noticably faster by as much as 0.3 of a "banana". I tried the response from 5m to infinity and vice versa. The Bigma AF motor is very quiet but slower and will more often hunt before locking on. Fortunately today is quite dull so it gave both lenses a good test of locking on in dull and relatively low contrast situations.

Sadly of course I did not have an electronically triggered "banana" counter so the times quoted cannot exactly be classified as accurate! So here we have my conclusions:

50-200mm - quicker and noisy

Bigma - slower but quiet

So a definite difference but then the Bigma does have some serious optics to move around quckly.

Hope this helps, just ask if it does not!!

Chris *chr

Thanks Chris for a fruitfull experiment and objective comments. The burning questions regarding hand-held or not you have answered. I must admit, i suspected that this would be the case. Its good to know though that a monopod gave sufficient stability, with the optional extra of course:).

I was interested in your comments regarding auto focus. I do not have a 50 - 200 lens (SWD or otherwise) so your comparison does not help me too much. Unlike you I do not have an aviation background as I was in the army and our units of measurement were 1 potato, 2 potato and so on:D. The problems I have with the 70-300 lens is that it can take between 2 and 3 potatoes to settle on focus if it had just missed. How many potatoes or bannanas did the Sigma take in these circumstances?

Finally, with your experience, could you recomment a head and monopod that will take all the weight? The problem is its not just down to dead weight as the fixture is not at the centre of balance. What tripod would you recommend?

Thanks again and I shall look forward to seeing more of your images.

PeterD

CaptainD
24th March 2008, 04:21 PM
Dear Peter,

So at least we have proof of a new scientific formula, perhaps we will call it "Greengrocers' Law" that proves 1 potato = 1 banana !

Seriously though, you make an excellent point, I did not give any indication of the focusing time from 5m to infinity. Both the Bigma and the 50- 200mm always locked on in well under a second ( < 1 potato or banana ). This would appear to be a big difference compared to the 70-300mm lens you mentioned.

As for the monopod question I have 2 manfrotto mono pods. The very small, light, 4 section, and portable 790B which only cost approx 20 was a big surprise to me when I used it with the shoulder brace. It gave a nice steady platform to shoot from. The other monopod I use is the Manfrotto 334 which is quite expensive new but I bought it from Ebay secondhabd for approx 30. The 334 is made of sturdier tubing and has a quick release handle to rapidly alter the length, but it was not good thanks to the loose handle. So I need to repair it, then it would be the better of the 2 to carry the weight of the camera and the lens. But for little over 20 I think the 790B is a bit of a bargin in my view, a real favourite of mine which is just so easy to carry around.

I also attach to my monopod either the Manfrotto 323 or 234RC adaptors which allow me to quickly remove the camera from the mono pod thanks to them both using the 200PL4 quick release plate. For info, both the 232 and the 234RC come with a 200PL4 plate so the 20-25 spent for either one also gets you a spare plate which are always useful. The 234RC gives you the advantage of a swivel joint which is locked via a knob.

I have attached pictures of the Manfrotto items I have mentioned to help you picture what all of them look like. While doing this I found that my memory is currently selling the Manfrotto 790B monopod for only 13.99 which is amazing, here is the link:

http://www.mymemory.co.uk/memory/Manfrotto/790B/MODO/MonoPod

I hope a Manfrotto rep reads this, perhaps a might get a free badge!! I honestly do not have any links with them.

But as with so many things, there is a big range of monopods to choose from. All I can say is that I am very happy with the two I have.

Cheers

Chris *chr

Jim Ford
24th March 2008, 05:52 PM
I have a Uni-Loc Major S1600 tripod, which is similar to a Benbo. The centre column is removable as is a leg. You can fit them together to make a monopod. There's also a 'duopod' accessory that consists of a plate on a short arm. The end of the arm clamps near the bottom of the monopod, and you then put your foot on the plate to steady it.

Jim

PeterD
24th March 2008, 05:54 PM
Thanks Jim,

I shall look the details up.

PeterD

Jim Ford
24th March 2008, 06:54 PM
If you're interested in a Uni-Loc, you should probably keep a look out for the S1700 on Ebay. My S1600 is a brute of a beast whilst the S1700 is lighter.

Jim

jmoh
24th March 2008, 10:18 PM
Hai Guy's,
Wow! What a Nice thread and a wonderful Read. I can't help but pen down a few word of my opinion on this subject. Firstly, i once own the '' BIGMA '' And boy, IMHO, It's dissapoiting at the long end starting from 400 to 500mm. It's sharpness is a tat soft and altough the contrast is o.k. And it's a little on the heavy side ( Not suitable for Fast moving or small Birds ). Lucky for me it was on loan from a friend of mine.
In my opinion, after 30 years on the field, Getting close and understanding your subject and it's surrounding, will land you more keepers! I does most of my Bird photog Handheld, as Most Tropical Birds are very active and they tend to Jump around alot. So any tripod is alway's a burden let alone the Miss opps. In my opinion the 70-300 and the new 50-200swd with the 2x teleconverter are God send. Well, unless Oly comes out with a 400mm f/4 0r 5.6. Anyway from past experience, getting close and steady and knowing your subject will yield some fine results ( As Nick Temple Fry Say's )....I totally agree with him on this subject matter.
And Thanks to The 4/3 sensor, My hand and shoulder Muscle is a little relax now!......Go out and have fun with what ever you have now, and alway's remember: '' In the hand of a good photographer, The lens is just another Tool ''.........Below are some pic's taken with the 70-300 and all are Handheld.....And boy where on earth are you going to find a lens this Sharp at that price and Reach???......Go out and enjoy the Fruit of love that God has Created for us!!!......*chr*chr*chr......Thanks.....James.
http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/506/PC297156_filtered.jpg
http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/506/PC297168_filtered.jpg
http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/506/PB035654.JPG
http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/506/PB035556_filtered.jpg

PeterD
24th March 2008, 10:54 PM
Thanks James,

What a beautiful statement to go with your lovely images. I really envy you and its good that you have joined us.

I am not blaming the 70-300 lens as a whole, just that since I have used mine, I have to throw away far more than I keep. Its been a painful experience and I have always questioned my abilities rather than the hardware. Today's experiment proved that I have a faulty lens. I have seen some really good images using this lens, yours ann John's (TheMusicMan) to name two users. Hopefully I will stand a chance to approach your standard when this lens is replaced. I am looking at all options and have taken on board your comments re the Bigma.

Good shooting

PeterD

CaptainD
24th March 2008, 11:03 PM
James,

Excellent images, these are the best samples that I have seen from the 70-300mm by a long way. Based upon an earlier comment in this thread, this lens would seem to take a long time for the auto-fcous takes to lock on, so do you use this lens mainly with manual focus?

I fully agree that getting closer is far better than simply just getting longer lens. This is the best step forward in getting more keepers that I have made during the last year. I had great success last summer shooting at 150mm, but I needed to do my homework first to get close without disturbing the birds.

For me it is early days with my Bigma but I already recognise that if it is to be a useful tool it is going to take time to learn how best to use it. I was particularly interested in your comments about the 400-500mm range.

Thanks for your showing us you pictures and sharing your thoughts.

Cheers

Chris

jmoh
25th March 2008, 12:51 AM
Thanks James,

What a beautiful statement to go with your lovely images. I really envy you and its good that you have joined us.

I am not blaming the 70-300 lens as a whole, just that since I have used mine, I have to throw away far more than I keep. Its been a painful experience and I have always questioned my abilities rather than the hardware. Today's experiment proved that I have a faulty lens. I have seen some really good images using this lens, yours ann John's (TheMusicMan) to name two users. Hopefully I will stand a chance to approach your standard when this lens is replaced. I am looking at all options and have taken on board your comments re the Bigma.

Good shooting

PeterD

Hai Peter,
It's alway's a pleasure to be able to share my experience of the Do's and Dont's with you all....No Sweat Brudder!....As a part time photog teacher, i alway's tell my student that it doesn't matter that you fail to get a good pic sometimes. The most important thing is that we must analyse where the mistake is and then Improve on it. After all to err is Human! At least we did our best and see our own shortcomings. I have made it this far through years of trail and error and believe me it's a '' LONG and WINDING ROAD ''. Therefore it's a pleasure to share most if not all of my past experience with anybody let alone our Oly Pals Down Here.
I think you Haven't found your sweet spot yet on your 70-300, mine is F/8 and F/9. Try different exposure mode and and F setting and and who know's you may turn in better picture than mine. As for the Sigma lenses, Their rubber Grip tend to melt after 2 to 3 years ( Tropical Climate ) and so does the Grease inside of the Barrel. This is quite common down here and IMHO , I think '' TAMRON '' Does a better job in this matter.
Hope that i am of help to your problems........Thanks....James.

jmoh
25th March 2008, 01:21 AM
James,

Excellent images, these are the best samples that I have seen from the 70-300mm by a long way. Based upon an earlier comment in this thread, this lens would seem to take a long time for the auto-fcous takes to lock on, so do you use this lens mainly with manual focus?

I fully agree that getting closer is far better than simply just getting longer lens. This is the best step forward in getting more keepers that I have made during the last year. I had great success last summer shooting at 150mm, but I needed to do my homework first to get close without disturbing the birds.

For me it is early days with my Bigma but I already recognise that if it is to be a useful tool it is going to take time to learn how best to use it. I was particularly interested in your comments about the 400-500mm range.

Thanks for your showing us you pictures and sharing your thoughts.

Cheers

Chris

Hai CaptainD,
Firstly, Thanks for the compliments, and as for the Focusing, i almost always use AF and set it on C-AF Mode. At this age ( 54) this year, i have loss some of my Manual focusing Reflex of my haydays. Mine is only an E-510, And if it's the E-3, well that's even better!!!....As you mention that some other's have had focusing problem with this lens, I think it's either the AF Mode or most likely the Lighting. And i think a strong and fully charge Battery will also Help....That's just my opinion and experience, don't know whether it works over there?.....As for the Bigma, well most of my Birding Buddies sold theirs and opt for prime lenses, which IMO is Expensive.The Tamron 200-500 is a better option but sadly they are not in the 4/3 Group.
Well, look on the bright side of things, maybe just maybe Oly will come out with a 400mm f/4 or 5.6 this coming year or so. Just a Hunch really!....Hope it comes good and early so that i will Retire early and take up Bird Photog full time!......HaHaHa!!!....:p:p:p.....By The Way This 70-300 is by far the best Value Tele Lens I ever Had....In a long Time.....Cheers to you all!.......Thanks...James.

nerdet
18th October 2009, 07:58 PM
John, Phil, Its only since the very interesting 'getting better' thread of last weekend that I was seriously looking for more reach. Nick's comments regarding image size versus detail etc clinched it for me. Whilst I like the 70-300 very much, I have been looking at my options. Should I go for the x1.4 or x2.0 converter in conjunction with this lens or not or, should I go for something bigger? This thread made me look towards this lens. It is also capable of working with a 2x converter! Not sure if the 4/3 fitting lens works with af or not. If anyone has info on this I would appreciate it.

One thing for sure is that I must invest in a monopod. John, as I recall santa gave you one this year. Any feedback you can give me will be very much appreciated. I already have permission from 'she who must be obeyed' to buy one:D.

Cheers

PeterD

Hi Peter,
I've got the 70-300 mm and the x2.0 converter.
I find the 70-300 mm a superb lens, but in combination with the x2.0 converter, it's only useful in really sunny weather, since you loses two f stops. I think it would work better with the x1.4 converter since you only loses one f stop. I'm saving to get the 50-200 mm, which I think would work much better with the x2.0 converter, since it is brighter optics.
Cheers Nerdet.

PeterD
19th October 2009, 01:01 AM
Hi Peter,
I've got the 70-300 mm and the x2.0 converter.
I find the 70-300 mm a superb lens, but in combination with the x2.0 converter, it's only useful in really sunny weather, since you loses two f stops. I think it would work better with the x1.4 converter since you only loses one f stop. I'm saving to get the 50-200 mm, which I think would work much better with the x2.0 converter, since it is brighter optics.
Cheers Nerdet.

Thank you for replying to this post. To bring you up-to-date, I purchased the Sigma 50-500 (commonly known as the Bigma) as my telephoto solution. Prior to this I purchased the EC14 to go with the the 70-300 but found it was not suitable for wildlife unless the conditions were bright. Slow focus speeds and the need to push the ISO were a couple of reasons why I dropped this solution.

I think the new 50-200mm and EC20 could well be a better bet for you with the affordable Zuiko lenses.

Good luck and I hope all works out well for you.

Peter