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Sigma’s 50-500mm f4.5-6.3 DG OS HSM APO AF Lens: Reader Q+As

Sigma’s 50-500mm f4.5-6.3 DG OS HSM APO AF Lens: Reader Q+As

We’ve gotten a number of great reader questions since we’ve opened up the Photoworld@sigmaphoto.com hotline, and many of these relate to the very popular Sigma 50-500mm f4.5-6.3 DG OS HSM APO AF Lens. Here’s a sampling of questions from our readers about this great 10x superzoom!

50-500mm F4.5-6.3 DG OS HSM

Robert B. asks:
I recently purchased the Sigma 50-500mm f/4.5-6.3 DG OS HSM APO Autofocus Lens.

My question is: With a weight of approximately 4 pounds, I’m having trouble being steady while hand holding the lens for long times during a shoot of a sports contest i.e. Baseball / Football.

Is there a technique to be had for hand holding the lens during a 2 -3 hour game or is it better to just rely on a monopod for some help?

Our answer:
Hi Robert!

A monopod (or tripod) certainly helps with managing the weight of long glass, but does interfere a bit with free and quick shooting.

Question about your shooting ergonomics: What is your normal shooting position with telephotos: Left forearm parallel to your collarbones or parallel with your spine?  You will be more stable with your forearm under the lens (parallel with your spine), and this position is usually more comfortable for photographers on long assignments.

Sal D. asks:
Is the Nikon D40 fully compatible with the Sigma 50-500mm f4.5-6.3 lens?

Our Answer:
Yes this will work fully with the D40, as this is an HSM (Hypersonic motor) lens, meaning the lens has its own motor, and will therefore autofocus on the Nikon DSLRs without internal motors.

Keith P. asks:
I have a Canon 550D and have recently purchased a Sigma 150-500mm F5-6.3 APO DG OS lens and wish to purchase a teleconvertor.

Is there  a  Sigma  teleconvertor  that is compatible and is this only manual focus and if so is this a problem, please specify exact specification for this compatible lens.

Our answer:
Click here for details on the two teleconverters that are compatible with the 50-500mm lens. And yes, you are correct, with either the 1.4x or 2x extender, you are limited to manual focus only.

From Jerome F.:
Hi:  Just bought the above Sigma lens and I find that the zoom ring feature which is very much toward the FRONT of the lens is very awkward to use.

I find myself trying  to position my shooting hand where the focusing ring is instead.

Can Sigma correct this?

Our Answer:
Thanks for the email and the feedback on this lens.

I am not quite sure what you are asking when you say: “Can Sigma correct this?”   Do you mean in terms of future design consideration, or something specific to your lens?

For future design consideration, this can be sent to the lens design team as user feedback.

As far as changing the gearing and such on your unit, I do not believe that is possible.

Do note that one reason the zoom ring is located closer to the front of the barrel because this lens barrel extends, and this hand positioning gives more stability, both when the lens is retracted and extended.

Have a great afternoon!

Got a question about your Sigma gear? Drop us a line at Photoworld@Sigmaphoto.com and we’ll do our best to answer it!

Comments (7)
  1. Jim Harmer says:

    I would be interested in this lens, but I can’t find any good real-world head-to-head comparisons between the sharpness on this lens and the sharpness of other similarly situated Canon/Nikon lenses. I’m thinking I might rent this lens as well as a couple Canon/Nikon Supertelephotos to do a real-world head-to-head comparison review for my website. There really isn’t enough solid real-world review information available on the Sigma lenses.

  2. Gary Morris says:

    I recently purchased this particular lens for use on my Canon 7D. This lens produces very sharp photos from 50-300. From 300-400 things get a little less sharp. And by the time I hit 500mm sharpness is gone. Not that the images are useless; they’re just not as sharp as at 50-300. My first shooting session with this lens was hand-held. I plan on spending the day with this lens soon using only a tripod (not hand held at all) and shooting at 500mm to see if this will improve the results. Besides a tripod, does anyone at Sigma have any suggestions? I will note that most shots were at 640sec-800sec and f11. Thanks.

  3. Gary Morris says:

    OK… We went to shoot at El Morro (Nat Mon, about 100 miles from where we live in ABQ New Mexico). I put my 7D + Sigzilla 50-500 setup on my older tripod (a very heavy rig — 15 lbs — that I bought for shooting video in the late-1990s). The tripod made a significant difference! Almost all of my shots at 300-500 were well focused; much better than my experience doing the same shooting hand-held. I changed the setting on my 7D to shoot everything at 1000/sec and F11 (with auto ISO). Some of the shots were a bit grainy but that’s due to higher ISO that the camera sometimes selected. I also shot a few shots hand-held with pretty much the same results at 500; not well focused. The hand held shots between 50-300 were well focused. Overall I’d give this lens a 7+ on a 1-10 scale with the proviso that one needs a tripod to get the best results the closer one gets to the 500mm max. My final comment is the OS works very well on this lens and focusing speed and capability is an 8+ or even a 9 — there’s very little hunting for focus on my 7D with single point focus setting (this is how I’ve always shot rather than use weighted focus). Thanks Sigma for a nice lens.

  4. Felix says:

    My 50-500 OS freeze in focusing some time after a serious of high frame rate shooting.

  5. Tony says:

    to Felix:

    There is a recall on some of the 50-500 OS lenses.

    Lens manufacturer Sigma has issued a recall of three of its telephoto zoom lenses after discovering autofocus faults that could affect models from certain batches. The three lenses affected are the APO 50-500mm f/4.5-6.3 DG OS HSM, the APO 120-400mm f/4.5-5.6 DG OS HSM and the APO 150-500mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM. The number of affected units is likely to be pretty small, but any owners with faulty AF systems will be able to get their lenses fixed free of charge as Sigma try to weed out the ‘bad eggs’ in the batches. If you’re an owner, everything you need to know is here.


    After thorough investigation, we have ascertained that some APO 50-500mm F4.5-6.3 DG OS HSM, APO 120-400mm F4.5-5.6 DG OS HSM and APO 150-500mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM lenses, produced recently, may have a potential autofocus defect.

    This issue could possibly occur in some lenses within the following range of serial numbers:

    APO 50-500mm F4.5-6.3 DG OS HSM: Serial numbers between 10633051 and 10972000

  6. Scott Koegler says:

    I bought a 150-500 just a few months ago. Looks like it falls within the sequence of lenses with autofocus problems, so I’ve contacted warranty support about that.
    However – even when I set for manual focus (on a tripod) my shots are very badly out of focus. Is it possible there is an overall problem with this lens? Samples I have seen from other users of this lens look more than adequate. I’ve turned off the OIS on the lens and in the camera for tripod mounted shots but the problem is persistent.


  7. Janis says:

    Will the above lenses work well with my Sony a65?

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