Lens Guides

First Look: SIGMA 500mm F5.6 DG DN OS | Sports Lens for Sony E-mount

In the past year, SIGMA has been busy putting out some absolutely incredible lenses, many of which are aimed right at the outdoor photographer. Starting wide and going telephoto, we have the 14mm F1.4 DG DN | Art, the always versatile 70-200mm F2.8 DG DN OS | Sports, the 100-400mm DG DN OS | Contemporary (for Fujifilm X mount), and now we get the all-new 500mm F5.6 DG DN OS | Sports. What a year to be a SIGMA photographer!

Now, Sony and L-Mount camera users have a super telephoto prime lens to shoot professional-level images on their mirrorless body. There is a lot of technology to unpack here, so lets jump in and see what makes this lens such a unique piece of glass.

First Impressions of the SIGMA 500mm F5.6 DG DN OS | Sports

This first thing you will notice when you pull the lens out of the box and attach it to your camera is how small and light it is. It’s not just a bit lighter… it is vastly more svelte than its DSLR predecessor. The brand new 500mm F5.6 DG DN OS | Sports is a full 4.3 pounds lighter than the 500mm F4 DG OS HSM | Sports, a massive difference thanks to a slightly smaller maximum aperture and ground-up redesign for mirrorless cameras.

In addition to substantial weight savings, the SIGMA 500mm F5.6 DG DN OS | Sports lens is going to fit in your pack much easier, as its overall footprint is also much reduced. The length of the new lens is almost 6 inches shorter compared to the aforementioned 500mm F4 lens, and it has a reasonably-sized 95mm front filter diameter.

How did SIGMA do it? Simple! Okay, it’s not simple at all… in fact, it’s quite a complex engineering feat. I’m not the most technical of photographers, but essentially the designers utilized a blend of Thermally Stable Composite (TSC) and magnesium parts to give the lens lightness and rigidity, and low-dispersion convex elements at the front of the lens to make the lens as compact as possible. And for that gift we should all give thanks to SIGMA’s engineers and production staff in Aizu, Japan!

In the field with the new 500mm for Sony E-mount

How do the size and weight reductions affect image quality? Beautifully! This lens delivers some of the most detail-rich images that I have ever seen. On a high megapixel camera like the Sony a1, a7R V, Leica SL-2 or Panasonic S1R you will simply be blown away. There are a few main factors that help achieve such high quality. Lets take a look at a few…

First is the ultra fast and super accurate autofocus that is acquired using SIGMA’s new HLA autofocus motor. This AF actuator is now found in a few SIGMA lenses, including the 60-600mm DG DN OS | Sports and 70-200mm F2.8 DG DN OS | Sports lenses, and does a phenomenal job driving AF in the 500mm F5.6 DG DN OS | Sports lens as well. This is very important for photographers shooting fast-moving subjects like birds, planes, race cars or even surfers.

Another important component to the professional image quality is that the SIGMA 500mm F5.6 DG DN OS | Sports lens also uses SIGMA’s new optical stabilizing system known as OS2. This gives the lens about 5 stops of image stabilization. This means that with proper technique you should be able to handhold and get sharp images well below 1/500s, which is the general rule of thumb for this focal range.

Finally, for shooters like me that love to shoot into the sun, SIGMA has used refractive elements in its optical recipe. This will greatly reduce flare and ghosting and help give you your sharpest photos ever. So if you are looking forward to getting an amazing shot of a rim-lit grizzly bear or moose, this is the lens to make it happen with.

Photographer-friendly lens features

The 500mm DG DN OS | Sports lens has loads of other useful physical features as well. Here’s a quick breakdown:

Dust and splash resistant structure

Being designated a Sports lens means that this lens is well-sealed to the elements and has coatings on the front element keeping dust, oil and water at bay. Very important when you are shooting in the elements.

Detachable tripod socket

As with most of SIGMA’s larger lenses, it also comes with an Arca-Swiss style tripod foot (that clicks into position at 90 degree intervals) so you never have to worry about losing your tripod mount.

Manual aperture ring and helpful controls

The lens also features an aperture ring with lock, a focus limiting switch, and three AFL buttons that can be assigned a range of functions.

Up to 1000mm in range for L-Mount

And for L-Mount shooters, one more thing you will love is that the lens is compatible with both 1.4x and 2x teleconverters, turning your 500mm into 700mm and 1000mm focal lengths.

Final takeaways of the SIGMA 500mm F5.6 DG DN OS | Sports

Ok so that’s quite a bit of information coming at you pretty fast. The big takeaway here is the the brand new SIGMA 500mm F5.6 DG DN OS | Sports lens is amazingly light, small, fast and sharp especially for a fixed aperture super-telephoto lens. You really have to see it, and hold it, to believe it.

This lens should find a home in the packs of all sorts of outdoor shooters including wildlife, sports, and aviation photographers. Pick one up today to see for yourself how groundbreaking this lens is, and how it will make your photography better than ever!

Learn more and order yours!

available for Sony E-mount and L-Mount

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