Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Holy Hannah!

image of nikon camera with sigma 150-500mm lens attached
Holy Hannah! copyright 2015, Stephanie Maatta
Time for an update ... Recently I rented a wildlife/nature lens for a trial run -- a Sigma 150-500mm f5-6.3. The camera shop told me it was an excellent choice for birding. And, indeed it was. I had it for 10 days, and tried it out in a variety of environments: nature preserve, county park, local zoo, and around home.

anhinga, great blue heron, snowy egret
Bird Collage, copyright 2015, Stephanie Maatta

Thoughts & IMOP...

This is a beautiful lens. It offers excellent clarity and minimal chromatic aberrations. The optical stabilization is superior, allowing for hand-held functioning despite weight and length of the lens. It features both auto-focus and manual focus with a rear focus ring. The rear focus is a great help for maintaining control over the lens.

Savannah sparrow on branch
Savannah Sparrow, copyright 2015, Stephanie Maatta
alligator on lake bank
Mister Big, copyright 2015, Stephanie Maatta

On the plus side, my images came out clear with excellent color. I made very few adjustments to the images in post-processing.  I was able to shoot some excellent close-ups of wildlife without getting too close or disturbing the animals. It handled nature's smallest creatures as well as the larger variety.

For me the lens was heavy but manageable for hand-held shots. I used both hand-held and tripod with equal  effectiveness. At f5-6.3 it's a bit slower than the Nikon 80-400mm f4.5-5.6, but that wasn't an issue for me. Because of the length of the lens I needed room to maneuver comfortably. Not a good lens for a crowd.

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