by Mike McNamee Published
In keeping with the sport theme we look at some of the options from Sigma for big lenses. Sigma provides three super telephoto lenses and two large telephoto zooms. This is by no means the limit of their armoury in longer focal lengths but we list only the fast lenses. The lenses are complemented by two converters, at 1.4x and 2x extensions. These only allow manual focus on the longer lenses.
The 120-300 we reviewed last issue, this time we concentrate on the 500mm f4.5. This length is eminently suitable for cricket and wildlife especially when used with the smaller digital chips, which extend the focal length up to an effective 750mm or so. Add a 1.4x converter and you will get very tight framing of a single cricketer at the crease, but you will need to secondguess which way the batsman is going to move to play the ball - with a field of view of around 3° this is quite tricky!
The lens is built with two extra low dispersion elements out of its 11, in 8 groups. The closest focus is 4m and the lens weighs 3.15kg. It is 123mm diameter and 350mm long; it comes with a lens hood and sturdy carry case and strap.
A lens of this size is difficult to use, it needs good support (a monopod as a minimum requirement) and steady hands. Any twitchy releasing of the shutter will be mercilessly exaggerated by the huge magnification. As discussed in the sports feature, fast shutter speeds are required, we produced only scrap working off a tripod at 1/400ths when trying the lens out on wading birds - they are much too twitchy! At cricket we just about got away with 1/800ths, providing we accepted some blur on the moving bat and ball.
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