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Sigma 200-500mm F2.8 EX DG on the field



 
Some months ago I reviewed the Sigma 200-500 f/2.8 (click here for Sigma 200-500 f/2.8 EX DG review). In my first review, I did an in-depth studio test, but I hadn't many photos taken in the field. I absolutely wanted to try this lens on the field so in April 2009 I loaned again the lens from Sigma and I have spent one day photographing Cristina, a beautiful model. The photos had been taken in Rivalta, a medieval village between the hills of northern Apennines, Italy.  
 
Using this lens means tons of fun :-) The people kept looking at us...sometime wedding photographers take photos in Rivalta, but none of them bring any lens that come close to the Sigma 200-500 f/2.8... Other than that, due to the extreme focal length - 1000 millimeters with the 2x extender - many times I had to take the photos from 15-30 meters, a pretty unusual experience of fashion photography!  
 
There are various persons and manufacturers involved in this test. A big thanks to Cristina, the model who posed for these photos! Cristina is a girl from Australia that has worked in Italy has model, singer and actress. Other than that, thanks to M-Trading, the Italian importer of Sigma (www.m-trading.it), that kindly loaned me the Sigma 200-500mm f/2.8 EX DG; PhotoSeiki (www.photoseiki.com), that has manufactured a custom made head for the 200-500 f/2.8; Gitzo (www.gitzo.com), that kindly loaned me the Gitzo 5541 LS tripod; Christian from PhotoSeiki, who helped during the shot, suggesting poses and locations; Marco Sitzia from Mamiya Trading, who has taken some behind the scenes photos.
 
 

Full size samples at 500 and 1000mm

You can download either the untouched photo (JPEG converted from RAW without any additional post processing; minimum contrast and saturation, no sharpening, no AC, distortion or vignetting correction) or the post processed version. The untouched photo is a good way to see the real image quality of the lens, and the post processed versions allow to see the final quality you can get with good post processing techniques.

 500 a f/2.8 - download: untouched photo - post processed photo 1000 a f/5.6- download: untouched photo - post processed photo
  

Please respect the copyright! These images can used exclusively for personal purposes. All other usages are prohibited.
 
 

Cristina: photo gallery taken with Sigma 200-500mm f/2.8

Cristina is a great model, and the unparalleled Sigma 200-500 allows to take photos against soft, creamy backgrounds...a perfect combination.  
 

 Canon 1Ds MarkIII, Sigma 200-500mm f/2.8 EX DG (at 500mm), 1/200 f/2.8, iso 400, treppiede. ritaglio 100%
  

 
 

 Canon 1Ds MarkIII, Sigma 200-500mm f/2.8 EX DG (at 500mm), 1/400 f/2.8, iso 400, treppiede. ritaglio 100%
  

 
 

 Canon 1Ds MarkIII, Sigma 200-500mm f/2.8 EX DG (at 1000mm), Sigma 2.0x TC, 1/400 f/5.6, iso 400, treppiede. ritaglio 100%
  

 
 

 Canon 1Ds MarkIII, Sigma 200-500mm f/2.8 EX DG (at 1000mm), 1/160 f/5.6, iso 400, treppiede. ritaglio 100%
  


 
 

Conclusions

Overall, the image quality is of Sigma 200-500 f/2.8 is good for such an extreme lens, even though it is far from easy to get the best from this lens: at f/2.8 the depth of field is very shallow, and the focus must be perfect...even an error of few centimeters may make the difference between a sharp photo and an out of focus photos.  
 
The AF is pretty good, it is fast both as 200-500 and even with the 2x extender, as 400-1000 f/5.6. I missed, instead, image stabilization: even tough this lens is made to be used on tripod, image stabilization would help a lot, even on a sturdy tripod there are still some small vibrations due the the great weight. Would I buy it? If I had tons of money, yes :-) This lens gives an unparalleled brightness and background blur at 500mm, and using it is pure fun!

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