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Nikon 80-200 F2.8 Or Sigma 50-500

Sat Dec 05, 2009 3:58 pm

Hey guys,

I am thinking of buying a new lens soon, that will be used for both spotting and some newspaper work. Right now my only telephoto lens is the Nikon 70-300mm VR f/4-5.6. I'm looking to add to my collection either the NIKON 80-200mm f/2.8 which is nice because of the low f/stop, but not much of zoom, or the SIGMA 50-500mm f/4-6.3 which has a higher f/stop but much better zoom range. Also, the price is roughly the same and the each have their pro's and con's, so it's a real toss-up.

If any of you have these lenses or any advice/suggestions about them, I'd much appreciate it.
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RE: Nikon 80-200 F2.8 Or Sigma 50-500

Sat Dec 05, 2009 4:36 pm


I looked at the 50-500 but just didn't see myself lugging that thing around, it is huge. I have a friend that has one and I've used it several times and have been happy with the results although it gets a little soft at 500. I also looked at the Sigma 120-400 which is a little smaller, cheaper and comes with the optical stabilization (Sigma's version of VR) . I think this one gets pretty good reviews all around.

In the end I got the Sigma 70-200 2.8 as well as a 1.4X teleconverter. I've been pretty happy with it and and have manged to get my first photos into the DB after trying with my Nikon 70-300 cheapy for a while. If I had a few more bucks I would have gotten the Sigma 100-300 F4 ($1300ish).

I have shot quite a bit with the Nikon 80-200 and to my eye the quality is the same as the Sigma 70-200 (at least my version).

In the end alot depends on how much focal length you need. I have found from where I shoot 300mm is about as far as I need so the 70-200 with the 1.4x teleconverter is what i have on the camera almost all the time. If you need 400-500 then you'll need to go to something else.

While shopping I gave alot of weight to the F2.8 on the 70-200 but in reality I almost never use the lens below F5.6 so in hind sight it probably isn't a huge factor.

Good Luck

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RE: Nikon 80-200 F2.8 Or Sigma 50-500

Sat Dec 05, 2009 5:33 pm

Luke - two completely different lenses. The Nikon 80-200 was the Nikon pro standard before the 70-200VR came along, the AF-S version of the 80-200 is considered the holy grail and pretty rare, while the Sigma 50-500 is a consumer grade mega zoom. If you absolutely must have the longer reach, and are willing to live with lower quality images and build quality, then consider the Sigma. If not, it is a no brainer - get the 80-200.
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RE: Nikon 80-200 F2.8 Or Sigma 50-500

Sat Dec 05, 2009 8:34 pm

I have the 80-200 2.8 Nikon, It's a very good lens for all around shooting, and is decent for planespotting. I used it just this morning actually. And you can add a TC 1.4, 1.7, 2x to make it better. Buy the AF-S version if possible, but the AF-D is good as well.
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RE: Nikon 80-200 F2.8 Or Sigma 50-500

Sat Dec 05, 2009 10:32 pm

I have an equivalent setup (70-200 f/2.8 and a 50-500). The Bigma is great on nice sunny days because I stop down already and it gets everything. When the weather turns sour or it gets dark, the 70-200 wins hands down. So long as my subjects are within the 70-200 range, I do prefer using the 70-200, but there are a lot of times where having a range up to 400mm (I don't go to 500mm all that much) is useful and the Bigma gets the nod. It's a great spoter's lens, but when you need to do photography where speed and wide open IQ cocunts... the f/2.8 lenses are what you need.

The best solution is to have both. If you had to pick one, I'd probably go with the 50-500, so long as you are primarily using it for airplanes. So long as you recognize the limitations of each tool, I think you'd be fine purchasing either.
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