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Frequent Contributor
Posts: 113
Registered: ‎01-20-2016

which telephoto lens should i get?

Hello Guys

For some time I have wanted to get a telephoto lens which is very close to 500mm without spending well over £2000. So what are my options well there are many to choose from ranging from F4-F8 and its hard to know here in this little discussion. I will try to answer some questions and in the process perhaps someone can answer my dilemma.


So what are the options well we have many please see the list below.


Sigma 150-600mm F6.3 Sport-(at 320mm your F stop is at 5.6)

Sigma 150-600mm F6.3 C (at 387mm your F stop is at 5.6)

Sigma Prime 500mm F4.5 none OS APO DG HSM

Canon 500mm is/mark2 (too expensive for me)

Tamron 150-600mm F6.3 (380mm your F stop 5.6)

Canon Prime 400mm non is (very sharp)

Canon 300mm F4 (good lens close to the 400mm)

Canon 100-400 mark 1 (don’t like the idea of dust getting in)

Canon 100-400 mark 2 (seems very good quality closer to 370mm)


So as you can see the list is large and the costs of each lens vary the sigma contemporary is the cheapest option and considered sharper than the Tamron. I think the sigma sport will be slightly better quality but it is a lot heaver and according to a lot of reviews its only a little sharper. The other lens I have been looking at is the sigma prime apo hsm dg non OS lens. It is considered to be tack sharp at f8 and at 5.6 very sharp. I am really torn between them as the sigma prime can be picked up for around £1500 second hand but it has no image stabilisation. The next sharpest would be between the sigma sport and the canon 400mm and 100-400 mark 2. The 400mm prime being a lot cheaper please see the list below for price comparison.


Sigma 150-600mm F6.3 Sport £1200

Sigma 150-600mm F6.3 C £750.00

Canon 500mm £3000-£6000

Tamron 150-600mm £600

Canon Prime 400mm £1000

Canon 300mm F4 £1000

Sigma Prime 500mm F4.5 £1500 second hand

Canon 100-400 mark 1 £800

Canon 100-400 mark 2 £1400


So my choice comes down to two things price and sharpness. I am very tempted to have a 500mm prime lens such as the sigma F4.5 as it is a prime and is very close to what a 500mm F4 lens from canon can do. But the choice is yours but any advise would be appreciated what would you go for. I would be using the lens for wild life and possibly sport. I all ready own the following equipment so am wondering what to do.


Canon is mark 1 70-200 2.8

Canon 300mm F4

Canon mark 1 1.4x 2x extenders

Tamron 800mm prime f8 old manual lens

Sigma 17mm-50mm 2.8

Canon 600D and Canon 7D


So what should I add to my camera equipment I am not afraid of using manual focus when people talk about their lens not being sharp in their photos. It is very clear to me their focus is off as some part of the image is in focus and sharp. I do think people need to learn how to use manual focus and practise more.


Thank you for your comments regards Paul.


Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 2,387
Registered: ‎11-14-2012

Re: which telephoto lens should i get?

Sigma 150-600 C gets great reviews relative to cost from people I respect & if I thought I could hand hold it all day long shooting my events I'd own one.


As a side note I own & heavily use the Canon 100-400 Ver 1 & have no dust problems & have read a few reports of dust issues in the new version. ANY lens which changes length while zooming has to move air in or out as it changes length. They are not vacuum sealed.

"A skill is developed through constant practice with a passion to improve, not bought."
Respected Contributor
Posts: 1,861
Registered: ‎12-02-2012

Re: which telephoto lens should i get?

[ Edited ]

500 mm on a crop at 1.6x aov/focal length multiplier could be a bit long for most sports unless you are back a way from the sideline. 


What at about a 1.4x TC on your 300?  That is 420mm anyway, and the 1.4 is better image quality than the 2x TC. 


The Siggy 500 prime has no IS so with crop factor your minimum shutter handheld is 1/800th so that would be a little limiting at f/4.5 except on bright midday shots. 


Canon 5d mk 4, Canon 6D, EF 70-200mm L f/2.8 IS mk2; EF 16-35 f/2.8 L mk. III; Sigma 35mm f/1.4 "Art" EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro; EF 85mm f/1.8; EF 1.4x extender mk. 3; EF 24-105 f/4 L; EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS; 3x Phottix Mitros+ speedlites

Why do so many people say "FER-tographer"? Do they take "fertographs"?
Posts: 13,879
Registered: ‎12-07-2012

Re: which telephoto lens should i get?

You left off your list the best buy in a long tele.  The Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens. But from the list you have, my personal choice would be the Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary Lens for Canon.  Second choice Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM Lens.


The dust inside the original EF 100-400mm is pure BS.  All zooms move.  How it zooms is of little matter.  If I were you I would stop reading so many reviews.  Especially from folks you don't know.


All the lenses you listed are sharp.  All are pretty decent.  I have used or either own most of them.  I have owned the original EF 100-400mm for years.  I own both the 'S' and 'C' version of the SIgma.  Plus the Tamron.  The IQ is nearly equal and you will have to pixel peep to see the difference.  Be warned the 'S' is very heavy.


Scott's advice of using the EF 1.4x on your current EF 300mm f4 is a good one.  That combo works very well.  Makes a 420mm f5.6 tele with IS.  Little IQ loss.

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!
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