Sigma Bigma’s New Optical Stabilization
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1,000mm  –  1/10 th second  –  Handheld/Unbraced Yes, the Sigma 50 -500mm “Bigma” optical stabilization is that good -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2010 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Sigma “Bigma” 50-500mm OS @ 1000 mm — 1/10 sec, f/13, ISO 5000 — map & image datanearby photos
1,000mm  –  1/10th second  –  Handheld/Unbraced
Yes, the Sigma 50-500mm “Bigma” optical stabilization is that good

During the return home after yesterday's Daimonji hike, Anthony and I stopped for a cake at a cafe we found along the way, Cafe Gremer. The cake was great, and the home-made lemonade (with lemons from the backyard!) was superb, but the interior of the shop was very dark and gloomy, right out of a fairytale nightmare, immediately bringing to mind the worry that we might be devoured by a hermit witch.

But a tiny frosted window immediately behind our seats was getting hit by direct sunlight, splashing a luxuriously delicious glow onto the tasteful flower arrangement on the table, so I pulled out the camera to play as we waited for our order. It had the Sigma 50-500mm superzoom attached, and also had the 2× teleconverter that extends the zoom to 1,000mm and the magnification to 0.64×.

Bigma Without the 2×TC -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2010 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Sigma “Bigma” 50-500mm OS @ 210 mm — 1/1600 sec, f/6, ISO 5000 — map & image datanearby photos
Bigma Without the 2×TC
Bigma With the 2×TC -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2010 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Sigma “Bigma” 50-500mm OS @ 490 mm — 1/400 sec, f/13, ISO 5000 — map & image datanearby photos
Bigma With the 2×TC

While playing in this wonderful small splash of light with a lens that could go to 1,000mm, I wondered what it might do in the darker reaches of the restaurant, so on a whim, I went to full zoom and snapped a picture of one of the thousand nick-knacks filling every conceivable surface of the interior, in this case a Pinocchio hanging above the counter where the proprietress worked and chatted amiably with the regulars that filled the seats.

I was just sitting there free-holding the huge lens + camera + TC combo, not even bracing my elbows on the table. I knew it was a throw-away test shot with no hope, but playing around is how I learn, and in this case I was floored to find the result was reasonably sharp. The large version of the Pinocchio shot above was exported from Lightroom with all default settings... no extra post-processing at all.

I wouldn't expect that I have the skill to get this kind of result when it counts, but it's comforting to know that the Sigma OS will allow it if my skill does.

The Nikon D700's low-light abilities are amazing (see “Impossible Photography: No Light, No Tripod, No Hope. D700 and a 50mm f/1.2” and “Pushing Lowlight-Photography Limits: The Atta Terrace Hotel at Night” for examples), and I sometimes have the ability to hold the camera fairly still (such as in “In the Ballpark of Hope: Okinawan Grave In the Dark”), but 1,000mm at 1/10th of a second is just ridiculously outside the envelope..... or should be.

Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2010 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Sigma “Bigma” 50-500mm OS @ 600 mm — 1/160 sec, f/13, ISO 5000 — map & image datanearby photos

Continued here...


All 3 comments so far, oldest first...

Amazing indeed. And I really like that last shot. Might as well just throw my ZF 100/2 away the next time “glass” day rolls around… 🙂

— comment by Zak on April 26th, 2010 at 7:54pm JST (7 years, 2 months ago) comment permalink

You mention the large telephoto focal lengths & closeups, I think I missed the minimum focussing distance count if you had mentioned it. So, what is the minimum focussing distance with & witout the teleconverter?

The minimum focus distance depends on the focal length… details are at Sigma’s site. The teleconverter does not change it, so it doubles the magnification (which maxes at 1:3.1 @200mm without the TC, double that with the TC). —Jeffrey

— comment by parv on April 27th, 2010 at 1:23pm JST (7 years, 2 months ago) comment permalink

I have been using this lens happily for a year with my D7000. mostly handholding. I just bought a nice cf tripod and wondered if you could comment if it is truly harmful to leave os on on a tripod.

I haven’t done any testing myself; I’d trust what the lens manufacture says. It may well depend on the lens (I think I’ve seen different recommendations for different lenses from the same manufacture), so be sure to follow the specific recommendation for your lens. —Jeffrey

— comment by Robert Sommers on June 18th, 2014 at 1:27am JST (3 years ago) comment permalink
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