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Hi there

I am new to photography having only got my first "proper" camera in November 2011.

After great thought and research I plumped for Sony and now own:
Sony A77, 16-50G, 70-300G, 70-400G and 35 F1.8.

I particularly enjoy taking wildlife pictures and also landscapes which fits nicely into my other hobby - walking around the countryside and seaside.

I am interested in learning as much as possible and getting the most enjoyment out of this hobby.

I a also interested in being able to "reach" as much of my chosen targets (birds) as possible. This also will include buying a 500mm lens. I am looking at picking brains and opinions to learn as much as I can about these big lenses before I make my decision.

If anyone is interested in the sort of pictures I have taken so far I have some on Flickr - under Hols51.

Thats me introduced I guess - look forward to using this forum.


Since you shoot Sony/Minolta...and there is nothing right now over 300mm that Sony has...here is a short list of lenses....

Minolta 600 f4
Minolta 300 f2.8
Sigma 50-500 f4.5-6.3 Bigmama
Sigma 500 f4
Sigma 300 f2.8

Out of those...the most versatile lens would be the Bigmama...I have shot with both a 600 f4 and 800 f5.6....really not that much difference...especially for outdoors shots...if you are looking for speed...a 300 2.8 would be great...then you can use a Teleconverter 1.4 or 2.0 which will turn that lens into 1.4 - 420 4.2 or 2.0 - 600 5.6 ....

Do your research...if you have the funds...get the 300 2.8 either Sigma or Minolta...the Plus with the Sigma is that it can still be repaired...whereas the Minolta you may have problems finding parts...

Good Luck...
500 or further

Thanks for those thoughts.

After a great deal of research I have actually narrowed my search down, due to a combination of availability, weight, reach and cost to the following:

sigma 300 - advantage obviously the fastest in my list and possibly the highest IQ - possibly, would like more info on this. Disadvantage to make this work for what I want I would have to attach X2 converter. This will then slow the lens down in terms of aperture and also affect IQ. Also, it is the heaviest and the most expensive. On Sony does not have HSM - presumably affects speed again.

sigma 50-500 OS - advantage of range, gets to 500 with no converters. HSM and reasonable weight. IQ - need more advice. Price - middle of the three.

sigma 150-500 OS -advantage of range, gets to 500 with no converters. HSM and reasonable weight. IQ - need more advice. Price - cheapest of the three.

I probably have the two zooms ahead of the fixed 300 at the moment, mainly because I am wondering whether the IQ for the 300 + X2 converter will be better than the IQ of the other two. Or if it is will it be worth the extra weight I will have to carry and the extra cost.

But, the jury is still out because for me IQ is the key - whichever I go for will be used almost exclusively on a tripod and if the IQ is not good enough then it will not be used and that will just be a waste, regardless of the cost.

If you have any more thoughts given the above, I would be very grateful.

Thank you


The IQ on the 300 w/2x TC will have a little loss...nothing noticeable....Expecially if you do some corrections in PS...the speed...is well worth it...the HSM is fast...here is your issue...with 2x TC on it you may hunt every now and then...nothing bad..even the 50-500 does this at times...just the nature of the beast...

Here is an example Moon Shot with Sigma SD14 using a Nikon 800 5.6 with a 2x TC

View attachment 2238

IQ is still good even at 2720mm f 11.....

If don't mind having the fixed focal length...the 300mm is well worth it...if you want a range...the 50-500 is the best lens to go with...the only other lens would be the Sony 70-400 SSM but at it's cost you can find a 300 for a few $$$ more...

Google the lenses and then click on images...if you really want to play rent both lenses...then see which one you like better...

Good Luck....Tony C.


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Hi Tony

Thanks for reply.

I currently have the Sony 70-400G lens which with the A77 body I find to be sharp, fast and tracks very well. Ideal combination for bird work.

I am greedy for more reach however hence the post.

The 300mm sigma with the X2 converter would be ideal as I believe from every thing I have read that the IQ is excellent. The problem with this lens is that with sony fit the lens is missing HSM. I have spoken to sigma and they have been honest enough to tell me that focusing is not so fast without the HSM and it may be an issue with BIF which is what I would be using the lens for largely.

If that is the case that leaves the 50-500 and 150-500 sigma lenses. I take it you prefer the 50-500? I have read that both become somewhat soft much past 400. My sony 70-400 is still very good up to 400 so if they become soft just after - not worth buying. If however they or one of them (either 150-500 or 50-500) is sharp up to 500 (I don't mind going down a couple of stops) then that is still an option.

What is your experience re softness after 400? How good are the zooms toward 500?

Again thanks for your advice and really like the moon picture.


I would do the 50-500 one stop or two and the images are great...like I mentioned earlier every-now and then it hunts...mine is tight when focusing a little difficult...but I am ok with that...I think with your a77...the focusing should be fast anyway...that body has the bigger motor for lenses...I know my a700 and my old tamron 300 2.8 focuses quickly...expcially with grip...attached...

One lens that I don't think I mentioned...if your willing to pay the extra for it...and if Sigma still makes it for Sony Alpha mount... 120-300mm is a great lens to have...works with 2.0x TC's and is f2.8 & f5.6 with TC's....

Let us know what you decided on...Tony C. :z04_cowboy:


Looked at the 300 zoom - unfortunately not made in Sony fit.

In view of everything am going to save some pennies up and go for the 50-500 OS.

Spoken to sigma and they know of no plains in future to either get HSM on the 300 sony fit or make the 300 zoom a sony fit.

So, 50-500. Will let you know when I have bought one and you can see results with the A77.

Thanks for all the advice - might be coming back for more once I have the lens!!