Friday, April 1, 2011

The arrival of the bigmos

There are some decisions, especially when it comes to gear/gadgets that happen in a jiffy. And so was the decision to pickup the Sigma 150-500 OS HSM A.K.A. Bigmos!

It wasn't a bolt from the blue, but was a sort of a culmination of having seen what the lens is capable of, and an opportunity that presented itself :)

It's been a "quarter" so to speak now, and quick recap of the images that the Bigmos made possible...enjoy the large(r) view! Will also put up a quick review towards the end.

The first "trip" the lens made was to Chennai in search of the flamingos of Pulicat lake, did not spot any, but was total fun!

The first few shots went down the drain..this lens surely does grow on you. A bit bulky but definitely hand-holdable!

Pelicans at Nelapattu, a very nicely maintained "paradise"

Oh, the extra reach of the 500mm was just exhilerating, not many pictures needed that "heavy crop" anymore ! :) Standing on this beast's "shoulders" so to speak I could see further :D
The lens fared pretty well in capturing in-flight shots...another reason why one should take everything put up on the internet w.r.t. reviews with a pinch of salt.

White Ibis

Open billed storks

Roosting Spot billed pelicans - taken safely from a distance from a watch tower. Strongly suggest one does not approach a bird's nest be it on foot or car. Some birds can abandon nests and will never return. Places like these where the birds are used to human presence and facilities provided to watch them from a distance is the only place one should even try taking shots like these :)

The extra reach also helped me "see" things closer and notice the smaller behavioral aspects, thus increasing the fascination

Also did allow me to get a decent "working distance" from the more skittish birds. And in cases of smaller birds which are a little more co-operative, did produce some decent bokeh even at f8! The closer the subject is to MFD, the better the bokeh gets esp @ longer focal ranges.


One of my most liked images from this lens, can't put a finger on it, but like it :)

Pied bushchat"/>

Paddyfield pipit

Ashy crowned lark

Yellow wagtail

Rose ringed parakeet

Plum headed parakeets

Brahminy starlings

Oh and the raptors too :)
Common kestrel

Tawny eagle

Indian spotted eagle

Oriental honey buzzard

Spotted owlet

Egyptian vulture

And lest I forget, the most shot bird with this bazooka - the green bee eater :)

It's only with this reach did I make some decent imaages of mammals - predominantly the Blackbucks. You can read more here

The Jayamangali pose

And a macaque family portrait to wrap things up

A bit about the lens from what I've understood this lens this far
* Shoot @ f8
* Turn OFF IS when shooting in good daylight, found the IQ improves
* Use IS for shots only below 1/320
* Avoid using it @ 500mm, use it more like a 450mm lens. If you *have* to use it @ 500, stop down to F11, makes the IQ much better
* Develop a good hand-holding technique (if you're planning on using this handheld)
* AF gets very tricky in low-light situations
* Can be trained well with the FTM ring even for Bird in flight shots. Always look for contrasts to help AF lock on easier
* As they say "good bang for the buck"
* Ensure you read this and avoid lenses with the "problematic" serial numbers
******** FROM THE SIGMA SITE *********
150-500mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM with serial numbers between 10674301 and 1097200.
******** FROM THE SIGMA SITE *********

The year's been off to a great start and hope it gets better and better :)


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