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by prairiewing on Sun Dec 31, 2017 8:38 pm
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A friend has a D850, wants a 500 mm lens but doesn't want to shell out $10 grand plus.
Quality is important, he's ruled out the 200-500.  Is the Sigma 500 ok?  There seem to be a lot of older used Nikon 500's on the
market for reasonable prices but how do they hold up to the 850's fabulous sensor?

Also, I'n not familiar with the Nikon lineage and don't know in which order the 500's were released.  Can anyone give me a little guidance on that?
Thanks in advance for any help,
Pat Gerlach
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by Gary Irwin on Sun Dec 31, 2017 11:38 pm
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E.J. really likes the Sigma and has written about it...try searching this forum. Brad Hill also did an extensive comparison between the Nikon 500E and Sigma 500/4 and found so little difference (other than the price) he ended up keeping the Sigma and selling the Nikon. The previous version of the Nikon is the 500VR G and is considered very good if not quite excellent in terms of sharpness, but is outclassed by both the new E version and the Sigma from what I’ve read. If there’s a downside to the Sigma it’s that it seems to require careful fine tuning, whereas my experience with Nikon’s latest bodies and newest E lenses is that fine tuning is almost optional. Personally, I prefer OEM lenses, but if money was a limiting factor, and based on the reviewers prevously mentioned - whom I trust - I’d go for the Sigma over a used Nikon 500VR even if it was a little more costly. Regardless, I wouldn’t consider anything earlier than the 500VR...the D850 deserves the best quality glass and auto-focus support to do it justice.
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by E.J. Peiker on Sun Dec 31, 2017 11:50 pm
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The Sigma 500 f/4 is as good and in some ways better than the Nikon lens.  Specifically better because you can focus tune it for multiple shooting distances with the Sigma dock and you can independently program each of the focus buttons for different preset shooting distances.  You can also tune both the AF and the VR for speed or accuracy preferences and VR strength.

You can read my review here in the articles and know that since I wrote that article my opinion of the lens has gotten dramatically better:
https://www.naturescapes.net/articles/category/reviews/
 

by prairiewing on Mon Jan 01, 2018 11:03 am
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Thanks Gary and EJ.  I went back and read Brad Hill and EJ's reviews and Sigma clearly looks like the way to go.  I had read EJ's review when he first published it but it is especially good to hear that your opinion of it is even higher than before.  
Again, thank you both.
Pat Gerlach
 

by Anthony Medici on Mon Jan 01, 2018 11:37 pm
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I've been using the Nikon 500 VR since it came out. I haven't used it a lot with the D850 yet as my D850 is relatively new. I have used it extensively with the D810 and I'd trust it for use with the D850. I'm sure I'll get more use with that combination over the next year. In your place, If I could find a used or refurbished 500 VR at a reasonable price, I'd pick it up.
Tony
 

by prairiewing on Tue Jan 02, 2018 12:02 pm
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Thanks Tony I'll take a look at that.
Pat Gerlach
 

by prairiewing on Fri Jan 05, 2018 9:47 am
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Tony is that the G version?
Pat Gerlach
 

by E.J. Peiker on Fri Jan 05, 2018 10:31 am
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prairiewing wrote:
Tony is that the G version?

Yeah he is talking about the AF-S 500mm f/4G.  It's the lens I had before the Sigma and I wore it out.  It is very good but not as good as the Sigma or the newer Nikon 500E and it is much heavier than both.  At this level of lenses, any differences in optics aren't that big though so it is still a very good lens.
 

by prairiewing on Fri Jan 05, 2018 2:52 pm
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Thanks EJ. This has been an interesting process and has led to some unanticipated results. When I have a little time I'll detail all of that for anyone interested.
Pat Gerlach
 

by Tim Zurowski on Fri Jan 05, 2018 10:00 pm
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Totally agree with what Tony and EJ say, plus you can get a used Nikon AF-S 500mm f/4G for a really good price these days.
Cheers
Tim Zurowski
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by prairiewing on Sat Jan 06, 2018 1:11 pm
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Thanks Tim. It appears to be only 1.2 pounds heavier than the Sigma and about $1500 cheaper. On a related subject, does the Nikon 1.4 extender play nicely with this lens?
Pat Gerlach
 

by E.J. Peiker on Sat Jan 06, 2018 4:37 pm
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prairiewing wrote:
Thanks Tim.  It appears to be only 1.2 pounds heavier than the Sigma and about $1500 cheaper.  On a related subject, does the Nikon 1.4 extender play nicely with this lens?

Yes, as well as any Nikon TC plays which isn't awesome :)
 

by Gary Irwin on Sat Jan 06, 2018 5:33 pm
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E.J. Peiker wrote:
prairiewing wrote:
Thanks Tim.  It appears to be only 1.2 pounds heavier than the Sigma and about $1500 cheaper.  On a related subject, does the Nikon 1.4 extender play nicely with this lens?

Yes, as well as any Nikon TC plays which isn't awesome :)


Well there’s nothing wrong with Nikon’s TC14EIII. Even though it does degrade the 500VR to some extent the weak link is the lens, not so much the TC.
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by Tim Zurowski on Sat Jan 06, 2018 6:49 pm
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On my 500 VR the TC-14E III works very well. As many of you know, I am very particular when it comes to sharpness, and my combo doesn't degrade enough to make me concerned at all about using it.

Pat, I have seen many Nikon 500 VR's selling on Fred Miranda for under $4000 USD. The Sigma 500 f4 is $6000, so around $2000+ less for a used Nikon. If money was no object, I would get the Sigma. Otherwise, the Nikon is a fine lens.
Cheers
Tim Zurowski
www.timzphotography.com
 

by prairiewing on Mon Jan 08, 2018 1:58 pm
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Based upon Nikon service threads I’ve read in the past I’m guessing it’s important to get a USA model. Without actually seeing the paperwork on a used lens is there anyway to tell?
Pat Gerlach
 

by Gary Irwin on Mon Jan 08, 2018 3:15 pm
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prairiewing wrote:
Based upon Nikon service threads I’ve read in the past I’m guessing it’s important to get a USA model.  Without actually seeing the paperwork on a used lens is there anyway to tell?


Get the serial number (have the seller send you a photo of the lens w/serial number showing if necessary) and call Nikon USA to see if it's covered.
Gary likes Nikon
 

by prairiewing on Mon Jan 08, 2018 4:12 pm
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Thanks Gary, I’ll do that. The friend I was researching this for already bought his, now I’m looking for myself.
Pat Gerlach
 

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