The Sigma 200-500mm f/2.8 EX DG was released in 2008. At the time of its release, it was the longest f/2.8 telephoto zoom in the world and it still is to this day. It was also considered to be an absolutely ridiculous lens. It’s still considered one of those today, too. But don’t let that get in the way of a hilariously overkill portrait shooting setup.
In this video, photographer Tom Calton managed to get his hands on one for the day to have a play with for some portraits. Once he takes it out of the case, you can immediately see just how insane it is that this lens even exists – let alone trying to use it for portraits. But, that’s exactly what he does. Whether or not the results this produces are worth the $26,000 price tag… Well, I’ll let you decide.
Despite the lens being EF mount, Tom was able to use it on his Sony camera using the Sigma MC-11 EF to E mount adapter. This did mean he didn’t get any autofocus, though – which he would’ve had, had he been using a Canon EF mount DSLR instead of a Sony mirrorless camera. But even with the “lightweight” Sony mirrorless body, this setup is wholly impractical to use for pretty much anything without a tripod. And even with a tripod, it’s not an easy setup to shift around when you need to move.
It is impressively sharp, though. You can understand why wildlife and sports shooters might want to pick up something like this. And if 500mm at f/2.8 isn’t long enough for you, it comes with a 2x teleconverter that turns it into a 400-1000mm zoom with a max aperture of f/5.6. You do lose a little bokeh at f/5.6, even at 1,000mm focal length, but it’s still impressively sharp with some decent background separation.
It’s a ridiculous lens. It always was and always will be. And while I’d never buy one, even if I had $26K burning a hole in my pocket, I’d still love to play with one of these one day.
Would you get one of these if you had the cash spare? What would you use it for?