Canon 7D Tips on Using the Sigma 50-500mm f/4.5-6.3 APO DG OS

The newly updated Sigma 50-500mm lens can be summed-up in one word – WOW!

I have had the Canon 100-400mm L for a number of years and always found this lens to be hit or miss.  The new Sigma 50-500mm bests the Canon in a number of areas:

  • Normal twist action zoom instead of Canon’s awful push-pull design
  • Much faster focusing, accurate and silent too
  • More practical mm range means less lens swapping
  • Sharp at both ends of the range
  • Great in-lens Optical stabilization with two settings.

Even though the Sigma is a big lens, it still fits perfectly in my Think Tank Urban Diguise 70 Pro V2.0 with plenty of room to spare.

So how does it perform? All of the photos in this article were HAND-HELD! My tripod never left the carrying case.

After using the Sigma 50-500mm lens for a few weeks, I would recommend the following settings on the Canon 7D:

  • TV Shutter-Priority set for 1/500 (although, it can be pushed to 1/300 if necessary with the OS enabled)
  • Action bird shots need a much faster shutter (between 1/1000 and 1/2500) to avoid motion blur
  • Use AF Expansion for focusing
  • Set Drive to AI Focus
  • Both One shot or High Speed settings work well
  • I left the ISO on Automatic and let the 7D set the f-stop as well
  • As for the Sigma lens, use  OS setting 1 for most shots and setting 2 for horizontal panning.  I even used setting 1 to help smooth the zoom effect for some HD-Video.

The Canon 7D does a great job at adjusting the ISO and the f-stop on the fly even when using the fast shutter and high magnification.   I had plenty of sunlight to work with and the 7D kept the ISO set at 100.  If you notice the ISO pushing to a high setting, try to compensate by lowering the shutter speed.

Handling a lens of this size and weight will take some practice.  But, its a quick and responsive performer allowing you to just concentrate on your subjects and shoot away.  Get ready to show off some fantastic shots!

B&H has the new Sigma 50-500mm f/4.5-6.3 APO DG OS in stock in all mounts including Canon, Nikon, Sony, Pentax, and Sigma for $1,659 with Free shipping.

Adorama has the new Sigma 50-500mm f/4.5-6.3 APO DG OS in stock in all mounts including Canon, Nikon, Sony, Pentax, and Sigma for $1,659 with Free shipping.

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4 thoughts on “Canon 7D Tips on Using the Sigma 50-500mm f/4.5-6.3 APO DG OS

  1. I just wanted to say thank you so very much. Your very informative site has just stopped me from returning my 7D to the store for a refund. I have even contemplated going to the dark side (nikon) because canon didn’t seem to have a better alternative than the 7d. I am just about to take it out for a test shoot with all the new settings. Thank you so much. Will let you know how I go.

  2. Thank you for posting the tips for using the Sigma 50 – 500mm with the Canon 7D. My Sigma 50-500mm is also image stabilizer capable. Should the image stabilizer be activated when shooting birds in flight?

  3. Absolutely! But, i also recommend using a monopod to rest the camera. All of my photos were take with the IS engaged. Just make sure you use a fast shutter.

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