Sunday, 23 November 2008

My latest lens – Sigma 600mm F8 Mirror

OK, lens mania has won out! I`ve gone for another lens – A Sigma 600mm F8. I`d heard a bit about this lens being one of the best of the mirror lenses out there I had my eye on the listing on ebay for a while, and couldnt resist a bid.

sigma 600mm 038

These lenses come up on ebay quite frequently and usually sell for around £100 or thereabouts. I was lucky enough to win the bid for £48.

sigma 600mm 037

I knew I would not be able to autofocus with this lens as it is a manual focus lens. However I was in for some more surprises. The only mode that the lens is able to work in is the manual mode [M]. The lens has no electronic chip on it and thus a Sony A200 cannot detect the lens and when used in any other mode the camera gives this error message - "No lens attached. Shutter is locked".

sigma 600mm 036

…and thus I have begun my foray into the world of manual focus. I struggled a bit initially but then soon got used to manually setting the exposure with the help of the exposure scale that shows up in the viewfinder in [M] mode. Thanks to Dominic on the Dynax Digital forum for his suggestion.


I went birding with the lens today and it acquitted itself well. The extra reach I was looking for with this lens paid off.


The lens seems to work best at about 20-30 feet distance.


The light was pretty dim, and the temperature was reaching close to freezing but the birds were still about.


When i could get my hands out of my gloves and turn the dials correctly, I could manage some ok shots.


…like this kestrel.


I was most pleased with this Great spotted woodpecker below, my first one on Blackberry hill.


When the settings were right I managed to get some fast shots too…like a series of this coot bathing, which I will post later.


The best returns from the extra reach though was this female bullfinch, which was quite a distance away.


I quite enjoyed using the lens in manual mode and with the results, I`m wondering how much of a difference it would have made had I used the Auto focus Minolta 500mm instead. Now I have a problem, which lens do I use as my main birding lens?!



It seems there is atl east two versions of this lens, one with an electronic chip and another without. I wonder if mine can be modified to include a chip?

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