I received my Bigma2 from Amazon late Tuesday, May 18, 2010. It was almost dark, so I was only able to get a few quick "grab" shoots, but my initial impression of the lens from the first image was very positive. I say this because I had some reservations, and was prepared to send it back if it did not meet my specific needs. I am not a "pixel peeper", if you are, you are wasting your time here. Ninety-nine percent of my photos go on our Toy Manchester web site at a size of 900 px at a resolution of 72 ppi. I rarely need to print, so my personal testing of the Bigma is to determine if it will get bird photos on our feeders, taken at a distance of about 60 ft. from our deck, at web resolution that I will be happy with.

Personal stuff - I am 70 years of age, Retired from self-employed computer sales, and I was trained as a Still Picture Photographer, by the U.S. Army at Ft. Monmouth, NJ in early 1958 as a 17 yr old E-5 Staff Sergeant on temporary active duty for training from the 31st Signal Co., 31st "Dixie" Infantry Division of the Alabama National Guard. I have been an active photographic hobbyist since then. I adopted digital 100% in 1996, and I have never looked back. I have a 40D & 7D, Canon 100mm f/2.8 Macro, 17-55 f/2.8 IS, 18-135 f/3.5-5.6 IS, 50mm f/1.8, and now the Bigma2. I sold my 70-200 f/2.8L IS purchased exactly a year ago because it did not have the "reach" I wanted for bird photos, and I rarely used it for anything else. Sold it for what I paid for it, put a hundred bucks with what I got for it, and ordered the Bigma.

So what you will see here is mainly to satisfy myself, but I do hope my images will give you an idea of what the new Bigma2 can do in real world photography. Excluding the cat, photos taken beginning Wednesday morning, 5/19/10. (Update 12-4-10) See last image, but suffice to say, I remain totally pleased with the Bigma2, especially the Optical Stabilization and image sharpness. It has meet my every expectation for what I wanted it for.

Charlie Walker


LAST UPDATE December 4, 2010

Note: I was a bit unsettled to read on dpreview this morning, 6/16/10, that Sigma had made a press release concerning potential problems with the Bigma2, and a couple of other lens. I got downright concerned when I found my Serial Number was right in the middle of the list. I have 2 days left to return the lens to Amazon. So I called Sigma USA in NY and spoke to a Technician. He said if I was not having any problems then I should not be concerned. Candidly I don't belive what he was told to say, but I like the lens, and as I consistently state in this web site, it meets my every expectation. But I got out this afternoon and worked it over good. See the female Cardinal photo further down under date of 6/16/10. I continue to have zero problems. Ultimately we all have to depend on the warranty in the long haul, and it is five years, so I am just putting it out of my mind, and continuing to enjoy this very excellent product.


Note: I downloaded Adobe Lightroom 3 today, 6/8/10, and I notice it supports the Bigma2 in the lens correction module. I will be using this module routinely on images taken after today. Sometime in the next few days, I will try to get an image posted that is processed in LR3 with and without using the lens correction. I have used LR since it was Raw Shooter Premium, and I am a huge fan. Note - I really don't see any difference using lens correction, but I routinely do it anyway on all my Bigma2 images.


We may be dog breeders, but we have Patches to keep us humble. She is almost 7, and I got this shot propped up in bed while going over the Bigma last night. Shot with 7D and 580 EX II, OS handheld, M mode, 1/50 sec @ f/8, ISO 500, 106mm, manual focus. I don't use full raw much in the 7D, the file size is way, way more than I need, a number of the images on this page are full raw though, processed in LR3 B2 or LR3, nothing done in PS CS4 & CS5, but resizing from 5184 px to 1024 or 900px, and file size held to about 100k. I normally use Clarity +10, Vibrance 28, saturation 2, sharpness 60, radius .5 to 1, detail 35 on most everything in LR3.

This photo is what I really hoped to see when I take photos of birds on the platform feeder. This is with my Kenko Pro 300 DG 1.4 Tele Converter mounted on the Bigma II. This is 1120mm when the 1.6 crop factor of the 7D is taken into account. Shot from the deck about 60+ ft away, AV Mode, 1/50 sec @ f/9 (wide open with the Kenko), ISO 100, and was manually focused in Live View at a magnification of 5X. I have a Giottos MT-9180 Tripod, with a Manfrotto 410 geared head, all of which have more that enough capacity to hold the 6.75 lb. Bigma II and 7D combo. But even then it is tough to manually focus when trying to rotate the focus ring due to movement. I prefer to tether my laptop and remote focus using DSLR Remote Pro while sitting down in the den with the camera sitting in the sliding doorway pointed at the feeders. But that test will come later.

This image is without the TC and is at 500mm (700 @ 1.6 crop factor), ISO 100, AV Mode, 1/40 sec @ f/6.3, and auto focused. This is un-cropped as mentioned above.

I had just swung the lens around and zeroed in on the Humming Bird feeder when this female Ruby Throat happened to stop for a sip. This is un-cropped of course, see below. This is the same settings as the above image.

This is a 100% crop of the full raw 7D original at 5184 px. Usual LR3 B2 settings. This is in full sun and not normally the way I would try to photograph Hummers. I would use the 580EX II and wait until one of the feeders is in the shade, usually late afternoon when they are feeding. Color is much better that way, plus the strobe "stops" the action. But this is a test. I haven't shot much yet, and I have to leave for the Vet in a bit, but I am not thinking that I will be sending the Bigma II back. But having been a longtime viewer of dpreview, I can just see the pixel peepers going bonkers. But it's my money and so far I am satisfied, especially considering I haven't learned how to maximize this lens yet.

This is nothing more that a snapshot of Wanda watering the new Rabbiteye Blueberry. I am like a lot of folks, I take snapshots of family or whatever interests me. This is handheld with the Kenko 1.4 installed. Shot in the P Mode, ISO 100, 1/80 sec @ f/9, 89mm. For several years most of our Toy Manchester web photos were shot with a 20D and a Sigma 18-200 f/3.5-6.3 (non OS) which was a super lens for what I wanted to do. But I can already see the Bigma II is going to give me great range for getting photos of the dogs playing, etc., and will only be a compromise on the wide angle end. But my Great-Granddaddy arms will quickly tire holding this almost 7 lb combo. Fortunately I will be sitting most of the time. It will be a bit better with the 40D, which is what I use usually for dog web shots.

If you are interested in seeing what I photograph most, it's here CLICK HERE


This is typical of 80% of my photographs, Toy Manchester Terriers in their natural environment, which is out of their kennel runs romping in the about 2 acres we have fenced around the house, kennel, and garage. This is cropped, again typical, 7D full raw - which is not, Tv Mode, 75mm, 1/200 @ f/5, ISO 400, on camera fill flash primarily for catch light in the eyes, handheld. Most of the time this would have been made with the E-FS 18-135 f/3.5-5.6 IS, which is so very, very, versatile for what I do.

Saint Lazar's Silk Pie asking for attention from Wanda. Handheld, Tv Mode, ISO 500, 1/250 sec @ f/4.5, 50mm, on camera fill flash, un-cropped. One of the sharpest yet, but not up to the 17-55 f/2.8 IS or 18-135 f/3.5-5.6 IS, nor did I expect it form a 10X zoom. But plenty acceptable to me for web publication. See 100% crop below.

This is a 100% crop of the image above this one. I have no complaint. My standard LR3 B2 settings, and no noise reduction.

Moon Wednesday night 5-19-10, 10:39 PM. Bigma II, tripod mounted, remote release, autofocus, OS off, 7D, M Mode, 1/125 sec @ f/8, 500mm (700 with crop factor), ISO 100, 100% crop. I am like a pig in the mud with this shot. This is exactly the kind of performance I had hoped to see from the Bigma II and the 7D. Maybe tomorrow night I can try this again with the 1.4 TC.

Taken Thursday morning 5/20/10. 7D, Av Mode, 1/50 sec @ f/8, ISO 500, 500mm, Autofocus, un-cropped. Shot from just inside the sliding glass doors, probably 70' at least. This is what I had hoped for, but it is not tack sharp at 100%, which is 5184 px,, but its elementary, I can't afford a lens that will give this reach and be super sharp. This is more than adequate for assisting Wanda and I with identification. We know many birds, but this year we identified a pair of House Finches, and Indigo Buntings that we have never seen here.

Not much doubt that this is the female Indigo Bunting according to Birds of GA Field Guide. All info the same as for the Male Red Bellied Woodpecker above. The hole in the platform feeder is where I removed Squirrels with the .22 LR from eating our sunflower seed. Don't bother PETA, they were in "season".

Thursday, May 20, 2010, Moon at 7:03 PM during full daylight with Kenko Pro 300 DG 1.4 TC installed on Bigma II. Shot in M mode, 1/125 sec @ f/11, ISO 100, autofocused in Live View. This combo give 1120mm, and it is outstanding. Thank you LORD!

Male American Goldfinch, image taken about 6 PM, Monday, 5/24/10. Distance 36' from deck to feeder. Bigma II on 7D, Av Mode, 1/125 @ f/9, +1/3 EV, ISO 800, 500mm. I used Live View to autofocus and it seems that it does a slightly better job on some subjects. This is a 1024 px crop from the 5184 full raw image. Again, this is what I would normally be doing with 99.8% of my images. It is a bit soft at 5184, but I say once again, I am not a pixel peeper. I have had this lens 6 full days, and 3 of those we were traveling and I could not take photos. At this writing, I am not considering returning the lens. It is doing exactly what it is supposed to do, and I accept the compromise. More to come as I get time.

Male (L) and Female American Goldfinch. Settings same as the image above, but I believe this one shows the real capability of the Bigma II. We have only been seeing these beauties in the winter and in winter coat. We get bunches of them, but it is only recently that we have seen them in their summer plumage. Probably because of the addition of the platform feeder with sunflower seed. You do not have to buy Niger seed, they come to sunflower seed just as readily, and it is much less expensive.

Getting late and the light is fading around the platform @ 7:09 PM, 5/24/10. Got this nice Titmouse at 500mm, Av, 1/50 @ f/6.3, ISO 1000, 36', Live View autofocus which I am really liking for these shots, slow but quite accurate.

Female Ruby Throats - Bigma & 7D, Av, 1/250 @ f/11, + 2/3 EV, ISO 640, 500mm with Kenko 1.4 TC for effective 1120mm, Live View autofocus, 5/25/10

Female Ruby Throat - Bigma2 & 7D, Av, 1/320 @ f/11, ISO 640, + 1/3 EV, 500mm with 1.4 TC, subject distance 14.2 Meters.

Female Cardinal, Bigma2 & 7D, handheld resting on deck rail, Tv, 1/640 @ f/6.3, ISO 1600, noise reduction in LR3 B2, distance 11.1 meters, 500mm.

Twin Female Ruby Throats - Bigma2 & 7D, Tripod on deck at 500mm with Kenko 1.4 TC installed, Av, 1/640 @ f/11, +2/3 EV, ISO 640, Spot metering, Live View autofocus and then switched to manual to hold focus. I routinely use on camera fill flash or the 580EX II mounted when taking dog photos for our web site to give a "catch light " in the eyes as seen here. But this is natural sunlight, but it adds life and expression to the image.

Our Son Martin, with our Granddaughter Lauren and her boyfriend came for a visit today and took a ride on my Honda Rancher. This is with the Bigma2 & 7D at 167mm, Tv, AI Servo, 1/400 @ f/9, ISO 400, hand held. Marty had to be coming toward me at 20 mph or more and I thought this worked fine. I have never used AI Servo much with any of my Canons and I am beginning to explore it's use. See 100% crop below. (5/26/10)

This is a 100% crop of the above. Suits me just fine, but as stated several times on this page, not a resolution that I would use much.

Grandma Wanda talking to Marty. This is the Bigma2 hand held at 50mm, otherwise same settings as above. The file compression to post these images on the web page simply does not do the Bigma2 justice. This is very sharp at the full image size of 5184 px. This is not cropped but is reduced to 900 px and compressed in the Photoshop CS4 "save for the web mode".

Mrs. American Goldfinch by Bigma2 & Canon 7D, 5/28/10. ISO 640, Tv, 1/160 @ f/10, 500mm, hand held, distance 6.24 meters.

Mr. American Goldfinch, ISO 640, Tv, 1/200 @ f/6.3, 500mm, 5.31 meters, hand held on 5/28/10. Thats the female Cardinal's tail at the top, who I was trying to photograph when the Goldfinches flew up. See her below.

Female Cardinal whose tail is in the photo above. Same settings at 6.24 meters distance.

Beautiful Male Cardinal by Bigma2 & 7D, 500mm, ISO 1600, Tv, ISO 1600, 1/125 @ f/6.3, hand held, 5.31 meters, 5/28/10

A very pretty young Dove who wants me to go away so she can get back on the platform feeder and sunflower seeds. Bigma2 & 7D, 500mm, ISO 1600, Tv, ISO 1600, 1/125 @ f/6.3, hand held, 7.42 meters. 5-28-10

Finally a shot of the elusive male Indigo Bunting, a "big deal" to Wanda and I. We had never seen one until a few weeks ago when we saw the pair on the platform feeder. They keep coming back, so we hope they have nested nearby. This was a quicky, not much time to set up, hand held with the Bigma2 and 7D at 500mm, Tv mode, 1/160 @ f/6.3, ISO 500, at 14.2 meters from our den door. This would have been better on the tripod, but considering the seconds I had to turn on the 7D, etc., I am happy. I am now trying to keep the Bigma2 / 7D on the tripod and ready to go at all times. 6/2/10, 10:42 AM

Gardenia photo

Gardenia by Bigma2 & 7D, un-cropped, Av mode, ISO 100, 1/125 @ f/8, 203mm @ 2.4 meters, manual focus, tripod mounted, cable release, mirror lockup, petty windy when taken. Processed in LR3 B2, but I used Scott Kelby's recommended sharpening method in PS CS5 as outlined in The Digital Photography Book 1. This was my first try as I just read about this technique earlier today. I have better lens for this, EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS, or the EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro, but this was part of the continuing test of Bigma2 capability. I remain completely satisfied with the Bigma2, always keeping mind it's limitations. Taken "D Day" June 6, 2010, PRAISE GOD for those that hit the beaches 66 years ago today.

Yellow rose photo

This is a Jackson & Perkins rose, and I can't remember the name, but we have 2 of them. Settings same as above but 138mm @ 1.97 m. Same sharpening technique. 6/6/10

Apple photo

Front yard Arkansas Black apple growing toward late Fall maturity. Same as 2 images above except at 500mm, 1.82 m, and 1/25 sec.. This is slightly cropped on the camera right side. The detail on the skin at full 5184 px resolution was awesome for a lens of this type. Kelby sharpening technique, which I am beginning to be most impressed with. 6/6/10

Glade photo

The above is a 100% crop of the 3rd image from the top from my first day testing the Bigma2, 5/19/10. The original is 5184 X 3456 px. The distance was 14.2 m, ISO 100, Av, 1/40 @ f/6.3. I processed this in LR3 which I downloaded this morning. I used the Lens Correction module and the Kelby sharpening method. What I would do different today is use a higher ISO so that I could set the f stop to 8 or a bit higher. Also I would try a little higher shutter speed, and I would use mirror lockup. I do use a cable release (electronic) routinely. To shot birds though, it is not going to be practical to use mirror lockup every time. They just move off too fast for me to hit the release the necessary 2 times. One to lockup the mirror, and one to release the shutter. However, with practice, I may be able to do this occasionally. 6/8/10 8:42 PM EDT

cardinal photo

As stated at the top of this page, I was initially concerned about Sigma announcing potential problems with certain Serial Numbers, which included mine. So I gave the lens a real workout this afternoon, 6/16/10, and it continues to do precisely what it is supposed to do. The above was with the 7D @ 6.24 M, IS0 1600, Tv Mode, 1/250 @ f/6.3, 500mm, handheld. I processed this in LR3, cropped it some, and applied some luminance correction in LR3, but no sharpening. I re sized the image to 1024 px in PS CS5 and used the Kelby sharpening technique in PS. I would not hesitate to recommend this lens to any photographer that has a grasp of fundamental photographic principles.

hummer photo

Same specifications as female Cardinal photo above except 1/200 sec and 5.31 M subject distance.

Butterfly photo

A handlheld photo with the Bigma2 on the Canon 40D. Mode is Tv, 1/200 @ f/11, ISO 400, focal lenght 500mm, subject distance 2.29 M, cropped in LR3, Kelby sharpening technique in PS CS5.

Goldfinch photo

I put up a new weatherproof feeder on Saturday, 7/10/10 and today, 7/13, I sprinkled a few sunflower seed on the lower platform to try to teach the birds that they have to land there and then stick their heads up to get at the seed in the upper container. While I was standing at the door watching the Indigo Bunting on one of the other feeders, up flew the American Goldfinch pair. Naturally the Bigma2 was not mounted on the tripod so the above is handheld again. Canon 7D set at Tv, 1/200 @ f/8, ISO 400, 500mm, 14.2 meters to feeder. Processed in LR3, cropped in PS CS5 and sharpened using Kelby technique. 7/13/10

It's been a while since I posted an update here, my wife Wanda developed a pancreatic tumor and needless to say that had 100% of our attention for a while. She is doing great, half her pancreas, a 40mm tumor on the tail of her pancreas, and her spleen were removed 9/29/10 by the finest Surgial Oncologist in American, Dr. David Kooby, MD, Professor, Emory Univ. Hospital, Atlanta, GA. Wanda is doing well and we give the LORD JESUS THE GLORY. The above image was taken 12/4/10 with my 7D in small raw with the Bigma2 set in Tv Mode, 1/250 sec @ f/8, ISO 800, +1/3 EV, 413mm focal length, handheld. No manipulation to the image in LR3 but auto lens correction, other than a modest crop, everything else is default. I did use the Kelby sharpening technique in PS CS5 and reduced the image to 1024 wide. I remain totally pleased with the Bigma2, especially the optical stabilization, and I have not the least regret about selling my EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS lens. (12-4-10)

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