From the left: Bernie, Khun Thanakrit Phatthong of Sigma Thailand, and then Aline.

It has been a privilege to be using Sigma Lenses for our birding trips to Tha Luang Lopburi last May 12,  2017, and then around Khao Yai National Park prospecting for whatever we can find on the road the following day.

Well, I did not just borrowed lenses for myself but also for the other members of our group Joys of Birding. Karlo and Aline Diel also had the Sigma 150-600 f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary and we had the Sigma 150-600mm F5-6.3 Sports, both are fantastic lenses and they are meant for such birding activities.

Sigma is a third-party quality lens maker competing against Tamron and the two camera giants, Canon and Nikon. Sigma even made lenses for Sony and Pentax, this company has been bridging lenses to camera borders.

ARPHA AND BERNIE

As soon as I received the Sigma 150-600mm F5-6.3 Sports I went back home to Saraburi and in the afternoon prospected for some creatures that I could test the lens and get adjusted to. I found a Common Butterfly Lizard and I thought It was a lovely subject to spend time in getting know the lens. The lens was fast in auto-focus with my Nikon D500, the only problem was it was damn heavy to handhold the lens. I was always extra careful to not carry the lens on the camera, always carrying it by its foot. I know the camera body is made of magnesium alloy but it could also maybe bend and realign the lens mount. I also had  to get used to it on how it acquired the subject, the camera says its sharp and focused but the result was different. So in 10 frames per second, it was lucky to have three sharp images against seven even with high shutter speed while I was hand holding it. Regardless of the result, I like how the Sigma Sports rendered the subject as the colours were creamy and the saturation was stronger with the right settings.

Ali Bernie Buga-ay, Common Butterfly Lizard, Nikon D500 + Sigma 150-600mm F5-6.3 Sports (f6.3 – 1/500 sec. – ISO 500)

The Common Butterfly Lizard or just Butterfly Lizard is native to Asia and it can be found in the forest of Indochina, Myanmar, Thailand, and Malaysia.

When I found this Lizard it was on a very dry hard soil in which hard broken rocks into very small pieces, like bread crumbs on the ground, scattered. I had to kneel and on fours to get some of the shots, it was difficult. The Lizard gave some time to take photographs but then it ran away to small mounds covered with plants and, twigs, and rocks.

I am fascinated of the the Butterfly Lizard because of its colours on its side and it looks like an intimidating creature when you look at it large through the lens, it becomes a giant reptile.

Ali Bernie Buga-ay, Baya Weaver (male), Nikon D500 + Sigma 150-600mm F5-6.3 Sports (f6.3 – 1/500 sec. – ISO 500)

The Baya Weaver is one of my favorite birds because of these three reasons; its capability to make intricate nests with amazing structural and architectural complexities, its colours, and finally its breeding and mating habits.

The Baya Weaver build there nest very near the water or even above a shallow body of water near the rice fields or tall grasses which bear grains. Found in some Southeast Asian countries and the Indian Subcontinent, the Baya Weaver thrives in Thailand and during its season, they are just so beautiful to watch.

It was already 3:00 o’ clock in the afternoon and it was cloudy and drizzling as I took the shot from my car window. I like the saturation and the tonal quality the lens rendered as it took the image information into the Nikon D500 sensor; its image was influences already by the aperture opening at f/6.3 of a fully extended lens. It was heavy, I felt very secured though from all the drizzling and other horrible elements that a lens can have.

Bernie and Arpha somewhere in Tha Luang Lopburi looking for possible birds to capture with the camera.

The weekend get away was fantastic, it was rainy and cloudy and yet we enjoyed the time together as we searched for birds around Saraburi and Nakhon Ratchasima area. We also had our shares of getting stuck in the mud and rescued by a farmer couple who were kind enough to pull us out of the mud with their tractor. As soon as we went to another area, happy that we survived the mud trap, our left front tire fell into the ditch in which we were so lucky again that a 4×4 truck passed by and the family pulled us out of it. There is so much adventure in bird photography, it is an adventure itself.

THANK YOU SIGMA

The days given to us to use and explore Sigma lenses were not enough, most of the time it was raining and we had to always wait for the birds to come out after the rain. They are like human beings, they also don’t like too much rain, searching for food during the feeding hours can be interrupted and it will not be good for them. We had to make use of the days while the lenses were with us, we just have to find birds to shoot.

To be straightforwards the Sigma 150-600mm F5-6.3 Sports is a good lens of its kind, it does the job, but one should be prepared to carry the extra weight it has and that’s with a reason. It is heavy because it is well built within the concept of durability against all weather, bumps, falling (it can survive a fall), the lens hood is the best in the world (sturdy, will never go away with its screw mount, can carry the whole lens when placed front side down), its stabilization system is also fantastic. One must be ready to carry this lens by doing some extra biceps work out so it would be easier to carry this around and shoot handheld.

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