Sigma's big green monster telephoto zoom

Sigma's 200-500mm telephoto zoom has a super-wide f/2.8 aperture, and an extender turns it into a 400-1,000mm lens.

Sigma's 200-500mm f/2.8 (or 400-1,000mm f/5.6) behemoth. Sigma

LAS VEGAS--Riddle me this: What's green, is 28.6 inches long, weighs 34.6 pounds, and wears a custom-fitted hood?

The answer: a mammoth supertelephoto zoom that Sigma announced this week at the Photo Marketing Association trade show here. The product is geared for photographing wildlife, sports, and astronomical objects.

The lens, called the APO 200-500mm F2.8/400-1,000mm F5.6 EX DG, has a 200-500mm zoom range and an f/2.8 aperture that's very wide for this class of lens. It also comes with an extender that pushes the range to 400-1,000mm but reduces the aperture to f/5.6, Sigma said. To reduce chromatic aberration, it uses three special low-dispersion glass elements and three extraordinary low-dispersion glass elements.

Update 1:20 p.m. PST: A Sigma representative, Desiree Gaige, told me how much this lens will cost, though there's still no pricing information.

Brace yourself.

$34,000.

The lens has a dedicated lithium-ion battery to power the autofocus, zoom, and an LCD display that shows the zoom setting. And a slot near the camera end can be used to insert filters.

Sigma, one of the better-known manufacturers of third-party lenses for SLR (single-lens reflex) cameras, said the lens will be available for Canon, Nikon, and its own SLRs.

And don't get too attached to its green color. Sigma cautioned that the camera's appearance is "subject to change without notice."

About the author

Stephen Shankland has been a reporter at CNET since 1998 and covers browsers, Web development, digital photography and new technology. In the past he has been CNET's beat reporter for Google, Yahoo, Linux, open-source software, servers and supercomputers. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces.

 

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