How about a 500mm f2.8 lens?
How about a high quality 200-500mm zoom?
What about a 200-500mm f2.8 zoom lens?
Its not going to happen is it...keep dreaming...
...what...Sigma make one of these?
Almost a year after Sigma offer a preview at PMA 2007, "The Sigma Corporation is please to announce the new APO 200-500mm F2.8/400-1000mm F5.6 EX DG Lens."
(although they are only 'please' rather than pleased to announce it).
Sigma says that the lens is aimed at astrophotography, portrait, wildlife and sports photographers (you would need a cell phone to direct your subject if you used this for portrait work) and uses Special Low Dispersion (SLD) glass and three Extraordinary Low Dispersion (ELD) glass elements.
...wow, you get special and extraordinary glass...
The SLD and ELD glass will provide excellent correction for all type of aberrations, according to Sigma, with super multi-layer coating to reduce flare and ghosting.
An ingenious (its what the press release says) internal rotation system will allow you to use a circular polarizing filter with the zoom but don't panic about the size of the filter, 72mm filters are inserted at the rear of the lens (which is where I guess the ingenious rotation system must be...).
It uses it's own battery to power the zoom and auto-focus functions, provides focal length and focusing distance information via an LCD screen, has a carrying handle on the top and it is green.
Although not explicitly mentioned by Sigma, based on "200-500mm F2.8/400-1000mm F5.6" and the picture of a matching green tube with the words "SIGMA 400-1000mm 1:5.6 ATTACHMENT" on it, I think we can assume that it comes with a dedicated 2x teleconvertor, in matching colours.
But don't get too attached to the colour, or any of the specifications for that matter...Sigma says that "The appearance, specifications, and the like of the product are subject to change for improvement without notice"
...maybe they will do it in a nice peach colour?
Currently, Sigma say that it will be available with a choice of Sigma, Canon and Nikon AF mounts.
The close focus distance is reported to be in the range of 2 - 5m (6.5 - 16.4ft), based on the focal length I guess. Which is not great (Canon 500/4 IS close focuses to 4.5m) and it is one huge beast of a lens. Lets compare it to the other Sigma heavyweight zoom, the APO 300-800mm F5.6 EX DG HSM (300-800/5.6) 'Sigmonster'.
726mm (9.3in) long (300-800/5.6 is 544mm)
236.5mm (28.6in) diameter (300-800/5.6 is 165.5mm)
15.7kg (34.6lb) wei...
...stop! did you say 15.7 kilograms?
Putting this into perspective, the Canon 600/4 IS lens weighs a 'mere' 5.36kg (11.8lb) and the 300-800/5.6 'only' weighs 5.88kg (12.96lb). If you have ever picked up one of these two lenses you already know that they are heavy. The 200-500/2.8 weighs nearly three times either of those.
This is not a lens to take out on an afternoon stroll...unless you are normally followed by a small army of sherpas to carry your camera kit.
...and they haven't announced the price yet...
I really hope that it optically performs at least as well as it's 'little' brother, the 300-800/5.6 (I never thought I would use the adjective 'little' to describe the Sigmonster) and that the size and weight don't make it practically useless for anything but stadium sports.
Now that I have read the specs and pondered their implications, I have come to a conclusion: ignoring some of the more incredulous descriptors used in the press release, the fact that I would need to buy an ATV to get the lens anywhere and that it is likely to cost more than most small cars, I want one...
...and I wonder what nickname this one will get.
All images on this post are courtesy of Sigma