Third-party lens manufacturers are currently giving camera manufacturers a real run for their money by producing lenses that are optically amazing, more affordable or on rare occasions both. Sigma has, in recent years, established itself as a serious player with the release of its highly respected and popular Art and Sports series of lenses, and the Sigma 500mm f/4 DG OS HSM Sport was one of the most exciting announcements from Sigma in 2016.

The Sigma 500mm f/4 DG OS HSM is the company’s flagship lens, and with the combination of focal length and maximum aperture, it’s safe to say that this lens is aimed at sports and wildlife photographers. And while the price tag isn’t exactly low, it’s actually considerably lower than some of the competition, which arguably makes it a bargain.

As you’d expect from a large and heavy lens such as this, the Sigma 500mm f/4 DG OS HSM is designed for use with DSLRs and is available in Canon, Nikon and Sigma mounts. With a full-frame DSLR you’ll get the advertised focal length of 500mm, but pair the lens with a professional APS-C DSLR you’re looking at an effective focal length of 800mm and 750mm with Canon and Nikon DSLRs respectively. So, if you’re a Canon 7D Mark II or Nikon D500 owner, pairing this lens with your camera will give you an incredible reach for small and distant subjects.

At 3,310g the Sigma 500mm f/4 is a lens that you wouldn’t want to spend too long, if any time at all, shooting handheld. Combined with a camera body weighing in the region of 1-1.5kg, a monopod becomes an essential piece of kit. That sounds heavy, and it is, but when you’re talking about a f/4 lens featuring 16 elements in 11 groups you get some idea of the technical wizardry going on beneath the lens’ sleek exterior.

Price: £5,999