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Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Sports Lens Review

Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Sports Lens Review - Gary Wolstenholme reviews the Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Sports telephoto zoom lens.

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Category : Interchangeable Lenses
Product : Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Sports
Price : BUY NOW£1,500
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Handling and Features
Performance
Verdict
Specification

Sigma 150 600mm S Sports Lens (5)

Over the past year or so, Sigma has been gradually updating their lens lineup to fit into one of three categories, Art, Contemporary and Sports. This super-telephoto zoom lens fits into Sigma's 'Sports' line-up of lenses that promise excellent optical quality, fast autofocus and a dust and splashproof construction. With a cost of around £1500, it is quite keenly priced for a lens providing a 600mm focal length. This lens is available in Canon, Nikon and Sigma mounts and in this review, we'll take a look at how the Canon mount version performs. 

Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM S Handling and Features

Sigma 150 600mm S Sports Lens (7)

Weighing just under 3kg, this lens is a hefty beast, and some kind of support is recommended if using the lens for long periods of time. Luckily there is a hefty tripod collar included. The high-quality matt finished plastics and metals used for much of the construction add to the overall robust feel of the lens. The lens balances well on the Canon EOS 5D MkIII used for testing and is even hand-holdable for short periods of time, but may feel a little lens heavy in combination with some of the more compact SLR bodies available today. The lens is resistant to dust and moisture, which will suit those looking for a lens that can be used in a variety of conditions.

A silent HSM focusing motor powers the focusing mechanism, resulting in quick focusing in a wide range of conditions. Focusing is performed internally, so the 105mm filter thread does not rotate, making this lens ideal for use with polarising and graduated filters, if you can afford them in that size, of course.

Sigma 150 600mm S Sports Lens (8)

Full-time manual focus adjustments are supported by simply adjusting the focus ring at any time. Manual focusing is a pleasure as the focus ring is well damped, and very smooth to operate. The close focusing distance of 2.6m is quite close for a 600mm lens. The zoom ring is smooth to operate too, although it does have a tendency to creep forward when pointed downwards. A switch to lock the zoom at the desired position is provided. This is very useful, as the lens barrel tends to creep forward of its own accord when pointed downwards without the lock engaged.

With care, it is possible to take sharp images handheld using the image stabiliser at shutter speeds as low as 1/80sec at 600mm, around half the time. This is roughly three stops slower than the usual rule of thumb for shooting handheld will allow. The image stabiliser also holds the viewfinder image fairly steady, which can help with focusing and composition.

Sigma 150 600mm S Sports Lens (6)

 

Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM S Performance

At 150mm, sharpness already approaches outstanding levels in the centre of the frame at maximum aperture and the clarity achieved towards the edges of the frame is excellent. Stopping down improves performance slightly, with peak performance being achieved at f/8.

Zooming to 300mm results in outstanding sharpness in the centre of the frame with excellent sharpness towards the edges at maximum aperture. In fact, peak performance is at maximum aperture for this focal length, which is ideal for a lens a lens like this, which has a relatively slow maximum aperture.

Finally, at 600mm, sharpness in the centre of the frame approaches very good levels in the centre of the frame, with performance towards the edges being good at maximum aperture. Stopping down to f/8 results in peak performance for this focal length, with the lens producing excellent sharpness in the centre and very good sharpness towards the edges at this focal length.

MTF@150mm
MTF@150mm
 
MTF@300mm
MTF@300mm
 
MTF@600mm
MTF@600mm
 

How to read our charts

The blue column represents readings from the centre of the picture frame at the various apertures and the green is from the edges. Averaging them out gives the red weighted column.

The scale on the left side is an indication of actual image resolution. The taller the column, the better the lens performance. Simple.

For this review, the lens was tested on a Canon EOS 5D Mark III using Imatest.

 

Chromatic aberrations are extremely well controlled for a super-telephoto zoom lens with fringing barely exceeding 0.50 pixel widths at any aperture for much of the zoom range. Only at 150mm do CA levels increase to beyond a pixel width, but even then, that's only with the aperture stopped down to f/22. This extremely low level of CA should pose no issues, even in large prints, or harsh crops from the edges of the frame.

CA@150mm
CA@150mm
 
CA@300mm
CA@300mm
 
CA@600mm
CA@600mm
 

How to read our charts

Chromatic aberration is the lens' inability to focus on the sensor or film all colours of visible light at the same point. Severe chromatic aberration gives a noticeable fringing or a halo effect around sharp edges within the picture. It can be cured in software.

Apochromatic lenses have special lens elements (aspheric, extra-low dispersion etc) to minimise the problem, hence they usually cost more.

For this review, the lens was tested on a Canon EOS 5D Mark III using Imatest.

Falloff of illumination towards the corners is fairly typical for a lens covering this range, with the corners being 1.68 stops darker than the centre at maximum aperture at 150mm and 1.84 stops darker at 600mm. Visually uniform illumination is achieved by f/8 at 150mm and f/11 at 600mm.

Mild pincushion distortion is present throughout the zoom range. At 150mm there is 0.35% pincushion distortion, which increases to 0.54% at 600mm, which should pose few issues in normal use. If absolutely straight lines are paramount, then you'll be glad to hear that the distortion pattern is uniform across the frame, which should make applying corrections in image editing software fairly straightforward.

A deep, circular hood is supplied as standard with the lens, which does a great job of protecting the lens from extraneous light that may cause unwanted flare and loss of contrast. During testing there were no issues with flare and contrast holds up well, even when shooting into the light.

Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Sports Sample Photos

Value For Money

Priced at around £1500, this 150-600mm lens from Sigma appears to offer decent value for money when compared to other lenses offering a similar field of view.

Another way to get a 600mm equivalent, but with a slightly faster maximum aperture would be to use Sigma's 120-300mm f/2.8 lens, which costs around £1940, with Sigma's TC-2001 teleconverter, which costs around £300. This combination will provide you with 600mm f/5.6, and the benefit of f/2.8 maximum aperture through the 120-300mm range without the converter.

Canon's 200-400mm f/4 L IS USM includes its own built-in 1.4x teleconverter, providing a maximum telephoto reach equivalent to a 560mm f/5.6 lens. Unfortunately, this lens costs around £8310, which is beyond the reach of most people.

Nikon's 200-400mm f/4 can be picked up for around £4890, which can be used with their TC-14e III teleconverter, which costs around £310.

Tamron offers the 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD lens for around £900, or if your budget is more limited, the 200-500mm Di f/5-6.3 lens costs around £730, but gives up 100mm at the long end, lacks stabilisation and silent focusing. 

Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM S Verdict

Recently Sigma seem to have hit a fine run of form, producing interesting lenses that provide good specification, for a reasonable price. This lens continues that trend, being capable of producing images with excellent sharpness, low CA and distortion. Those looking for a long lens to add to their kit bag should certainly add this lens to their list of considerations.

Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM S Pros

Excellent sharpness
Low CA
Well built
Fast focusing
Keenly priced
Dust and moisture resistant construction
Effective stabilisation
Focuses relatively close for a 600mm lens

Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM S Cons

Zoom creeps forward when pointed downwards (without lock engaged)

FEATURES  
HANDLING  
PERFORMANCE  
VALUE FOR MONEY  
VERDICT  

The Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 offers excellent sharpness and is dust and moisture resistant.

 

Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Sports Specifications

ManufacturerSigma
General
Lens Mounts
  • Nikon AF
  • Canon EF
  • Sigma SA
Lens
Focal Length150mm - 600mm
Angle of View4.1 - 16.4
Max Aperturef/5 - f/6.3
Min Aperturef/22
Filter Size105mm
StabilisedYes
35mm equivalentNo Data
Internal focusingYes
Maximum magnificationNo Data
Focusing
Min Focus260cm
Construction
Blades9
Elements24
Groups16
Box Contents
Box ContentsNo Data
Dimensions
Weight2860g
Height290.2mm

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Comments


RavenTepes 7 226 United States
15 Jan 2015 6:20PM
It certainly looks good. I had been considering the (newer) Nikon 80-400 versus this offering from Sigma, but because I hadn't heard much about it, I've been very reluctant about this lens. This seals the deal. I'll go with the Sigma for now, though I'll get the Nikon when finances allow for it.

I'd love to see what this Sigma lens can do on a crop sensor body.

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tomcat 11 6.4k 15 United Kingdom
15 Jan 2015 7:03PM
You will be disappointed
franken Plus
14 4.0k 4 Wales
16 Jan 2015 12:29PM

Quote:You will be disappointed


On what basis will he be disappointed?

Are you saying the EPZ review is wrong or because it's not a Canon/Nikon?
gusflo 1
26 Jan 2015 11:39PM
The Images taken from the Sigma 150-600mm, Looks Sharp Enought for me. I will buy -- preoder this lens.
11 Jul 2016 10:20AM
I am SO tired of seeing negative comments about Sigma lenses. The comments are almost always of the "you will be disappointed" variety shown above, with no proof, or even a hint explaining just why we'll be "disappointed."

I've been shooting with Sigma lenses, as well as with some of their DSLR cameras, for over a decade. I own about 15 of their lenses, using them on Nikon and Sigma cameras, shooting a few hundred thousand frames, mostly of action sports. Almost all my shooting is done in harsh conditions; on the water, in the desert, in mud, rain, snow and sandy conditions. After all that, I have experienced exactly one lens failure, and even that one was my fault - I tried to make a manual adjustment while in AF mode on an early Sigma lens that didn't allow such over-rides. And Sigma repaired that lens very inexpensively (it was way out of the warranty period), and extremely quickly.

My point is this; ... Be wary of any negative - or positive - comments about Sigma, and judge for yourself. There are a couple of camera equipment "reviewers" out here in Computerville who seem to have an ax to grind when Sigma is involved. Fortunately, we have sites such as ePhotozine to keep things on the level.

I apologize for the rant, but I hate seeing companies such as Sigma slammed for no apparent reason.
webbo51 4 3 Australia
11 Jul 2016 9:44PM

Quote:You will be disappointed


So tomcat, your comment left me wondering, could you suggest a similarly priced alternative for Nikon mount?

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