Last Updated on 04/24/2015 by Chris Gampat
Product images by Chris Gampat
Over the last few years we’ve seen Sigma steal the show from Canon and Nikon with amazing prime lenses plus its completely unique Sigma 18-35mm f1.8 zoom lens. Now in the pursuit of creating the world’s biggest telephoto lens, Sigma has created a real monster with the Sigma 150-600mm f5-6.3 DG OS HSM Sport.
It’s absolutely massive, bigger in scale most of its telephoto lens compatriots. On the Photo Plus East floor we got a chance to wield the lens and aside from making our arms sore, I came away quite impressed.
Edit: We’ve added new image samples as of April 24th 2015
Specs taken from the B&H Photo listing of the lens
- Aperture Range: f5-6.3 to 22
- 24 elements in 16 groups
- Two FLD and Three SLD Elements
- Hyper Sonic Motor AF System
- Optical Stabilizer with Accelerometer
- Zoom Lock & Manual Override Switches
- Minimum Focus Distance: 102.4″
- Splash and Dust Proof Mount
- Lens Hood & Rotatable Tripod Collar
- Compatible with Sigma USB Dock
- Filter Thread: 105mm
- Dimensions: 4.8 x 11.4″ (12.19 x 28.96 cm)
- Weight: 6.3 lbs (2.86 kg)
The new Sigma 150-600mm is one of the biggest zoom lenses yet. Without the hood the lens normally measures just a little under a full foot. Then consider the external zooming, and the lens extends the barrel even farther out. Zooming the lens to its maximum focal distance of 600mm adds yet anther four inches or so. A Sigma spokesperson said they wouldn’t have been able to keep the lens so small if they went with an all internal zooming lens. Even with the lens mounted on the Nikon D750, it made the full frame camera look tiny by comparison.
Weighting in at 6.3 pounds, the lens is also a little unwieldy to handhold because it’s so front heavy. However, mounting the 150-600mm onto a bigger body like the Canon 1D X or Nikon D4s might help offset this. Plus you’ll definitely want to mount this massive piece of glass onto a tripod at any rate.
Despite these few handling niggles—which really are unavoidable with a lens that’s so large—the 150-600mm handles like a dream. The zoom and focus rings have both been dampened perfectly. As expected there’s also quite a bit of lens creep whether you’re holding the lens upwards or pointed down. The good news is there’s a zoom lock button is located right behind the zoom ring.
One other nice thing is you can rotate the tripod collar 90-degrees to take portrait images. Keep this in mind when you’re using a monopod or tripod.
The Sigma 150-600mm is a solid, fully metal lens. While it adds a bit of heft, the full metal build is completely beast-like, especially when you have the lens fully extended. Meanwhile, just about everything on the lens is beefy including the completely solid metal lens hood and tripod collar.
In addition to making this lens dust and splash proof, Sigma also claims to have added protective coatings on the front and rear glass elements, which can repel things like water and fingerprints. We didn’t get a chance to test these features, but we’ll see how the 150-600mm fares against the elements in our full test.
The 150-600mm finds focus on a dime. Even with the lens zoomed all the way it hones in on a subject in just a second and a half. Of course you could always pre-focus to speed things up. We only had less than 10 minutes with the lens, so we didn’t get a chance to give the lenses focus-zone locking features but I’m looking forwards to giving them a whirl in our full review.
Again we didn’t get a lot of time to shoot with the lens and so here are the four sample images I have so far from the Photo Plus Trade Show floor. Even from this small batch of photos, though, there’s a lot to like. The lens is pin sharp and captures oodles of detail with some amazingly creamy bokeh to boot. The built in optical image stabilization is perhaps the most impressive bit, because my arm was shaking under the weight of the lens while I took these images.
EDIT: New image samples
So far this lens is looking quite good as far as sharpness, bokeh and overall image quality go.
A convention show floor is hardly the ideal venue to test this gigantic telephoto lens but this lens is already looking to be a winner. The build quality of the 150-600 mm is top notch and the image quality looks superb. I can wait to properly test this lens out in the wilds of a nature shoot or during a sports event.