Today's blog is all about the Sigma 150-600mm lens
Hello everybody it's Chris Pepper here providing you my field results of the 150-600mm lens.
I want to start off by saying that I feel these two lenses can't be compared to each other. My findings are that there is enough difference between the two that set them in two different categories. So let me help you understand why!
Body, Both bodies seem to be constructed quite well but are different. The Contemporary, built with 9 diaphragm blades weighs in at a light 4.2 pounds. This makes hand holding this lens very easy for long periods of time. All the buttons honestly feel and look exactly the same as the new Tamron150-600. I have read this before but until using this lens and the Tamron I almost feel both manufactures designed this lens together for how similar they are. Even the zoom ring and aperture ring are the same size and in the exact same place. The foot or lens mount is very small on this lens, I find with my monster hands its a little to small for me to grab onto and feel safe that I wont drop it. The zoom is very smooth and easy to use, one flaw I found with both lenses is I could not rotate the lens from 150-600 in one motion. Having to stop at a point and continuing the rotation once I re adjusted my hand. After noticing this I re positioned my hand to see if I could do this full zoom motion in one rotation. I could but I found my hand was not in a comfortable position to regularly hold the lens. This is knit picking as the likely hood of you needing to do this full motion is slim. The lens hood is a regular rotating snap lock like most hoods. I did notice the back side of the hood had slits all the way around that helped my lens from fogging up in hot to cold situations.
Sport version, the body felt more like a large lens in my hands. The blade system is designed of again 9 diaphragm blades weighing in at 6.3 pounds. Again I found it quite easy to hand hold all day compared to using large primes. The zoom ring and aperture are of equal size and had a more solid feel to it. The external zoom itself feels more rugged and stiff compared to the contemporary as the weather sealing must create more resistance. Again the lens foot or tripod mount was a larger size but the area between the body of the lens and foot was to small for my large hand. The adjustment buttons on the lens were exactly the same as the contemporary offering the same adjustments. The lens hood for this model is the same as the sigma 120-300 lens, a twist into body slots with one screw to tighten the hood. See pictures below of the two lenses retracted and extended. The top lens is the Sport and the bottom is the Contemporary.
You can see the body of the sport is a little bit longer and the lens seems to zoom a hair longer with a longer hood.
Optical performance, The Contemporary was a nice light lens to use, the optical quality seemed to be a slight step up from the older 150-500 lens. Again the AF seemed to be quicker then the older lens but I had some troubles shooting in same contrasts of subject to background. I played around with my AF tracking in camera and I seemed to be able to stay on my subject better. I slowed down the sensitivity and provided the tracking more myself with much better results. The optical stabilization worked quite well for hand holding the lens. A few times I stopped down and dropped my ISO and shutter speed to see just how well it would work. I must say I'm very impressed that again Sigma provides what I feel is an exceptional optical stabilization program. I did set up the customization C1 C2 settings before I used the lens to see if these setting could provide a boost to this lens. Programming a faster AF and dialing in the infinity setting on a focus tool provided must better results then the factory settings.
Sport version, I was very pleased to use the sport version out in the filed. I found once the lens was again calibrated to my Nikon body the focus was super sharp from 150 right to 600. This is something you don't get with most zoom lenses as both ends tend to be soft and the middle of the lens is the sweet spot. Playing around with tracking in camera made this lens surprisingly something I would call above and beyond the average non OEM zoom lens. And to be quite honest I think its the best option on the market if you are not buying Nikon or Canon glass. One downfall to this lens would be the aperture range F5 to F6.3, I own the 120-300 F2.8 Sigma sport and love that I can zoom and have no effect in my exposure due to aperture change. If they made this a constant aperture say F5 or 5.6 all the way through it would look more appealing being classified as a Sport version.
I feel that both lenses are great for the price and application they should be used for. Most people pick up a lens and try it out and can instantly spew negative or positive reviews. Myself on the other hand I think a little differently about what to say other then bashing a manufacture for a poor design. The best lens is the one you have in your hands! Could you compare the contemporary to a Nikon prime? No not even close, but for the cost of the lens I think it provides optics that people can obtain great images!
Thank you for taking the time to read my small review on the Sigma 150-600's, happy shooting!!