I just completed the Tamron 150-500mm f/5-6.7 Di III VXD Lens review, and now another great option from this lens class is in my hands, this one reaching to 600mm.
A telephoto zoom lens is usually one of the first two or three first-purchased and most-used lenses for most photographers, even those with tiny kits. For some, especially those photographing wildlife and sports, a versatile lens such as the Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG DN OS Sports ultra-telephoto zoom lens may be found continuously mounted to a camera body.
When first introduced, the 150-600mm DSLR lenses were immediate hits, and several came to market in rapid succession. Having a mirrorless camera behind the lens makes no difference in focal length range needs, and as I complete this review, the Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG DN OS Sports Lens is already the 14th best-selling mirrorless lens at B&H. Add the features of this lens to the awesome focal length range, and perhaps the only surprise is that this lens is not higher on the list.
While photographers pursuing subjects other than wildlife and sports may not immediately recognize the usefulness of a 150-600mm zoom lens, many will quickly realize the value of what they are holding after they have it in their hands. And they will likely be surprised by how frequently their lens is set to 600mm.
The Sigma 150-600mm OS DN Sports Lens's extremely appealing focal length range is complemented by a beautiful design, impressive build quality, excellent image quality, optical stabilization, excellent overall performance, and a very reasonable price.
Choosing the right focal length or focal length range is of utmost importance for lens selection. The focal length determines the perspective and framing combination.
With a range that starts at 150mm and goes to a super-telephoto 600mm, this lens covers a wide range of uses, including many general-purpose telephoto needs. I carry a zoom lens covering at least most of this focal length range a significant percentage of the time in the field.
One of the best uses for the 150-600mm focal length range is wildlife photography. Large or very close wildlife can be contained in the frame at the wide end of the range, often enabling environmental portraits capture. From the other perspective, when the wildlife is scared of you (or vice versa) or you cannot or do not want to approach more closely, 600mm permits capturing images of distant subjects rendered large in the frame. Smaller birds and animals, chipmunks, for example, often need longer focal lengths to have a substantial size in the frame even at close distances. These subjects are included on this telephoto zoom lens's uses list.
The Sigma 150-600 is an ideal zoo and safari lens option.
A 150-600mm lens is often a great choice for photographing people. The wide end has great portrait photography capabilities. The mid and long focal lengths will provide a more-compressed appearance (due to the longer subject distance), and these focal lengths bring the potential for a strong background blur (long focal lengths magnify the background blur). Parents chasing kids can also find plenty of uses for this entire focal length range, including their at-the-park and at-the-beach needs. If you get bored at the beach, this focal length range provides an artistic outlet.
This lens contains the ideal focal lengths for headshot portraits.
People participating in sports make great subjects for this lens. While selecting a telephoto lens is a good choice from a safety perspective (safety both from and for the subject), it is also a good choice when there is a physical or designated barrier to getting closer, such as a fence or the perimeter lines on a sports field. When photographing sports, the distance to that action can vary greatly, making use of all of the focal lengths this lens avails. A full-frame camera-mounted 600mm lens will reach deep into large field events, covering a very significant portion of even large soccer, football, field hockey, lacrosse, etc. fields, and even close action will be nicely framed by the wide end of this zoom lens.
A zoom range (vs. using a prime or single focal length lens) means that the proper cropping of a subject can be established and maintained over a wide range of subject distances, resulting in full use of your camera's imaging sensor, thereby optimizing image quality.
I use all of these focal lengths in this lens for landscape photography. Creating attractive, compressed-perspective landscape images is often easy when using a telephoto lens. Long focal lengths can make even a mediocre sunrise or sunset look amazing. Especially with this lens's high maximum magnification spec, it is a great choice for smaller flora, such as the butterflies and moths in your garden and the mushrooms in your yard.
While wildlife, sports, and landscape photographers make up a large percentage of the owners of this lens, there are plenty of other uses for the long 4x focal length range. Photojournalists, especially those with restricted access to their subjects, may find this focal length range very useful. With the close minimum focus distance, this lens will work excellently for product photography. The 150-600 range is ideal for air shows.
Sometimes, laziness (let's call it "relaxation") is a good reason to opt for the 150-600mm focal length range. Sit in the comfort of your car, avoid the need to cross a creek, stay back from the surf, etc. An advantage of having the wider focal lengths available is that subjects can be framed appropriately from in front of line-of-sight obstacles.
I've only touched on a small percentage of the uses for this lens. If I am not using it as my primary lens, a lens such as a 150-600mm zoom will be handling much of the balance of my needs, including complementing a 600mm lens when photographing wildlife or a 24-70mm lens when photographing landscapes.
Let's head to the swamp for an example of the 150-600mm focal length range as seen by a full frame camera:
Just in case I wasn't clear, this focal length zoom range is awesome to have mounted on the camera.
APS-C sensor format cameras utilize a smaller portion of the image circle, and that means a scene is framed more tightly, with 1.5x being the angle of view multiplier for Sony's camera line-up. The resulting 225-900mm full-frame angle of view equivalent shifts the uses for this lens deeper into the sports and wildlife genres.
While long focal lengths will make you want to photograph very distant subjects, in some situations, too-distant subjects should be avoided. Haze can reduce contrast, and heatwaves can quickly destroy image sharpness by distorting details. While haze is primarily limited to affecting long-distance photography, heatwaves can affect even close-range photography under 600mm magnification.
If you want a small, light, affordable lens with very long focal lengths included, assured is that lens will have a variable max aperture (the maximum opening does not enlarge adequately with focal length increase to maintain the same ratio), and that will be relatively narrow at any focal length, especially narrow at the long end. No one will complain about those advantages and few would want to hold (or pay for) a 150-600mm f/4 lens, but the narrow apertures require noisy-high ISO settings to avoid motion blur when shooting handheld or when the subject is moving under medium and low light conditions. When subjects are not under direct sunlight, I find myself often compromising the shutter speed setting to keep ISO levels down when using this and similar lenses.
Less light reaching the sensor can also affect AF performance.
How do the Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG DN OS Sports Lens's max aperture openings compare to similar lenses?
|Canon RF 100-500mm F4.5-7.1 L IS USM Lens||100-150mm||151-253mm||254-362mm||363-471mm|
|Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM Lens||100-134mm||135-311mm||312-400mm|
|Sigma 60-600mm f/4.5-6.3 DG OS HSM Sports||60-75mm||76-138mm||139-347mm||348-600mm|
|Sigma 100-400mm f/5-6.3 DG DN OS C Lens||100-112mm||113-234mm||235-400mm|
|Sigma 100-400mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM C Lens||100-111mm||112-233mm||134-400mm|
|Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG DN OS Sports Lens||150-173mm||174-365mm||366-600mm|
|Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Sports||150-184mm||185-320mm||321-600mm|
|Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM C||150-179mm||180-387mm||388-600mm|
|Sony FE 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 GM OSS Lens||100-115mm||116-161mm||162-400mm|
|Sony FE 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G OSS Lens||200-299mm||300-600mm|
|Tamron 100-400mm f/4.5-6.3 Di VC USD Lens||100-136mm||137-180mm||181-280mm||281-400mm|
|Tamron 150-500mm f/5-6.7 Di III VC VXD Lens||150-241mm||242-387mm||383-499mm|
|Tamron 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2 Lens||150-212mm||213-427mm||428-600mm|
|Tamron 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD Lens||150-225mm||226-427mm||428-600mm|
The lower the aperture number, the wider the opening, and the more light the lens will allow to reach the imaging sensor. Use our lens specifications tool to compare lenses not included above.
Wider aperture lenses can create a shallower depth of field, resulting in a stronger, subject-isolating foreground and background blur. While this lens lacks the wide aperture advantage, the stronger background magnification created from the relatively long focal lengths availed in this lens easily overcome that disadvantage. With a relatively close subject and wide aperture, this lens adeptly erases the background.
This example illustrates the maximum blur this lens can create — at 150mm:
The above sample is a full image reduced in size. The 600mm sample was essentially a solid color, beautifully void of noticeable variation and not worth showing.
When recording video, only 1/60 second shutter speeds (twice the framerate) are typically needed (assuming you're not capturing high framerate slow-motion video), and wide apertures are not often required for 1/60 second rates in normally encountered ambient lighting.
A downside to the variable max aperture is that the widest available max aperture, f/5, cannot be used over the entire focal length range. Your camera will automatically account for the change in auto exposure modes, but making use of the widest-available aperture in manual exposure mode is complicated somewhat.
The longer the focal length, the larger subject details (captured at the same distance) are rendered, and the more still the camera must be held to avoid subject details crossing imaging sensor pixels, the cause of motion blur. Image stabilization, OS (Optical Stabilization) in this case, is an extremely valuable feature in any lens and an especially valuable feature in a telephoto lens. OS significantly increases the versatility of the Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG DN OS Sports Lens.
Perhaps most important is that OS allows handholding of the camera in extremely low light situations with still subjects (or permits motion blurring of subjects with sharp surroundings). Also valuable is that OS allows handholding in medium and low light levels when more depth of field is needed, allowing narrower aperture use without a tripod. When using a circular polarizer filter with narrow apertures (typical for landscapes and cityscapes), OS can be helpful even under direct sunlight.
This OS implementation is nearly silent — your wildlife will not hear it — and well behaved, keeping the viewfinder image free of jumping and with minimal drifting issues. OS improves the stability of the image in the viewfinder, aiding in optimal composition, a key image quality factor. Providing a still subject to the camera's AF system is another OS benefit.
OS can stabilize video recording, creating a more pleasant-to-watch result.
How well OS actually keeps the image still is the most important aspect of such as system. Sigma indicates modest-for-this-time 4 stops of assistance rating for this OS implementation, though your experience will vary depending on your circumstances, your capabilities, the camera used, and the pixel density of its sensor. In the field, I found this system to be very effective.
Update: Firmware version 1.1 takes the image stabilization assistance to approximately 6.5 stops at the wide end and 5.5 stops at the telephoto end.
This lens features two OS modes (in addition to off), Mode 1 (general-purpose) and Mode 2 (for panning with a subject, one axis of stabilization is provided).
While OS should often be switched off for tripod use, I did not notice this use negatively impacting image quality, and OS greatly improved my monopod support keeper rate.
When you want or need to leave the tripod behind, OS is there for you, helping to ensure sharp images and adding significant versatility to this lens.
If the lens does not produce at least reasonable image quality, no knowledgeable photographer will buy it. Fortunately, the Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG DN OS Sports Lens image quality far exceeds "reasonable".
In the central portion of the frame, this lens produces very sharp results. It is especially important that this lens's wide-open performance is excellent, as there is little room to stop down the aperture before the softening effects of diffraction are encountered. In the center, this lens delivers slightly sharper results at the wide end than at the long end.
Moving out to the periphery of the image circle, where light rays are refracted to a stronger angle than in the center, lenses typically show noticeably decreased sharpness. That is not the case with this lens. Impressively, the Sigma 150-600 DN produces sharp peripheral results from a wide-open aperture throughout the entire focal length range.
Our resolution chart test is brutal on image quality, so let's take the testing outdoors, next looking at a series of center-of-the-frame 100% resolution crop examples. These images were captured in RAW format using a Sony Alpha a1 and processed in Capture One using the Natural Clarity method. The sharpening amount was set to only "30" on a 0-1000 scale. Note that images from most cameras require some level of sharpening, but too-high sharpness settings are destructive to image details and hide the deficiencies of a lens.
Was the second aperture example needed to show the complete sharpness story for any of these focal lengths? Probably not. All of these results look great.
If present, focus shift, the plane of sharp focus moving forward or backward as the aperture is narrowed (residual spherical aberration or RSA), is often made apparent in such a comparison. That issue is not exhibited by this lens.
Next, we'll look at a comparison showing 100% extreme-top-right-corner crops captured and processed identically to the above center-of-the-frame images. The lens was manually focused in the corner of the frame to capture these images.
Samples taken from the outer extreme of the image circle, full-frame corners, can be counted on to show a lens's weakest performance, but these samples look great. Again, the second aperture example for each focal length seems superfluous.
When used on a camera that utilizes a lens's entire image circle, peripheral shading can be expected at the widest aperture settings. At 150mm wide open, a relatively low, usually only slightly visible, about 1.5 stops of shading is present in the corners. Peripheral shading reduces modestly through 300mm, increases back to a stop and a half at 400mm, and slightly more until 600mm, where approximately 2 stops of corner shading is present. As usual, stopping down reduces peripheral shading, with about 0.8 stops remaining at f/11 150mm and considerably less at most other focal lengths.
APS-C format cameras using lenses projecting a full-frame-sized image circle avoid most vignetting problems. In this case, the just-under one-stop of shading showing at 600mm f/6.3 may be visible in some images, especially those with a solid color (such as a blue sky) showing in the corners.
One-stop of shading is often used as the visibility number, though subject details provide a widely varying amount of vignetting discernibility. Vignetting is correctable during post-processing with increased noise in the brightened areas being the penalty, or it can be embraced, using the effect to draw the viewer's eye to the center of the frame. Study the pattern showing in our vignetting test tool to determine how your images will be affected.
Lateral (or transverse) CA (Chromatic Aberration) refers to the unequal magnification of all colors in the spectrum. Lateral CA shows as color fringing along lines of strong contrast running tangential (meridional, right angles to radii) with the mid and especially the periphery of the image circle showing the most significant amount as this is where the most significant difference in the magnification of wavelengths typically exists.
With the right lens profile and software, lateral CA is often easily correctable (often in the camera) by radially shifting the colors to coincide. However, it is always better to avoid this aberration in the first place.
Color misalignment can be seen in the site's image quality tool, but let's also look at a set of worst-case examples. The images below are 100% crops from the extreme top left corner of a1 frames showing diagonal black and white lines.
Only black and white colors should appear in these images, with the additional colors indicating only a minor presence of lateral CA.
A relatively common lens aberration is axial (longitudinal, bokeh) CA, which causes non-coinciding focal planes of the various wavelengths of light. More simply, different colors of light are focused to different depths. Spherical aberration along with spherochromatism, or a change in the amount of spherical aberration with respect to color (looks quite similar to axial chromatic aberration but is hazier) are other common lens aberrations to observe. Axial CA remains somewhat persistent when stopping down, with the color misalignment effect increasing with defocusing. The spherical aberration color halo shows little size change as the lens is defocused, and stopping down one to two stops generally removes this aberration.
In the real world, lens defects do not exist in isolation, with spherical aberration and spherochromatism generally found, at least to some degree, along with axial CA. These combine to create a less sharp, hazy-appearing image quality at the widest apertures.
The examples below look at the defocused specular highlights' fringing colors in the foreground vs. the background. The lens has introduced any fringing color differences from the neutrally-colored subjects.
The moderate color separation showing at the wide end diminishes as the focal length is increased, with very little separation showing at the long end.
Bright light reflecting off of lens elements' surfaces may cause flare and ghosting, resulting in reduced contrast and sometimes interesting, usually destructive visual artifacts. The shape, intensity, and position of the flare in an image are variable, dependant on the position and nature of the light source (or sources), selected aperture, shape of the aperture blades, and quantity and quality of the lens elements and their coatings. On this lens, Sigma utilizes Super Multi-Layer Coating to combat flare. However, the high 25-element count increases the challenge in this regard. The results from our standard sun in the corner of the frame flare test are not usually favorable to telephoto lenses, but the results from this lens are decent.
Two lens aberrations are particularly evident in images of stars, mainly because bright points of light against a dark background make them easier to see. Coma occurs when light rays from a point of light spread out from that point instead of being refocused as a point on the sensor. Coma is absent in the center of the frame, gets worse toward the edges/corners, and generally appears as a comet-like or triangular tail of light which can be oriented either away from the center of the frame (external coma) or toward the center of the frame (internal coma). Coma clears as the aperture is narrowed. Astigmatism is seen as points of light spreading into a line, either sagittal (radiating from the center of the image) or meridional (tangential, perpendicular to sagittal). This aberration can produce stars appearing to have wings. Remember that Lateral CA is another aberration apparent in the corners.
The images below are 100% crops taken from the top-left corner of a1 images.
The stars in all of those examples appear stretched. While short of perfection, results such as these are not unusual.
This lens has modest pincushion distortion at 150mm, and the amount increases very slightly by 600mm.
Most modern lenses have correction profiles available (including in-camera), and distortion can easily be removed using these. Still, distortion correction is destructive at the pixel level as some portion of the image must be stretched or the overall dimensions reduced.
As discussed, this lens can create an outstanding amount of background (and foreground) blur. Due to the infinite number of variables present among all available scenes, assessing the bokeh quality is considerably more challenging. Here are some f/11 (for diaphragm blade interaction) examples.
The first set of examples show defocused highlights being relatively smoothly filled at the wide end and showing an increasingly noticeable bullseye at the long end. As expected for a lens with a narrow aperture, the f/11 highlight shapes are nicely rounded.
The second set of examples show full images reduced in size and looking very nice.
Except for a small number of specialty lenses, the wide aperture bokeh in the frame's corner does not produce round defocused highlights, with these effects taking on a cat's eye shape due to a form of mechanical vignetting. If you look through a tube at an angle, similar to the light reaching the frame's corner, the shape is not round, and that is the shape seen here.
As the aperture narrows, the entrance pupil size is reduced, and the mechanical vignetting absolves with the shapes becoming rounder.
A 9-blade count diaphragm will create 18 point sunstars from point light sources captured with a narrow aperture. In general, the more a lens diaphragm is stopped down from its wide-open aperture, the larger and better-shaped the sunstars tend to be. This lens's narrow max aperture openings are not optimal for this effect.
At 150mm, where the aperture blades stop down the most, the best f/16 sunstar this lens can produce looks like this:
That's a weak result (a "substar" as my typo called it), and this is not the right lens to select for producing sunstars.
On the surface, it may appear that the Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG DN OS Sports Lens is a slightly modified Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Sports Lens, the predecessor DSLR lens that is easily adaptable to mirrorless cameras with the Sigma Mount Converter MC-11 EF-E. However, that is not the case.
According to Sigma, "The 150-600mm F5-6.3 DG DN OS | Sports is designed from the ground up specifically for full-frame mirrorless cameras." Backing up that claim is a new optical design that features an additional lens element (25 vs. 24) and a reduced group count (15 vs. 16).
From an optical perspective, the Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG DN OS Sports Lens turns in excellent performance, among the best in class. This lens is sharp wide open, from the center to the corner, with little vignetting and low color separation. Geometric distortion is modest, and the ability to create a strong background blur is baked in.
"With an AF actuator controlled by a stepping motor, the lens combines fast and quiet autofocus with excellent tracking of moving objects. Furthermore, a high-precision magnetic sensor enables highly accurate positioning for fast and high-precision AF. This is particularly impressive on an ultra-telephoto lens where the focus lens has to move a significant distance." [Sigma]
The Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG DN OS Sports Lens internally focuses nearly silently and relatively fast.
Remember that (at least some) cameras, including the Sony a1, defocus the image slightly before final focusing in AF-S mode, even if the subject was initially in focus. This process adds significantly to the focus lock time. Autofocus speed is noticeably faster in AF-C mode.
Despite having relatively narrow apertures, with adequate contrast on the subject, this lens focuses in rather dark environments. However, low-light focusing is extremely slow.
I found this lens to consistently focus accurately, the number one requirement of an AF system.
As common for lenses in this class, the Sigma 150-600 DN Sports lens features a focus distance range limit switch that, in addition to enabling the full focus distance range, allows distance selection to be limited to 1.9-32.8' (0.58-10.0m) and 32.8' (10.0m) - ∞, with the narrower range potentially decreasing focus lock times (reduced hunting). On the L-Mount version, custom focusing limit ranges can be programmed via the Sigma USB Dock.
As illustrated in the 100% crops below, the reviewed lens exhibits near parfocal-like characteristics. When focused at 600mm, good focus is retained throughout the zoom range without re-focusing.
These examples provide another look at the wide-open image quality this lens produces.
FTM (Full Time Manual) focusing is supported in Sony's DMF (Direct Manual Focus) mode with the shutter release half-pressed or the AF-ON button pressed.
Normal is for the scene to change size in the frame (sometimes significantly) as the focus is pulled from one extent to the other, referred to as focus breathing, a change in focal length resulting from a change in focus distance. Focus breathing negatively impacts photographers intending to use focus stacking techniques, videographers pulling focus, and anyone very-critically framing while adjusting focus. This lens produces a moderate (normal) change in subject size through full extent focus distance adjustment.
This lens has an AF/MF switch, allowing this frequently used camera setting to be changed without diving into the menu system.
Three customizable AFL (Autofocus Lock) buttons are provided. With the camera set to continuous focus mode, press AFL to lock focus at the currently selected focus distance, permitting a focus and recompose technique. These buttons also act as custom buttons that can be programmed to another function using the camera's menu.
Characteristic is for Sigma Art lenses to have usably large, sharp-ribbed, rubberized focus rings that perform exceptionally well, including no play and an optimal adjustment rate. This lens checks that box.
The Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG DN OS Sports Lens has a nicely sized focus ring that is positioned in front of the tripod mount ring and behind the zoom ring. While this is not often my preferred orientation, it works very well for this large lens size.
This lens's focus ring has a variable adjustment rate based on the rotation speed. At 150mm, a full extent focus distance change with a slow turn requires 1,680° of rotation (four full rotations plus 240°). Turn the ring fast, and only 450° of rotation does the same. At 600mm, 2,280° and 450° are the approximate experienced numbers. Right, ADD kicks in before completion of the slow rotation measurement, requiring physical items to denote each rotation to ensure a correct count. I'm not always a fan of variable MF adjustment rates, but this one performs great.
Overall, this lens provides an excellent manual focus experience, making precise manual focusing possible.
With a minimum focus distance of 22.8" (580mm), this lens has a 0.34x maximum magnification spec. From an overall lens perspective, this is an extremely high number outside of the macro specified lenses. Within this lens class, 0.34x is still a high number, but not the highest, and not remarkably higher than some other options.
|Canon RF 100-500mm F4.5-7.1 L IS USM Lens||35.4"||(900mm)||0.33x|
|Sigma 100-400mm f/5-6.3 DG DN OS C Lens||63.0"||(1600mm)||0.24x|
|Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG DN OS Sports Lens||22.8"||(580mm)||0.34x|
|Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Sports Lens||102.4"||(2600mm)||0.20x|
|Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM C Lens||110.2"||(2800mm)||0.20x|
|Sony FE 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 GM OSS Lens||38.6"||(980mm)||0.35x|
|Sony FE 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G OSS Lens||94.5"||(2400mm)||0.20x|
|Tamron 100-400mm f/4.5-6.3 Di VC USD Lens||59.1"||(1500mm)||0.28x|
|Tamron 150-500mm f/5-6.7 Di III VXD Lens||23.6"||(600mm)||0.32x|
|Tamron 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2 Lens||86.6"||(2200mm)||0.26x|
At 150mm, a subject measuring approximately 3.6" x 2.4" (91 x 61mm) fills a full-frame imaging sensor at this lens's minimum focus distance. As the focal length increases, the minimum focus distance increases, and the distance increase happens at a faster rate than the magnification increase. At 600mm, a larger 6.6" x 4.4" (168 x 112mm) subject fills the frame.
The above image illustrates this lens's maximum magnification capability. The moth and mushroom pictures shared earlier in the review illustrate uses for the close-focusing feature.
Common is for the image quality to be impacted at minimum focus distance, and the postage stamp example above shows very soft corners. Reducing the aperture opening improves peripheral image quality, but some softness remains even at f/16. While focusing the lens in the corner reveals some curvature of the area of sharp focus, the corners remain modestly blurred, and the center of the balance of the frame becomes blurred, as illustrated below.
Need a shorter minimum focus distance and higher magnification? Mount an extension tube behind this lens to modestly decrease and increase those respective numbers. Extension tubes are hollow lens barrels that shift a lens farther from the camera, allowing shorter focusing distances at the expense of long-distance focusing. Electronic connections in extension tubes permit the lens and camera to communicate and otherwise function as normal. As of review time, Sigma does not publish extension tube specs or manufacture these items, but third-party Sony-compatible extension tubes are available.
The Sony E-mount version of this lens is not compatible with Sigma teleconverters, though the Leica L-mount variant is.
Sigma's Sports lenses all feature impressive build quality, and the Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG DN OS Sports Lens gets the same. Of course, the high-quality feel is aided by this lens's significant size and weight.
Sigma's Sports lenses feature aesthetics that match the high-grade build and performance qualities. Here is a look at the functioning of this lens:
Most of the largest lenses available today do not extend. Thus, the site's standard large lens images do not maximize the views of extending lenses. This lens, reaching a long 15.94" (404.9mm) at the full 2.65" (67.3mm) extension with the hood installed, is too large to be contained within the site's smaller format lens product images. Because it is interesting to make comparisons between this lens and the smaller lenses, the 150-600 DN Sports is included in both of the site's product image comparison tools. That some of this lens's images are cropped in the smaller lens format sample set is expected, but the inclusion still seems worthwhile.
The Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG DN OS Sports Lens has no play in any parts.
The zoom ring, located toward the front of the lens, has a noticeable change in diameter starting mid-way into it, providing tactile assistance for locating this ring. This ring's 120° of rotation provides a nice rate of transition through the focal length range.
Along with a rotational measurement, this lens's zoom feature includes a linear measurement. A recessed area just behind the lens hood provides a grasp for push-pull zooming, and Sigma gave it a name: "Dual Action Zoom" While some twist-zoom lenses can be extended and retracted by pushing and pulling their objective ends or hoods, Sigma makes this option official by providing a groove toward the end of the lens, facilitating easy push and pull zooming. Both methods have advantages, and your preferred zoom method can be instantly changed.
Both crisply-ribbed rubber-coated rings are very smooth with a firm (ideal) rotational resistance. The newly three-position Zoom Torque switch provides two zoom ring resistance settings in addition to the fully-retracted (only) lock. Select "S" for easy zooming and "T" for tighter adjustments. The "T" still permits easy adjustment, but the lens holds its focal length, not gravity retracting or extending when shooting at upward or downward angles. I find the Zoom Torque switch feature a solid improvement over the predecessor DSLR lens's marked focal length (only) lock switch.
The lock switch along with a host of other switches can be seen in the image below.
Aside from the AF/MF switch, all are 3-position types. It is easy to misposition 3-position switches, but the firm resistance and solid clicks these switches provide aids in position selection. The white background on the AF/MF and Zoom Torque switches visually indicates their positions.
On the Sony E-mount lens version at review time, I am not aware of any functionality for the Custom switch. The Leica L-mount lens allows customization via Sigma's USB dock.
"A dust and splash resistant structure that stops water drops or dust from getting into the lens, combined with a water and oil repellent coating applied to the front element, gives you a peace of mind even in a harsh shooting environment." [Sigma]
This lens is compatible with many of the advanced mirrorless camera features including, Hybrid AF, Eye AF, in-camera lens correction (shading, chromatic aberration, distortion), and camera-based lens firmware updates.
While the Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG DN OS Sports Lens is large and heavy, it is a compact, lightweight lens compared to its predecessor.
"The lens body uses parts made of aluminum and TSC (Thermally Stable Composite), where they are most suitable. TSC is a type of polycarbonate with a thermal expansion rate similar to that of aluminum, ensuring the lens behaves consistently at different temperatures. By taking advantage of its design intended exclusively for mirrorless camera systems, the lens is both robust -- an attribute essential for the Sports line of lenses -- and compact and lightweight. Compared to the SIGMA 150-600mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM | Sports -- also a Sports line lens but designed for SLR cameras -- this lens is lighter by 26.8 oz. (760g) and shorter by approx. 1 inch (26.6mm) (The 150-600mm F5-6.3 DG DN OS | Sports for L-Mount, compared to the 150-600mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM | Sports for SIGMA SA-mount.)" [Sigma]
Here is a comparison with numerous lenses in the telephoto zoom lens class.
|Model||Weight oz(g)||Dimensions w/o Hood "(mm)||Filter||Year|
|Canon RF 100-500mm F4.5-7.1 L IS USM Lens||48.2||(1365)||3.7 x 8.2||(93.8 x 207.6)||77||2020|
|Sigma 100-400mm f/5-6.3 DG DN OS C Lens||40.9||(1160)||3.4 x 7.8||(86.0 x 197.2)||67||2020|
|Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG DN OS Sports Lens||74.1||(2100)||4.3 x 10.4||(109.4 x 263.6)||95||2021|
|Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Sports Lens||101.0||(2860)||4.8 x 11.4||(121.9 x 289.6)||105||2014|
|Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM C Lens||68.1||(1930)||4.1 x 10.2||(105.0 x 260.1)||95||2015|
|Sony FE 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 GM OSS Lens||49.2||(1395)||3.7 x 8.1||(93.9 x 205.0)||77||2017|
|Sony FE 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G OSS Lens||74.8||(2120)||4.5 x 12.5||(115.5 x 318.0)||95||2019|
|Tamron 100-400mm f/4.5-6.3 Di VC USD Lens||40.1||(1135)||3.4 x 7.8||(86.2 x 199.0)||67||2017|
|Tamron 150-500mm f/5-6.7 Di III VXD Lens||60.9||(1725)||3.7 x 8.3||(93.0 x 209.6)||82||2021|
|Tamron 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2 Lens||71.0||(2010)||4.3 x 10.2||(108.4 x 260.2)||95||2016|
For many more comparisons, review the complete Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG DN OS Sports Lens Specifications using the site's lens specifications tool.
Here is a visual comparison:
Positioned above from left to right are the following lenses:
Sigma 100-400mm f/5-6.3 DG DN OS Contemporary Lens
Canon RF 100-500mm F4.5-7.1 L IS USM Lens
Tamron 150-500mm f/5-6.7 Di III VXD Lens
Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG DN OS Sports Lens
Sony FE 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G OSS Lens (the only fixed-size lens in this comparison)
If I missed your lens in this comparison images, or if you want to see the extended lenses, use the site's lens product image comparison tool and big lens image comparison tool to visually compare the Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG DN OS Sports Lens to hundreds of other lenses.
The Sigma 150-600mm DG DN has 95mm filter threads. While 95mm filters are large and expensive, they are considerably smaller and less expensive than the 105mm filters the predecessor lens uses.
For a lens of this size and weight, a tripod mount ring is important for balancing on a tripod or monopod. This lens sports a non-removable, remarkably smooth, very solid magnesium-constructed tripod mount ring, with click stops indicating the 90° positions.
The tripod mount ring is not removable, but the low-profile tripod foot is. Remove the foot to get it out of the way or to replace it with another variant.
The foot has a single 1/4" threaded insert and is grooved for Arca standard clamps and accessories. While this foot locked tightly in numerous clamps, it slid through one of my older RRS clamps. Some of the testing is done with the lens pointed down, and I was fortunate that the camera body came against the large geared head before the foot fully slid through the clamp. Adding a small piece of gaffer tape to the foot groove resolved that problem. Install the safety screws and test your clamps.
The short length of the foot means little balance adjustment is available, and likely only a single acessory can be mounted. A longer lens plate can be mounted, but such a plate should have anti-twist nubs to avoid rotation around the single mount screw.
The tripod ring provides attachment points for the included neck strap. Ideally positioned, these attachment points allow the camera to be freely rotated without the strap strangling your neck.
The Sigma 150-600mm Sports Lens's thumbscrew-attached rigid included LH1034-01 Hood is quite solid and large, providing great protection to the lens itself and from bright light. The flat end of the hood permits the lens to be placed upright on a smooth surface, and the grippy rubberized surface on the end of the hood prevents scratching of the hood or the surface the lens is against. Sitting this lens upright is nice for relieving your arms while shooting handheld (use caution to avoid tipping). Even the locking thumbscrew feels finely crafted and operates very smoothly.
The Sigma 150-600mm DN Sports Lens ships with a nice zippered, padded nylon case with a shoulder strap permanently attached to one side.
A single-side-attached strap rests against the body better than a strap attached to opposite sides.
Do you prefer a soft cap that covers the entire hood and Velcro fastens in place? Or do you prefer a conventional side-and-center-pinch lens cap?
With either answer, Sigma has you covered. Both options come in the box.
While the Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG DN OS Sports Lens is not cheap, it is reasonably priced and within reach of a significant number of sports and wildlife photographers.
The "DG" refers to full-frame camera compatibility, and the "DN" indicates that this lens was designed for short flange mirrorless cameras. The Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG DN OS Sports Lens is compatible with all Sony E-mount cameras, including APS-C sensor format models, and it is also available in the Leica L mount.
Made in Japan, each Sports lens is tested with Sigma's proprietary MTF measuring system, ensuring a quality product. In regards to the Sony E-mount version of this lens, Sigma develops, manufactures, and sells lenses based on the specifications of E-mount, disclosed by Sony Corporation under license agreement. Sigma provides a limited 1-year warranty, and Sigma USA provides a limited 3-year warranty extension.
The reviewed Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG DN OS Sports Lens was online-retail sourced.
A popular lens category sees a large sales volume that attracts many options, and the long telephoto zoom lens category is filled with alternatives.
Let's start some comparisons with the recently reviewed Tamron 150-500mm f/5-6.7 Di III VXD Lens.
In the image quality comparison, these two lenses appear equally sharp, both very good, and it is unlikely you will discern a difference in the field. The Sigma lens has considerably less peripheral shading at the wide end and less at the long end. That difference is primarily at the wider apertures, but the wider apertures are what sports and wildlife photographers will primarily use. The Sigma lens also has noticeably less pincushion distortion over most of the range (the two are most similar in this regard at 500mm).
The Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG DN OS Sports Lens vs. Tamron 150-500mm f/5-6.7 Di III VC VXD Lens comparison shows the Tamron lens noticeably smaller and nearly a pound lighter. Obviously, the Sigma has a longer focal length range, and that extra 100mm reach on the long end is a huge advantage, especially for wildlife photography. The Sigma lens has 9 aperture blades vs. 7. The Tamron lens uses smaller filters (82mm vs. 95mm) and costs modestly less.
The Sony FE 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G OSS Lens is a great telephoto zoom lens worth comparing to the Sigma.
In the image quality comparison, the Sony lens is slightly sharper in the mid focal length range and more noticeably sharper at the longer focal lengths.
The Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG DN OS Sports Lens vs. Sony FE 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G OSS Lens comparison shows the two lenses weighing nearly the same amount. The Sony lens is longer, but it has a fixed size that is considerably shorter than the Sigma at 600mm. The Sony lens has 11 aperture blades vs. 9. The Sigma lens focuses much closer, with a resulting higher maximum magnification spec of 0.34x vs. 0.20x. The Sigma lens has 50mm more focal length range on the wide end, but the Sony lens is compatible with Sony teleconverters, capable of taking it up to 1200mm (with a very narrow aperture, of course). The Sony lens costs noticeably more than the Sigma lens.
Those not needing the higher focal length range can consider the Sigma 100-400mm f/5-6.3 DG DN OS C Lens and Use the site's comparison tools to make these evaluations. Here are two to get you started.
If you read this far into the review, you likely know that you need a telephoto zoom lens with long focal lengths. You are likely interested in photographing wildlife or sports, or one of the many other genres of photography that make use of a long focal length zoom lens. The Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG DN OS Sports Lens builds a compelling case to be your choice.
As I said in the beginning, the Sigma 150-600mm OS DN Sports Lens has a highly appealing focal length range complemented by a beautiful design, impressive build quality, excellent image quality, optical stabilization, excellent overall performance, and a very reasonable price. That combination is very attractive.
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