Sigma 60-600mm F4.5-6.3 DG DN OS Sports Lens Review

Sigma 60-600mm F4.5-6.3 DG DN OS Sports Lens
In-Depth Review

Does it seem like you have seen this lens before? In name and appearance, the Sigma 60-600mm F4.5-6.3 DG DN OS Sports Lens appears to be the same as the Sigma 60-600mm f/4.5-6.3 DG OS HSM Sports Lens.

In this case, the similarities are deceiving. Beyond the "DN" designation indicating that the lens is designed for mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras, the Sigma 60-600mm DG DN OS Sports Lens features a new optical formula — that delivers noticeably sharper images.

As with the predecessor lens, the attractiveness of the extreme focal length range supersedes all other features of this lens. Everyone loves a "world's first" lens, and this one's predecessor, according to Sigma, received that designation for being the first 10x optical zoom telephoto interchangeable lens reaching 600mm. The DN version becomes the co-holder of that title, and the first mirrorless model to stretch to those bounds.

Sigma calls the 60-600 DN an ultra-telephoto zoom lens, and with that extraordinary focal length range, this single lens can span angles of view typically requiring multiple lenses.

Especially with 600mm included in the focal length range, size, and weight are penalties expected from a superzoom lens design, and further weighted by the rugged qualities required to receive Sigma's "Sports" designation, this lens falls into the rather large and heavy classification. Superzoom lenses typically have additional downsides. Sacrificed image quality is a common one, and this aspect is oftentimes a showstopper for the discerning. While this lens does not reach the image quality level produced by lenses costing 5-digit figures, from a relative standpoint, the 60-600 DN's image quality is remarkable.

Featuring the excellent build quality, features, and the performance that we have come to expect from the Sigma "Sports" lens series, the 60-600 DN has a lot going for it. When you want to take only one lens with you, when you cannot (or do not want to) change lenses, when you cannot change shooting distances, when you need to be immediately ready to photograph practically any subject that does not require wide angles, this lens is a superb choice.

Sigma 60-600mm F4.5-6.3 DG DN OS Sports Lens Angle View with Hood

Focal Length Range

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As already made clear, this lens's awesome focal length range is a stand-out feature. With focal length range a primary consideration for lens purchase and use, this lens usually covers the need and will often be the right choice.

Specifically, what is the 60-600mm focal length range good for? Any subject that does not require wide angles. I know, that is a weak answer. However, with standard through super-telephoto focal lengths covered, this lens has the right angles of view for practically every subject aside from those requiring wide angles, which primarily include environmental portraits, architecture, including interior photos, and some landscapes.

About a decade before the Sigma 60-600mm DN Sport lens hit the streets, there were no major brand name interchangeable zoom lenses that included 600mm in their focal length range (aside from the huge $7,999.00 Sigma 300-800mm f/5.6 EX DG APO IF HSM Autofocus Lens) and most of the over-400mm lens options were expensive. The Tamron 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD Lens was a big hit, and numerous other manufacturers introduced their to-600mm lens variants. All these lenses quickly became popular, especially because of their long focal length affordability.

From an angle of view perspective, one 600mm lens has no advantage over another 600mm lens — unless those numbers have been rounded significantly. Using an unscientific methodology involving relating the distance measurement to a properly-framed ISO 12233 enhanced resolution chart (this measurement is included in our lens specs tool) relative to the Sony FE 600mm F4 GM OSS Lens framing distance, the Sigma comes up a touch short, turning in a 31.09 vs. 32.55' (9.476 vs. 9.920m) measurement. While the difference is not big, the suspicion of some up-rounding is raised. However, the Sigma zoom has slightly more 600mm pincushion distortion than the prime, and this distortion difference could cause test chart framing distance differences. Focal lengths are rated at infinity and any focal length breathing at shorter distances can affect this measurement.

The Sigma 60-600mm Sports lens includes 600mm and extends the wide end significantly over the 150-600mm zooms, and if questioning the long end focal length's actual angle of view, it is also fair to consider the wide end angle of view. The Sigma 60-600mm's 60mm test distance measured 7.55 vs. 6.98' (2.302 vs. 2.128m) for the Nikon 60mm f/2.8G AF-S Micro Nikkor Lens, showing the two lenses again varying slightly.

For certain is that this lens's extraordinary focal length is a delight to have at your fingertips, with the extreme zoom range inviting significant perspective differences captured during each outing.

Typically, standard angle of view lenses are smaller and lighter than long focal length lenses, and also typical is that longer focal length range lenses are larger and heavier than shorter range lenses. Thus, a photographer planning to primarily use only the wider end of this lens's focal length range with little need for the longer end is more likely to select a considerably smaller 70-200mm class lens. Those opting for a 60-600mm lens over that smaller, lighter option are going to need the longer telephoto focal lengths, and those needing the longest focal lengths include wildlife photographers and, as the lens moniker suggests, "sports" photographers.

Sports photographers are frequently limited in their shooting locations, and their focal length requirements can vary by the second. This lens can capture tightly-framed action deep into a sports field or race track at 600mm (even from behind the fence for uncredentialled access) and still capture ideal framing when the action gets close. Were you ever asked to photograph a sports team to commemorate a big win immediately after the game, while the excitement is still high? At 60mm, the entire team can fit into the frame from a comfortable distance (try that with a long prime lens). Use this lens to capture the awards ceremony, the stands full of fans, etc., along with the event's action.

With sports, we're usually talking about photographing people, and this lens has the classic perfect portrait focal length range completely encompassed. While the Sigma 60-600 Sports lens is a large, heavy option for general portrait photography, it definitely has the right focal lengths and can be utilized for this purpose. Use a monopod, and this lens will be a pleasure to use.

Sigma 60-600mm f/4.5-6.3 DG OS HSM Sports Lens Bird Sample Picture

This is a great wildlife photography lens choice. Wildlife is at the top of my favorite subjects list, and a 600mm lens is most often my choice. However, there are times when 600mm is too long, and that is a scenario where this lens has a huge advantage.

For example, after photographing a portrait of a bull elk filling the frame, immediately zoom out and capture the elk in the beautiful mountainous landscape. Or, there may be a tree, focal length-limited photographer, or other obstacles between the camera and the animal. In that case, a wider angle of view may be required to fit the animal in the frame when close enough to avoid the obstacle.

While at the zoo (or on safari), zoom out to fit the elephant (or the entire herd) in the frame, and then zoom in to photograph the egret sitting on an animal's back. Especially at the zoo, the long focal lengths make finding an attractive background, one not appearing constructed, considerably easier.

This lens has the perfect air show focal length range. Use the wide end to capture the close multi-plane exhibitions, and use the long end to tightly frame the distant single planes. Air show performers often use smoke trails as part of their programs, and the zoom range enables a variety of smoke trail compositions to be captured rapidly — before the trail design blows away. Even ground displays sometimes fit into a 60mm frame.

There are many other photographers who can make use of the 10x focal length range. Photojournalists with restricted access to their subjects, paparazzi, and law enforcement groups will find this focal length range useful.

I mentioned that some landscapes are outside of 60-600mm range, but many opportunities are ideally suited for this lens. Long focal lengths are great for filling the frame with color, even from modestly nice sunrises and sunsets. The compressed look that telephoto lenses give mountain landscapes is highly desired, with the mountains being emphasized in the composition.

Testing a lens with so many focal lengths is a daunting job, and illustrating the focal length range is alone a challenge. That thought process started with identifying a scene and subject to use. If the subject was alive, it would have to be patient — or at least slow. As turtles define slow, it seemed that this volunteer was perfect. In the end, the deployed concept had only marginal artistic value but ... the 60-600mm focal length range example is helpful (the images in this example were captured with the predecessor lens).

Sigma 60-600mm f/4.5-6.3 DG OS HSM Sports Lens Focal Length Range Example

60 | 100 | 150 | 200 | 250 | 300 | 400 | 500 | 600

Place an APS-C/1.6x FOVCF camera behind this lens, and the angle of view becomes equivalent to a 96-960mm lens on a full frame camera. These narrower angles of view shift this lens's uses more deeply into the sports and wildlife range.

Finding a subject, especially a fast moving one, in the frame at narrow angles of view can be challenging, and having a zoom range facilitates this task. Simply zoom in after acquiring the subject in the viewfinder at a wider focal length.

While long focal lengths will make you want to photograph distant subjects, too-distant subjects should be avoided under some situations. Haze can reduce contrast, and heatwaves can quickly destroy image sharpness by micro-distorting details. While haze is primarily limited to affecting long distance photography, heat waves are detrimental to image quality even at relatively close distances. On a sunny day, images of subjects on a track (the kind that people run on or drive on) are frequently heatwave distorted and artificial turf is notorious for generating massive sunny day heatwave distortion.

The 60-600mm focal length contained in a single lens can save the day when lens changes are not possible such as when working in unfavorable environments, including when dust and salt water spray is in the air.

Sigma 60-600mm f/4.5-6.3 DG OS HSM Sports Lens Squirrel Sample Picture

This is a great focal length range to have mounted for those whatever-comes-up needs, especially those happening around the house.

Sigma 60-600mm F4.5-6.3 DG DN OS Sports Lens Front View

Max Aperture

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The aperture value is a physical measurement, the ratio of the focal length to the diameter of the entrance pupil. Thus, longer focal lengths require wider physical openings to reach the same aperture opening as a wider focal length. Want long focal lengths in a zoom lens without an extremely large size, heavy weight, and high price? You are probably looking at a variable max aperture lens.

Like the majority of zoom lenses with focal lengths reaching over 200mm, the Sigma 60-600mm F4.5-6.3 DG DN OS Sports Lens has a variable max aperture. A variable max aperture means that wide-open aperture exposure settings will change as the lens is zoomed from wide to long focal lengths. Cameras in an auto exposure mode will automatically account for the narrowing max aperture change, but manual mode requires a manual exposure adjustment when using wide-open apertures (unless auto ISO is being used or an in-camera function accommodates the changes).

Here is this lens's max aperture step down by focal length:

60-78mm = f/4.5
79-136mm = f/5.0
137-358mm = f/5.6
359-600mm = f/6.3

When I reviewed this lens's predecessor, I expected the aperture to get narrow quickly but was pleased with the results, and the DN version performance is similar. Surprisingly, the 60-600 holds onto the f/5.6 aperture until 358mm, nearly as long as the 150-600mm DN Sports lens does. Still, this lens is slow/dark in terms of max aperture.

The max aperture differences in telephoto zoom lenses reaching 600mm seldom exceed 1/3 stop at any focal length, and max apertures are not often a decision factor within this lens class.

Realistically, the Sigma 60-600mm, even with "Sports" in its name, is not going to be your best option for capturing low-light action. When the sun sets or the clouds roll in, you will be reaching for noisy-high ISO settings to get a relatively slow action-stopping 1/1000 shutter speed at f/6.3. On that topic, don't underestimate the shutter speed required to stop motion at 600mm. An in-action subject that was photographed at 300mm will need a significantly shorter (figure a 2x difference) exposure duration when photographed from the same distance (different subject framing) at 600mm due to the subject crossing twice as many pixels in the same time period.

With the sharpness-reducing effects of diffraction kicking in with some strength at f/11 through f/16 (depending on the camera being used), there is a somewhat narrow range of ideal apertures available for optimal use in this lens. Fortunately, those remaining apertures are quite useful.

These examples illustrate the maximum blur this lens can create:

Sigma 60-600mm F4.5-6.3 DG DN OS Sports Lens Maximum Blur Example

Despite the aperture opening not being large, the long focal lengths in this lens can create a strong background blur.

Sigma 60-600mm F4.5-6.3 DG DN OS Sports Lens Side View

Image Stabilization

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Optical stabilization can greatly increase the versatility of most lenses, and when the focal length increases to 600mm, especially on a high-density imaging sensor camera, OS can save the day by virtue of the stabilized viewfinder alone. Framing a subject properly at 600mm handheld requires steady arms, but OS significantly reduces that steadiness skill requirement. Of course, preventing camera-shake-caused motion blurred images is the primary goal for OS and this OS system receives an impressive 6-7-stop rating.

"The newly developed algorithm “OS2” enables image stabilization of 7 stops at the wide end and 6 stops at the telephoto end." [Sigma]

While I cannot typically reach IS assistance ratings when shooting handheld, this lens does perform well in that regard. In a short test session, I produced mostly-sharp 60mm results at 1/4 second and many of the 600mm 1/20 second results were sharp.

Image stabilization presents a stable picture to the AF system, improving AF precision.

As is common for stabilized telephoto lenses, the Sigma 60-600 features mode 1 (normal) and mode 2 (panning) options. Additionally, this lens's OS can be further configured to one of three OS settings described by Sigma as:

Standard (Custom Switch = Off) – This is the default setting. The OS effect is well-balanced and suitable for various scenes.

Dynamic View Mode (Custom Switch = 1) – This mode offers a recognizable OS effect to the image in the viewfinder. This helps to ensure the composition of images quickly.

Moderate View Mode (Custom Switch = 2) – This mode offers an excellent compensation of camera shake, and achieves a smooth transition of the image in the viewfinder. The composition of the image remains natural even when the angle of view keeps changing.

Using a Sigma Dock, the L-mount version of this lens can be further programmed.

Audible clunks are heard at OS startup and shutdown. However, those sounds only occur when the camera changes power state. Otherwise, this OS system is extremely quiet, with only a light hum heard by an ear next to the lens.

During operation, OS presents a solidly stabilized picture.

Note that the owner's manual advises that this OS system be turned off when using a tripod.

This OS system is high preforming. When you need to leave the tripod behind, OS is there for you, helping to ensure sharp images and adding significant versatility to this narrow-aperture lens.

Sigma 60-600mm F4.5-6.3 DG DN OS Sports Lens Extended Front View with Hood

Image Quality

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History leads us to raise strong doubts regarding expected image quality from any lens with an extraordinarily long focal length range. However, this lens exceeded my expectations.

Overall, this lens produces sharp full-frame corner-to-corner image quality at its widest apertures over the entire focal length range. While there is strong overall consistency, the review lens showed, as is common, slight variations throughout the range.

A slight color blur shows at 60mm, the periphery performance is slightly soft at 100mm f/5, 400mm and 600mm center sharpness is slightly reduced, and the 200mm and 300mm results are especially sharp.

Little sharpness improvement is realized by stopping down to f/8, and diffraction begins to slightly soften image quality at f/11.

Often, subjects are not placed in the center of a composition. In the periphery of the image circle, where light rays are refracted to a stronger angle than in the center, lenses typically show decreased sharpness. Aside from peripheral shading and lateral CA (more later), this lens shows only minor sharpness degradation from the center to the corner (except, as mentioned, at 100mm on the review lens).

While the 60-600 DN Lens's image quality results do not reach the quality level of the results from the big prime lens options from Canon, Nikon, and Sigma (comparison links shared here), the prime lenses cost over 6x more and only offer the 600mm focal length (though the big primes have a far wider f/4 aperture).

Taking the testing outdoors, we next look at a series of center of the frame 100% resolution crop examples. These images were captured in RAW format using a Sony Alpha 1 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.

Sigma 60-600mm F4.5-6.3 DG DN OS Sports Lens Sharpness Comparison Example

60mm: f/4.5 | f/5.6   100mm: f/5.0 | f/5.6
200mm: f/5.6 | f/8.0   400mm: f/6.3   600mm: f/6.3 | f/8.0

The wide-open aperture examples are good and remarkable for this lens's focal length range. Stopping down yields little improvement.

Next, we'll look at a series of comparisons showing 100% resolution extreme top left 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.

Sigma 60-600mm F4.5-6.3 DG DN OS Sports Lens Corner Sharpness Comparison Example

60mm: f/4.5 | f/4.5   100mm: f/5.0
200mm: f/5.6 | f/5.6   400mm: f/6.3   600mm: f/6.3

Samples taken from the outer extreme of the image circle, full-frame corners, can be counted on to show a lens's weakest performance.

Corner sharpness does not always matter, and the longer the focal length, the less likely that desired-sharp subjects are in the corners of the frame. The corners are usually intentionally out of focus when shooting people and wildlife. Videos captured at typical wide-aspect ratios also avoid the use of corners.

This lens does not exhibit focus shift, the plane of sharp focus moving forward or backward as the aperture is narrowed (residual spherical aberration or RSA).

A lens is expected to show peripheral shading at the widest aperture settings when used on a camera that utilizes its entire image circle. With a wide-open aperture, this lens has about 2-stops of shading in the corners. This amount of shading is often noticeable but is not especially strong.

At 60mm, f/8 is considerably narrower than f/4.5, and the vignetting reduction is also significant, down to 0.5 stops. As the focal length increases, the difference between wide-open and f/8 reduces, and the shading reduction decreases. At f/8, expect just-under 1-stop of shading in the wider focal length range, and about 1.5-stops of shading in the long focal length corners.

APS-C format cameras using lenses projecting a full-frame-sized image circle avoid most vignetting problems. Expect under 1-stop of shading at worst.

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 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 shown in the site's 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 Sony Alpha 1 frames showing diagonal black and white lines.

Sigma 60-600mm F4.5-6.3 DG DN OS Sports Lens Lateral Chromatic Aberration Example

Colors other than black or white in these test results indicate the presence of lateral CA. The color separation is strong at the wide end, slowly decreases to negligible at 200mm, and then becomes moderately visible from 300mm through 600mm. The center-focused ISO 12233 test chart results showed significantly stronger lateral CA in the longer half of the focal length range.

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.

Sigma 60-600mm F4.5-6.3 DG DN OS Sports Lens Spherical and Axial Aberration Example

The color separation is strong at the wider half of the focal length range.

Bright light reflecting off 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 and ghosting effects in an image are variable, dependent 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. Additionally, flare and ghosting can impact AF performance.

On this lens, Sigma utilizes Super Multi-Layer Coating to combat flare and ghosting, but the high 27-element count increases the challenge in this regard, and this lens produces a moderate amount of flare effects with wide-open apertures in our standard sun in the corner of the frame flare test. Flare effects are pronounced at narrow apertures.

Flare effects can be embraced or avoided, or removal can be attempted. Unfortunately, removal is sometimes challenging, and in some cases, flare effects can destroy image quality.

One might expect an ultra-zoom lens to have significant geometric distortion at, minimally, some focal lengths. The Sigma 60-600mm DN Lens impresses in this regard, showing only mild pincushion distortion at 60mm and modest pincushion distortion over the balance of the focal length range.

Most modern lenses have correction profiles available (including in-camera), and distortion can easily be removed using these. However, geometric distortion correction requires stretching as some portion of the image must be stretched or the overall dimensions reduced.

As seen earlier in the review, it is easy to illustrate the strongest blur a lens can create, and telephoto lenses are inherently advantaged in this regard. Due to the infinite number of variables present among available scenes, assessing the bokeh quality is considerably more challenging. Here are some f/11 (for diaphragm blade interaction) examples.

Sigma 60-600mm F4.5-6.3 DG DN OS Sports Lens Bokeh Example

The first set of examples shows defocused highlights smoothly filled and roundly shaped. The second set of examples shows full images reduced in size and appearing fine.

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. That is the shape we're looking at here.

Sigma 60-600mm F4.5-6.3 DG DN OS Sports Lens Cat's Eye Bokeh Example

As the aperture narrows, the entrance pupil size is reduced, and the mechanical vignetting diminishes, making the corner shapes rounder. Still, this lens does not have much narrower available before diffraction causes obvious softening.

A 9-blade count diaphragm will create 18-point sunstars (diffraction spikes) from point light sources captured with a narrow aperture. Generally, the more a lens diaphragm is stopped down, the larger and better shaped the sunstars tend to be. Unfortunately, a narrow max aperture lens does not afford much stopping down before reaching apertures where diffraction causes noticeable softening of details, and these lenses typically do not produce the biggest or best-shaped sunstars.

Sigma 60-600mm F4.5-6.3 DG DN OS Sports Lens Sunstar Effect Example

I wouldn't call the 60mm result a star, and the 600mm result is much worse. If diffraction spikes are your goal, this is not your lens.

Sigma 60-600mm F4.5-6.3 DG DN OS Sports Lens Design

As illustrated above, this lens's design features three Special Low Dispersion (SLD) elements and two F Low Dispersion (FLD) elements to reduce aberrations.

Overall, especially for the massive focal length range provided, this lens produces excellent image quality.

Sigma 60-600mm F4.5-6.3 DG DN OS Sports Lens Angle View Extended with Hood

Focusing

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"The autofocus of the SIGMA 60-600mm F4.5-6.3 DG DN OS | Sports makes use of the newly developed linear motor “HLA (High-response Linear Actuator)”. "This high-output linear motor and advanced electronic control realize a quiet autofocus with unparalleled high speed and high precision. The new motor also enables high focus-following performance, ensuring that the decisive moment is not missed in sports photography and any other situation where the subjects are in motion, from motor vehicles to birds in flight." [Sigma]

Sigma High-Response Linear Actuator

This lens smoothly focuses fast and with consistent accuracy. It also focuses quietly, with only faint clicks heard.

Low-light AF is not this lens's specialty. The narrow apertures make low light focusing challenging (or impossible), even with the Sony Alpha 1 behind it.

A focus limit switch provides the full focus distance range or optionally limits the focus distance to minimum - 19.7' (minimum - 6.0m) or 19.7' (6.0m) - ∞ for potentially faster focus acquisition.

Three customizable AFL (Autofocus Lock) buttons are provided and located for easy access in the normal camera orientations. 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.

FTM (Full Time Manual) focusing is supported via Sony's DMF (Direct Manual Focus) AF mode. This lens has an AF/MF switch, allowing this frequently used camera setting to be changed without accessing the menu system.

The review lens does not exhibit parfocal-like behavior. Subjects focused on at 600mm come in and out of sharp focus as the focal length range is traversed.

Sigma 60-600mm F4.5-6.3 DG DN OS Sports Lens Parfocal Example

The 600mm example provides another look at the wide-open image quality this lens produces.

Sigma 60-600mm F4.5-6.3 DG DN OS Sports Lens Extended Top View with Hood

The Sigma 60-600mm F4.5-6.3 DG DN OS Sports Lens has a medium-sized, sharp-ribbed rubber-covered focus ring that rotates smoothly.

This lens implements a non-linear rate of focus change, with the adjustment rate based on the ring's rotation speed. I don't alway prefers this feature, often finding rocking the ring into precise focus to be challenging, but Sigma implemented the variable rate superbly in this lens.

Turn the focus ring fast, and the full focus distance extents are available within about 100° of rotation. Turn the ring slowly, and 820° fully traverses the distance range at 60mm. Zoom out to 600, and do the same, and my attention span is quickly exceeded. I lost patience after 10 full ring turns didn't come close to adjusting the full extent. Suffice to say that this lens enables quick long distance changes while facilitating precise focusing, including at 600mm and close distances.

It is normal for the scene to change size in the frame (sometimes significantly) as the focus is pulled from one extent to the other. This effect is focus breathing, a change in focal length resulting from a change in focus distance. Focus breathing impacts photographers intending to use focus stacking techniques, videographers pulling focus (without movement to camouflage the effect), and anyone critically framing while adjusting focus.

This lens produces a minor change in subject size through a full extent focus distance adjustment at 60mm, and a modest one at longer focal lengths.

Sigma 60-600mm F4.5-6.3 DG DN OS Sports Lens Focus Magnification Example

60mm: Far | Close   200mm: Far | Close   600mm: Far | Close

With a minimum focus distance range of 17.7 to 102.4" (450 to 2600mm), this lens pulls off a remarkable, class-leading 0.42x maximum magnification spec.

ModelMin Focus Distance "(mm)Max Magnification
Sigma 60-600mm F4.5-6.3 DG DN OS Sports Lens17.7(450)0.42x
Sigma 60-600mm f/4.5-6.3 DG OS HSM Sports Lens23.6(600)0.30x
Sigma 100-400mm f/5-6.3 DG DN OS C Lens63.0(1600)0.24x
Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG DN OS Sports Lens22.8(580)0.34x
Sony FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS Lens38.6(980)0.35x
Sony FE 200-600mm F5.6-6.3 G OSS Lens94.5(2400)0.20x
Tamron 50-400mm f/4.5-6.3 Di III VC VXD Lens9.8(250)0.50x
Tamron 150-500mm f/5-6.7 Di III VC VXD Lens23.6(600)0.32x

It is not unusual for a zoom lens to have have a varying minimum focus distance, typically increasing with focal length increase, and as mentioned, this is one of those lenses. Here is a tested minimum focus distance chart for the Sigma 60-600mm F4.5-6.3 DG DN OS Sports Lens. The subject width column indicates the subject framing achieved at the indicated focal length and focus distance – a smaller number indicates a higher maximum magnification. I'll highlight the key row.

 MFDSubject Width
60mm1.39'(424)5.2(132)
100mm1.51'(459)4.4(112)
150mm1.58'(482)3.8(97)
200mm1.63'(496)3.3(84)
250mm2.14'(652)3.8(97)
300mm2.79'(850)4.3(109)
400mm4.37'(1333)6.1(155)
600mm8.43'(2568)6.8(173)

This is what 200mm maximum magnification looks like:

Sigma 60-600mm F4.5-6.3 DG DN OS Sports Lens Maximum Magnification Example

The USPS love stamps shared above have an image area that measures 1.05 x 0.77" (26.67 x 19.558mm), and the overall individual stamp size is 1.19 x 0.91" (30.226 x 23.114mm).

While this lens produces sharp center of the frame details at minimum focus distance with a wide-open aperture, expect the image periphery to be soft due to field curvature. This effect is obvious even in the small-sized sample photo. F/11 brings on increased depth of field that provides modest improvement in close-up corner image quality.

The minimum focus distance is measured from the imaging sensor plane with the balance of the camera, lens, and lens hood length taking their space out of the number to create the working distance. As this is a long lens, the working distance, while adequate for most needs, is not as long as it may seem.

Need a shorter minimum focus distance and higher magnification? Mount an extension tube behind this lens to significantly decrease and increase those respective numbers — at the wider focal lengths. The benefit at longer focal lengths is considerably less substantial.

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 function normally. As of review time, Sigma and Sony do manufacture these items, but third-party Sony-compatible extension tubes are available.

The Leica L-mount version of the 60-600mm DN Lens is compatible with the Sigma TC-1411 1.4x Teleconverter for Leica L and Sigma TC-2011 2x Teleconverter for Leica L.

Sigma 60-600mm F4.5-6.3 DG DN OS Sports Lens Angle Extended View

Design & Features

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Sigma's Global Vision Sports lenses feel like military grade hardware. This feel is aided by a significant size and weight, but this lens is a well-constructed, pro-grade, weather-sealed lens.

Sigma 60-600mm F4.5-6.3 DG DN Compared to HSM OS Sports Lens

The Sigma 60-600mm F4.5-6.3 DG DN OS Sports Lens is shown above the Sigma 60-600mm f/4.5-6.3 DG OS HSM Sports Lens.

Despite their rugged build, Sigma Sports lenses do not forgo good looks, appearing at least as nice as they feel and function.

Sigma 60-600mm F4.5-6.3 DG DN OS Sports Lens Product Images

This lens, reaching a long 15.17" (385.4mm) at the full 3.89" (98.8mm) 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 compare this lens to the smaller lenses, the 60-600 DN Sports Lens is included in both of the site's product image comparison tools. Expect some of this lens's images to be cropped in the smaller lens format sample set.

This lens has no play in any parts. Both crisply-ribbed, substantially sized rubber rings are smooth with firm (ideal) rotational resistance. The zoom ring, located toward the front of the lens, has a slight diameter reduction starting mid-way into it, providing a tactile location indicator. This ring's about 120° of rotation provides a nice rate of transition between focal lengths.

Prefer a push/pull functioning zoom lens over the rotational design? This lens has you covered. While some twist-zoom lenses can be extended and retracted by pushing and pulling their objective ends, Sigma makes this option official by providing a groove toward the end of the lens to facilitate easy push/pull zooming. They call it "Dual Action Zoom".

Both methods have advantages and disadvantages, and in this case, your zoom method can be instantly changed at any time.

The end of this lens is heavy, so it is no surprise that the end of the lens moving in the direction that gravity is pulling makes the zoom ring easier to turn, with the opposite also being true. Gravity zooming should be expected when motion is imparted. If the lens is pointed downward, you may find it gradually extending to full extension. If you are shooting at a focal length less than 600mm and then direct the lens downward to rest your arms, to review your images on the LCD, or for some other reason, the lens may begin to extend. And, vice versa.

Gravity extension and retraction is not unique to this lens, and this lens exhibits less of the gravity zoom attribute than many others in its class.

However, Sigma provides a solution to this issue via a zoom lock switch. As with most lenses having a zoom lock switch, this lens will not extend, even with pressure applied, when locked at the widest-angle focal length.

Unlike most lenses, the 60-600mm DN Sports Lens can be locked at any marked focal length. While the lens cannot be locked at any of the in-between focal lengths, the marked focal lengths will lock the focal length in place until a modest pressure is applied to the zoom ring or the end of the lens (or the switch is moved to the unlocked position). The lock will support a gripped camera resting on top of the lens while extended.

The lock switch along with a host of other switches can be seen in the image below.

Sigma 60-600mm F4.5-6.3 DG DN OS Sports Lens Switches

Aside from the focus and lock switches, 3-position switches are standard. It is easy to misposition a short-throw 3-position switch such as these, but as usual, Sigma's switches firmly click into place. The white background on the AF/MF switch, visually indicating the set position, is a nice touch.

The Custom switch enables programmed adjustments to be selected. The Sony E-mount lens does not have a USB dock available to unlock this potential.

Sigma 60-600mm F4.5-6.3 DG DN OS Sports Lens Mount

As mentioned, this lens, along with all other Sigma Sports lenses, is weather sealed. "The mount connection, manual focus ring, zoom ring, switches, switch panel and exterior connection are dust and splash resistant to prevent dust and dirt from entering the lens, which are likely in the many outdoor situations where this lens is designed to perform." [Sigma]

Sigma 60-600mm F4.5-6.3 DG DN OS Sports Lens Weather Sealing

"Further, the front element of the lens features a water and oil repellent coating to facilitate maintenance when water droplets or dust adhere to the lens." [Sigma] This coating also makes the front lens element easy to clean, an especially important feature when working in the field.

This is a relatively large and heavy lens. Here is a comparison chart to provide perspective.

ModelWeight oz(g)Dimensions w/o Hood "(mm)FilterYear 
Sigma 60-600mm F4.5-6.3 DG DN OS Sports Lens87.7(2485)4.7 x 11.1(119.4 x 281.2)1052023
Sigma 60-600mm f/4.5-6.3 DG OS HSM Sports Lens95.3(2700)4.7 x 10.6(120.4 x 268.9)1052018
Sigma 100-400mm f/5-6.3 DG DN OS C Lens40.9(1160)3.4 x 7.8(86 x 197.2)672020
Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG DN OS Sports Lens74.1(2100)4.3 x 10.4(109.4 x 263.6)952021
Sony FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS Lens49.2(1395)3.7 x 8.1(93.9 x 205)772017
Sony FE 200-600mm F5.6-6.3 G OSS Lens74.8(2120)4.5 x 12.5(115.5 x 318)952019
Sony FE 600mm F4 GM OSS Lens107.3(3040)6.4 x 17.7(163.6 x 449)DI 40.52019
Tamron 50-400mm f/4.5-6.3 Di III VC VXD Lens40.8(1155)3.5 x 7.2(88.5 x 183.4)672022
Tamron 150-500mm f/5-6.7 Di III VC VXD Lens60.9(1725)3.7 x 8.3(93 x 209.6)822021

For many more comparisons, review the complete Sigma 60-600mm F4.5-6.3 DG DN OS Sports Lens Specifications using the site's lens specifications tool.

While this is not a light lens, it is relatively light for the focal length range and max apertures it holds — and noticeably lighter than Sigma's previous 60-600mm lens.

Sigma 60-600mm F4.5-6.3 DG DN OS Sports Lens Build Quality

From Sigma:

"The lens features a multi-material structure, in which materials such as magnesium, CFRP1, and TSC2 are optimally arranged according to their characteristics. As a result, the lens barrel is lighter in weight while retaining the same robustness as previous models, thereby providing high versatility in a variety of scenes and applications.

1 Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic, a light but strong material used in the interior and exterior fittings of aircraft, among many other applications.

2 Thermally Stable Composite, a polycarbonate with a thermal expansion rate similar to that of aluminum. Its high affinity to metal parts contributes to high manufacturing quality standards."

"Since parts made with TSC expand and contract less due to changes in temperature, they tend to perform better under extreme conditions and help maintain the performance of the lens. TSC also offers outstanding elasticity. Compared to polycarbonate containing 20% glass, TSC offers approximately 70% higher elasticity. Compared to polycarbonate containing 30% glass, it offers 25% higher elasticity. (Comparison is between SIGMA-produced components.)" [Sigma]

Again, this lens is heavy, 82% as heavy as the Sony FE 600mm F4 GM OSS Lens, but the 60-600 DN lens can be handheld for reasonable periods of time. Keep your elbows in to save your shoulders.

Here is a visual comparison:

Sigma 60-600mm F4.5-6.3 DG DN OS Sports Lens Compared to Similar Lenses

Positioned above from left to right are the following lenses:

Sigma 60-600mm F4.5-6.3 DG DN OS Sports Lens
Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG DN OS Sports Lens
Sony FE 200-600mm F5.6-6.3 G OSS Lens

The same lenses are shown below with their hoods in place.

Sigma 60-600mm F4.5-6.3 DG DN OS Sports Lens Compared to Similar Lenses with Hoods

Use the site's big lens and standard lens product image comparison tools to visually compare the Sigma 60-600mm F4.5-6.3 DG DN OS Sports Lens to other lenses.

Do you have a collection of 105mm threaded filters in your kit? Do you even have one of them? "No" is my answer to those questions. That filters can be used on this lens is a positive attribute, but filters of this size are uncommon, huge, and expensive.

This lens will be most comfortable to use supported, typically on a tripod or monopod. That means the tripod ring is an important component for use of this lens. The included non-removable tripod ring (the foot can be removed via 4 screws) is smooth functioning and solidly built, though lens vibrations dissipate slowly (or not at all in mild wind) even when this lens is mounted on a solid tripod and head.

Especially nice is the built-in Arca-Swiss-compatible dovetail, allowing the lens to mount in a wide variety of tripod head quick-release clamps and adding compatibility with a wide range of accessories, including flash brackets.

"This product is compatible with the Arca Swiss screw knob clamp. Please ensure that it is screwed and fixed tightly. This product is not designed for lever type clamps. There are some lever clamps available that do not fix firmly and safely."

Count Really Right Stuff Lever-Release Clamps among the incompatible lever type clamps. While I used this lens in the RRS clamps, they did not lock tightly enough to recommend them.

Also, the foot is relatively short, allowing it to rotate slightly in the lever clamps and reducing the balance adjustment range. Surprisingly, this lens with a gripped Sony Alpha 1 camera mounted will balance on the foot at all focal lengths while sitting on my desk.

This tripod foot has a 1/4" threaded insert (a 3/8" insert is not available on the supplied foot).

The tripod ring's short-throw metal lock knob is conveniently positioned for use, with smooth lens rotation enjoyed until the ring is fully locked, including no slip-stick behavior. Helpful click stops are provided at 90° rotation settings, with marks visually indicating the same.

Sigma 60-600mm F4.5-6.3 DG DN OS Sports Lens Strap

The tripod collar has a pair of strap attachments for the included neck strap. Ideally positioned, these attachment points allow the camera to be freely rotated without the strap strangling your neck.

There is a comfortable amount of finger space between the foot and the lens, including for using the tripod foot as a short handle (three fingers fit). With the tripod ring shifted forward vs. the predecessor, there is now a comfortable amount of space between the camera grip hand's fingers and the foot at all positions.

Sigma 60-600mm F4.5-6.3 DG DN OS Sports Lens Top View with Hood

Sigma includes a lens hood with their lenses, and this one features the large Sigma LH1144-02 hood, featuring rigid construction, a large, knurled metal thumbscrew lock, and a mold-ribbed interior. The flat end of the hood permits the lens to be placed upright on a smooth surface, such as for relieving your arms while shooting handheld. The rubberized surface on the end of the hood avoids scratching the hood or the surface the lens is sitting on, avoids slippage on the resting surface, and permits a more-sure hand grip on the hood when installing or removing it. This hood affords significant protection from flare-inducing light and impact, including from dust and rain.

Sigma 60-600mm F4.5-6.3 DG DN OS Sports Lens Case

The Sigma 60-600mm DN Sports Lens ships with a nice (large) zippered, padded nylon case with a shoulder strap permanently attached to a side.

Sigma 60-600mm F4.5-6.3 DG DN OS Sports Lens Case Side

A single-side-attached strap rests against the body better than a strap attached to opposite sides.

Sigma provides two lens cap options for the 60-600. The first is the standard LCF III 105mm front cap. It is big, but it works well.

Sigma 60-600mm F4.5-6.3 DG DN OS Sports Lens Cap

The other included solution is the Sigma LC-740E Cover Lens Cap. This is the type of cover typically found on the largest super-telephoto lenses, featuring padded nylon that wraps around the lens hood, with a hook-and-loop closure.

Both caps can be used individually or simultaneously.

Sigma 60-600mm F4.5-6.3 DG DN OS Sports Lens Extended Top View

Price, Value, Wrap Up

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The price of a pro-grade lens is typically a high hurdle to clear. Like the 150-600mm Sports lens and predecessor 60-600mm Sports lens, the 60-600mm DN Lens wears a high price tag. However, after considering the number of lenses this one potentially replaces and the versatility it holds, the price becomes much easier to accept.

Some of Canon, Nikon, and Sony's pro-grade telephoto zoom lenses with significantly shorter focal length ranges are priced in a similar range. Coming from the lower-priced side, Sigma and Tamron both offer lenses with a significant portion of the focal length range at 2/3 of this price.

An in-the-field failure of a lower-priced lens may leave you regretting the decision to save money upfront. Thus, the price of this substantially constructed ultra-zoom telephoto lens does not seem misaligned.

The "DG" refers to full-frame camera compatibility, and the "DN" indicates that this lens was designed for short flange mirrorless cameras. The Sigma 60-600mm F4.5-6.3 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 L mount (Sigma, Panasonic, Leica).

Made in Japan, each Art lens is tested with Sigma's proprietary MTF measuring system, ensuring a quality product. In regard 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 1-year limited warranty, and Sigma USA provides a limited 3-year warranty extension.

The reviewed Sigma 60-600mm F4.5-6.3 DG DN OS Sports Lens was on loan from Sigma Corporation of America.

Sigma 60-600mm F4.5-6.3 DG DN OS Sports Lens Front View on Camera

Alternatives to the Sigma 60-600mm F4.5-6.3 DG DN OS Sports Lens

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From a focal length range perspective, there is no alternative to the Sigma 60-600mm DN Sports Lens except the predecessor lens, the Sigma 60-600mm f/4.5-6.3 DG OS HSM Sports Lens. So, let's start the comparisons with this one.

In the image quality comparison, the wide-open DN lens produces noticeably sharper images over the entire focal length range. Stopped down to f/8, the DN lens still holds the advantage, though the improvements are primarily in the periphery. The DN lens has slightly less peripheral shading at 60mm and slightly more at the long end, though these differences are not significant. The DN lens has less geometric distortion at 60mm but slightly stronger pincushion distortion over the balance of the range.

The Sigma 60-600mm F4.5-6.3 DG DN OS Sports Lens vs. Sigma 60-600mm f/4.5-6.3 DG OS HSM Sports Lens comparison shows the DN lens weighing 92% as much as the HSM lens. The DN lens has 0.43x maximum magnification vs. 0.30x, a 6-7-stop-rated OS system vs. 4-stops, and the same list price.

This decision is easy. If you have a Sony (or Leica L-mount) camera, get the DN lens. Otherwise, get the HSM lens.

If one can give up 90mm on the wide side, Sigma's 150-600mm option comes into play, the Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG DN OS Sports Lens.

The image quality comparison shows the two lenses performing similarly, with the 150-600mm lens having less lateral CA. The 150-600 has slightly less peripheral shading at the wide end.

The Sigma 60-600mm F4.5-6.3 DG DN OS Sports Lens vs. Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG DN OS Sports Lens comparison shows the 150-600 weighing 85% as much as the 60-600 and slightly smaller. The 150-600mm lens uses 95mm filters vs. 105mm. The 60-600mm lens has a 0.42x maximum magnification vs. 0.34x and a 6-7-stop-rated OS system vs. 4-stops.

The price difference reflects the focal length range difference.

If one can give up 140mm on the wide side, the Sony FE 200-600mm F5.6-6.3 G OSS Lens is an attractive option. I know, we are close to removing an entire zoom lens of focal length range. Still, some sports and wildlife photographers can do without those focal lengths. Also, the Sony lens is compatible with Sony teleconverters.

The image quality comparison shows the two lenses performing similarly on the shared wide end, but the Sony lens takes a slight advantage in the long end.

The Sigma 60-600mm F4.5-6.3 DG DN OS Sports Lens vs. Sony FE 200-600mm F5.6-6.3 G OSS Lens comparison shows the Sony lens weighing 85% as much as the Sigma lens. The fixed-size Sony lens is slightly longer than the retracted Sigma lens and noticeably shorter than the extended Sigma lens. The Sony lens has 11 aperture blades vs. 9, 24 lens elements vs. 27, and uses 95mm filters vs. 105mm. The 60-600mm lens has a 0.42x maximum magnification vs. 0.20x and a 6-7-stop-rated OS system vs. expected lower but unrated. These lenses are priced similarly.

Tamron has a couple of worth-comparing lenses. First up is the Tamron 50-400mm f/4.5-6.3 Di III VC VXD Lens, gaining 10mm on the wide side but losing 200mm on the long end.

In the image quality comparison shows the two lenses performing similarly overall, with the Sigma lens advantaged at 400mm. The Tamron lens shows stronger pincushion distortion and slightly more peripheral shading.

The Sigma 60-600mm F4.5-6.3 DG DN OS Sports Lens vs. Tamron 50-400mm f/4.5-6.3 Di III VC VXD Lens comparison shows the Tamron lens weighing only 46% as much as the Sigma lens. The Tamron lens is considerably smaller, uses 67mm vs. 105mm filters, has 24 lens elements vs. 27, does not have a focus limit switch, and has a higher maximum magnification (0.50x vs. 0.42x). The Tamron lens's VC is unrated vs. the Sigma lens's 6-7-stop rating. The Tamron lens is considerably less expensive.

The other Tamron lens we should consider is the Tamron 150-500mm f/5-6.7 Di III VC VXD Lens. While 150-500mm is considerably shorter than the Sigma 60-600mm on both ends, the shorter range will suffice for some needs.

The image quality comparison shows the two lenses performing similarly. The Tamron lens has slightly more peripheral shading, and modestly stronger pincushion distortion.

The Sigma 60-600mm F4.5-6.3 DG DN OS Sports Lens vs. Tamron 150-500mm f/5-6.7 Di III VC VXD Lens comparison shows the Tamron lens weighing 69% as much as the Sigma lens. The Sigma lens has 9 aperture blades vs. 7, a higher maximum magnification (0.42x vs. 0.32x), and a 6-7-stop-rated OS vs unrated. The Tamron lens is smaller, uses 82mm filters vs. 105mm, and costs considerably less.

Use the site's tools to create additional comparisons.

Sigma 60-600mm F4.5-6.3 DG DN OS Sports Lens Top View

Summary

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When the predecessor lens was announced, I was highly skeptical of its potential image quality. Decent image quality certainly could not be maintained over this incredible focal length range, right? Upon seeing the "Sports" moniker, I began thinking a bit more optimistically.

The Sports series include Sigma's best and most feature-filled lenses. These lenses have solid build quality, high-performing AF systems, smooth functionality, weather sealing, optical stabilization, and aesthetically attractive designs. And, good image quality is never sacrificed. The relatively high price for a third-party lens solidified the positive expectations.

Upon seeing the original lens's image quality test results, the excitement needle moved considerably to the positive scale. While not matching the high-end prime lens grade image quality, this lens produced impressive results for the crazy-long focal length range.

Now, the Sigma 60-600mm F4.5-6.3 DG DN OS Sports Lens raises the bar — in many aspects. The DN lens features notably improved image quality, a higher-performing AF system, a crazy-high-rated optical stabilization system, lighter weight, and a better physical design. This lens still does not have a wide aperture, it is not small or light, and it is relatively expensive. Those few downsides do not offset the positive attributes.

When you can only take one lens and need long telephoto focal lengths, including for sports and wildlife, the hyper-versatile Sigma 60-600mm F4.5-6.3 DG DN OS Sports Lens, a world record co-holder and the only mirrorless lens covering this range, has you covered.

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Sigma 60-600mm F4.5-6.3 DG DN OS Sports Lens
Sigma 60-600mm F4.5-6.3 DG DN OS Sports Lens
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