Sigma 150-600mm F5-6.3 DN OS | Sport Image Gallery
August 4th, 2021
The Sony telephoto wars are heating up! For a long time the big hole in the Sony lineup was anything over 200mm. I found Sony’s development of the FE 200-600mm F5-6.3 G OSS lens in 2019 very welcome because it gave Sony shooters the first long lens with a somewhat affordable price point. I gave it very high marks in my review and eventually purchased one for myself. The Sigma 100-400mm F5-6.3 DN OS (my review here) later came to market as an affordable alternative, though that lens is more of a cheaper alternative to the Sony 100-400mm G Master lens (my review here). The most recent challenger to the Sony FE 200-600mm OSS was the Tamron 150-500mm F5-6.7 Di III VC VXD (my review here), which made for a different alternative due to a different kind of design that resulted in a much more compact lens (and a fair bit cheaper). But now Sigma is dropping its greatest challenger yet; an optically excellent big telephoto that reaches all the way to 600mm – the Sigma 150-600mm F5-6.3 DG DN OS Sport. It “sports” a larger zoom range, has a great built and good autofocus, and really delivers on the optical end while still undercutting Sony in price. There are still some variables to consider here, but there’s no question that Sigma will make some waves with their new 150-600mm DN supertelephoto lens. These photos shown in the gallery below have all been taken with the new Sony Alpha 1 which will serve as my benchmark camera for the foreseeable future (my review here). The 150-600 DN will also be released in a Leica L mount.
While Tamron has taken a unique approach to design on the Sony platform, Sigma has largely elected to go head to head with Sony offerings. This is a pretty traditional design that looks and behaves much like their DSLR equivalents, though with an important caveat. The new 150-600mm DN is a bit smaller (11mm narrower | 27mm shorter) and significantly lighter (2100g) than the 150-600mm Sport (2860g) in, say, Canon EF form. One of my chief complaints about that lens (my review here) was it was very heavy, and, more importantly, the weight was distributed in such a way that one had to support a lot of weight quite far out from your body. It was a tiring lens to use for any length of time. I find the new 150-600 DN to be a much easier lens to use, and the balance is much better. It is still a large, heavy lens, but a far more accessible one, I think, and it is actually slightly lighter than the Sony 200-600 G (5g) despite having an additional 50mm of focal length. The new Sigma 150-600mm DN is closer to the Sony 200-600 G in size, though having an externally zooming design means that the Sigma can retract smaller (about 55mm) and will be a bit easier to transport. The Tamron 150-500mm VC RXD remains the most compact option here at nearly 75mm shorter length retracted than the Sigma, though the Sigma has both 100mm of extra zoom range along with a slightly smaller larger maximum aperture (F6.3 vs F6.7). Here’s a look at some various comparison points:
Lenses like this as valued by a variety of photographers: those who shoot outdoor sports, wildlife photographers, and, in particular, those who enjoy photographing birds in flight.
The recent trend in zoom lens design has been to have different minimum focus distances for the wide and telephoto ends of the zoom range, which is true here as well. You can focus as closely as 58cm on the wide end and that distance grows to a fairly long 2.8m on the telephoto end. What’s interesting, though, is that maximum magnification is actually unleashed at the 180mm focal length, where you get an unusually high 1:2.9 ratio, or about 0.34x magnification, which is slightly higher than the 0.32x figure Tamron provides with their 150-500mm VXD lens, and a figure significantly higher than either the Sony 200-600 (0.20x) or the older Sigma 150-600 Sport lens (0.20x). Here’s a look at how much a marigold blossom fills the frame with that 0.34x magnification:
The Sony 200-600 G has been the king since it was released, but Sigma has gone toe to toe with Sony a number of times over the past year and a half and has done quite well. In this arena, however, the first party Sony has some built-in advantages. The first is this: it strongly seems that Sony is limiting teleconverter access on their platform to native Sony lenses. The 150-600mm DN, like previous Sigma lenses, will have 1.4x and 2x teleconverters available on Leica L mounts, but not on Sony. The second big one is this: on Sony high speed bodies like my Alpha 1, the 200-600 G can take advantage of the blazing 30 FPS burst rate while enjoying real time tracking. With a Sigma or Tamron lens, the fastest burst rate I can get is 15 FPS with tracking; I can only get the 30 FPS if I turn off autofocus…which really defeats the purpose. I’ve tried balanced emphasis (my usual setup) along with release priority (which in theory should speed things up), but in either case I get exactly 15 FPS with autofocus turned on. The “good news” is that I saw a similar trend on previous lenses when I shot with an a9 or a9II, and the limit was exactly 15 FPS. That means you lose a bit less (relatively) if you shoot on an a9 body, and you won’t notice it at all with the current a7 or a7R series bodies. The playing field is not level, unfortunately, so Sigma has to overcome these obstacles. I lamented the same issues when reviewing the Tamron 150-500mm a few months ago. The good news is that I found the 150-600 DN to deliver very good autofocus results for tracking birds in flight, for example, so if those two obstacles I mention aren’t deal-breakers for you, the Sigma 150-600mm DN OS Sport is going to be a very compelling option. You can read my text review or watch either my long format definitive or shorter standard video reviews to find out why…or just enjoy the photos below.
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Thanks to Sigma Canada (Gentec) for getting me an early loaner of the lens. As always, this is a completely independent review.
Photos of the Sigma 150-600mm DN Sport
Photos Taken with the Sigma 150-600mm DN
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Keywords: Sigma 150-600, Sigma 150-600mm, Sigma 150-600 DN, Sigma 150-600 Review, Sigma 150-600mm DN Review, DN, DG, OS, DG, Sport, Tamron 150-500 VC Review, Sony 200-600, Sony 200-600mm, Sigma 150-600mm F5-6.3 DN DG OS Sport, Sigma 100-400, Review, Telephoto, Action, Tracking, Hands On, Dustin Abbott, Real World, Comparison, Sharpness, Bokeh, Flare Resistance, Autofocus, Image Quality, Sample Images, Video, Photography, Sony a9, sony a7III, sony a7RIV, a9II, Sony Alpha 1, Sony A1
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