Fat Bike Snow Racing with the Sigma 150-600mm Sports lens

1/1250 F8 ISO 1250 @ 389mm on a Canon 1DX  © Liam Doran
1/1250 F8 ISO 1250 @ 389mm on a Canon 1DX © Liam Doran

My friend Jeff Westcott runs the local bike race series here in Breckenridge and he was organizing a new event.  A new lineage of bikes has taken hold in the snowy regions around the US and elsewhere.  Known as Fat Bikes, they are not dissimilar to regular mountain bikes with the exception of huge, oversized tires with low air pressure, which are great for increased flotation and traction in soft surfaces like sand, snow, and mud.  With the new bikes in mind Jeff put together his first fat bike race, and I was there to capture the winter sports action.

1/1250 F8 ISO 800 at 570mm on the 1DX. © Liam Doran

I was eager to really test out the new Sigma 150-600 F5-6.3 DG OS HSM | Sports lens in extreme conditions and a bike race during a snowstorm seemed the perfect place. Wrapped in a few layers of down and Gore-tex, I headed out the door shoot the action.

1/1250 F8 ISO 800 at 570mm on the 1DX. © Liam Doran

First off, the 150-600 Sports is a lot of lens.  Weighing in at over six pounds, and with a big 105mm front element, the front of the lens can feel heavy in the hand for extended periods of time, especially when pulled all the way to 600mm. You may need the support of a monopod or tripod for extended periods of use.  I used a Manfrotto carbon fiber tripod with fluid head. This was a great combo to steady the camera and lens yet be able to easily track the action.

1/1250 F8 ISO 800 at 570mm on the 1DX. © Liam Doran

The 150-600 is incredibly fast to pick up focus and track the subject, even through falling snow! I also found the 150-600 incredibly crisp and colorful with good contrast. This lens is super-sharp.

1/1250 F5.6 ISO 1000 at 150mm. © Liam Doran

And the winner is…all of us!  A sharp, fast, weather sealed lens with reach up to 600mm for under $2,000. Incredible!

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