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Sports or Contemporary: Which Sigma 150-600mm F5-6.3 Zoom Lens is Right For You?

Sigma offers a pair of hyper-telephoto zoom lenses for full-frame cameras, the 150-600mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM | Sports and 150-600mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM | Contemporary. With identical focal length and apertures, and advanced feature sets including Sigma’s exclusive lens customization, these two new zoom lenses share champion DNA. What is the difference between the Sports and Contemporary version of the Sigma 150-600mm zoom lenses?

Caption: The 150-600mm Sports (top) and Contemporary (lower) lenses offer Sigma’s Exclusive Features including lens performance customization with the USB Dock.
Caption: The 150-600mm Sports (top) and Contemporary (lower) lenses offer Sigma’s Exclusive Features including lens performance customization with the USB Dock.

The Sports is the bigger of the two. Weighing in at 6.3 pounds, it has an aluminum alloy barrel, and a more weatherized build. 24 elements, including two FLD and three SLD element, are in 16 groups with super multi-layer coatings. Front filter size is 105mm. Street: $1999 

© 2015 Robert O'Toole | Crossfox looking good against out of focus fireweed and grass. Sigma 150-600 Sports lens at 600mm and Nikon D810, 1/250s, f/8, ISO 1000, EV + .3, Manual mode with Auto-ISO, UniqBall UBH 45 head and Jobu Algonquin Carbon Tripod.
150-600mm | S © Robert O’Toole

The Contemporary is more compact at 4.3 pounds, and built with Thermally Stable Composite. 20 elements, including one FLD and three SLD elements, are in 16 groups with super multi-layer coatings. The rear element is water/oil resistant with mount gasketing. Filter filter size is 95mm. Street: $1089 

150-600mm | S © Liam Doran
150-600mm | S © Liam Doran

The shared Sigma DNA of these two zoom lenses ensures groundbreaking performance that leads the hyper telephoto pack–offering performance that previously was only possible with much heavier primes. These are the perfect, compact, long-reach lenses.

The 150-600mm | C is the flagship of the Contemporary line and shares the most advanced lens customization feature set via the optional USB dock with its Sports stablemate. This includes autofocus speed enhancement, custom focus limiters, 16 zone microfocus tuning, firmware upgrades, Optical Stabilizer Preview behavior, Manual Override behavior and more. Both lenses offers zoom lock at all marked focal lengths, and Optical Stabilizer with an accelerometer for automatic detection and correction for vertical or horizontal panning. When it comes to choosing the best 150-600mm lens, the only real question is: Sports or Contemporary?

Which is the right 150-600mm for you? Here is the answer from several amazing photographers who explain why they choose the C or the S version.

Roman Kurywczak, Sigma Pro, Roamin’ with Roman Tour leader

 150-600mm | S © Roman Kurywczak
150-600mm | S © Roman Kurywczak

The performance and sharpness of the 150-600mm Sports lens meets the demands and challenges of even the most discerning wildlife photographers, all in a hand-holdable package with outstanding reach and optical performance usually reserved for fixed focal length telephotos.

David FitzSimmons, Sigma Pro, Creator of Curious Critters Book Series

 150-600mm | C © David FitzSimmons
150-600mm | C © David FitzSimmons

The Sigma 150-600mm Contemporary is sharp, fast-focusing, and incredibly affordable. I carry it with me everywhere now. It’s compact enough to carry in even a smaller bag, and it is sharp throughout its range.

Liam Doran, Sigma Pro, Adventure Sport Specialist

150-600mm | S © Liam Doran
150-600mm | S © Liam Doran

The  150-600 Sports has been a great lens for me to capture athletes in their element, and for us, their element is the great outdoors, in all weather conditions. And when weather turns for the worse its good to know that this lens can handle those elements too.  I also shoot this lens for landscapes as it can pull and isolate natures best.

Jim Koepnick, Airplane Photography Expert

150-600mm | S © Jim Koepnick
150-600mm | S © Jim Koepnick

The 150-600mm S feels like it was designed with the aviation photographer in mind. The zoom range is ideal for photographing an air show, allowing you to zoom out for aircraft formations, or zoom in for a tight shot of of an aerobatic plane. The OS is fantastic at keeping a moving airplane sharp at a slow shutter speed. I’ve even used the lens
for air to air photography with outstanding results. This lens has the sharpness and performance I need at a price that fits my budget.

Steve Chesler, Sigma Pro, Sports Photography Specialist

150-600mm F5-6.3 | S Photo © Steve Chesler
150-600mm F5-6.3 | S Photo © Steve Chesler

As a sports photographer, the 150-600mm S is an essential tool in my arsenal. The long focal length is welcome on the field and racetrack, allowing for an intimacy with the action at a quality previously not available at this price point.

Jack Howard, Author of Practical HDRI & Sigma Staff Blogger

The performance and portability of the 150-600mm C makes it perfect for hand-holding while day hiking everywhere. The sharpness of the lens, and the custom focus limiters make it my new go-to glass for birding.

150-600mm | C © Jack Howard
150-600mm | C © Jack Howard

Robert O’Toole, Sigma Pro, Wildlife Specialist

150-600mm | S © Robert O’Toole
150-600mm | S © Robert O’Toole

The Sigma 150-600 Sports lens is phenomenal– with the image quality of a prime lens and the flexibility of a 4X zoom in a compact, weatherized body, this lens is a game changer for sports and wildlife photographers.

Tell us which Sigma 150-600mm is right for you!

View/Download PDF Feature Comparison Chart!

[Ed. Note: A version of this article originally appeared on PopPhoto.com in October, 2015]
Comments (7)
  1. A. Shrader says:

    You mention that Sigma offers a pair of hyper-telephoto zoom lenses for full-frame cameras, the 150-600mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM | Sports and 150-600mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM | Contemporary. I have a Canon 7D. Would you still recommend these lenses for a 7D? What would I give up if I buy the contemporary vs. the sport lens?

  2. A. Shrader, yes, for certain!

    The Contemporary is lighter, and less weatherized. The Sports is heavier, and very weather-tough.

    Both feature Sigma’s great exclusive features like zoom locks, USB customization, and A1 MTF testing. Either way, you’re getting a great lens!

  3. Teus says:

    The right one would be any with a Pentax mount.
    I now had to buy the 50-500.
    I now have the 8-16, 18-35, 50-500

    I’d rather have the 150-600 for my upcoming safari to Botswana.

  4. Duncan says:

    Can the 150+600 sport have mount conversion to a pentax mount done

  5. Jack says:

    I would be happy with either one…

  6. Bill Dix says:

    Does the 150-600 C lens collar/foot have an Arca-Swiss dovetail mount? If not, does anyone have a suggestion for a conversion plate?

  7. Teena says:

    I’m going to be shooting little league baseball and football do I need to get the more expensive Sport r will the Contemporary be good enough?

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