From the moment I pulled the SIGMA 150-600 F5-6.3 DG DN OS | Sports lens out of the box I knew it was something special. Why? For starters, the original version of this lens (made for DSLRs) was a true game-changer, being one of the first high-quality, affordable lenses to bring a 600mm focal length within reach of enthusiast photographers. And now, the latest iteration — the 150-600mm DG DN OS | S — is designed for mirrorless and it’s better than ever. What makes it so appealing to long lens lovers? Let’s take a look and find out.
First Impressions of the 150-600mm DG DN OS | Sports Lens
If you have any experience with the 150-600mm DG OS HSM | S lens for DSLRs, the very first thing you will notice about the 150-600mm DG DN OS | S is that it is significantly smaller and lighter. The front element has been downsized from 105mm to 95mm, bringing the circumference of the lens down (and the cost of filters down, too). For mirrorless shooters, the length of the lens has been shortened over two inches (if you include the MC-11/MC-21 converter) enabling it to fit in your pack much easier. And the weight of the 150-600mm DG DN OS | S has tumbled down to just 4.6 pounds, making it nearly two pounds lighter!
Getting out in the field with the 150-600mm DG DN OS | Sports
Once in the field, my time with the 150-600mm DG DN OS | S was spent shooting wildlife, action sports and nature. Contrary to how I shot the original version of this lens, I photographed almost exclusively handheld. I was able to do this because of its lighter weight and its excellent 4-stop Optical Stabilization system.
Another cool feature I utilized in the field was the new Torque Zoom Switch. With a quick click I could either lock the zoom in its closed position or, more often, put it in the “tight” setting, enabling me to walk the backcountry without fear of the lens extending and bumping into rocks or brush.
As with any new lens, one of the biggest questions is inevitably, “How is the image quality?” The images I took are razor sharp with excellent color rendition and nice contrast. CA is very well controlled, even in tough backlit situations where it can be an issue. Resolution is outstanding on my 24-megapixel camera to the level where I can see a mosquito’s antenna on a marmot’s nose without zooming in… no kidding! Additionally, the IQ remains excellent throughout the zoom range, making this lens extremely consistent. I would not hesitate to shoot at 150mm or 600mm wide open!
Speaking of zoom range, this lens has all the range one could need for photographing wildlife, or even landscapes from a variety of perspectives. I find this flexibility very handy as an outdoor photographer where I am often tethered to an area because of environmental concerns or proximity to animals. Below is what a 150-600mm zoom range looks like in the real world.
The close focusing distance of the 150-600mm DG DN OS | S has been improved to a mere 23 inches. This is great when photographing flowers, or less-skittish small animals that allow you to get up close. Also, the nine rounded aperture blades make for a beautiful, natural, creamy bokeh. So whether you’re shooting up close or far away with wide open apertures, you end up with subject-popping images.
Lets switch gears to another aspect that has been improved on the 150-600mm DG DN OS | S. The autofocus speed and accuracy is even better than the previous model. When shooting fast-moving subjects like mountain bikers, the AF system grabbed hold and did not let go.
Shooting at my camera’s highest frame rate, I was able to capture 34 tack sharp images in row with the athlete coming straight at me. Very impressive.
As part of SIGMA’s Sports line of lenses, the 150-600mm DG DN OS | S is designed for rigorous use. It feels very solid and durable in hand, and it is built with both aluminum and Thermally Stable Composite, making for a strong, light body. It is also very well-sealed to keep the elements out, and keep you out shooting no matter the conditions. This is a professional-level lens that is built to give you many years of sharp shooting performance.
While I have only had this lens a short time, I can tell you this much… the SIGMA 150-600mm DG DN OS | Sports lens has unequivocally earned a spot in my pack. It is smaller, lighter, faster and sharper than its predecessor. It also comes loaded with a bunch of great new features that just add to the value of this lens.
So whether you photograph wildlife or wildflowers, action sports or automotive, or anything that requires mid to long telephoto reach, this lens will be the perfect choice for your Sony E-mount and L-Mount mirrorless cameras. And with a shipping date in late summer, this incredible piece of glass will arrive just in time for fall, many photographers’ favorite time of year. Who knows, maybe I’ll see you out in the Tetons or in Southwest Colorado enjoying your own SIGMA 150-600mm DG DN OS | Sports lens!