Astrophotography with the SIGMA 150-600mm DG DN OS Sports Lens
When we typically think of astrophotography, we usually think first of fast, wide-angle primes lenses and specialty telescopes, so it may seem unconventional to use a long focal length variable-aperture zoom lens… but hear me out. I’ve spent the last four years trying to find an “ultra” zoom lens for astrophotography and low-light landscape time-lapses, I can safely say my search has finally arrived at the SIGMA 150-600mm F5-6.3 DG DN OS | Sports lens. This lens is SIGMA’s first Sports line lens designed exclusively for full-frame mirrorless cameras, and is currently available for Sony E-mount, as well as L-Mount cameras from SIGMA, Leica and Panasonic. For my review, I have been working with the E-mount version paired with a Sony A7 III.
Reviewing the 150-600mm DG DN OS | Sports
When trying to achieve pinpoint stars, there is no greater issue than Earth’s rotation. Depending on the focal length of your lens, you must accurately calculate proper exposure time / shutter speed to ensure you don’t get blurry stars (of course, remember that using a tracking mount can help you increase exposure times). The SIGMA 150-600mm F5-6.3 DG DN OS | Sports strikes a perfect balance between versatility and aperture – this lens is one of the fastest ultra zooms you can find that is still quite affordable.
Most astrophotographers when looking for a dedicated “astrograph” (a photographic telescope) must compromise in the versatility department, but with this SIGMA lens I’m not just stuck with a single focal length. I often like to explore a variety of compositions, and with this lens, I can photograph wider star fields or the rising moon at 150mm, and then punch in to 600mm for deep-sky targets like the Andromeda Galaxy or Orion Nebula. It’s truly a one-stop shop!
Both the physical build and the image quality is top-notch. I was surprised to find that it rivals dedicated astrographs I’ve shot with – very sharp corner to corner, and there is little to no chromatic aberration.
Other thoughts: prior to this, I hadn’t seen a tapered zoom ring before and I found it quite comfortable when hand-holding. I also like that you can change zoom tightness and lock the zoom ring for travel. Autofocus and image stabilization are spot-on whether you’re into terrestrial sports photography, or handholding shots of the crescent moon or a even a magnificent lunar eclipse.
One of my other favorite features is the built-in tripod collar. It’s nice that when changing image orientation, the tripod collar clicks into place at 90-degree increments, indicating when you’re level in the vertical and horizontal positions, no more fumbling with the tripod head for micro adjustments. It really takes away the guesswork and improves my workflow with composition, especially with the weight of the lens considered! (although at under five pounds, it is relatively light for the focal range and maximum apertures).
Overall, the SIGMA 150-600mm F5-6.3 DG DN OS | Sports is a great lens for every experience level, whether you’re looking for a wildlife or sports lens, landscape zoom, or even an astrograph, you will be confident in the results you can achieve.
Grant Tandy has been an amateur astronomer for years, serving both as an Astronomical Interpreter and Observatory Manager. A lifelong resident of Central Oregon, neighbor to some of the darkest skies in the country, Tandy has been interested in astronomy and the cosmos for most of his life. His passions for astronomy and knowledge of the night sky are only accentuated by his years of experience as an astrophotographer. Currently, Grant Tandy divides his time between his professional endeavors as an Observatory Manager, photography, and his weekly exploration trips into the Oregon wilderness, where he strives to find a connection between nature, both below and above.
Nice shots. Just picked this lens up. What tracker were you using for the star shots?
Thank you! Some of these shots were taken while mounted to observatory grade tracking robotics, I am typically using an Ioptron Skyguider pro though.