Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary Review

November 9, 2015 | Mark Goldstein | |

Introduction

The Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary is a relatively compact and lightweight versatile 4x telelphoto zoom lens for full-frame DSLR cameras and APS-C sensor cameras with an effective increase in focal length. The Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary features a rounded 9 blade diaphragm which creates an attractive blur to the out of focus areas of the image, built-in optical image stabilisation with an accelerometer for improved vertical and horizontal panning, an Hyper Sonic Motor for fast and quiet autofocusing, a zoom lock switch that can be locked at any focal length, manual override (MO) which is activated by rotating the focus ring while using autofocus, water and oil-repellent coating on the front and rear lenses, and dust and splash-proof construction on the mount. The Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary lens is currently available for £849.99 / $1099.99 in the UK and the US, respectively.

Ease of Use

Weighing in at a whopping 1,930g and measuring 26cm in length, the Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary is a pretty big and heavy lens, although it is almost 1kg lighter than the Sports version. As seen in the photos below, it dwarves even a full-frame camera like the Canon EOS 5D Mark III. This is not a lens that you can hand-hold for too long, being much more at home mounted on a sturdy tripod or monopod. The lens also extends by quite a long way when zoomed out from 150mm to 600mm.

Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM ContemporaryThe Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary lens mounted on the Canon EOS 5D Mark III

Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM ContemporaryThe Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary lens mounted on the Canon EOS 5D Mark III

Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM ContemporaryThe Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary lens mounted on the Canon EOS 5D Mark III

Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM ContemporarySide of the Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary lens, extended to 600mm

Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM ContemporarySide of the Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary lens, extended to 600mm

Build quality is very good. The Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary lens has a plastic shell with a mixture of metallic and plastic parts used inside. The optical elements are made of high-grade glass with 1 FLD glass element (performance equal to fluorite) and 3 SLD glass elements, while the lens commendably has a dust and splash-proof construction.

Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM ContemporarySide of the Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary lens

Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM ContemporarySide of the Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary lens

Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM ContemporarySide of the Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary lens

Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM ContemporarySide of the Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary lens

In terms of features, the Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary offers everything that you need from a professional telephoto zoom lens. This very usefully includes built-in Vibration Reduction, activated by the OS switch on the lens barrel, which offers around 4 stops of compensation. The OS system has two modes - mode 1 is suitable for general photography, and mode 2 is best for panning shots of moving subjects in a horizontal direction (not vertical).

Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM ContemporaryFront of the Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary lens

Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM ContemporaryRear of the Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary lens

Focusing is usefully internal and manual focusing is possible when set via the Focus switch on the lens barrel. Full-time manual focus override is also available by setting the Focus switch to the new MO mode and then rotating the focus ring.

Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM ContemporarySide of the Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary lens

Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM ContemporarySide of the Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary lens

Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM ContemporarySide of the Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary lens

Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM ContemporarySide of the Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary lens

The focus limiter switch has two settings, 10m-infinity and 2.8m-10m, which helps speed up the auto-focusing if you know how far your subject is from the lens. You can also use the USB dock to customise these ranges to your own needs. A clear distance scale in both feet and meters runs from the closest focusing distance of 280cm / 110.2in to infinity.

The Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary lens also offers a a new zoom lock switch that can be locked at any focal length, which is very useful when using the longer settings.

Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM ContemporaryThe Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary lens with the supplied lens hood fitted

The Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary ships with a good quality soft case and a very large circular plastic lens hood. It has a removable tripod mount ring and accepts 95mm filters.

Focal Range

At the 150mm focal length the angle of view is 16.4 degrees.

 Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM ContemporaryField of view at 150mm

At the 600mm focal length the angle of view is 4.1 degrees.

Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM ContemporaryField of view at 600mm

Focusing

The Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary lens has a large focus ring, and it is ridged for easier grip too. There are hard stops at both ends of the range, making it easier to set focus at infinity. Polariser users should be pleased that the massive 95mm filter thread doesn't rotate on focus.

When it comes to auto-focusing, the Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary zoom is a quick performer, taking about 0.15 seconds to lock onto the subject when mounted on the Canon EOS 5D Mark III that we tested it with.

We didn't experience much "hunting", either in good or bad light, with the lens accurately focusing almost all of the time. It's also a very quiet performer, thanks to the built-in HSM (Hyper Sonic Motor), which makes this lens well-suited to video recording.

Chromatic Aberrations

Chromatic aberrations, typically seen as purple or blue fringes along contrasty edges, are only conspicuous by their almost complete absence from our test shots.

Light Fall-off

With the lens set to its maximum aperture, there is significant light fall-off in the corners at both ends of the zoom range. Stopping-down to f/11 virtually eliminates this. There's very little distortion to worry about.

Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM ContemporaryLight fall-off at 150mm

Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM ContemporaryLight fall-off at 600mm

Macro

The Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary isn't claimed to be a macro lens. It has a minimum focusing distance of 280cm / 110.2in and a maximum magnification ratio of 1:4.9. The following example demonstrates how close you can get to your subject, in this case a Compact Flash memory card.

Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM ContemporaryClose-up performance

Bokeh

Bokeh is a word used for the out-of-focus areas of a photograph, and is usually described in qualitative terms, such as smooth / creamy / harsh etc. In the Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary lens, Sigma employed an iris diaphragm with nine rounded blades, which has resulted in very nice bokeh in our view. We do realise, however, that bokeh evaluation is subjective, so we've included several 100% crops for your perusal.

Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary
   
Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary

Sharpness

In order to show you how sharp this lens is, we are providing 100% crops on the following pages.

Entry Tags

review, samples, photos, test, images, sample images, lens, jpegs, full frame, full-frame, zoom, telephoto, 200mm, 4x, 300mm, people, nature, 150-600mm, f5, 600mm, Sigma, 400mm, telezoom, 500mm, 150mm, Sigma 150-600mm f5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary, contemporary, Sigma 150-600mm f5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary review

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