The Sports Photo | Sigma 150-600mm Sport Real world Review

Sigma 150-600mm Sport Real world Review

February 22, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

Sigma 150-600mm "Sport"

 

Firstly, this review will not focus on product images, a listing of specifications or MTF charts - there are plenty of those around on the web.
It is based solely on a couple of months shooting sports in my hometown of Perth, Western Australia.
Hover over images for a listing of body, ISO, aperture and shutter speed.

Mazda RX7 at a local track dayNikon D500, 600mm, F6.3, ISO100, 1/200th

In recent years the telephoto zoom lens segment of the market has become quite saturated, with Sigma and Tamron joining Nikon and Canon with their own variants of a lens to get you closer to the action.
Providing a step up in reach and quality over the traditional 70-300 range of lenses.

In the past, the Sigma 50-500 and 150-500 lenses were the cheap options, and unfortunately they couldnt match the first party offerings.
Since Sigma stepped up with their Global Vision lineup, the quality of their glass has improved significantly.
The Sport versions, are well regarded and I had one on loan for a couple of weeks thanks to Leederville Cameras (Website)

I had a chance to shoot some Motorsport, and some Australian Rules (WAFL) Football.

I own the Sigma 500mm F4 Sport and will make some comparisons to this top tier (and twice as expensive!) lens, and the Nikon 200-500mm below.

Price and competitors

The Sigma 150-600mm Sport is priced around $2700 AUD currently.
As mentioned, there is a fair bit of competition in the long zoom market

  • Sigma 150-600mm "Contemporary" - $1500 AUD
  • Tamron 150-600mm (G1 and G2) - $1350 and $1950 respectively 
  • Canon 100-400mm II - $2800
  • Nikon 200-500mm - $1900

I have personally shot with the Tamron G1 and also currently own the Nikon 200-500mm.

The 150-600mm Focal length is quite useful, going from short telephoto to super telephoto with a twist of your hand.
Clearly this provides a very wide zoom range, which for a lot of sport is good thing - as an athlete or car is coming towards you you can follow the action, or set yourself up in different locations for a variety of shots.

WAFL Players compete in a marking contestNikon D500, 370mm, ISO360, F6.0, 1/1000th

Physical attributes

The Sigma Sport is not a light lens, weighing in at 2860g
The difference is certainly noticable compared to its competitors - and my personal preference was to shoot on my Manfrotto monopod for most of the time shooting.
It certainly is hand holdable for short periods, but this will come down to your personal limits
Interestingly enough a lot of the weight comes from the beefy hood and tripod collar - something you may choose to do without if shooting handheld and where flare wont be an issue.

This lens's weather sealing seems very good - particularly in comparison to the Nikon 200-500.
This is most noticable when zooming the lens, with the Nikon feeling a lot easier to zoom, you can feel the air being pushed out the rear of the lens on your face.
The Sigma is much firmer, presumably as the air needs to push past the weather sealing as the air pumping out is no longer felt.
I suspect this lens would hold up really well in damp and dusty conditions.

 

V8 Supercar at speedNikon D800, 460mm, ISO100, F7.1, 1/250th

Focusing 

The Autofocus of the Sigma 150-600 Sport is good, but not at the level of a telephoto prime
Its fast, accurate and with a pro level body (I shoot D4, D500, D800 currently), and in good light snaps to focus quickly and reliably with very little hunting.
The focus limiter options also work well, and provides a marked bump in focus speed
In lower light and zoomed out, the F6.3 does become a limiting factor in overall focusing ability, with the center point providing the best speed.

The USB dock also allows some customisability with regards to focus speed as well as fine tuning focus - I'd recommend you pick this up to be able to tune it to suit your shooting style.

WAFL Player laying a tackle in the wetNikon D500, 350mm, F6.0, ISO640, 1/1000th

Image stabilisation

The lens offers a number of stabilization modes - I tended to stick with the default mode, except when doing heavy duty panning when a change to "mode 2" provided a less jumpy viewfinder.
I found that the stabilization was the equal of the latest generation OS in my Tamron and Nikon zooms - which are all very good.
OS operation is again customisable via the USB dock

Formula Ford at speedNikon D800, 460mm, F13, ISO100, 1/125th

Image quality

I found the image quality of this lens to be at the top of the class in regards to image sharpness (with the Nikon 200-500).
Even with a heavy crop on a relatively low megapixel body, the sharpness delivered is fantastic.
As with most lenses, image quality improved a little stopped down, but i tend to shoot as wide open as I can.

Bokeh in most situations was smooth, and a non-issue provided you get close enough to your subject

I didnt get to try this lens with the Sigma 1.4x Teleconverter - however you need to check your camera body will work with regards to Autofocus at F8 (some cameras wont at all, others with limited or just the center point.

WAFL Player on the attackNikon D500, 490mm, F6.3, ISO1000, 1/1000th

Conclusion

I find the Sigma 150-600 Sport provides a great option for a tele-photo zoom.
It is flexible in focal length, fast, sharp and has a rugged build in comparison to some of its competitors.
Dont expect too much, and you'll be very happy with this lens

Will it replace a telephoto prime?
Of course not - so I wont be trading in my 500mm F4, but from my testing I can definitely recommend this lens.

Kudos Sigma!

Feel free to leave a comment if you have any queries regarding this lens, more than happy to answer :)
Some additional images:

Mitsubishi EVO X at Collie RacewayNikon D500, 600mm, F6.3, ISO100, 1/400th

Peel Thunder Player fires off a handball as hes tackled Nikon D500, 360mm, F6.0, ISO320, 1/1000th

 


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