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Gear Reviews

Shooting Wildlife With Sigma’s 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Sport Lens

By Anthony Thurston on June 7th 2015

It took long enough for me to get my hands on one, but I have finally had a chance to play around with Sigma’s new 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Sport series lens, and man, is it something special.

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The ‘Sports’ model of the 150-600mm is Sigma’s higher end, all-in-one telephoto lens, offering advanced weather sealing, and a more robust build quality over the smaller, more budget friendly, ‘contemporary’ version. Priced at just under $2000, the Sports model is an interesting conundrum for those also considering fast telephoto primes.

[REWIND: Sigma Announces Two 150-600mm Lenses]

I am blessed to live within a short driving distance of two great national wildlife reserves, and I figured there was no better way to put this lens through the paces than out in the bush with some wildlife. I tested the Canon mount version of this lens on a Canon 7D, and I did use it stabilized with a monopod.

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That is one aspect of this lens where the contemporary version has the advantage, it is much smaller and easier to handle. This Sports version is big, heavy, and while you can pop off a shot or two handheld, for extended shooting, a tripod or monopod is virtually required.

The Imagery

You can view full sized JPGs of these shots by clicking on the image.

Canon 7D - 1/200th, F/6.3, ISO 1000 @ 600mm

Canon 7D – 1/200th, F/6.3, ISO 1000 @ 600mm

Canon 7D - 1/160th, F/6.3, ISO 1000  @ 600mm

Canon 7D – 1/160th, F/6.3, ISO 1000 @ 600mm

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Canon 7D – 1/400th, F/6.3, ISO 640 @ 600mm

Canon 7D - 1/200,  F/8, ISO 600 @ 600mm

Canon 7D – 1/200, F/8, ISO 600 @ 600mm

Conclusions

Overall, I am very happy with how the Sigma 150-600mm Sport lens has performed for me. But I wonder how many photographers will opt for this model given its heft and the inconvenience of needing a tripod/monopod for extended use. The lens is sharp, focuses quickly and accurately, and the included image stabilization is top notch.

sigma-sport-150-600mm

Pros

  • Fast & Accurate Focusing
  • Top Notch Build Quality
  • Weather Sealed
  • Great Image Stabilization

Cons

  • Size & Weight Make It Unwieldy Hand Held

I am hoping to compare this model to its cheaper contemporary sibling as well as the Tamron 150-600mm, so stay tuned for those in the future along with a full, and more extensive review of this lens on it own.

So what do you want to know about this lens? What lenses are you most interested in seeing this compared to? Leave a comment below and let us know your thoughts!

Anthony Thurston is a photographer based in the Salem, Oregon area specializing in Boudoir. He recently started a new project, Fiercely Boudoir to help support the growing boudoir community. Find him over on Instagram. You may also connect with him via Email.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. William Emmett

    I’ve found while shooting a large heavy lens it is best to use a tripod, with a good gimbal head. I use a heavy Benro video tripod, with a Nest Gimbal head. The Nest is carbon fiber, and lighter than the lens and camera. When using any long telephoto, stability is your friend. Camera shake over a long distance is to great for even the best OS, IS, or VC is just overwhelmed. I shoot over ponds, or long distances using my tripod and gimbal in a modified folding hunting blind.

    WE

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  2. Paul Monaghan

    If anyone want’s to see what this lens can do detail wise check out the full size image I took using it on a Sd1 Merrill “https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7415/15813060214_8aa7cff97a_o.jpg”

    I know its only an aps-c sensor but it has way more per pixel detail than a regular Bayer camera.

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    • Jeffrey Morrow-Lucas

      Paul – awesome image! That is amazingly sharp – any post sharpening here?

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    • Paul Monaghan

      Nothing special, I tend not to sharpen Merrill images as they are very sharp generally (if you have optics good enough for the sensor) direct from Sigma Photo Pro.

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  3. Jeffrey Morrow-Lucas

    Thanks Anthony!
    Look forward to the Tamron/Contemporary version/Sport version complete side by side shootout!

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  4. Rafy Jamgotchian

    I found 1 last December by luck and purchased without any regrets.I shoot sports and wildlife and for the price this did it for me compared to my 70-200 f2.8,with the right support straps it realy is easy to carry around.
    The best is a Gimbal on a tripod and you’re good for the day to get amazing shots.

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  5. Bill Bentley

    Not your fault Anthony, but the sensor on the 7D is not doing any favors for those shots. At 100%, images 1, 2 and 4 have a very displeasing grain/noise look to them imo. Considering these were taken at <1000 iso in what looks to be fading light, I'm guessing the 7D should only be used in bright conditions. I'm a bit spoiled by the sensor on my 6D, but then it doesn't have the AF/tracking that the 7D series does. :-(

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  6. Liam Doran

    I’m looking forward to shooting some sports and wildlife with this lens later this summer!

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  7. Paul Monaghan

    I found this to be an amazing lens and it even resolved really well on the Sigma SD1 Merrill which can easy show lens flaws.

    It is a heavy lens but at the same time you get used to it and I’ve managed to pull some sharp shots at 600mm down to 1/40s which is just crazy.

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  8. ESTA USA

    Very good post and so nice photos. Thanks a lot for sharing.

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  9. Mi Guel

    I have owned this lens since Feb 2015 and I love it. I shoot hand held, the weight is not a issue, I sometimes attach the foot to my Carry Speed Pro strap. When shooting wildlife I it mount to a gimbal head on either my monopod or tripod. It focuses fast, great on FF, even better on APS-C. Great review Anthony.

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  10. John Cavan

    This, or other Sigma or Tamron, is on my planned list, so I’ll be very interested in your additional tests. I have been itching for a long reach lens ever since I switched off of Pentax and retired my Sigma 120-400mm lens.

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  11. Michael Old

    My longest lens is a 70-200 f/2.8, while my friend has a canon 400 f/5.6 and the reach advantage is very clear. I have been debating my options, longing for a reasonable priced Nikon 400 f/4 or f/5.6, but alas they dont exist, reasonably priced or otherwise.
    I have been looking at the 300 f/4 with teleconverter or perhaps either version of these Sigmas or the Tamron or winning Lotto.
    I look forward to your comparison of all 3 lenses (head to head if possible would be great) in the mean time i will keep saving my money

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