One of the products that I was most excited to be able to try out while at PhotoPlus this last week was the new Sigma 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Sports lens. In addition to spending a little bit of time with Sigma’s reps talking about the new lens, I was able to take a look at it, and here are my initial impressions.
First Impressions Of The Sigma 150-600mm F/5-6.3
The 150-600mm F/5-6.3 is not a lens for the faint of heart, it is an absolute bazooka, especially when fully extended. That said, did not feel as heavy as I thought it would. It is not a lens that I would try and hand hold for a long period of time, but it is certainly hand holdable for short periods of time, especially if you have a strap or something to rest it on when you are not shooting.
One of the things that has always annoyed me with longer range zoom lenses like this where the front element extends out a lot, is not having any hard stops on the zoom range so you can easily zoom to and stick to the desired focal length. This lens does not have hard stops, but they did add an amazing feature to the zoom lock switch.
On most lenses like this (the Tamron 150-600mm for example), the zoom lock only works at the widest focal length (or with the barrel not extended at all). What Sigma did, which is sort of one of those “why has nobody done this before” sort of things, is make the zoom lock switch work on any of the focal length indicators along the lens. So, you could lock the lens on 150mm, or 300mm, or 600mm or any of the other focal lengths marked on the lens.
Sigma also mentioned adding an accelerometer to the stabilization system on this lens, to improve the OS (Optical Stabilization, Sigma’s Image Stabilization technology) performance. I was able to test this a little bit (sorry no sample images/video) and was impressed with how well the stabilization worked, even at 600mm hand held.
Sigma also had a pre-production version of their Contemporary 150-600mm, which should be available sometime in 2015, and I was also impressed with that lens. Sigma says that the performance on the Sports version is better, but not vast. It will be interesting to test these two lenses out together once they are both available.
I should be getting a review unit of the Sports version in for review sometime in the next couple of weeks, and I look forward to being able to really give this lens a good run through.
In the mean time, for those of you who are interested. The Sigma 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Sports is currently available for pre-order at $1,999 and should begin shipping within the next month, just in time for the holiday season. Also, a big shout out to B&H for their sponsorship of our PhotoPlus coverage, without their support it would not have been possible.