In this day and age, there are thousands of options with camera gear. Whether it’s the body, lens, accessories, and even down to the type of memory card, the choices can be endless and sometimes overwhelming to the less experienced shooter. I felt it worthwhile to write a review on the Sigma 150-600 Sport lens, if for anything, to help alleviate some of those stressful feelings for even a few people.
I took this lens out to the Kansas City Zoo, which is a fantastic attraction here just outside of the city. I wanted a place that would give me some room to breath between my lens, subject, and its background. This seemed like the most logical choice.
(Now I will preface this review by saying, I don’t believe in using DxOMark nonsense, counting some imaginary numbers to figure out what is sharper or a better lens. I believe in reviewing equipment by using it in the real world, in situations many people may find themselves in. If that doesn’t suit you, I apologize, but what matters is the end result, not some numbers telling you what an end result could be.)
This lens is a weather sealed, heavy duty piece of glass made to handle some use. At around 6.5 lbs, it is a lens I’d highly recommend you use on a tripod or monopod, unless you’re using photography as a way to start lifting weights. This lens is also equipped with an AF/MF switch for auto and manual focusing, focusing distance options, two different optical stabilization modes, and two different custom preset modes that can be configured with the optional Sigma USB Dock. I highly recommend you purchase the dock, as I had to do some minor tweaking out of the box to make sure my focusing on this lens was the best it could be. The lens is still great out of the box, but there’s definitely room for improvement, and that’s why this dock exists! Calibration is important in several aspects of photography, and your lens is no different.
I will say that this is one of the best things I’ve seen out of Sigma yet. They’ve truly stepped up their game and it’s mighty impressive. I’m a Nikon shooter and all of my glass is Nikon, so it felt almost like a betrayal getting this lens, but for $1,800 dollars or so, it was absolutely worth it and then some. Here’s some notes:
This lens, once properly calibrated, produces some tack sharp images! I was actually impressed at how well this thing performed in both indoor and outdoor situations. It holds up against the likes of my Nikon 70-200 2.8 VR II in this category, but once again, calibrate the lens with the USB dock to get all that you can out of it.
This lens is made like a tank. I had it attached to my SiruiP-324X Carbon Fiber Monopod the whole time, over my shoulder, and it obviously didn’t fall off or break. The tripod mount (that is not removable, which is a bit of a drawback) is made to last as well. I WILL SAY, the first 150-600 Sport lens I received through Amazon was defective out of the box and would not zoom past around 180mm. I had to send it back and they shipped me a replacement lens overnight, and it is working as it’s supposed to.
This part is very impressive. The focusing motor on this thing is extremely quick for a mega zoom lens. Within the firmware using the dock, you’re able to adjust the speed to make it quicker, but I left it in standard and it didn’t drag for me whatsoever. It had a little bit of hunting going on in really dark situations, but that’s more due to the poor lighting and EV focusing of the camera (Nikon D810). This is a section that I wouldn’t worry about. It was stellar.
This is a section that doesn’t need many words. If you’re buying this lens to shoot in low light situations, be prepared to crank your ISO on your camera. It’s an f/5-f/6.3 lens, so it’s best suited to be out in daylight, or bright sport lights.
Here are some examples of this lens in action at the zoo. Some of these shots were in direct daylight, letting me keep my ISO a bit lower (between 1250-1600 respectively), whereas the indoor shots were having me hit around the 4000 ISO mark to properly expose for the shot due to the closed down apertures of this lens. You should be able to tell which is which by the lighting source alone. All photos are shot in RAW with the Nikon D810, and edited in Adobe Lightroom.
It’s hard to tell anyone what lens to buy, but I believe in showing proof of what a lens is capable of doing, and then letting the potential consumers decide for themselves. Yes, these shots were all shot with a $3,000 camera body in the Nikon D810, and yes they’re all edited, but you cannot take a soft, crappy photo and make it good in Adobe Lightroom. All I did was bring these images to life as I saw them on the day in the zoo. It’s worth seeing real world results to find your conclusion.
This Sigma 150-600 f/5-f/6.3 Sport lens is a fantastic purchase at just around $1,800. You won’t find anything near this fast, sharp or well built at this price point (especially on the Nikon side). I recommend you rent one and give it a try for yourself. Tell me what you think below in the comments, and don’t forget to subscribe, and follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as well!
Check out a few photo samples with this lens!