The Sigma 60-600mm f4.5-6.3 DG DN Sports is a 10x optical zoom taking you from standard coverage to super-telephoto. Announced in January 2023 it becomes the second member of Sigma’s Sports series that’s been re-developed for mirrorless cameras and, at the time I made this review, available for Sony-e and Leica-L mounts. Finger’s crossed for other versions sooner rather than later.
Like many of Sigma’s lenses, the 60-600 DG DN’s primary specification is based on an existing model for DSLRs, in this case the 60-600 f4.5-6.3 DG OS from late 2018. Just over four years later, the new DG DN version for mirrorless cameras shares the same range and focal ratio, but is a little lighter and focuses both faster and closer. In my full review video below you’ll see how it performs for subjects near and far, wildlife, sports, solar, lunar and more! If you’d prefer to read the written highlights, keep scrolling.
The key proposition remains the same as its predecessor, namely that 10x optical range taking you from standard to super-telephoto with a twist of the zoom ring.
This clearly makes it extremely flexible for the kinds of sports and wildlife where the action can go from distant to fairly close in moments, ruling out any time to swap lenses. The sheer heft would rule it out as a general-purpose walkaround option, but as you’ll see from my test shots throughout the review, that flexibility is equally useful for landscape and even street photography.
While it’s currently the only native mirrorless lens with a 60-600 range, there are a number of alternatives for anyone who wants a zoom with a long reach.
If you’re happy to trade the range at both ends, there’s a wealth of 100-400 options available, or of course if you want that 10x range at a lower cost, you could adapt Sigma’s older 60-600 DSLR version.
Like its predecessor and other super telephoto zooms, the 60-600 is a substantial lens: 279mm long (that’s almost a foot), 119mm at its maximum diameter, and weighing-in at fraction under 2.5kg.
This makes it the same diameter as the older DSLR version, but actually 1cm longer, and while Sigma has managed to reduce the weight by 200g, this is still a large and heavy lens to carry around.
Sigma supplies the 60-600 with a large, padded cuboid-shaped bag complete with shoulder strap, although like many other super-telephoto cases, it’s not long enough to also accommodate a body mounted to the lens, perhaps a deliberate move to avoid damage during transportation.
Again in-line with other super-teles, the 60-600 is also supplied with a padded lens cover that slips over the end of the hood and works as a protective cap. Sigma also supplies a more traditional plastic lens cap if you prefer.
The lens is actually packed with this padded cover fitted and removing it reveals the hood, reversed over the barrel. This is held in place with a knurled screw and adds a further 60mm to the overall length when fitted.
A rubber tip around the front of the hood also reduces slips if you’re standing it up when not in use. This is quite a common way to rest a super-telephoto lens, so don’t be alarmed.
As you’d expect for a heavy lens, there’s a built-in collar allowing the barrel to rotate smoothly through 360 degrees with a locking screw to keep it in place.
Sigma’s also thoughtfully provided notches at 90 degree intervals with nice tactile feedback, so you can quickly switch between landscape and portrait orientation. The collar also features a pair of generous lugs for use with a supplied strap, as this is how you should carry the lens to avoid damage to your camera mount.
Like Sigma’s other larger lenses, the foot itself has an Arca Swiss dovetail, so you can slide it straight into compatible clamps without a plate – albeit not my Manfrotto here. Note for security, Sigma recommends using screw-based clamps rather than levered ones which may not take the weight of the lens.
The foot itself is actually a removable accessory (model TS-121), allowing you to swap it for something longer if preferred. For example the optional TS-101 foot gives you a longer dovetail for easier balancing with different bodies, not to mention more to hold onto if you’re using it as a carrying handle.
Interestingly if you place the new lens next to the older version, seen here on the right, you’ll notice the latter was actually supplied with the longer foot as standard. The shorter foot seen on the newer model on the left may be down to its lighter weight, or a small cost saving as it is a cheaper accessory.
You can also see how the older lens is a tad shorter, although if you’re adding an adapter for a mirrorless camera, the overall length will become a little longer.
In terms of controls, there’s four switches near the mount including a focus limiter and two custom modes. There’s also two optical stabilisation modes with option 2 disabling the panning direction, so you can more easily follow wildlife or sports action horizontally while still enjoying the benefit of stabilisation in the vertical axis.
The Custom switch lets you fine-tune the optical stabilisation. C1 sets it to Dynamic View which quickly applies stabilisation as you rapidly recompose. C2 sets it to Moderate View which tries to balance purposeful adjustments against unwanted camera shake.
If you have the L-mount version of the lens and the optional USB dock, you can further customise these settings, along with adjusting the focus limiter distances.
The first ring on the barrel is for manual focus, freely-spinning and very smooth in operation. Like most native mirrorless lenses, there’s no distance markers in a physical window and the manual focusing employs a motorised fly-by-wire system.
The second, wider ring adjusts the zoom which gradually extends the barrel in one section by around 95mm. The barrel has marks at ten focal length intervals from 60 to 600, and each can be locked in position using a switch on the side. So long as you’re not at the extreme ends, you can unlock the barrel with a firm twist, or just flick the switch if preferred. It all works well in practice and I never experienced creep.
Like Sigma’s other big zooms, you can alternatively adjust the focal length by simply grabbing the end of the barrel and pushing it back and forth. This can work well for subjects moving quickly and erratically towards and away from you.
Between the focus and zoom rings are three buttons which share the same function and can be programmed by compatible camera bodies, for example to hold the focus.
Sigma describes the lens as being dust and splash resistant, including a rubber grommet at the mount; certainly I experienced no issues using it during light rain and stormy conditions by the Sea during testing.
In the absence of a rear-mounted system for filters though, you’ll need to splurge on substantial 105mm filters for the front.
Ok, now for my optical results, starting with coverage and to illustrate the huge range at your disposal I’m going to show a bunch of shots taken at the extremes. Unless otherwise stated, all my tests were made with the e-mount version of the lens on a Sony A7 IV body.
Now the 60-600 isn’t the first native full-frame mirrorless lens with a 10x optical range. For example both Canon and Sony have 24-240 models. But as you’ll see in these examples, there’s a big difference at both ends of the range.
The Sigma may not deliver anything wider than standard coverage at the short end, but by extending to 600mm, it can better-reach much smaller or more distant subjects. So while a 24-240 is a great general-purpose walkaround range, 60-600 is more suitable for sports and wildlife, and I’ll be showing you some action sequences soon.
It’s also ideal for tighter views of the Sun when it rises or sets, although as always do so at your own risk. I only do this without a filter when the Sun is just above the horizon and greatly dimmed by atmosphere or clouds.
If it’s good for the Sun, it’s equally good for the Moon, seen here at 600mm on the Sony A7 IV. As you crop-in on the image, you can more easily see some of the surface details, although since the phase was close to full here it’s not ideal conditions.
If 600mm isn’t long-enough, the L-mount version of the zoom is compatible with Sigma’s 1.4 and 2x L-mount teleconverters, extending the maximum focal length to 840 and 1200mm respectively. Sigma doesn’t make TCs for Sony e-mount and there’s no official support for the zoom with Sony’s own converters, but if you have a chance to try them, do let me know!
To test the optical quality of the lens, I photographed Brighton Pier from my usual location from about 140m away, and rotated the barrel so that details ran into each corner. I’m starting here at the shortest focal length of 60mm at the maximum aperture of f4.5.
Note due to poor weather, I had to shoot this sequence earlier in the day than I normally do, so the results are less contasty than my other reviews due to the position of the Sun.
Taking a closer look reveals plenty of fine details with no benefit to closing the aperture further, at least in the middle of the frame where the lens was focused.
So let’s now head out to the far corner of the image, and remember like my other lens tests, I’ve stayed focused on the middle to judge field-flatness. Here the result stays pretty sharp and detailed with only some darkening due to vignetting to mention. As you close the aperture you can gradually lift this corner darkness.
Now for the same view roughly mid-way through the focal range at 250mm, where the maximum aperture reduces to f5.6. Zooming-in on the image here again shows the lens is capable of capturing very crisp details in the middle even with the aperture wide open, and as before there’s no benefit to sharpness by closing the aperture.
Scrolling over to the far corner shows the lens maintaining the quality, and as before the only thing to mention is some darkening due to vignetting at the maximum aperture. As you gradually close the aperture, this darkening is again reduced, although again there’s no benefit to the detail.
And now finally a very tight view of the Pier at the longest focal length of 600mm where the maximum aperture reduces a little to f6.3. I’ll mention the exact points at which the aperture changes in a moment.
Zooming-in shows details in the construction we rarely see in my lens tests, including the structure that supports the sign, additional lighting and a chimney vent.
Taking a closer look shows the image to again be well-corrected and packed with detail, even under the lower contrast lighting conditions at the time of shooting this test. There’s no improvement to the detail when closing the aperture.
Heading into the corner shows the lens maintaining fine details even at the maximum aperture and this time I didn’t notice much vignetting either. So when shooting distant subjects, the Sigma 60-600 DG DN delivers excellent results across the frame and throughout the range – as indeed did its predecessor.
While super-telephotos are typically pointed at distant subjects, they can often deliver surprisingly effective close-ups, and here’s a few examples for you.
Like its predecessor, the closest focusing and maximum magnification occurs at the 200mm focal length, which I used for all these shots, although it will now focus down to 45 rather than 60cm at this point, delivering greater reproduction of 1:2.4. If you’re shooting at the longest focal length, the closest focusing distance remains the same 2.6m as before.
Many lenses become softer at close range, but I was impressed by the sharpness of the new Sigma. Like most super-zooms though, the overall focal range will appear to reduce a little when focusing at closer distances. I measured more like an 8x range with the Sigma from about 3m away.
Moving on, the 60-600 shares the same variable aperture as its predecessor of f4.5 to f6.3. The largest aperture of f4.5 is available from 60 to 78mm, then it closes to f5 until 139mm, then to f5.6 until 365mm, then stays at f6.3 until the longest focal length of 600mm.
You won’t get anything brighter without spending considerably more, but there’s still opportunities for shallow depth of field effects if you can get close to your subject or position it far from the background. You’ve already seen what you can do in a macro-ish environment, so let’s see how it performs at more of a portrait distance.
So here I am with the Sigma at 60mm f4.5. Unsurprisingly there’s not a huge amount of blur, but there’s still some subject separation and if you zoom-in for a closer look at the image you’ll see the subject details are very sharp and the background is smoothly rendered without any busy-ness.
For more blurring on a portrait, get the subject to stand back as you zoom-in.
Here’s what you can expect at 250mm f5.6 where you can see the perspective has changed with less of a distracting background, and once again the details are sharp and the rendering well-behaved. But the length of my garden means I’m now stood closer to the rear wall, so let’s see what you can do with more distant backgrounds and even longer focal lengths.
I snapped this with the lens fully zoomed-into 600mm and the aperture wide-open at f6.3 where the background has become more blurred.
Here’s another couple of street-style shots with the lens at the long-end, showing not just the potential for subject separation but also the effect of compression in the background. If you’re used to portraits or candids at more traditional focal lengths, the difference at 500 to 600mm can be quite dramatic to say the least.
Sure these kind of lenses may be primarily designed for sports and wildlife, but you can have a lot of fun doing street photos too.
And not just of human subjects either as these furry friends can attest.
For a more formal test of rendering, I photographed my usual ornament arrangement with the Sigma lens at 200mm from its closest focusing distance – remember this is the focal length where you’ll achieve the greatest magnification. Here the subject was about 20cm from the front of the lens barrel.
At this focal length, distance and at the maximum aperture of f5.6, the bokeh blobs are absolutely giant and also avoiding any visible onion-ringing. Meanwhile any textures you see within the blobs could be down to dust on the front element.
As I close the aperture one stop at a time, the blobs take on the shape of the nine-blade diaphragm system, but at most settings, the rendering is reasonably circular.
Moving onto focusing, Sigma claims to be using a faster motor than before and certainly in this first test where I’ve recorded the view at 60mm f4.5, it’s pretty swift at racking between the two bottles.
Here’s the same test during video, again at 60mm f4.5, where the lens on an A7 IV body can smoothly rack focus without issue.
Okay, now let’s try it at a longer focal length, roughly mid-way through the range at 300mm f5.6, again for stills with a central area and in Single AFS mode. Here I’d say it’s a tad slower than before, slightly more hesitant at times, but still doing a fair job.
But in the past I’ve found Sigma lenses can focus much faster on Sony bodies when set to Continuous autofocus or AFC, where the body uses its phase-detect system. Now see the difference with the A7 IV set to AFC mode: the focus pulls between the bottles is much faster, in fact almost instant. So if you want the fastest autofocus with Sigma lenses on Sony bodies, even for static subjects, consider using AFC.
And now here’s the same focal length but for video, which on most Sony bodies uses continuous autofocus anyway, so it’s no surprise to find the pair easily refocusing between the bottles without overshooting.
Taking this to a logical extreme, here’s a photo focusing test at 600mm f6.3, where I’ve had to move indoors, place the bottle on my window ledge and shoot it from about 3m away with the 8m length of my garden behind it. I’m using continuous AFC here for the best results and you can see how quickly the camera’s focusing between the bottle and the tree at the bottom of my garden.
And for good measure, the video version, again at 600mm f6.3 from about 3m away from the bottle, where the camera and lens are smoothly racking between the bottle and background – for reference, that’s the tree you can see in my first portrait shots earlier. So a solid set of results here.
How about face-tracking? Here’s some examples of the Sigma lens at 60mm f4.5 using face tracking across the frame on the Sony A7 IV. Sure, as you saw earlier, there’s not a hugely blurred background at this aperture and distance, but it all works.
And to make it a bit harder, a similar face-tracking test at 200mm f5.6. As the lens refocuses you’ll notice it’s pretty well-behaved in terms of focus breathing, so let’s have a quick test specifically for that.
So here’s the 60-600 at 60mm, manually focusing between infinity and the closest distance, then back again. Here there’s virtually no focus breathing to speak of, with the composition maintaining its magnification throughout the focusing range.
And now at the long-end of 600mm, where the depth-of-field even at f22 here means it’s quite hard to see what’s going on, but as I focus from infinity to the closest distance and back again, you should notice the details remaining the same size. So from these tests there’s little to no breathing evident on the Sigma zoom.
Check out my video review at the top of this page for an in-depth report on shooting action and wildlife with the lens.Check prices on the Sigma 60-600mm f4.5-6.3 DG DN at B&H, Adorama, WEX UK or Calumet.de. Alternatively get yourself a copy of my In Camera book, an official Cameralabs T-shirt or mug, or treat me to a coffee! Thanks!