Summary

Highly Recommended awardSigma's 150-600mm Sport is a highly desirable lens for sport and wildlife photographers who demand a super-telephoto reach without the stratospheric cost of big primes, or even the highest-end zooms from Canon and Nikon. The build quality is excellent: it's heavy, but reassuringly built with full weather sealing. The AF, when coupled with a decent DSLR, is fast, confident and very usable for sports. And the optical quality in my tests proved to be very respectable across the entire range. There may be vignetting and evidence of coloured fringing, but both are easily corrected in RAW conversions, and importantly the lens delivers where it should with fine, well-resolved details right into the corners of full-frame images. Compare closely with Tamron's 150-600mm and Sigma's own cheaper Contemporary version.

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Sigma 150-600mm Sport review

Quality

To evaluate the real-life performance of the Sigma 150-600mm f5-6.3 Sport lens at 150mm, I shot this exterior scene at every aperture setting using a full-frame Canon EOS 5D Mark III mounted on a tripod. My results at 300mm and 600mm are lower on the page. The EOS 5D Mark III was set to 400 ISO and the lens focused on the center of the composition. The corner and center crops shown below were taken from the areas marked with the red rectangles, right, and presented at 100%.

I shot the scene using the EOS 5D Mark III’s RAW mode and processed the file in Adobe Camera RAW (ACR) via Photoshop using the following sharpening settings: 50 / 0.5 / 36 / 10. All lens corrections were disabled, so there’s no software compensation for vignetting, geometric distortion or chromatic aberrations.

The first thing you’ll notice in all the crops is evidence of noise, especially in shadows or flat areas of colour. This is from the camera. In order to see the maximum sharpness from the lens I switched off noise reduction, so there is inevitably some visible in these 100% crops, especially as I shot at 400 ISO in order to ensure fast enough shutter speeds for the long focal lengths. Adobe’s RAW conversion has also been a little unforgiving on jaggies with the high degree of sharpening applied, so the curved edge of the building on the left column shows some stepping. But the important thing to understand is all of these issues are down to the camera and RAW processing, not the lens. Now let’s look at the actual optical performance.

My crops are taken from the middle and extreme top right corner of the frame, and remember this is an image from a full-frame camera. As such I’d expect the corner performance, especially with the aperture wide-open, may not be that great, but as you can see in the crops below, there’s a high degree of fine detail. Look at the railings on the balcony and TV antenna – all well-resolved, even at the maximum aperture. The center crop also reveals a high degree of detail, again even with the aperture wide open.

As you close the aperture, there’s actually little to be gained in detail and sharpness, but you will notice the corner crops becoming lighter. This is because there’s quite apparent vignetting at the larger apertures which darkens the corners and only goes away between f8 and f11 at 150mm.

You’ll also notice coloured fringing on the high contrast edges of the shite building in the corner. This doesn’t improve as you close the aperture, but I’m pleased to report it is easily removed from RAW files using tools in RAW converters. I also found I could compensate for the vignetting at larger apertures quite easily using RAW converters. So the only optical issues to note at 150mm can both be easily corrected. The lens performs where it counts – recording very fine detail right into the corners even with the aperture wide-open. Scroll down to see how it performs at 300mm and 600mm, or skip to my Sigma 150-600mm sample images or head straight to my verdict.

 

Sigma 150-600mm Sport corner sharpness
150mm on full-frame
Sigma 150-600mm Sport center sharpness
150mm on full-frame
Sigma 150-600mm corner crop at 150mm f5 on full-frame
Sigma 150-600mm center crop at 150mm f5 on full-frame
Sigma 150-600mm corner crop at 150mm f5.6 on full-frame
Sigma 150-600mm center crop at 150mm f5.6 on full-frame
Sigma 150-600mm corner crop at 150mm f8 on full-frame
Sigma 150-600mm center crop at 150mm f8 on full-frame
Sigma 150-600mm corner crop at 150mm f11 on full-frame
Sigma 150-600mm center crop at 150mm f11 on full-frame
Sigma 150-600mm corner crop at 150mm f16 on full-frame
Sigma 150-600mm center crop at 150mm f16 on full-frame

Sigma 150-600mm Sport Quality on full-frame at 300mm

To evaluate the real-life performance of the Sigma 150-600mm f5-6.3 Sport lens at 300mm, I shot this exterior scene at every aperture setting using a full-frame Canon EOS 5D Mark III mounted on a tripod. My results at 600mm are lower on the page.The EOS 5D Mark III was set to 400 ISO and the lens focused on the center of the composition. The corner and center crops shown below were taken from the areas marked with the red rectangles, right, and presented at 100%.

I shot the scene using the EOS 5D Mark III’s RAW mode and processed the file in Adobe Camera RAW (ACR) via Photoshop using the following sharpening settings: 50 / 0.5 / 36 / 10. All lens corrections were disabled, so there’s no software compensation for vignetting, geometric distortion or chromatic aberrations. Again noise reduction was disabled here, so try to look beyond any noise in the image. We’re examining the optical quality here!

Once again I took crops from the center and extreme corner of the image, and once again this is a full-frame image you’re looking at. As with the analysis at 150mm above, the lens is delivering very fine details right into the full-frame corners, even at the maximum aperture. Look at the brickwork and posters on the corner crops, and the railings and scaffolding on the center crops and you’re not left wanting for detail.

In terms of optical issues, the fringing seen at 150mm has disappeared and the only thing to note is vignetting, darkening the corners again at the larger apertures. As before this clears up if you close down the lens by a couple of stops, but equally it can easily be corrected in RAW converters if desired. So another great performance from the lens mid-way through its focal range. Scroll down to see how it measures-up at 600mm, or head to my Sigma 150-600mm sample images, or skip straight to my verdict.

 

Sigma 150-600mm Sport corner sharpness
300mm on full-frame
Sigma 150-600mm Sport center sharpness
300mm on full-frame
Sigma 150-600mm corner crop at 300mm f5.6 on full-frame
Sigma 150-600mm center crop at 300mm f5.6 on full-frame
Sigma 150-600mm corner crop at 300mm f8 on full-frame
Sigma 150-600mm center crop at 300mm f8 on full-frame
Sigma 150-600mm corner crop at 300mm f11 on full-frame
Sigma 150-600mm center crop at 300mm f11 on full-frame
Sigma 150-600mm corner crop at 300mm f16 on full-frame
Sigma 150-600mm center crop at 300mm f16 on full-frame

Sigma 150-600mm Sport Quality on full-frame at 600mm

To evaluate the real-life performance of the Sigma 150-600mm f5-6.3 Sport lens at 600mm, I shot this exterior scene at every aperture setting using a full-frame Canon EOS 5D Mark III mounted on a tripod. The EOS 5D Mark III was set to 400 ISO and the lens focused on the center of the composition. The corner and center crops shown below were taken from the areas marked with the red rectangles, right, and presented at 100%.

I shot the scene using the EOS 5D Mark III’s RAW mode and processed the file in Adobe Camera RAW (ACR) via Photoshop using the following sharpening settings: 50 / 0.5 / 36 / 10. All lens corrections were disabled, so there’s no software compensation for vignetting, geometric distortion or chromatic aberrations. Again noise reduction was disabled here, so try to look beyond any noise in the image. We’re examining the optical quality here!

As before you’re looking at crops taken from a full-frame image, again from the middle and extreme corner. As you’d expect from a big zoom, there’s a reduction in contrast at the long-end of the range, and I’d say the corner to center performance isn’t quite as uniform as the shorter focal lengths – it’s visibly softer in the corners than the middle. But again look at the actual detail – the fine lines in the fencing and posts – it’s still very respectable for the focal length and aperture. And while the middle shows slightly lower contrast than the shorter focal lengths, it’s still very good.

The only other optical issues to note are again vignetting, darkening the corners at large apertures, and a little coloured fringing, both of which are easily corrected in software.

Overall I’d say the Sigma 150-600mm Sport delivers great performance across its focal range. There may be vignetting at the largest apertures across the range and some evidence for coloured fringing especially at the long and short end, but both can easily be corrected in software. Again the lens delivers where it counts, recording fine details across the frame, even into the extreme corners. I’m very satisfied with the performance for the money and you can see many more examples of it in real-life use in my Sigma 150-600mm sample images page. Alternatively if you’ve seen enough, skip straight to my verdict.

 

Sigma 150-600mm Sport corner sharpness
600mm on full-frame
Sigma 150-600mm Sport center sharpness
600mm on full-frame
Sigma 150-600mm corner crop at 600mm f6.3 on full-frame
Sigma 150-600mm center crop at 600mm f6.3 on full-frame
Sigma 150-600mm corner crop at 600mm f8 on full-frame
Sigma 150-600mm center crop at 600mm f8 on full-frame
Sigma 150-600mm corner crop at 600mm f11 on full-frame
Sigma 150-600mm center crop at 600mm f11 on full-frame
Sigma 150-600mm corner crop at 600mm f16 on full-frame
Sigma 150-600mm center crop at 600mm f16 on full-frame

 

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