Saturday 31 December 2016

Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Contemporary Zoom Lens

Just returned from a Christmas break in the UK. Norfolk mainly but with a couple of days in London. This was a family trip with no birding except for a couple of walks. I was delighted to receive a Sigma 150-600 Contemporary lens as a Christmas present. This is not a review per se, there are plenty of in depth reviews out there, rather the impressions of an interested amateur. So, here are the preliminary results. . . .

The New Cut near Stoke Ferry in the early morning frost and light mist. This lens certainly works for landscapes. The three images below are uncropped with no post-processing (taken at f6.3, 1/800 s and focal lengths of 150 mm, 150 mm and 280 mm respectively).

I didn't want this lens for landscapes so how does it do for birds? Here's a Goldcrest cropped from a larger image. The original image was taken at 500 mm, f6.3, ISO 800 at 1/200 s. Considering that the rule of thumb is to never use a shutter speed lower than the lens focal length this is a pretty good image. Well pleased.

No problems either with this Robin at 1/320 s.

A 1/320 s was too slow for this Goosander but my technique is to blame here.

A Whooper Swan at 1/250 s. Once again, I'm impressed.

Canada Goose at 1/800 s. No problems and the  D7200 sensor seems very capable of handling the water contrast.

 Pleased with these Gadwall too (1/800 s).

A blonde (leucistic) Mallard.

The following three images are at 500 mm - pleased with the detail on these static subjects.

Back to the fantastic light of Israel and a Long-legged Buzzard. The eye is not totally in focus but once again I think that it is my technique that needs improving here.

A few Golden Plover (Itay Herling put me on to these) - the birds seem nicely centered in the focus plane. 

Finally, a couple of Black-shouldered Kites near the kibbutz. The images are a bit soft, probably due to a shutter speed of 1/800. 

Conclusions: I think a lens should be judged by the images it produces (rather than by comparison to other lenses) and so far I'm happy with the results. For me, this is a very capable lens that should give me results I can be proud of. I like the feel of the lens - it is not too heavy and the barrel action is very smooth.  More importantly Sigma have added a hard stop at a few focal lengths to prevent barrel creep. I like working at 500 mm (750 mm with 1.5 x sensor crop) so this feature is very useful for me. As for autofocus speed - I found it to be good and accurate, ditto vibration reduction (see photos of Goldcrest and Robin). Many people have commented that the lens collar is too short to use it as a grip and I agree with this - the one on my old 150-500 lens was much more comfortable and secure. That's my only gripe and by no means a show stopper. I look forward to using this lens and sharing the results.

1 comment: said...

Seems a good lens indeed for the use you do...

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