The Weihnachtsmann was very nice this year and placed a new lens under the Christmas tree. The Sigma 150-600 mm / f5-6.3 DG HSM OS Sports lens will replace my “workhorse”, the Sigma 50-500 mm / f4-6.3 APO DG HSM. It has served me very well during the last six years and it was a perfect match for the Nikon D200, and later the Nikon D300s cameras. Its optics are very good and if focus can be obtained, it always delivered sharp images.
So what were the reasons to buy the new lens? The additional 100 mm focal length are a big one. On the D300s the 500 mm maximum focal length delivered the angle of view of a 750 mm lens. After changing to a full frame FX sensor, with the Nikon D750 camera, well, 500 mm are just 500 mm. This can make a big difference in wildlife photography. In a critical situation, when it might be impossible to get closer to the subject, changing the camera settings to “quick crop mode” will provide the equivalent of a 900 mm lens. This can make the difference between coming home with “the shot” or nothing.
You have not seen many of my photos here in the blog when I wasn’t able to obtain focus because of shutter speed was too slow, but there were more than you may think. Optical stabilization (OS) will hopefully help me to have more keepers on the memory card after a shooting session. This was another big reason for getting the new Sigma lens.
The old lens isn’t splash and dust proof and as you know, it isn’t always easy to keep water and dirt away in the field. The new one has a weatherproof construction. Big deal for me.
The snow storm that just came through here didn’t leave me much time to do a lot of testing with the new lens yet, but I show you a couple photos and here are my first impressions.
- The Sigma 150-600 Sports lens is very well built and has a really nice design. Nothing looks and feels cheap and the lens gives you a professional feeling with its ergonomic features (more about this probably in a later blog post).
- It is able to deliver sharp, very sharp images!
- I love the bokeh. OMG, much better than with the old lens.
- The darn thing is heavy, and I mean heavy. The old 50-500 was called the “Bigma” because of its weight but the 150-600 Sports lens brings 900 grams (2 lb.) more to the scale. I read a lot of reviews about this lens before I asked Santa Claus to bring it this Christmas. Some of the reviewers talked about sharpness by just handholding the lens. Sure, this is possible, and I will for sure handhold the lens, but posting a verdict about sharpness doesn’t seem to be the right way of making an evaluation. Bottom line, this lens needs good support (tripod) whenever possible!
- Price. I thought it was a little overpriced in the past. I had this lens on my wish list since it came out over a year ago, but when Sigma lowered the price by $200 and B&H threw in the USB dock for adjusting the lens via computer ($60), I felt the time was right to pull the trigger... 😊.
I’m sure I will give those of you, who like to read more about this lens, some more thoughts as soon I can do some real field testing beyond my first backyard experience.
As always, equipment plays an important role but it is the person behind the camera that makes the photo. I still believe that…
P.S.: I have added more thoughts about this lens on April 4, 2016. Feel free to click HERE for this new post.