For the past year or so while getting more and more in to wild life photography I have found myself wanting a longer lens. At the time, my longest zoom was a Canon f4 70mm-200mm and though I do absolutely love that lens, and it often worked wonders for what I needed, I would at times find myself scaring away wild life as I attempted to get close enough to them for the 200mm Canon to put them in full frame. After doing some back and forth, thinking, research and so on, I decided to give the Sigma 150-600mm f5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary lens a try with my Canon 77D. I was for a moment heavily leaning towards their 150-400mm variant, but once the 600mm went on sale over at B&H Photo I caved in and went all out, and I don’t regret it one bit. Now before I dive in to my initial review of the lens, I want to take a second to acknowledge that this is my first non Canon lens and that it was a bit tough for me to give a third party manufacturer a chance. I have to say that when I pulled this thing out of the box and saw the fit and finish/design of this lens that Sigma earned my trust right away. The lens was simply beautifully made and seemed to be of the same quality as my Canon lenses. Now, lets dive in.
Lets get the obvious out of the way, this lens is large and fairly heavy, but I mean its a 600mm, so what do you really expect? I carried this lens around my neck for about 2 hours as I did some wildlife photography and though it wasn’t a great feeling it also wasn’t unbearable. The addition of the tripod collar makes it easy to mount it and also gives you another piece to hold on to if you decide to go handheld. This past weekend I did just that and took the lens out in handheld mode for a few hours at my local zoo to see what it could do and to get some experience shooting in the never before seen for me 200-600mm range. I took a couple of hundred photos with the Sigma lens and I was quite pleased with it. All of the photos that I took were sharp, in focus and image quality seemed very good. Now keep in mind, this is my opinion, and naturally the opinion of the lens is relative to my other equipment and the price of the lens. Are there better lenses out there that for about 10-15 times the price that provide better image quality, better low light performance and faster focus? Sure, but for a person that isn’t sponsored by Canon or isn’t a super high end professional that gets paid thousands of dollars per shot and shoots with only the highest end of equipment, this lens is more than capable. Honestly I strongly feel that anyone from a wildlife (long distance) shooting hobbyist to a mid level professional that needs to get that far away shot that this is a great lens to add to your arsenal and is worth the money that it costs. Even if I didn’t catch it on sale, I feel that the full price of it would have been worth it.
During my time out shooting at the zoo I was quite pleased to be able to reach the very back ends of the long open fields that had zebras and giraffes roaming them. With a “regular” lens, there would have been no way to fill the frame, this was especially apparent when I attempted to catch photos of the birds that were hiding up in the trees or on top of high up and far away rock formations. The length of the lens was also great for the times when I had a ton of people standing in front of me trying to take photos with their phones, I was able to stand up behind them and essentially just shoot over them by utilizing my long zoom range. Again, very pleased with the 600mm range.
In a nutshell I would buy this lens again ten times out of ten. I am very happy with it. Granted this is just my first time out with it, so I will be sure to update my impressions and review in about six months or so when I have had some more time with it to take more photos and to see how the build quality holds up as compared to my Canon lenses. But for now, I a happy with the performance, quality and overall value of the lens. I would definitely recommend purchasing the Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary lens if you are looking to get that further reach weather for professional or for hobby reasons.