Sigma 150-600 sport

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rawshorty
rawshorty's picture
Sigma 150-600 sport

As some may know i recently picked up one of these and will write up a review on it as i find it and in my opinion only.

Why the sport over the cheaper contemporary? For me it was just the weather sealing.

My first impression is it is built like a tank ( yeah i know, a cliche ) but it really is. The focus ring is very smooth and easy to use. As for all the other functions i am sure if you have looked at it you know what it has.

One thing to know is this lens is quite heavy, weighing in at 2.8 KG so if you are not strong enough you will need a Mono/ Tripod to use it. I don't think i will have a problem in time but we will see.

I have not had any good light since i got it and my results so far have not been good. I have suspected that the lens was back focusing and even though the light was poor this afternoon i gave it a test using my handrail to steady the lens and shooting Cocky's at the birdbath. After many MA adjustments it turns out that setting my camera to -10 MA gets the focus pretty close i feel. White birds are not the best to get good shots of but i feel a good test for the AF.

My birdbath is about 18m away and these are large crops from the shots.

First shot settings are.

f6.3

600mm

1/400

iso 125

Focus is on the cheek 

test-5577 by shorty, on Flickr">[/url]test-5577 by shorty, on Flickr

second shot

f7.1

600mm

1/500

iso250

focus on the eye

test-5527 by shorty, on Flickr">[/url]test-5527 by shorty, on Flickr

Now i am not saying these are great shots but showing that i did need to MA the lens to the camera. If you don't have a camera that supports MA you can get the dock for the lens and do this to the lens instead.

I will need to give it lot more testing in good light and will update as i progress.

rawshorty
rawshorty's picture

Ok, i have given this lens many days of use now and here are my conclusions.

OS........... my 150-500 was very noisy but worked extremely well........the 150-600 is silent but is crap.

AF............Much faster than my old 150-500 and very little hunting in low light but not consistant, less than 2% keeper rate.

I have used it handheld, on a monopod and tripod and all i can say, not happy.

It looks good and feels good but results are far too inconsistant for me.

It is being being packed back in it's box and going back to the supplier and i will throw a few hundred extra and get the Canon 100-400 mk11.

I will look at getting the 150-500 fixed as it was a very good lens but need something to keep me going while i wait.

Would i recommend the 150-600? Fraid not.

Shorty......Canon gear

Canberra

http://www.flickr.com/photos/rawshorty/ 

AJS

How many shots did you do with it? How were you using it? Do you think you had a bad lens or some other factor? We know the lens as a whole is not a bad lens so I wonder what was going on.

rawshorty
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I took well over 500 shots with it and got about 8 ok pics. I used it handheld on a mono and tripod. The focus was all over the place with most shots showing nothing in focus ( but not camera shake ). I ended up getting the Canon 100-400 and all i can say is WOW, focus is super fast and acurate even with my 1.4 T-con attached. I have only had a couple of days of testing but the keeper rate is about 95%.

Will give it a good go on my next days off and will post the results.

Shorty......Canon gear

Canberra

http://www.flickr.com/photos/rawshorty/ 

timrob
timrob's picture

I'm sorry to hear that you aren't happy with the lens - I'm very happy with mine.  Like you I had the 150-500, and after taking perhaps 30 000 photos the collimation was starting to go hence the upgrade.

I've never had a keeper rate of 95%, but then I'm quite ruthless with getting rid of anthing that I don't like, and I like to experiment wth different settings and subjects.

The Kingfisher is taken with the 1.4 TC @600mm, uncropped.  I'm not a fan of the TC by the way, the results with it are quite variable.

the Heron is at 600mm uncropped. 

The photo of the Scarlet Honeyeater in another post was also taken with this lens.

Is it a perfect lens?  Quite clearly not. Is my version better than the 1560 - 500?  I certainly believe so.  So again I'm sorry to hear that you aren't getting results that you are pleased with.

Tim

Canonguy
Canonguy's picture

Sadly these "super zooms" are useless with TCs and not much good without them as well IMO. If anything, the Canon EF 100-400 Series II should be good with at least an EF 1.4x TC and is a very good lens from what I hear from top photographers overseas. However, it's still not an ideal lens with 400mm on the long end and a slow AF lens with a TC attached.

I always tell folks if they can afford it is to buy a fixed super telephoto lens. You cannot beat the image quality of those lenses even with a 2x TC. While they are expensive still, the series I Canon super teles (500/4L IS USM and 600/4L IS USM) are simply incredible lenses to photograph birds with.

Another thing I tell folks is that in my ten plus years of bird photography I can still pretty much count on one hand when I really needed a very short lens anyway. 400mm as a minimum is required and even that's not enough to get the best quality shots in many instances, unless you're on a pelagic (70-200 is ideal) or you're photographing ridiculously tame birds. Hence why I always suggest FIXED focal length for birds and wildlife as a general rule.

rawshorty
rawshorty's picture

@Tim

I was hoping it would turn out good but i am more than happy that i have the Canon now.

When i say keeper rate i am using this to describe that the subject was in focus, not a technical good photo.

I am sure this rate will drop when i use it more, more so when i start doing more BIF shots.

@Canonguy

I am glad you added "IMO" to your comment but i am curious as to how many of these superzooms you have used to form this opinion?

I use a Kenko 1.4X and while i have only taken a couple of shots with it on the Canon i have tested it by backing of the focus on various subjects to see how quick it is (without taking pics) and have to say it is very quick indeed. Maybe it does not play well with your Canon extenders?

Interesting that you, after 10 years can count on one hand the need for a short focal length. After only 3 years i would count it in the thousands myself. Perhaps it is just the type of photography you do.

I would never consider a fixed focal length lens myself but i guess we all have different opinions and needs, hence the market having so many variations and brands of lens.

Shorty......Canon gear

Canberra

http://www.flickr.com/photos/rawshorty/ 

Canonguy
Canonguy's picture

It's all about image quality. Period. 

You tell me how many well-known wildlife photographers who actually know what they're doing use the super zoom lenses like the Tamrons or Sigmas. I rest my case there. 

From day one I knew that to get the best results I would need the best possible gear I can afford to do the job and never looked past the L series lenses. The 300/4L IS USM blew me away with the image quality and with a matching Canon EF 1.4x and EF 2x. Same as my 500/4L IS USM. 

I can tell you none that I know. It all comes down to image quality and lots of it. 

I have absolutely no idea what you're saying about "does not play well with your Canon extenders?

Cheers and wish you well with your zoom lenses in that instance. 

rawshorty
rawshorty's picture

Canonguy wrote:

It's all about image quality. Period. 

You tell me how many well-known wildlife photographers who actually know what they're doing use the super zoom lenses like the Tamrons or Sigmas. I rest my case there. 

Hmmm, does not answer my question?

From day one I knew that to get the best results I would need the best possible gear I can afford to do the job and never looked past the L series lenses. The 300/4L IS USM blew me away with the image quality and with a matching Canon EF 1.4x and EF 2x. Same as my 500/4L IS USM. 

Yep, if i paid that much for a lens i would find it hard to say it was a lousy investment.

I can tell you none that I know. It all comes down to image quality and lots of it. 

I have absolutely no idea what you're saying about "does not play well with your Canon extenders?

I refer to your comment that AF is slow with your canon extenders. But on re-reading your comment you don't mention you have this lens.

Cheers and wish you well with your zoom lenses in that instance. 

Care to post a pic that is exceptional for our perusal?

Shorty......Canon gear

Canberra

http://www.flickr.com/photos/rawshorty/ 

timrob
timrob's picture

I'm sure you are correct wrt the comparison between primes and zooms.  But the sad thing is that your 500 and 600 primes come in at a total of $24 000 whereas the 150-600 is  about 1/10 of that.  Are the primes 10x the lens of the zoom? - well that is a matter of opinion that I can't comment on because I dont have any super primes and probably never will have.

What is not a matter of opinion is that a $13 000, 600mm lens is out of the financial reach of most people, but a $2400 zoom may well be within reach.

As for which lens to use, yes if you shoot birds only "the longer the better" will do,  but personally I like my 50mm, fisheye, 180mm etc. because while I love photographing birds, there is a lot more out there worthy of my time and effort.

Tim

Canonguy
Canonguy's picture

At the end of the day, it really does not matter what each person does, they just need to enjoy the journey.

Have fun fellas!

Devster
Devster's picture

Canonguy wrote:

At the end of the day, it really does not matter what each person does, they just need to enjoy the journey.

So true Akos, so true.

Rick N
Rick N's picture

Thanks for your honest review Shorty.

Seems to me the discussion often gets bogged down in price comparisons when the real issue is the image quality of the lens in question. Of course you would expect a $12000 prime lens to outperform a much cheaper zoom.

Problem is we are usually after IQ and a 2000.00 lens that does not perform is to me a waste of money.

ZoomVPrime. I use a prime 300mm +1.4 tc and have seldom felt the need for zoom. just needs a little more thought in what shot you want to achieve. My partner is using a 150-500 Sigma on a D7100 (crop sensor) and has it duct taped at 300mm because the IQ above that is relatively poor.

She tells me that after some initial getting used to she does not miss the zoom and is getting much better results in not having to think about, it and just taking the shots as they come, or going back another day and trying again.

Having said all that it seems that at least some of the new zoom offerings from the big two are streets ahead of what they used to be, at a much more reasonable price than they used to be, but are not trying to go out to 600mm.

Ahhh decisions,decisions. :-)

sparrow
sparrow's picture

I tried to use one at the footy "once" I thought  it might be easier than swaping between the 500mm on the mono and the shorter zoom , I had a look at the photos on the laptop at quarter time ,4 keepers out of  80 shots ,thats just not good enough my 150-500 can do better than that even with its much slower AF, and I leave that at home too.

I returned it to its owner who still thinks its the best zoom lens he has ever used ,horses for courses I guess.

Reflex
Reflex's picture

Prime lens vs a zoom lens, this is a common debate. From what I can see here though this seems to be all about affordability which is a different issue altogether.

Canonguy is 110% correct, "It's all about image quality."

The technical supremacy and faster speed of fixed lenses are merely side benefits. The real benefit of fixed lenses is that they make us see better, which leads to taking better pictures.

Good quality photographs are rarely accidents. Good photographs are a result of informed settings.

Samford Valley Qld.

Canonguy
Canonguy's picture

Incidentally, I do agree that the newest versions of super teles are very expensive and while I can easily afford one, I would think twice about it just for the sake of having the latest and greatest lens.

Mine is the series I 500/4L IS USM and paid less than 7k for it about four years ago. It's simply the sharpest lens I've ever owned and I thank my wife every day for letting me buy it.

If I'm ever in a situation where I am too close to a bird, I just think of my composition. It does come with years of experience and I never once wished I had a zoom. Ok, maybe the 200-400/4L IS USM with the 1.4x built-in. Now that to me is a zoom worth having for you'd have incredibly good IQ from all focal length combinations.

I honestly don't get how folks think you can easily get away with shorter lenses, of course unless one crops the crap out of their images or gets very close. I used a 300/1.4x combo for years and always wished for about twice that focal length at least. It's doable, but not always unfortunately. Using that from a hide or a vehicle makes for an easier approach and true, I got many great images, however, I knew I needed at least 700mm as a minimum in many instances.

I often read people with the latest 1Dx and 500 combos that to them a 50% crop is nothing. That makes me cringe to say the least. Plenty I see on Facebook. That in most instances equals nothing but poor fieldcraft and sloppiness in my book. Then again, that's my opinon and no one else needs to agree. More pixels to me mean better IQ images when I get them as large as I want in the RAW file with minimal (or no) cropping. Not to make me a sloppy field craftsman and show off to the world that I have the latest gear. And the sad part is, some of these clowns are now teaching others how to be (a sloppy most certainly) photographer. 

I try to always try to compose in camera so I do not have to crop at all, or crop very little. That's simply the best way to get very high IQ images in my files.

As long as we all have fun though!

Canonguy
Canonguy's picture

Rick N wrote:

ZoomVPrime. I use a prime 300mm +1.4 tc and have seldom felt the need for zoom.

Did I see one of your images in the Anzang thingy? The Hobby looking straight at ya? That is great if it's yours Rick. Really fantastic image! Well done in that instance!

rawshorty
rawshorty's picture

Just a couple of notes from me.

Firstly i started this post to give my thoughts on this lens IMHO and thought i made it clear in my OP that it was about this lens and this lens only. At no point did i try to compare this lens to a prime or ask for opinions for this comparison.

But like most forums a debate started about who has the best lens and who takes the best photos.

Please do not take it personally Canonguy, but i just don't understand why you had to come in with your comments on your 500 as it had nothing to do with the post. I am sure it delivers excellent results for you and that you are very happy with it but different people want different things for many reasons (weight, affordability etc ) so i was just trying to give an opinion on this lens for people who were thinking about it.

I was thinking about giving a review on the Canon 100-400 MII that i have now but what would be the point?

I do my photography for many and varied reasons, i do like to get good clear shots but sometimes it is just to get a shot that i can fix in lightroom to confirm ID.

Each to there own i guess. But i do agree with you on one thing, enjoy the journey.

All the best for everyone and the direction you take in your photography.

Shorty......Canon gear

Canberra

http://www.flickr.com/photos/rawshorty/ 

Canonguy
Canonguy's picture

My point was I suppose is that what do you expect for a mega zoom lens? Perfection?

I hardly think so Rawshorty. That's all. 

At least people should get a good idea what to expect from that lens. As they say you get what you pay for in the end. I'm sure your Canon series II 100-400 will give you far better results. 

maxhr
maxhr's picture

I use the sigma, its a very heavy lens so needs care in use.

But the quality is there, the advantage of a zoom is it allows you to adjust for the size of the bird, - say if you are working at a waterhole where birds as large as herons and as small as finches can come by.

 very handy when working from a hide.

Devster
Devster's picture

Thanks for your reveiw RS. Definately won't ever be looking at that lens now.

There's nothing wrong with a little friendly debate as long as things don't get taken personally or comments arn't made to intentially attack anyone.

I use the Tamron 150-600 and I try to get the best I can out of the lens. Would I prefer an L series Prime - Dam Straight! But it would have to come with divorce papers as thats what my wife would do if I spent that much on a lens.

I get where Akos is comming from, he is just very passionate about his photography and is lucky enough to be able to afford a good quality lens. It's like everything, once you've had a taste for quality you never want to go back and you want others to experience the same. Sometimes his passion can get mistaken for arrogance and can rub people up the wrong way. I have to admit I did think that at first but after a few PM's I realise he is just passionate and admire his enthusiasm and photography skills. 

RS I would love to read your review on the Canon 100-400 MII that you have now.

Remember life is too short to just learn from your own mistakes, learn from other peoples mistakes as well.

Canonguy
Canonguy's picture

Thank you Devster. Appreciate your kind words. You are dead right.

I mean no offence to Shorty at all.

rawshorty
rawshorty's picture

Canonguy wrote:

I mean no offence to Shorty at all.

I did not take your post as an attack on me personally, all good there. I just wanted to point out that it was not relevant to the lens in question.

It just annoys me a bit i suppose when i see people asking that they can only afford $X so which should i choose and someone steps in recommending a lens well out of their price range.

I could go back to full time work and buy a 500 prime (not that i really want one) but i prefer to have 4 days off a week and enjoy what i have.

Shorty......Canon gear

Canberra

http://www.flickr.com/photos/rawshorty/ 

Devster
Devster's picture

rawshorty wrote:

I could go back to full time work and buy a 500 prime (not that i really want one) but i prefer to have 4 days off a week and enjoy what i have.

I do work full time and still can't afford a 500 prime :(   I too would prefer to have 4 days off!

dougt
dougt's picture

I read the posts above but one thing you need to consider.  The above images appeared to be taken under low light and this will soften your images.  Find the sweet spot of your lens usually starts about 2 to 3 stops above widest aperture and spans about 2 stops above.  Either side of the sweet spot the lens will be somewhat soft and this goes for any lens.

If the bird is static use aperture priority set on the sweet spot and adjust your ISO and EV accordingly.  If the bird is a fast mover then Shutter priority is a must and switch to Auto ISO but set the maximum ISO in your Menu to what ever you are comfortable with in accepting noise.  Good noise reduction software can cure many noise problems.

I use a Nikon D810 and a Tamron 150-600.  with the full frame I set my maximum ISO on 3200.  A friend of mine showed me a night shot of a leopard in Africa shot with the lates top model  Sony mirrorless with ISO 126,000  very impressive.

Doug

Doug-t
Doug-t's picture

Hi Rawshorty,

Your images appear quite dark and I see your exposures were ISO 125 @ 1/400 for the first image and ISO 250 @  1/500 for the second image. For a 600mm lens the ISO needs to be a lot higher than that, say ISO 1000 and the shutter speed should be at least the reciprocal of the focal length ie. a 600mm lens should be at least 1/600 second on a full frame camera and 600mm x the crop factor on a crop camera.ie. 600mm x 1.5 crop factor = 1/900 sec.  This helps to eliminate shake and vibration unless it is on a good sturdy tripod and correct exposure is very critical with long zoom lenses.

I use a 150-600 Tamron for birds and I use back button focusing, Shutter priority, spot focus, dynamic metering and Auto ISO with the maximum ISO set at ISO 3200 on a Nikon D810 full frame camera.  I also turn off the 51 point metering as well as this averages out the readings.

Bear in mind if you use spot focus this is the most accurate method but if you slip off the target the lens will focus on the next closest object and that may well be that hill 20km away.  All DSLRs have two focusing systems, averaging from multiple points and spot.  Spot focus uses the contrast between two colours so focusing on a crows eye may not work as there is little or no contrast. Focus on the cockatoos white feathers may give similar results ie. slightly out of focus.

I hope this helps,

Dougt

rawshorty
rawshorty's picture

Thanks for taking the time to comment Dougt,

Just for your info though, i have been doing photography for many many years now and know my cameras functions very well.

While there is a general rule on shutter speed vs focal length it does not apply to everyone.

This shot for example is, f6.3 @400mm, 1/80 and iso200 hand held.

eastern yellow robin (Eopsaltria australis)-5013 by shorty, on Flickr">[/url]eastern yellow robin (Eopsaltria australis)-5013 by shorty, on Flickr

Here is another one at f6.3 @400, 1/80 and iso 640 hand held.

yellow-faced honeyeater (Caligavis chrysops)-3301 by shorty, on Flickr">[/url]yellow-faced honeyeater (Caligavis chrysops)-3301 by shorty, on Flickr

And this one at f8 @400, 1/60 and iso 500 hand held.

eastern yellow robin (Eopsaltria australis)-3098 by shorty, on Flickr">[/url]eastern yellow robin (Eopsaltria australis)-3098 by shorty, on Flickr

All with Canon 7Dii and 100-400ii

Shorty......Canon gear

Canberra

http://www.flickr.com/photos/rawshorty/ 

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