Register a free account now!

If you are registered, you get access to the members only section, can participate in the buy & sell second hand forum and last but not least you can reserve your preferred username before someone else takes it.

Sigma 150-600 DG DN experience


I've been meaning to share my experience with that lens for a while now.

For context: last year I bought an OM-1 specifically for birds/wildlife with a Panaleica 100-400mm lens (200-800 FF equivalent focal range). It's a great camera and perfect for that: great AF, great IBIS, quite compact and light, fast shooting, pro-capture, top weather sealing, no rolling e-shutter... The trade-offs are of course coming too with sensor size: higher ISO is tough, less dynamic range, less resolution.

Problem: my wife started liking it so much that it has gradually become "her" camera :). So I wanted to second kit so we could go out together, which is really nice.

Here are the options I considered:
  1. Sigma 150-600 for my S1
  2. A second OM-1 body and 100-400 lens
  3. Canon R7 or Fuji XH2s
I discarded the last option because I really don't want a third system.

The downsides for Options 1 are obvious: it's a MUCH heavier combo (3.1 kg!), much worse CAF, much slower drive speed. But slightly better resolution, MUCH better dynamic range and ISO performance. When the S5ii got released around the same time, I decided to go for this option. I thought that now with time, AF won't be a problem in future L-Mount bodies anymore and the value of lenses lasts forever.

I've been playing with that lens for 2m, several outings in natural parks and hides, zoo etc.

The good:
  • The lens is very well made, feels great in the hand.
  • It's very sharp across the range from what I can tell. For me "typical" Sigma look that I know from several DG DN lenses
  • It works with my Panasonic 2x TC! 1200mm focal range!
  • Fall off and bokeh are really pleasing to my eye
  • AF and CAF isn't actually as terrible as I feared
  • Manual Focus is smooth and peaking works great
  • Overall IQ is just very nice.
The "bad":
  • Vignetting is very strong - but I find it's a non-issue, just LR lens correction basically takes it out with one click

The ugly:
  • Dear God help me it's heavy
  • The Panasonic TC works w/o problems – but the EXIF data is not written. So I cannot say anymore which photos were taken with or w/o TC..

I am sharing a few snapshots below. You can
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
. By no means do I want to say these are all great photos! I wanted to share a larger range instead. Some are edited (for better or worse), some were passed through DXO PureRaw 2. Some are untouched. Some use TC even if it's not in the meta data. I hope it's a range that'll give you a good idea overall.

So what's my conclusion?

We went on a trip to the Ebro Delta over Easter – and I bought a second OM-1 body+lens kit for the trip. I really thought the AF would kill it for me or the lack of drive seed, pro-capture etc.
But in the end, the simple brutal truth was that the weight of the whole system just takes a LOT of fun out of the experience for me. Even just carrying the whole kit to a hide is pain. Walking around, hand-holding spontaneous shots? Prepare for pain... it's just no fun.

I am still torn if I will sell it again or not. I probably will keep it for a while until I see whether I might get an S1ii. Please, Panasonic, make it as light as possible!

So if you don't mind the weight: great great lens. For me, it taught me again why M43 still has a place in my life!

I probably forgot a ton of stuff, so shoot with questions. I am not a pro, so apologies for a very subjective view.

Thanks for sharing your experience with this lens. Great images too. At some point this year I will be buying one as a compliment to my Sigma 100-400mm.

I fully appreciate your comments about the weight. For dedicated day long wildlife photography trips I use a Sony 200-600 which I acquired prior to L mount having any 600mm options. It’s a very similar weight to the sigma and after 2 or 3 hours of having it strapped to me and trekking between hides, the shoulder and back ache has set in.

This is in contrast to the sigma 100-400mm, Which I find is not that noticable, and much more tolerable for longer periods. Since it’s not always practical or necessary to bring a big 2kg+ 600mm lens, I would also be keeping the 100-400mm.
I have the Sigma 150-600mm and the TC 1411, for the S5. I also have M43, GX9 and PL 100-400mm.
I love the output of the Sigma on the S5. It's a beast to carry, so I use it exclusively with a monopod. If I am going to be going for a walk or hike with gear, and want a long lens? I take the M43 kit. If I am going to be in a relatively static situation (which is most of my shooting nowadays), I take the L-mount kit.

I wish there was a way of getting the DR, noise behavior, and color rendition, of the S5 into M43 bodies. But, right now, there isn't, so I will have to put up with the weight if I want the output, or go light, and use care in my shooting window....

Not a lot of other options, unfortunately.
I've been meaning to share my experience with that lens for a while now.
Thanks Jan, I really appreciate the comments. My strategy has been to stick with M43 when I want more reach, but something like the 150-600mm for the S5II is always tempting. Although if I'm using telephoto, it is almost always after a long hike into the site, which adds to the pain. I just got the Lumix 70-300mm which I really like, so for now that is my FF limit.
I've been meaning to share my experience with that lens for a while now.

Thank you for this great report and images (#18988 is my favourite)

For me, it taught me again why M43 still has a place in my life!

Yes, I think there is place for almost all kind of different systems, as long as you use them in the area of their strength and accept, that every system is a compromise. Even the best combination within a system.
Today I could download the new Firmware 1.1 for my 150-600 DGDN via the Sigma dock and Software. Worked flawless and the results look great!the OIS indeed works much better, the picture looked nailed even with 600 mm (tested with my S5).

That is a very good move from Sigma, because I don‘t need the new 60-600, but OIS looks much better than my 150-600 when I was able to test the 60-600 some weeks ago… I assume an update of the OIS logic and routines would never be done by Canon …
The 'fuzziness' of the viewfinder image in CAF on my S1R is much improved.

Important to note that we are seeing DFD in action and that the fuzzy viewfinder image in CAF does not translate to fuzzy images.