Review of the SIGMA 100-400mm F5-6.3 DG DN OS | Sports by Trevor McCall-Peat

My name is Trevor McCall-Peat, I am one of the Sigma South Africa Ambassadors and over the past couple of years I have been afforded the opportunity to work with a variety of their new sports and contempered lenses.

I recently hosted a private safari to Uganda to photograph the gorillas and then onto Amboseli in Kenya.

A couple of days before I left, I received the new 100-400mm f/5-6.3 DG DN OS E-mount lens to give it a try.

Normally when I travel my camera back can way up to 30 kilograms, which is far from ideal in international travel. What sigma has done for me is create a light, easy and efficient way to carry all my gear. First impression is how light the lens and camera body is. From 30 kilograms to a mere 7.2 kilograms including all my gear.

Focal Length Range

This lens is very similar to the 100-400mm from canon except comes in a lot cheaper with identical results. This is a lens that is combined to give the opportunity of spending money on purchasing only one lens as opposed to two lenses and two camera bodies. The focal length is 100mm to 400mm this allows you to get nice wide angle shots of your subject in wildlife photography, or when your subject is to close, it allows you to get a bit more creative with textures and details.

Max Aperture

This lens is incredibly versatile when it comes to aperture and when shooting at 100mm you can go as low as F5, when you zoom in to 400mm it becomes F6.3. This in the past had its issues in low light, but pairing it with the Sony bodies, noise is a mere thing of the last. I will share some images from the gorillas to showcase this as shooting dark animals in the forest amongst patches of shade and light is very difficult, but was not a concern I had using this gear.

The bottom line is that this lens has a relatively narrow aperture at any specific focal length, and this lens is not an ideal choice for stopping low light action or for focusing in low light conditions. When the sun goes down, action sports photographers using this lens (or similar models) will be forced to use very high (noisy) ISO settings to keep images bright enough without compromising the fast shutter speeds necessary to freeze subject motion. This lens is not the best choice for indoor sports or for anything else that moves quickly in low light.

Image Stabilisation

The SIGMA 100-400mm F5-6.3 DG DN OS | Contemporary incorporates powerful image stabilisation (OS) of four steps built into the lens. When combined with a camera body with image stabilisation built-in, the lens corrects for pitch and yaw axis rotations, providing even more powerful image stabilisation.

Being a lighter lens, the chances are pretty high that you may lose stabilization when trying to take images handheld, although I have been extremely impressed by the Sigma OS and built in camera stabilization.

Build Quality & Features

This lens has a dust & splash-proof design, including a rear gasket seal. I have not seen Sigma promote a water & oil repellent coating on the front and rear elements, but a significant fingerprint is not too challenging to wipe away. Having said that, the new 150mm-600mm has been brought out with  this coating removes this matter completely.

Although the body and the build is very light, I had this through my travels through Africa not once did I ever have any fear or issues that my gear would fail me.

Summary

As I said in the beginning of this review, most photographers highly value a telephoto zoom lens with long focal lengths, a significant percentage of these photographers are looking for a lightweight, low cost option, and no one wants to give up great image quality or deal with a lens that does not perform well. The Sigma 100-400mm f/5-6.3 DG DN OS Contemporary Lens is the perfect choice to meet those needs.

Text and photos by Sigma Ambassador, Trevor McCall-Peat