Sigma AF 100-400mm F/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary Lens Review

When I was asked to test the new Sigma AF 100-400mm F/5-6.3 DG OS HSM, I thought to myself why would someone buy this one from Sigma if major brands have their own lenses in this range? With Sigma’s good success on the 150-600mm lens, I was definitely curious about this one.

The Sigma 100-400mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM is a relatively compact and lightweight telephoto zoom lens for full-frame DSLR cameras and APS-C sensor cameras with an effective increase in focal length.

For bird, wildlife and sports photography, a long lens is a must in my eyes. Most ranges include economical choices up to 300mm, but really something longer is often needed. Increasing the focal length to 400mm results in much higher cost and larger, heavier lenses. But Sigma has now introduced this 100-400mm Contemporary zoom lens that is fairly compact for a 400mm and reasonably priced.

In terms of features, the Sigma 100-400mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM offers everything that you need from a professional telephoto zoom lens. This very usefully includes built-in Vibration Reduction, activated by the OS switch on the lens barrel. The OS system has two modes – mode 1 is suitable for general photography, and mode 2 is best for panning shots of moving subjects in a horizontal direction (not vertical).

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I had fairly low expectations for this lens, in part because the lenses in this focal length have always carried a much higher price tag, and I already own one of the best competitors in that range. I was a little skeptical that Sigma could make a truly competitive lens at such a relatively low price point.

I’m happy to report, “Don’t judge the book by its cover”, like my first impressions, the Sigma 100-400 C is a lens that exceeded my expectations. If you like small and light, have a limited budget, and need the reach of a 400mm telephoto zoom, the new Sigma is your best choice: it is the most economical, smallest and lightest modern zoom reaching 400mm, plus it’s sharp. The new Sigma 100-400mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM telephoto zoom lens offers fantastic image quality throughout its versatile focal range, whilst being light and compact enough to make it suitable for hand-holding. Obvious vignetting at wide-open apertures is the only real optical issue of note, and this can be easily corrected in post-production.

I have tested the Sigma 100-400mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM on a full frame Canon 5D MKII and on a APS-C sensor Canon 7D MKII. I was very surprised on the sharpness and image quality. Here are a few examples.

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Canon 7D MKII with Sigma 100-400mm

 

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Canon 7D MKII with Sigma 100-400mm

 

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Canon 7D MKII with Sigma 100-400mm

 

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Canon 5D MKII with Sigma 100-400mm

 

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Canon 5D MKII with Sigma 100-400mm

For me this was a great lens and very good value for money. I found this lens at most focal ranges is as sharp as close competitors, but unfortunately this lens is not as fast comparatively and the image stabilizer could be slightly improved.

The very affordable price-tag of the Sigma 100-400mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM significantly undercuts the main rival lenses from competitors. This lens brings the 100-400mm focal range to a much wider audience without sacrificing image quality, and, despite a few glitches in performance and specification, is a deserved a highly recommendation from me.

Sigma in general is strongly coming to the party with their brand. They have also recently brought out a new 500mm Prime with very good image quality, and their landscape lenses, and wide angles are very good and tag sharp as well.