Sigma 150-600mm Contemporary: First Impressions by Andrew Morgan
I spent 9 days with the epic 150-600mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM | Contemporary in the Kruger National Park earlier this year and I was blown away.
My personal lens I use for wildlife is the beautiful 120-300mm f2.8 Sport. I love this lens and was quite apprehensive about leaving it behind and going away with a lens that is affectively aimed at consumers. I thought I wouldn’t get the sharpness I am used to and thought I’d miss the low light capability I have with my 120-300. How wrong I was.
The first time I took it out of it’s bag I was shocked at how small and light it was (keep in mind the 120-300f2.8 is quite a big lens and weighs considerably more), at first I wasn’t sure about that, as I’m used to having something solid in my hands. It wasn’t long though that I started to really appreciate the size and weight of the lens. My girlfriend and I had rented a small car so with loads of luggage pouring onto the back seat as well as wanting to keep my camera to hand, I my camera with the 150-600 on on my lap the whole time. After 9 days with a camera lens resting across your legs, it’s a welcome relief that it’s bit lighter! Another huge positive with the weight and size is being able to hand hold it. I walked around the camp at Talamati taking photos hand held, like of this Chinspot Batis with absolutely no effort.
Nikon D750 – f7.1 1/250th at 600mm
My other concern I guess was the aperture, as I remember back when I used to use the old Sigma 170-500 APO that I always wished I had a faster lens. But the technology in our cameras has come such a long way that we can push up our ISO and not worry about the loss of light by not having a 600mm f4 lens. Along with the new new image stabilisation that Sigma have put into this lens allowing you to shoot at slower shutter speeds than before, there really is no reason to worry about the aperture anymore. Some people might worry that you may not get enough of a blurry background as you would get from shooting at a wider aperture, but even shooting at f7.1 at 600mm I think the background blurs quite nicely!
Nikon D750 – f7.1 1/250th at 600mm
Nikon D750 – f7.1 1/500th at 550mm
Nikon D750 – f7.1 1/320 at 500mm
Nikon D750 – f7.1 1/1600 at 600mm
Nikon D750 – f7.1 1/800th at 400mm
Nikon D750 – f7.1 1/1250th at 600mm
There is a lot about the 150-600 Sport that appeals to me and I was concerned that the autofocus on the Contemporary lens would be too slow. A good way to test autofocus can be how it performs in low light situations, this shot of the Hyena was taken a good while after sunset just before getting back into camp and the lens didn’t even think about not picking up the focus, I lifted the lens to the Hyena and had focus straight away. The same thing with any of these action moments where there was no problem getting quick focus when I needed it.
Nikon D750 f7.1 1/200th at 500mm
Nikon D750 f7.1 1/1000th at 320mm
To me one of the most important things about a wildlife lens is is that it gives you a sharp image and the 150-600mm Contemporary is super sharp! I think the thing about the 150-600 Contemporary that makes it such a desirable lens is not one thing, but rather the combination of everything it offers. It has to be the most versatile wildlife lens that I have ever used, that along with it’s lightweight, fantastic autofocus, sharpness, image stabilisation and incredible price, make this lens the most value for money wildlife lens currently out there.