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New Sigma telephoto lens

The new Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM belongs to the Sports category of the Global Vision line.

Seeing a new telephoto zoom lens is not surprising, but we were not expecting an exact match to Tamron’s lens in terms of range and aperture. Although the Sigma lens is not any faster, the company chose to go higher end on a few aspects, targeting professionals. This is why the lens is included in the Sports category, and not Contemporary.

More information is coming on the new 1.4× and 2× teleconverters as well.

Highlights

  • The lens is larger and heavier than the Tamron 150-600mm f/5-6.3 due to bigger glass elements.
  • It features weather sealing.
  • AF and OS have been optimized (see below).

Specs

The specs of the Tamron 150-600mm f/5-6.3 are included between brackets for comparison.

  • Construction: 24 elements, 16 groups (20 elements, 13 groups)
  • Filter diameter: 105 mm (95mm)
  • Minimum focusing distance: 260 cm (270 cm)
  • Dimensions: 121 x 290.2 mm (105.6 x 257.8 mm)
  • Aperture blades: 9, rounded (9, rounded)
  • Maximum magnification: 1:5 (1:5)
  • Weight: 2860 g / 100.88 oz.  (1951 g / 68.8 oz.)
  • Available mounts (at launch): Canon, Nikon, Sigma (Canon, Nikon, Sony)
  • Expected price: around $2,000 − seems high to me even considering the advanced optics, but we’ll see (the Tamron costs $1,069)

Press release

Since the official announcement in English has not been issued yet, here’s the Google translation of the press release in Polish found at Kconsult, with some corrections to make it readable.


We are pleased to announce that SIGMA Corporation unveiled a new lens belonging to the Sport line – Sigma 150-600mm DG OS HSM F5-6.3. It is a durable and mobile masterpiece of telephoto lenses with high performance and excellent workmanship. This professional telephoto lens with very sharp images throughout the zoom range, meet the needs of any photographer.

Its main advantages include enhanced resistance to work in dust and precipitation, lock the front barrel at any focal length, an hydrophobic layer on the outer glass element, compatibility with the new teleconverters from the Sigma Global Vision line, new optical stabilization system supported by an advanced accelerometer, ergonomic arrangement of switches and rings, optimized AF drive, special lenses to minimize any aberrations, and the whole enclosed in a durable and tasteful new housing.

The Sigma 150-600 mm F5-6.3 DG HSM is designed to work in difficult terrain, has all the features and capabilities of the equipment desired by the demanding professional, so that does not need to worry about the lens, and you can focus solely on the scheduled frame.

1. The lens achieves the best optical performance that characterize the products from the professional Sports line, thanks to the excellent items made from special optical glass, managing to minimize chromatic aberration and achieving class leading image quality. This lens contains two FLD (Fluorite Low Dispersion) glass elements with high quality fluorspar and three SLD (Special Low Dispercion) perfectly compensating image color aberrations, particularly chromatic aberration often occurring at the long end. The lens uses a 9-blade circular aperture, which results in beautiful out-of-focus areas of the image (bokeh).

2. Increased resistance to external factors. Resistance to weather. The lens is dustproof and splashproof. Numerous seals  in the construction of the lens provide free transport even under difficult ambient conditions.

  • New protective layer on outer lens elements. Front and rear lens are coated with a hydrophobic layer and a special layer to counter fat, making them easy to clean.
  • Lock tube. The lens is equipped with a switch to lock the extension. Lock can be activated at any focal length values, which enables stable shooting from the lens upward or downward. This function is essential for long exposure times, eg. for astro photography.
  • Focus modes. Lens standard modes are AF / MF, and the MO mode has been added. By enabling this mode, you can manually adjust the focus, and the AF switches on only after a certain time. Time after which the AF switches can be set via the USB Dock.
  • A new kind of tripod holder. Materials used and the fixation spot guarantee more than ever the stability of the setup. It allows fast and precise transition between horizontal and vertical position.
  • Lens mount – brass bayonet mount combines high performance with durability. Its surface is subjected to a special treatment of reinforcement, in order to ensure a high quality lens, which guarantees long life.

3. Precision technologies can capture the desired frame.

  • The lens incorporates a precise accelerometer to support the operation of image stabilization. Stabilization in mode 1 is for general shooting. Mode 1 works with all vibration sensors. To capture subjects in motion (ie. tracking an aircraft or a running animal), enter mode 2. In case of vertical or horizontal frames, the accelerometer detects the position of the lens and properly organizes the work of individual sensors.
  • New AF motor – the lens incorporates a new type of motor AF, quieter and faster, called “Optimized AF”. Compared to previous designs, we were able to improve the efficiency of the engine by 5%.

4. Compatibility with the Sigma USB Dock
The lens is compatible with the Sigma USB Dock, so you can personalize, for your own expectations, the following: optical stabilization, autofocus, and focusing distance.

5. The lens is compatible with the new 1.4x and 2.0x teleconverters from the Sigma Global Vision line. AF is provided to aperture f/8.

Product images

Found at Optyczne.pl.

New Sigma telezoom lens

Sigma-150-600mm-DG-OS-HSM-detail

Sigma 150-600mm tele lens

Weather sealing

Seals on the Sigma 150-600mm Sports

Performance

Optical construction

Optical formula of the Sigma 150-600mm Sports

MTF chart

Measured MTF of the Sigma 150-600mm Sports

Vignetting

Peripheral illumination of the Sigma 150-600mm

Distortion

Distortion of the Sigma 150-600mm

Distortion of the Sigma 150-600mm

  • Thanks for the info guys. Helped me in making my decision. I have had a chance to play with the lens for a few days mostly taking shots of australian wildlife. Sample pictures and first impressions on my blog. really happy with is so far!

    http://www.davidromaphotography.com/blog/2014/12/sigma-150-600mm-f5-6-3-dg-os-hsm-sport—australian-hands-on-review-with-sample-shots

  • Etienne

    Hello,

    I have tested the Sigma 150-600 on my Nex camera with the Canon AF/EF to e-mount adapter (yes, the sony version have no OSS function) it inst working correctly, its very hard for the camera to recognise the AF, and when it recognise it, it always lost connection with AF (i have tried with telephoto lens from canon and its working great) And it’s stupid, if you look on the camera screen, it recognise the Optical stabilisation of the Sigma Lens, but it crash with the AF. i think the only solution is buy an SOny version and use it with alpha to e-mount adapter .

  • I spent £18k with LCE on new gear in August, and the Sigma rep came in, Martin the Plymouth LCE Manager told him I wanted one so I believe I may have been one of THE first to order one this year, I understand I am one of the first owners. Need it for my business. Believe me it is STUNNING

  • The custom settings are amazing with the use of the dock
    Got my lens on the 18th October from LCE

  • I received my Nikon Mount 150-600 this week

    http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/forums/thread41934.htm

    • Florent – SigmaRumors

      Thanks for sharing Jeremy. You’re probably one of the very first owners of this lens in Nikon mount.

  • Dan Tauro

    On the side of the lens there are 3 focus settings:

    MO ???
    MF Manual Focus
    AF Auto Focus

    What the heck is MO?

  • nemark

    I would rather like to see a new quality 5.6/400mm or 4.0/400mm or 5.6/500mm and 4.0/300mm telephoto prime, all OS.

  • Spongebob Nopants

    If it’s better than the Tamron then the price will be worth it.

  • Ra

    I really don’t like Sigmas new tendency of letting their better lenses grow and gain weight with no limits. I didn’t buy the 50-150 OS because it was too heavy and if I should want a supertele the new Sigma should really be much better than the Tamron to equalize the weight difference. I could of course carry it, but as a family man, my camera equipment is not the only thing I’m carrying when I’m out in the nature, so weight is clearly a concern!

  • animalsbybarry

    SIGMA SHOULD OFFER THIS LENS IN SONY E MOUNT
    This is both a versatile lens and a long lens.
    No other long lenses are available for E mount by any manufacturer.
    Sony has been putting a lot of emphasi on E mount but the system ….although popular…is totally lacking long and telle-macro lenses.

    • Barry Scully

      I would by this immediately if it came out in E mount. I am very happy with my Sigma 120-300 with the canon 2X teleconverter for my canon camera but my longest lens for A7R and A6000 is the 70-200 right now. Big bonus would be if it was able to use the A6000 fast pdaf.

      • animalsbybarry

        I think many E mount users are feeling lens starved…there is a huge choice of wide angle,normal, and portrait lengths…
        They are starved for variety and would eat this lens up.
        Alternatively of coarse making this in A mount and leaving the stabilization fully functional would allow full E mount compatability via the LAEA4 adapter.
        No current A mount lenses have OSS except some Sigmas.
        Tamron dissables thier OSS for A mount lenses.

  • Vgramatikov

    Good one sigma!!! Good best MTF at 600mm for vario lens. Seems it`ll be good!!! Better than Tamron and everything else on the market. Pricing is another thing. 2000$ is ok if these lens are really good optically. If not and only slight better than Tamron price have to be not more than 1500$. But as i see the new optical formula and MTF`s this one will be real stuff.

  • Cyrille Berger

    While I am glad that Sigma is releasing a competitor to the Tamron. Sigma lenses seem to be of better quality than Tamron and the USB dock is a big advantage. Now I am a bit torn, I had set has upper limit for a new telephoto lens of 2kg, and the Sigma is way above that. But with weather sealing. Damn you Sigma for making my life more difficult !

  • animalsbybarry

    Definitely want one.
    Sigma…please get Sony mount out before the spring as this is an important deadline for wildlife and bird shooting.
    Also pease includestabilization in your A mount version…this will give you a huge advantage over Tamron that does not….it will also make you the only lens fully compatable..via LAEA4 adapter..with both Sony A mount and Sony E mount.
    Anxious to learn more about this lens and the new 1.4x teleadaptor.

    • EarlFargis

      Somehow I knew you’d be out in front on me on this rumor, Barry! Since I’m set up for Nikon FF and Sony APS-C I’m not sure which way to go on this mount-wise. Decisions, decisions!

      I’m surprised on the me-too copycat of the Tamron design. Not the best play, IMHO. Also, since this is reactive to the Tamron release how mature is the design? I do trust that Sigma has upped the game on this lens over Tamron and had the advantage to use it as a reference but Ill probably wait for comparison reviews first.

      • animalsbybarry

        Like I said…the only way you will get one bebore me is to cheat by switching mounts.
        I do notice that perfomance on center appears to be substantially better than perifferal performance…lending itself to A77II and or 1.4x teleconverter.
        I expext this will ouperform the Tamron…but the charts on SAR are geometric MTF and therefore misleading.
        The charts here on SR are more honest since they include diffraction.
        I fully expect Sigma to price this lens under $2000 otherwise it will not compete with Tamron…and clearly that was thier intention.
        I am actually gkad they chose not to compete against the big primes as that is a smaller market.
        I sort of expected more middle of the road like 300-600 f5.6 but in hindsight think they probably made a good choice.

        • EarlFargis

          Well, you still might beat me on this one. I’m going to wait on the reviews – lots of reviews – so there’s no way I’ll pre-order. Right now I’m leaning against it.

          I can find a couple of Tamron reviews which appear to be well done which compare their 150-600mm favorable to some solid lenses. Yet, DxO (which I realize isn’t the end-all, be all but it’s a decent lens gauge) and other reviewers (Tony Northrup did a good one or two) point out it’s pretty soft and borders on poor resolution. The fact I have experience with the 200-500mm it replaces makes me suspect it’s an IQ improvement along the lines of the a77 vs a77II’s sensor one which is to say don’t get excited.

          I don’t own the Sigma 500mm zooms but, on the bright side, the people I’ve talked to who own them are pleased with them. That said, reviews and tests make me think I made the right decision on the Tamron because they’re just heavier versions of the mediocre slop I already own. People who don’t own Sony would be wise to go Sigma over the IS with the 500 zooms.

          I’m beating a dead horse so must apologize but I’m simply appalled at first blush by what Sigma has done. First of all, a 4x super telephoto is almost always going to be an epic fail targeting photo noobs like me: slow and soft. They’d do better narrowing down the range, IMHO. I think they’d been better off following the path of their 2.7x Sigmonster but chopped off at 600mm. Which – surprise! surprise – leaves us with the 300-600mm which would have been a wonderful 2x if prices $2,500 or less. But I suspect they couldn’t pull it off that cheap so we get the me-too Tammy spin-off.

          A preferable path, IMHO, might to be for Sigma to put out 400mm f/4 prime supporting AF on their teleconverters. A 1.4x teleconverter would get you to a happy place without much loss of IQ with the advantage of the base IQ blowing the zoom out of the water. Make it out of the same high-impact plastic they use for their Bigmas to keep costs and weight down.

          • animalsbybarry

            For best value in a birding lens the Tamron blows away the competition in every review..a real no brainer if you want a lens of that class.
            Now Sigma enters thepometition..
            They appear to ave exactly copied Tamron but made slight inprovements across the board pluss additional features…it is heavier and more expensive…we don’t know how much more expensive.
            This is now a true competitor for Tamron.
            I too need to see tests but am strongly leaning towards Sigma.

          • EarlFargis

            Makes sense, you have experience with the Sigma. I’m getting ready for lunch. My 1st lens for my Nikon D800 was a Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 because it DxOs on par with Nikon’s but 1/2 the cost with excellent (like 3 stops) VR. I’ve done some test shots in the yard but want to take out for a spin. So far reasonably impressed but my socks are still on me feet, if you catch my drift.

            Point being Tamron can do some outstanding lenses (the 70-200mm f/2.8 is another example on par with Nikon’s best). We know Sigma Art and some others are great. Unfortunately, they both seem to see this 200-600mm as a beginner niche. Though I’m rushing to judgment on the Sigma because it still might be a hidden gem. Let’s hope! Meanwhile, I’m looking at a Nikon 300mm f/4 permanently attached to a 1.4x Nikon teleconverter (no back glass on the 300mm so you need this to keep the dust out in addition to range).

            Take care. After lunch it’s a trip downtown. Can’t wait though I’m finding the Nikon D810, unlike my Sony a65, has a very steep learning curve. I had to You Tube back focusing just to figure out how to get the AF to work as the guy who sold it to me had it set up. 1/2 depressing the shutter – the noob’s way – didn’t work. I felt better when I found a pro who took 6 months to figure it out. ;^)

          • animalsbybarry

            No way you will get as good an image with a TC as with a native 600mm.
            End of Story.

          • David Drufke

            I have both the Tamron 150-600 and the Nikon 300mm f/2.8 and TC-20e III. They have about the same image quality. AF on the Tamron is better.

      • Cyrille Berger

        It is not because it is a reaction to the Tamron 150-600mm, that they rushed the design, They probably were already planning for a global vision version of the *50-500mm lenses, and it was widely speculated to happen this year, even without the new Tamron. What is almost certain is that they extended to 600mm in reaction to Tamron. That said, the Tamron is really a 150-500mm, and for marketing purposes they extended to 600mm, but the 600mm range does not bring much compare to 500mm (the image quality drop too much for that). It would be interesting if Sigma used the same trick, or if their 600mm brings value.

    • EarlFargis

      By the way, e-mount is a waste of time on this lens, IMHO. I get your reasoning with Sony’s ill-conceived (unannounced) sunsetting of the a-mount but dinky compacts are comical for big wildlife lenses. Saw a guy using the Sony 400mm zoom with a NEX-7 and adapter. It works but I wouldn’t recommend it even to abortabort.

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