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Purists, please excuse the abbreviated names − I wanted to make the headline a bit more friendly. The two lenses in question are surely the Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Sports and the newly announced Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM, shown to scale below. Click on the “Compare Images” button.

Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM
Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Sports Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Sports

In spite of the different focal length range and aperture, I expect that some EOS shooters will debate whether getting one or the other. It may sound obvious that users looking for reach should choose the Sigma lens, but I sure bet those extra 200mm will not always be enough of a reason. Like any new pro Canon lens, this 100-400mm is a very appealing package, and it comes with a price tag that is not much higher than the Sigma’s.

As an initial approach, here is a table comparing the two lenses. Beyond focal length and aperture, you may find some points that make one more suitable than the other for you.

Canon 100-400mm II Sigma 150-600mm S
Maximum Aperture f/4.5-5.6 f/5-6.3
Zoom Range 100-400mm 150-600mm
Zoom Factor
Angle of View 24º-6.1º 16.4º-4.1º
AF with 1.4× Teleconverter Up to 560mm (full range) Up to ~600mm
Manual Focus Override On AF switch On dedicated MO (manual override) switch
Stabilization Modes Standard, panning, during exposure only Standard, panning (further customizable through optional USB Dock)
AF and Stabilization Fine-tuning No Yes (with optional USB Dock)
Weather sealing Yes Yes
Protection Coating Yes (both front and rear lenses) Yes (both front and rear lenses)
Optical Construction 21 elements in 16 groups 24 elements in 16 groups
Special Glass 1 fluorite and 1 SUD elements 2 FLD and 3 SLD elements
Zoom Lock Switch No Yes
Zoom Ring Resistance Adjustment Yes No
Filter Thread 77 mm 105 mm
Minimum Focusing Distance 98 cm / 38.6 in 260 cm / 102.4 in
Maximum Magnification ratio 1:3.2 (0.31×) 1:5 (0.20×)
Diaphragm Blades 9 (rounded) 9 (rounded)
Lens Hood Filter-friendly (side window for filter adjustment) Regular
Size 94 x 193 mm / 3.7 x 7.6 in 121 x 290.2 mm / 4.8 x 11.4 in
Weight 1,570 g / 55.38 oz 2,860 g / 100.9 oz
US Warranty 1 year 4 years
US Price $2,199 $1,999
  • Nikos Delhanidis

    Florent, what is your sharpness conclusions after using both ? ….

    • Florent – SigmaRumors

      Unfortunately I haven’t had the chance to use them. The plan was to loan them from B&H, but even though they can ship to Europe, having to deal with customs makes the whole thing rather painful. So I gave up.

  • Wharmton

    Is it true that Sigma’s new 1.4 TC will still AF at F8 at the 6.3 end? If so that’s a big deal too given that my new 7D mk2 will AF at F8 on the center point. That kind of reach would really swing it for me. Also I have Sigma’s 120-300mm F2.8 OS (but not dock version) which is just phenomenal and can shoot with it for 2 or 3 hours easily and it’s a pound heavier than this baby.

    • Florent – SigmaRumors

      It should work up to around 600mm with the TC on, whereupon the lower aperture will take its toll on AF.

  • It’s sort of an unfair comparison for the Sigma. The Canon is definitely more flexible, as it’s more compact, hand-holdable, and has a nice close focusing distance. Those factors make it viable for event photogs/filmmakers or someone headed to the zoo with their Family. I would certainly use the 100-400 to film a wedding. The 150-600s (Tamron’s included) are pretty much solely for sports/wildlife, and I wouldn’t be able to bring any of them to a wedding (you’ll probably see the Tamron at the zoo, though). I’m in the market for a long zoom, but I honestly don’t need 500mm and 600mm. I’d love for Sigma to put out a 100-400mm to compete with this new Canon, as I refuse to pay more for less when it comes to Canon.

  • Spongebob Nopants

    I’ve held the 150-600 and it’s not a walking around lens. Hurt my arm after a minute or so of use and would hurt my feet and back to walk around with it. Def for use with a monopod/tripod. I’ll wait for reviews and samples of the dc version as I was told it will fit EF as well as EF-S.

    • Spongebob Nopants

      The sample pics from this were stellar and I could easily see they were superior to those produced by the Tamron. If I had an exo suit I’d buy one in a second.

  • js

    Here is a side-by-side comparison of the MTF charts:

    http://i.imgur.com/EveJlVO.jpg

    For the Canon MTF’s, the lines are:

    – Black thick solid line: 10 lp/mm Sagittal wide open
    – Black thick dashed line: 10 lp/mm Meridional wide open
    – Black thin solid line: 30 lp/mm Sagittal wide open
    – Black thin dashed line: 30 lp/mm Meridional wide open
    – Blue thick solid line: 10 lp/mm Sagittal stopped down to f/8
    – Blue thick dashed line: 10 lp/mm Meridional stopped down to f/8
    – Blue thin solid line: 30 lp/mm Sagittal stopped down to f/8
    – Blue thin dashed line: 30 lp/mm Meridional stopped down to f/8

    For the Sigma 150-600mm MTF’s, the lines are:

    – Red solid line: 10 lp/mm Sagittal wide open (f/6.3)
    – Red dotted line: 10 lp/mm Meridional wide open (f/6.3)
    – Green solid line: 30 lp/mm Sagittal wide open (f/6.3)
    – Green dotted line: 30 lp/mm Meridional wide open (f/6.3)

  • mantis

    The comparison seems to omit something certainly important – IQ. 100-400 L II’s MTF charts look off the hook. Better than 70-200/2.8 L II. Hell, better than Canon’s 400/5.6 which was amazingly sharp. The quality is similar to that of 200-400/4, which is couple times more expensive. That is impressive.

    Now, I know Sigma is sharp, but Canon is SHARP.

    I’m waiting for AF speed side by side comparison before making my decision, as the 200mm on the long end for me is equal in importance to 0.98m MFD (I shoot wide range of animals, sometimes really close, sometimes really far)

    • Florent – SigmaRumors

      I didn’t want to include any “image quality” comparison here. Field use will tell (I should receive both for testing in the coming weeks).

      • mantis

        Sweet! I was sure I’d be getting 150-600 S, but now after seeing the MTF tests of 100-400 L II I’m on the fence again. Would love some proper side by side field usage tests, so I can see how both work in real world, and I won’t be able to get my hand on either of the lens till late December.

    • Just me

      I would not expect the 100-400L II to be as good as or better than the 70-200 II. Regarding the MTF charts, only if you compare the f/2.8 on the 70-200 f/2.8 to the f/5.6 on the 100-400L II is it better. And then it is slight. Look at all the other lines, especially the f/8 numbers (blue lines), where the 70-200 II is better. Also, look at reviews and the best apertures for the 70-200II are f/4 and f/5.6. These are not presented in the MFT charts. The 70-200 II is, likely, a better lens. That said, the 100-400 II does look fantastic. Definitely appears to be in the group of elite canon zoom lenses.
      In comparing the 100-400L II to the 150-600S. This did just get interesting. Portability, 2 more stops IS, etc for the Canon. But I suspect better optics >400 mm for the Sigma. This is based on the 1.4TC MTF chart. The Canon drops to ~85% at f/8. The Sigma compared well (slightly better) with the Canon lenses with MTF charts in the 90’s at there native focal lengths in the lenstip review. If this adds up as I think it will, the Sigma will be better optically >400 mm than the 100-400L.

    • Steve Griffin

      What are those ghosted secondary sets of curves in the Canon MTF graphs?

      Also, what are the two separate (blue and black) curves meant to show? Focal length and contrast or focal length and resolution? I suspect the greyed graphs may be the resolution numbers and the coloured graphs merely the contrast per ends of the focal range.

      The coloured graphs on the sigma represent contrast (red) and resolution (green) where solid v dotted represents sagittal/meridional.

    • john

      Let’s see how the 100-400 performs with a 1.4 extender vs the Sigma @ 560mm f8. I might be wrong but I wouldn’t be surprised if the Sigma was noticeably better.

  • DarthArne

    In Norway the 100-400 II is listed at $3160 (21500NOK), the Sigma 150-600 at $2200 (15000NOK), so here it’s a no brainer!

    • Miguel M

      Same as in Portugal. Anyway, Sigma’s S problems is the weight. As a birder, I rarely use a tripod

      • true

        We gotta wait for the contemporary model and see how it fares.

  • Bayne Wagner

    I have Canon’s 70-300L. It’s my favourite lens. I also have the Sigma 150-600 preordered. For $2000.00 I would be unable to justify the extra 100mm this new Canon offers over my current lens, but the 300mm the Sigma offers… That’s why I’m glad I chose the Sigma.

    • CHRIS

      I have the 70-300L also and the 400 5.6 prime. The 70- 300 is a superb lens and reasonably small with very good optics. From what I have seen of the Sigma its in what you could call the L series league and build quality and classy optics.
      Possible the first independent big zoom to play in this arena.

      The closest actual competitor is the 200-400 with 1.4 TC inbuilt,
      (5.6 at 560mm is closer to the sigma with same zoom range ) not the 100-400 and that lens is the cost of a small car.
      I would expect the 200-400 to outperform the sigma but by how much (is the quality worth $8000 more)

      I for one will be getting the Sigma. (external TC’s are a complete pain anyway)

      Final though…would Canon have listed the 100-400 for such a sensible price $2100 had Sigma and Tamron
      not been nocking so hard on Canons Door.
      .

      • Florent – SigmaRumors

        I wouldn’t consider the Canon 200-400mm f/4 as a competitor to the Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 S. I’m not sure we will ever see someone hesitating between those two lenses. They simply don’t target the same users.

        • CHRIS

          I agree with you that the Likely candidates for the 200-400 1.4 TC and the Sigma 150-600 are in a different worlds its just the specs of both lenses are very close and a direct comparison would be extremely interesting given the bloated cost difference.

        • Joseph’s Myth

          Yet gimbal head sales skyrocket nonetheless

        • Rick

          I disagree with you there. The 200-400 f/4 is a very nice lens but no matter how you look at it, the difference in image quality does not compensate for the obscene price. Assuming the IQ is as good as the charts suggest it is, had Sigma produced this lens a year earlier when I was shopping, I could have purchased the Canon 500 f/4 LII and had money left over to buy the Sigma 150-600 as a second lens. The built-in 1.4xTC on the 200-400 f/4 isn’t that great with IQ falling off and significant vignetting when it is being used. With newer camera bodies producing very decent images at ISO 3200, this makes the Sigma 150-600 f/5-6.3 a very viable lens. At an approximate $2000 price tag, the Sigma has the same initial value as the camera bodies yet won’t depreciate like them. It is a real bargain compared to the 200-400 f/4. The new Canon 100-400 LII will be great natively, but like the 70-200 LII, it too will suffer IQ falloff when a 1.4x TC is slapped on. I’m guessing that the IQ won’t be any better at 400mm + 1.4x TC than the Sigma at 600mm. The Sigma is more versatile, not requiring a TC to reach 600mm like the 100-400 does. When maximum reach is required, the Sigma can get there far sooner than someone who must stop and take the time to add on the 1.4x TC for the 100-400. That’s one of the main selling points for the 200-400 f/4 with built-in 1.4 TC at the flip of a switch.

          • Florent – SigmaRumors

            The Sigma 150-600mm can’t even open up to f/4 while the Canon 200-400mm
            offers this aperture up to 400mm. I guess that most users willing to buy the
            Canon 200-400mm need its combination of zoom and action-stopping
            capabilities, not to mention the extremely reliable and durable build to
            boot.

            Of course some may hesitate between those the Sigma 150-600mm and Canon 200-400mm, but I’m simply not expecting to see much of that – more so with the Canon 100-400mm II (+TC or not). It can’t go as far as 600mm but, well, it’s a new pro Canon lens with all the confidence most people have behind Canon, and also some amount of “cool” factor. That or the extra 200mm of the Sigma (and the extra size and weight that come with it)?

      • Bayne Wagner

        I’m sure the Tamron and Sigma offerings have greatly affected Canon’s price for this lens. Based on their other lens prices, I would expect the 100-400mm to be at least $500 more. In contrast, I never thought I’d be able to own a weather-sealed 600mm lens for anything less than $8000–way too high for my budget. But now with the Sigma, I will have to learn how to deal with a heavier and larger lens than I ever imagined owning. Can’t wait!

        • CHRIS

          I would have thought the canon would have possible gone for a 100-500mm
          considering that there is already a good 70-300 L USM in there stable. but when you look at the 100-400 USML canon against the Sigma 150-600 Sport they do in some respects cover different areas, the Sigma would be much more a tripod lens where as the Canon is much more hand holdable design. and the 600mm is a big lump.

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