Sigma 60–600mm f/4.5-6.3 DG OS HSM Sports: To The Power Of Ten

 

This is Sigma’s second attempt to master the larger focal length ratio of 10x. Based on the earlier experience of its 50–500mm lens, Sigma has come out with another 10x ratio zoom of 60–600mm. Shridhar Kunte puts it on this month’s test bench.

The 60–600mm f/4.5-6.3 lens is available in the sports version. As we are all aware, the sports version lenses are pricier than the Contemporary series lenses, and are bigger, bulkier, and well built, and are also optically better. This lens is compatible with full-frame and APS-C type sensors, where it provides a 96–960mm equivalent focal length range. I am more interested to see whether this lens can become a perfect super-telephoto superzoom for sports and wildlife photographers who just want to carry a single lens.

Features
As this lens has a large zoom ratio of 10x, I was expecting more number of elements, as compared to the 150–600mm sports. But there is only one additional element making, brining the number to 25. These elements are arranged in 19 groups, three more than the 150–600mm sports. There are 4 special elements, out of which one is an SLD element and the other three are FLD elements.

These help to smooth chromatic aberrations and colour fringing throughout the zoom range, for improved colour accuracy and overall sharpness. Each of the elements are separately treated with a multi-layer coating resistance for flare and ghosting, which helps in improving the contrast and optimising the neutral colour balance. The use of HSM (Hyper Sonic Motor) ensures lightning fast focusing speed and silent auto focusing. The CPU in the lens is fed with the latest algorithms to minimise the appearance of camera shake by up to four stops. The front and the rear element of the lens is applied with water and oil repellent coating that protects against moisture, fingerprints, or smudges from the surface of the lens.

This lens can be used as a macro telephoto lens at 200mm, where it has a close focusing distance of 60mm, with a maximum magnification ratio of 1:3.3. This is not a true macro lens, but has the additional convenience to go really close to the subject.

I was expecting to shoot lots of aerial shots, but when I noticed the parade emerging from the lane, I was able to immediately switch the focal length to 60mm, to capture this image. Exposure: 1/1000 sec at f/8 (ISO 1600). Photographs/Shridhar Kunte

Handling
Weather sealing gaskets are extensively used around all rotating and moving parts to make it weather resistant. The manual focusing ring is covered with ribbed rubber, thus allowing you to hold it firmly during manual focus operation. The zoom ring is much wider as compared to the MF ring, which is also covered with ribbed rubber. For quick operation of the lens, the zoom ring incorporates a push/pull mechanism, in addition to the regular rotating mechanism. The special lens hood has also been designed to accommodate push/pull zooming and overall lens maneuverability.

Performance
As this lens closely competes with the 150–600mm, the focusing speed and additional focal length is a part of the deal breaker. The overall focusing was pretty fast and kept up with the speed of
the 150–600.

As the light levels falls, there is a little variation in AF speed, and the lens hunted a little with the distance change was huge. To overcome this problem, I started using the focus limiter switch and the problem was disappeared. One should not be very worried about the distortion of this super telephoto zoom, though at 60mm, there is bit of barrel distortion.

I also tried to capture macro images with this lens. This is only possible at the 200mm position, where the closest focusing distance becomes 60cm and varies from 60cm to 260cm for the rest of the focal lengths. There is a slight light fall off while shooting wide open at 600mm. One should not be worried about this, as the image will be at the center of the frame, most of the time. The lens has a peak performance at f/8, throughout its zoom range. The OS performance was consistent and gave an advantage of about 3 stops at the tele-end.

Conclusion
This lens is a unique offering from Sigma, considering that the zoom ranges from normal to super telephoto, which is not usual. The lenses in the focal length range of 150–600mm are the close competitors to this offering from Sigma.

This lens is very competitively priced at Rs. 1, 80,000, which is surprisingly Rs. 17,000 less than the Sigma 150–600mm Sports version. The wider end of the focal length will enable you to shoot portraits from closer distances, but with a different perspective. The overall performance of the lens, when compared to the 150–600mm Sports version, is a tad better. The aggressive pricing and the performance will generate many fans for this lens.

FINAL RATINGS
Features
Custom settings through the dock, IS mode for panning
16/20
Performance
Good IS performance, soft at 600mm
30/35
Build Quality
Overall construction, weathersealed
21/25
Ergonomics
Large focus ring, Arca swiss ready tripod collar
12/15
Warranty & Support
Limited service network, 2 year warranty
3/5
MRP Rs. 1,80,000
OVERALL 82%
VALUE FOR MONEY 4/5
Who should buy it? Wildlife photographers and action photographers who are looking for all purpose single lens option.
Why? Excellent build quality and pro-grade weather sealing.
Tags: 60–600mm f/4.5-6.3 sports, better photography, January 2019, Lens review, Shridhar Kunte, Sigma