Wildlife photography is regarded as a very expensive job or hobby, considering the prices of those long telephoto lenses. But now lens manufacturers are trying to introduce budget alternatives that provide reasonably good image quality, better AF speeds, and good value for money.
The Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM | C (C stands for Contemporary) lens was announced alongside its more expensive ‘Sport’ model, the 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM | S. Till now, the most popular of Sigma’s big lenses was the 50-500mm HSM lens, widely dubbed as the ‘Bigma’. Surely, the new lenses are compact and have the latest features embedded into them. We have the Contemporary lens on our test bench.
Design and Build Quality
The new Sigma 150-600mm Contemporary lens is predominantly made of composite materials on the outside, with a metal, weather-sealed mount. The lens itself is not weathersealed as in the case of Sigma’s ‘Sport’ (S)designated lens. A removable, metal tripod collar is included with the lens. The lens has a broad zoom ring with a textured rubber grip, along with a narrow, but textured focus ring at the back of the zoom ring. Sigma has included a cylindrical lens hood.
The Sigma 150-600mm Contemporary lens has been designed as a budget alternative to the more expensive and premium ‘Sport’ designated lens of the same focal length and aperture range. The lens is constructed with 20 elements in 14 groups including one FLD and three SLD elements. It has an aperture range of f/5 to 22 at the wide-angle end and f/6.3 to 29 at the telephoto end. The lens features Optical Stabilisation (OS), which is a necessity in the case of such extreme telephoto lenses.
The 150-600mm Contemporary lens uses an ultrasonic motor (which Sigma designates as Hypersonic Motor (HSM)), which provides faster autofocus than the previous lenses. It employs internal focussing and hence the front element does not rotate and the barrel does not protrude while focussing. The lens offers full-time manual focus along with a limiter switch with three settings—Full, 10m to infinity, and 2.8 to 10m.
The 150-600 makes use of nine diaphragm blades to provide a circular aperture. The lens has a minimum focussing distance of 2.8m and a maximum magnification of 1:5. It has a filter size of 95mm. The lens has a zoom lock, which allows you to lock the zoom at any of the marked positions on the lens barrel. This prevents the lens from ‘zoom creep’ while the front of the lens points downward.
The 150-600mm Contemporary is compatible with Sigma’s USB dock (available separately), which can be used to update the lens firmware and customise focus and other such parameters. The lens has a Custom button, which provides options of Off, C1 and C2. These values can be customised using the dock.
The lens has dimensions of (Diameter x Length) 105×260.1 mm and weighs 1930g.