Nikon 200-500 VS Sigma 150-600 Sport “Real World Review”

Nikon 200-500 VS Sigma 150-600 Sport “Real World Review”


Jared Polin: Right before we jump into this
video if you haven’t signed up for the froknowsphoto email list you can do so just look for this
orange box over on the website. Put your name email address in it, hit send
it and I will send you a free guide to capturing motion in low light situations. Jared Polin froknowsphoto.com and this is
a side-by-side comparison of the Nikon 200-500 millimeter versus the sigma 150-600 millimeter
sport edition. Now these are two of the most popular lenses
out there in the super zoom range and I wanted to run them through their paces side by side
to help you guys decide which one is for you if you’re looking for a mega zoom. Now I like to do real world review so that
is what I did with this lens or both of these lenses. I took him out to a major league baseball
game, the Phillies were playing the Marlins and because I was shooting a major league
baseball game I wasn’t allowed to do any video that’s why I didn’t bring a film crew with
me, but I still wanted to get the side by side comparison in a real world and there
is no better place to test these two super zooms then at a major league baseball park. Now what camera did I use? I used two D4S’s. Why did I use the best sports camera out there
in the world right now? Because I wanted to give these lenses the
best ability to shine. I wanted the best the best focusing capability,
the best focus tracking capability. I wanted really good ISO quality because you
got to remember that these are slower lenses in terms of f-stops and I wanted to get that
better range. So basically I wanted to give these lenses
a fair shake. Now keep in mind not everybody is going to
have a D4S when they purchase these lenses, we purchase any of these lenses but I wanted
to give it the best ability to get the best shots possible, so that there was no concern
saying well you use the low end camera that’s why maybe it wasn’t as sharp as it should
have been or that’s why the contrast or focus tracking or OIS or VR wasn’t any good. So, with that said I am going to show you
or give you the ability to download all the full res exports from both lenses as well
as give you DNG files to compare side-by-side. Because my goal was to get images that were
similar side by side. I was switching camera to camera throughout
the entire shoot. So I’m going to tell you a little bit about
these lenses at all times, different pictures are going to pop up just to show you different
things but we’re going to get into the computer and show you side-by-side comparisons to give
you what I think about it. So let’s go down this list that I have. Both of these lenses give you a huge zoom
range. Nikon gives you the 200-500, the Sigma goes
wider and it goes longer but there’s a trade-off on both sides the Nikon is a fixed 5.6 which
is nice especially knowing that at 500 you’re going to have a 5.6 whereas with the Sigma
you’re going from F5 which is actually wider to F6.3 all the way out at the longest end,
which means you’re losing more light using that lens. Now price wise the Nikon is 1400 bucks where
the Sigma is $2,000 but keep in mind Sigma makes a $1,000 version that may compare a
little better to the Nikon version. I just wanted to use the best of the best
Sigma with what Nikon considers their best super zoom out there. In terms – So pricing wise you can see there’s
a big difference either way you slice it whether you go with the contemporary or the sport
on the Sigma side there’s going to be a couple hundred dollar difference either way. So let’s look at the weight. The Nikon weighs in at 4.6 pounds whereas
the Sigma weighs in at 6.3 pounds so you’re looking at two – almost you know a two pound
difference that is a lot of weight that you have to carry around all day. That’s why when I use the Sigma during the
baseball game I used a monopod and with the Nikon I didn’t need the monopod because I
could handhold that much easier. Now the Sigma contemporary is about the same
weight as the Nikon version is right there. Let’s talk about size and feel. The Nikon smaller and lighter, Sigma a little
bit more heavy. Zoom range: The Nikon zoomed much easier. I don’t know if there was a difference between
makes of lenses but the Sigma was very tight, it was harder to turn which makes it harder
to shoot, because when you’re trying to track something and you’re now concentrating on
zooming that’s a little more difficult. Focus speed very good on both sides, both
of them track the subjects very well, didn’t miss focus on pretty much any of the shots
that I took. IOS and VR both of those handled very well,
give me a nice image stabilization. And focus tracking both were very good, so
they both give you a great zoom range. What do I like about the range? Well you have 200-500 or 150-600 that is a
massive amount of room. Normally when you see pros shooting sports,
they’re using 300 2.8s, 408 2.8s, five and 600mm F4s. They use those and they’re a hell of a lot
more expensive. You’re looking at $12,000 for one of those
600mm they use those because of the clarity and the focus speed, and the sharpness, and
just the beautiful Boca that they’re going to get. But if you’re not going to spend that money
and you want to spend $2,000 or less you kind of can’t go wrong with one of these mega zooms
but one of the main concerns with all of the mega zooms like this is the 5.6 or the 6.3
apertures. That means that these are meant for bright
day shooting. I shot on an overcast day which meant I was
pushing the ISO to 3200 or 4,000 so you’re not going to use this type of lens indoors. It’s not going to be a great lens for shooting
in low light situations because you’re going to have to bump up your ISO so high which
is going to in turn hurt the quality of your images. But the zoom range that you’re getting is
something that you’re not going to get with a fixed 300 mm or fixed 600 mm so it’s all
a trade-off plus you’re saving a lot more money. We did that trade-offs, so we’re talking about
who it’s for right now. It’s for somebody that’s going to shoot
birds, it’s somebody that’s going to shoot sports outdoors and you’re not worried about
blowing out that background as much of what they call the Boca. You can still blow out the background, you
could still get nice focusing speed and nice hand holding ability, but I will tell you
that I did feel that on both lenses sides they weren’t super, super tack sharp. Now they’re sharp or they’re in focus but
it doesn’t have that super tack sharpness that you get with a 600 F4 or a 300 2.8 or
a 400 2.8. But again, is it fair to compare a 2,000 or
less dollar lens to a 6,000, 7,000 or 13,000, 14,000 dollar lens? No not really. Let’s turn to the computer, look at the side-by-side
comparisons and then we can wrap it up and you can make a decision for yourself. So here what I’ve done is I’ve tried to ­I’m
not going to show you all of them, I’m not going to show you all of them because I took
a lot of pictures. I took almost a 1,000 pictures between both,
yeah a little over a 1,000 pictures as you can see over here with both lenses but I tried
to do side by sides to get similar images. So something like this, here we go, let’s
do that. You can see that they’re pretty similar, the
ones at 320 millimeters on the Nikon side and on the Sigma side we’re at 340 millimeters. So pretty similar and as you zoom in, in this
case you get you got to you know, I don’t know. What’s better? That’s why I’m giving you both of these files
to pixel peep yourself to decide which is better. I think they both handle well and if I’m being
completely straightforward with you, I think the Sigma throughout the shoot feels a little
better in terms of clarity and sharpness. In terms of contrast, I think that the Cannon,
sorry, the Cannon, the Sigma is showing a little bit more contrast with less work than
what the Nikon is doing. And of course I’ve processed all these images
because that’s how you’re going to get the best determination of how good it all is. So let’s zoom in here, get out of here ICloud
preferences. I noticed this, the foot is much sharper there
than it is here. It’s suddenly out and the dirt, all of this
seems to be much more fine detailed than on the Nikon side. But in the Boca area, it seems like the Sigma
is bringing out a little bit more grain or noise than smoothness on the Nikon side. This is nitpicking guys, so I’m not a big
fan of nitpicking and pixel peeping. If I need to zoom in one to one to see minor
differences, then there might be a problem but that’s why I’m giving you all the files
to play with yourself to determine that on your own. So let’s keep moving down the list here. Similar images, you can play with them. I really just want to show you guys photos
here. So I put both of those side by side, you can
do that. I don’t want to look at those side by side,
let’s look at these side by side because they’re pretty similar. I hit that, hit the Y, this button right here
and zoom in. So what do we have over here? This is the Sigma on the left and we’ve got
the Nikon on the right and I guess it’s going to vary from image to image because of course
sharpness and movement. You can see that one four thousands of a second
versus 15 thousandth of a second, I tried to keep everything similar. In this case, you’re at 6.3, this one’s at
5.6, they’re all very similar. You got to try to determine. I can’t tell you which Boca is better, I really
can’t. I can’t tell you which color is better because
a lot of that comes down to how I’m editing it but these are very similar images almost
exactly the same. Of course, not taken at the same time because
I’m using two different cameras and I didn’t set them up to shoot at the same time but
the Sigma looks a little cleaner to me in the face. It just looks like it’s not as muddy where
the Nikon seems to be a little more muddy. So we’ll go through a couple of these, let
me get rid of the side by side comparisons. Just to show you some of the ones I get. This is Nikon 200 to 500. This is what I’m talking about, about sharpness,
it looks sharp but it’s not super duper as extremely tack as you would get with one of
the higher-end lenses. Is it bad? By no stretch of the imagination , no. It’s very good and this is nitpicking what
I’m doing right now. I love the range that it gives you. Something like this, you know, it looks good
but remember you’re bumping your ISO up higher to get these images because I’m shooting sports,
I want a faster shutter speed. You have to keep all of that in mind when
you’re shooting. Again, we’ve got the Nikon 200 to 500, you
have a nice range. I found myself shooting these lenses 300 and
further except for when I was closer to home plate where I was sitting and I needed to
get that wider shot. I liked having the Sigma, give me the wider
shot because 150 is a nice range compared to the 200. And then being able to reach all the way out
and grab a 600 millimeter is absolutely insane. I love the wider 150 to 600 versus 200 to
500 but the trade-offs are one weighs four pounds, one weighs six pounds, one’s easier
to carry around. They’re both big, you’re going to have to
decide which ones you like so let’s keep moving. This is the Nikon again. Now this is one of the issues I ran into with
the Sigma. It’s like I couldn’t get the focus on the
eye and it’s not the D-4s problem and it’s not my problem because I know I’m on focus
where I want to be . But it just couldn’t hit where I wanted on that tight focus where
I wanted it. But the color and the contrast looked beautiful
especially when the sun finally freaking came out because it was an overcast day, the tones
here looked great, the compression looks great. Yes, the background is a little more distracting
than if you were using a 2.8 or an F4 but that’s what’s going to happen. You’re just not able to blow the background
out as much at six three or five six. So this is at 300 millimeters you can see
that it’s a 5.6 but anytime you go after that ­ So like 320 millimeters, then you’re starting
to look at it going to F6 and climbing up from there. But really nice contrast, really nice tones,
that’s the Nikon again. This is the Sigma, 550 millimeters. Again Sigma, 270 millimeters, I’m sitting
really close to the field, awesome place. And those are the sample images, I’m giving
you the rest of them to play with. All of the ones I shot, all of the keepers
that I’ve edited you can download and play with the JPEGs and I’m giving you a handful
of raw files to play with so you can pixel peep all you want. So who is it for? Not who is it for, but which one do I think
is better? I think it’s very hard to tell you hands down
that one is better than the other. There are trade-offs, the Nikon is lighter
and easier to carry around and you don’t need a monopod. The sigma, I think is sharper, gives you a
better contrast, gives you a better tone with less work in the editing of the file. But it’s much heavier. It’s built better, it’s built extremely well,
it is a professional lens at 2,000 bucks but do I want to carry around the 6.3 pound lens? But then again on both sides, you have a huge,
huge range. Nowhere in any of the Nikon or the Canter
or Sony sides or whatever or Sigmas are you going to find mega zooms that you’re going
to reach as far as you can with something like this. Cannon has a 100 to 400, I rather buy a Sigma
150 to 600. Even though the Cannon’s lighter, I think
that that’s a great lens. So it’s going to come down to you guys deciding,
is the weight an issue? Do you need more reach? Do you need to be wider? Can you live with 6.3 versus a 5.6? There’s not a huge difference between the
third, roughly a third of a stop right there between the 5.6 in the 6.3. Focus speeds are great, clarity is great. I’ve talked about this at Infinitum already,
I don’t want this to go too long. If I had to pick one to use more, I mean,
I would be more apt to take the Nikon version around because it’s lighter and it’s easier
to carry. And plus if I’m going to shoot a concert and
I know which I’ve done, I’ve shot Hall and Oates with the 200 to 500. That 5.6, I don’t want to go to 6.3. Now I’m bumping my ISO up to 10,000 or higher
and I’m starting to run into trouble. You have to take into consideration the body
that you’re using, lower end bodies at higher ISOs those aren’t going to compare to what
the D4S is going to do so take that into consideration. But if you need a mega zoom, you can’t go
wrong with the 200 to 500 Nikon at 1,400 bucks. And if you can afford the higher end sport
edition for the Sigma 150 to 600, it’s a great lens,. They’re both great lenses. If I needed to give an edge getting rid of
weight and everything else and just look at image quality, I may give an edge to the Sigma
professional, the sport I don’t think the contemporary would match. The contemporary would be a good combination
to go with the 200-500 Nikon but if I had to choose quality wise, I’ll go with the 150-600
Sigma by a little bit. Minuscule amount do I think that the quality
of the images are better. I’ll leave it at that, you can download all
the raw files and everything for yourself to try it out and that is it. Jared Polin, froknowsphoto.com. See you.

100 Replies to “Nikon 200-500 VS Sigma 150-600 Sport “Real World Review””

  1. I think about the Sigma 150-600 for my Sony A7Rii, right now I'm using the 150-500mm version. The high ISO capability of the A7Rii makes it possible to use it even at low light. I'm living at the Emirates and I'm the Photographer for Emirates American Football League. I can use pictures with ISO up to 6400 easily. I have to use a metabones adapter for the 150-600 because they are not available for FE Sony

  2. Good comparison. But when comparing the first 2 pictures you said that the foot in the Nikon picture was not as sharp. It actually was out-of-focus

  3. How close does the Sigma contemporary come in with the Nikon 200-500, Having a hard time deciding between the two?

  4. Jared, I think you should try the Nikon some other time. The lighting was poor which was the obvious reason for staying at 5.6 but I have seen super tact sharp images with that lens that have mistaken me for being taken with prime lenses. The 200-500 is extremely sharp and in comparisons with a 500mm f4, there was almost no difference unless you actually zoomed in 1:1 and even then it wasn't that much of a difference which blew me away. That lens just like most lenses aren't going to be tact sharp at 5.6 also combined with a high ISO.

  5. you use monopod for sigma and some compersion not right simga will f6.2 and nikkor f5.6 you must use sam f stop its big diffrent make this nikkor lens high sharaper in f 8

  6. That comparison didn't help me decide between the two. The review was too indecisive. Pixel peeping D4S files are much different than the D500 I'm considering.

  7. can you please make a video comparison between Sigma 105mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro and AF-S Nikon 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED VR Micro.. I really appreciate if you can.. thank you so much.

  8. hello sir,
    want report one issue with nikon d500 and lens nikon 200-500mm.
    i have this combo.
    but when i mount this lens on d500 there slightly movement between lens and body.
    means lens is not fighting tightly there is slightly movement.
    i had visited nikon service center they told me its standard thing movement between lens and body its standard.
    i was in shock…. please can you help out.

  9. First I got the Nikon 200-500 but I was lucky to be able to also extensively try the Sigma Sport as well. Pretty similar performance overall, and agree to what Mr. Polin is saying. Sigma is overall a tad sharper and has better contrast out of the box. AF is similar, maybe the Sigma is just a little more snappier. However, after the first firmware update the Sigma Sport was already clearly ahead of the Nikon 200-500. Since then the Sigma Sport have been updated once or twice and each time the AF speed has become better. The Sigma Sport now beats the Nikon 200-500 clearly in terms of AF speed and also the IQ is a tad better.  The versatility and pro quality of the Sigma is awesome. Since then I have sold the 200-500 and never looked back. Sorry Nikon, Sigma wins this one for sure. My favourite lens however is still the 600mm prime from Nikon.

  10. i like how you say "i can't say which is better so i give you originals". thats is the honest way and i appreciate this much. i like this way much more than when people say "i think A is better than B" and i see that some things much better in B and some in A, so how you can say which is better, when it just very different…. good review, respect

  11. I went with Nikon. On the APS-C D500 I'll take all the light I can get. F5.6 will have to do until I chuck out the bucks for a Super Tele Prime.

  12. Now I'm super curious about how the contemporary sigma would hold up next to the Nikon for a bang-for-your-buck comparison. Very cool video review!

  13. These are great but no weather sealing makes it a difficult decision to buy them if you're going on a safari tour or something like that. All that dust…

  14. The one issue I have is that you shot these wide open on both lenses and no lens is sharpest wide open. It explains why your images didn't have that tact sharp look to them. Stop them down and you will see that yes they are tact sharp.

  15. I heard the Canon 100-400 @ 400 is sharper than the Sigma @ 600 after cropping in! So why consider the bulky much heavier Sigma if you are a Canon owner?

  16. Nice work Jared, what does the Sigma look like on your D5 or the Nikon 200-500 on the D5. (yea loved that review) With that combo, the ISO is no longer an issue. Would you still pick the Sigma or have you Also looked a the Tamron 150-600 G2. I know good glass is everything but I would rather have the camera (D5) and my D810 be one of the larger factors. I shoot indoors in a lot of low light situations with Symphonies, Operas and other musical events where the light is crap. I currently use a Tamron 70-200 f/2.8 but at time need longer reach and the better camera can save me a ton on glass. I would rather rent the better glass when truly needed. I am also looking at pairing the Nikon 24-120 f/4 VRG I am not sure you have looked at that yet. I will poke around at your other reviews. Thanks again for all the hard work.

    Stan

  17. jared, good video and i'm struggling over these two lenses. i am shooting a D810 and am really leaning towards the nikon 200-500. i am looking at the contemporary sigma 150-600 as the comparison lens at its respective price point. $989 for the sigma contemporary vs. $1400 for the nikon. i am seeing a VERY small difference on the images you are showing….almost to the point of debating with you which lens is producing a crisper image based upon the sharpness of the primary subject. btw, i have ruled out tamron altogether. just not enough there for the $'s. i do do some early morning stuff at longer range, so that is why i am shying away from the sigma with it's bump to a higher stop at the longer zooms. i just don't want to have to spike the ISO in order to get a good shot in low light. plus, the weight of the sigma is disappointing. i dunno, i'll figure it out, but you have properly hit on all the important issues on these two lenses. thanks again.

  18. The Nikon has a darker, richer color. The Sigma is a tad bit sharper. I would go with the Nikon. If you have a DX Nikon camera you get 50% increase in focal length with an FX lens so it's like having a 300-750mm lens

  19. I think that since you used a mono pod to stabilize the sigma and did not use one with the nikon that any comparison of sharpness between them is completely unreliable.

  20. I think these could have been shot with a 1/1000 shutter speed that way your ISO could have been lower and / or your aperture fixed a 7.1. Your photos would have turned out better.

  21. Considering the Nikon for bird shooting, specifically for Redtail hawks and Eagles. I'm still using my $250 pawn shop special D3100, which means I'll have a 750mm when zoomed out.

  22. Thanks for that review. I'm watching cuz my son got the Nikon. I think a problem with the comparison is that the Sigma Sport is their best 150-600 and they're spending more money to get good optics. The comparison shb with the contemporary and the Nikon. Also, they snhb edited.

  23. I'm curious, you comment about the Sigma zoom being "very tight", yet the 150-600 Sport is built for push/pull zoom, as well, rather than relying only on the twist to zoom… Did you work with the push/pull capability? I actually purchased the Sigma to use at airshows and plane-spotting…

  24. I suggest you re-do that test with a Nikon D750 or D810. Your D4 gets very low sharpness results on DXOMark.com with most zoom lenses. D5 is slightly better, but nowhere near as good as D750 or D810. You 'only' get 5 or 6 fps, but the images should be much sharper.

  25. Have a question…is there a chance the lenses are not calibrated with the camera? Would Auto Fine Tune help at all with the sharpness?

  26. Using the Sigma 150-600 Sport to get better sharpness requires at least f/7.1 or f/8. You didn't show us comparative images at optimal aperture settings. Unfortunately overcast skies at f/8 can quickly raise the ISO while trying to maintain a decent shutter speed. The D5 keeps focus tracking very reasonable under suboptimal conditions with these slow lenses. I'd say neither lens will produce pro level images, close but no cigar. A good experienced photographer would know how to squeeze everything out of the lens which sadly is missing from this video comparison.

  27. It's only one stop. You talk about having to bump up the iso "so much", but it's really just one stop (well for the Nikon anyway), which isn't that big a deal.

  28. Iff I need to crop hard to get my results, (Yea, i know, Jarred, you don’t like cropping 😅) there is no way around pixel peeps.

  29. if you compare the sigma and nikor vs a real 500/600mm prime the sigma 150-600mm S is more Close to 520mm at 600mm on the lens not the real 600mm prime and the nikor 200-500mm is also wider on 500mm than a 500mm prime

  30. If I use it in a entry range or a mid range camera then would the high ISO bring grains to the photo ?

  31. Hi Jared . I am afraid you have been comparing the Nikon vs the Nikon most of the time in this video . I have hardly seen Sigma photos on the Lightroom

  32. how can you take 2 pictures with two lenses at the same? it looks fake to me, especially when they are totally the same

  33. How much of an issue is the weight ? I’d like to shoot wildlife and sports. Is the weight really an obstacle?

  34. What do you think which is sharper or more useful? Is the Sigma 150-600 Sport or the Tamron 150-600 G2?

  35. Why didn't you compare the Sigma 150-600 Contemporary since it is about the same price and weight of the Nikon?

  36. I know you said that AF on the Nikon was good, but another youtuber said it focuses a little slower, can have trouble acquiring focus, and can have trouble re-acquiring if AF lost. Did you encounter that? I shoot sports, wildlife, and birds. Thanks.

  37. Every, and I mean EVERY product I've bought with the Sigma label on it has been faulty in some manner. Cameras, flash guns, lenses – you name it. EVERYTHING ends up going back for repair/adjustment/replacement/refund. Their quality control is laughable.

  38. I understood the sport to have better build quality than the contemporary. No comment on that, which is what probably lead to the increased weight.

  39. Interesting review! Regarding the Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6, I used it during a trip to Costa Rica and I got quiet impressed by its sharpness and overall performance: http://www.raphshots.com/home/field-test-nikkor-200-500mm-f56e-ed-af-s-vr

  40. Love your videos. Thank you.

    I have a Nikon D5600 and the 70-300mm Nikkor lens.
    I do mostly bird photography as a hobby including those small warblers.
    I want to upgrade my equipment, but dont know if I should change the body (D750, or?) or the 200-500.

    Thoughts?

  41. Wow the only game Ichiro Suzuki pitched in (1 Inning) … Rightfielder … great comparison … Awesome lenses

  42. Can we just ignore the quality for a sec and look at how amazing those photos are? I mean, I’m just a teenager and I’m stuck taking photos of anything interesting in the city with a 28-135mm kit lens

  43. Sir, please review for the image quality for the image quality of Nikon 200-500mm on my APS-C sensor camera nikon D5300. Is it worth buying over Tamron G2 150-600?

  44. Sigma has much value for its price than the costlier Nikon does. Thanks.

  45. most entertaining part of this video was –
    "get out of here icloud preferences" ..
    i laughed several times watching this

  46. One thing you didn’t mention is weather housing. I know the Sigma sport has this but I have been unable to definitively work out what level of weather housing the Nikon has – it has a rubber seal on the mount but otherwise nothing specific is mentioned. Can you clear that up Jared?

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