Sigma 150-600 Contemporary “Real World Review”: The BEST Wildlife / Sports lens for under $1,000?

Sigma 150-600 Contemporary “Real World Review”: The BEST Wildlife / Sports lens for under $1,000?

Jared: [Music] [00:00:01] Right before we
get into this Real World Review if you haven’t signed up for the FronKnowsPhoto emails you
do so, just look for this orange box over on the website, put your name, email address
in it, hit send it and I’ll send you a free guide to “Capturing Motion in Low Light Situations.” Jared Polin, and this is
a Real World Review of the Sigma 150 to 600 mm Contemporary Lens. [Music] [00:00:37] Jared: So, here were are today in Atlantic
City to test out this Sigma 150 to 600 mm Contemporary Lens. Now, this is an f/5.0 to 6.3 lens and we are
here to shoot the Atlantic City air show they like to call it, “Thunder over the boardwalks.” So, to give this the best Real World Review
possible that I can, I am using two different bodies, we have the crop sensor 7D Mark II
as well as the full-frame 5D Mark III. I wanted to give it the best possible results
that I could, so we’re going test it out on both and see how the results look. [Music] [00:01:18] Jared: All right, is this good? Can you turn to the left a little? I need this reflection. Yeah, yeah, I’m getting the bounce back right
here, that’s good it’s lighting up my face, real nice, yeah. Right neon shirts, great for reflections. So, Sigma makes two different versions of
this lens, this is the contemporary version which is a little more affordable than the
sports version, the sports version roughly $2,000 this one$1000. Now, there are some subtle differences, this
weighs about two pounds less than the sports version, but I thought that I wanted to test
out the more affordable one right here in this Real World Review. [Music] [00:02:25] Jared: So, generally speaking, I’m not a big
fan of the histogram but now that we’re outside in a really bright day that I can’t get a
good representation of the photo that I’m taking on the back of the screen, I am looking
at the histogram, I am looking for that spike right in the middle. That’s what I’m looking for to make sure that
my exposure is going to be as close as possible with the raw file, so after the fact, I can
bring it to life in Lightroom. [Music] [00:03:10] Jared: So, let’s talk about the weight of
this lens, will you use a monopod or a tripod or just hand-hold it. Now, well, I personally came out here not
using a monopod or a tripod because I thought I could hand-hold it and I was able to. Now being that it’s about four pounds, a little
over four pounds, it could get a little cumbersome over time but it’s not too heavy and that’s
why the contemporary version if you’re looking for something that’s lighter it could be a
good option for you. [Music] [00:03:54] Jared: Done it from – we got a 600mm in
front of me in the way. So, one thing to keep in mind is that this
is a variable aperture lens, what that means is at 150mm it’s in f/5.0, as you zoom you’re
losing light it’s going down to f/6.3. So, one of the things that I’m doing out here
today is shooting in manual and making sure that my aperture is at 6.3 or a little higher,
I don’t want it to be at f/5. 0 in case I zoom out and then it changes to
6.3. [Music] [00:04:42] Jared: So, one of the important features you
want to look for in a mega zoom lens like this is image stabilization. Now, Sigma has their OS and they have two
different versions of it in this lens, one is for just general shooting for to stabilize
your images and the other is for when you are painting subject which is perfect for
when I am shooting planes flying by. [Music] [00:05:41] Jared: So, I’m pretty happy with the images
I’m getting so far, at least here on the back of the screen, the lens is working very well,
its acquiring focus better than I thought it would. Now after contemporary is getting focus as
well this one is I would think that the sports is going to do just as good, but so far I’m
pretty happy with everything that I’m seeing from using this lens. [Music] [00:06:17] Jared: The challenge, the challenge of shooting
propeller, and testing stuff at the same time. I’m trying to counterbalance the bright yellow
shirt that’s right next it’s throwing off my exposure by a lot. So, keep in mind we’re shooting in extreme
situation out here, the airplanes are flying at 500-600 miles per hour and that is really
pushing this lens to its limits. Now, so far I think it’s keeping up with it
very well, now keep in mind you are probably going to be shooting kids running around playing
sports or in the backyard, that’s really what these lenses are meant to do, but if it handles
this type of image very well then it’s definitely going to handle the type of images you are
looking for. One of the things I found awkward with this
lens was how far I had to turn my hand when zooming to go from 150 to 600. I almost have to turn my hand twice to get
it all the way out there and back again, but that also creates some issue when I’m trying
to track a subject where I’m going from 600 and then pulling back on the zoom, it’s a
little tight and you also have to turn it pretty far which makes you off axis and it
makes it harder to get the picture. [Music] [00:07:35] Jared: So, to make this the best Real World
Review possible that I can, I’m not using a filter on the end of this lens, but if you
want to use a filter keep in mind it’s 95mm, those are going to be very expensive. If you’re looking to get a 95mm UV filter,
pretty expensive and even more expensive than that are going to be the circular polarizer’s. [00:08:15] [00:08:15] Jared: When you put on neon or yellow shirt
it gives you extra human strength to hand-hold a 600 on a 7D Mark II, that’s 960mm in his
hands, he’s used to that, though. So, why does this lens have a lock switch
on the side of it? Well, that’s so that you can lock it in, so
it doesn’t zoom if you’re walking around, if you’re putting it away because what is
happening you can – by shaking it a little bit it’s going to start to creep just ever
so slightly and that’s not something you want to have happened in your bag or when you’re
walking around. [Music] [00:09:07] Jared: So, keep in mind, when you’re using
this lens on a crop sensor you have to multiply it by 1.6 if you’re on the Canon and 1.5 on
the Nikon, so that makes this a 200mm to 960 mm equivalent lens, now that is a huge range. So, here’s a quick tip, it is a hazy day,
the plane has a lot of smoke coming out of the back of it for looks and when you look
at it at a distance between the mix of the smoke and the haze you shouldn’t be shooting
because it’s just going to come out in a cloud. So, just save your frames and don’t shoot
when it’s in a cloud of dust. [Music] [00:10:16] Jared: So, what’s the difference between shooting
it with a crop sensor versus a full-frame sensor? I think it was much easier to acquire focus
when you’re using the full-frame camera, why? Because it’s drawing from a larger area whereas
in the case we’re using a crop sensor it’s really not, but it still handle the focus
very well, whether you use the crop sensor or the full-frame, so I’m pretty happy with
that. [Music] [00:10:57] Jared: So, one thing I didn’t focus on today
getting was video with this lens, now would you use this for video? Can you use it for video? Absolutely, but if you’re going to use it
for video you’re going to have to be on a tripod where the image stabilization isn’t
going to be able to keep up with the motion especially out at the 600mm point. [Music] [00:11:44] Jared: So, let’s talk about focus speed, I’m
pretty happy with how well it focused, I was a little concerned that would be sluggish
because it’s a third-party lens on the Canon body but it worked very well on the 7D Mark
II as well as the 5D Mark III. I think it was a little quicker on the 5D
Mark III and there was this time when I was shooting that I went from one plane and then
it had acquired another plane when I pointed at it and it jumped right to it, now that
is a sign of quick focus. [Music] [00:12:39] Jared: So far everything I’ve talked about
is what is like to use this lens and how it worked out here in the real world, but I can’t
tell you it’s the best lens yet because I haven’t seen the images and to do that we
have to send it back to the loft so I can look at them and then give you my final thoughts
on if this is a good lens or not. Here we are back in the loft where I had a
chance to put the raw files on the computer and go ahead and edit them in Lightroom because
that is where this Real World Review comes to life. Now, I want to remind you that if you haven’t
checked out all the full less images you could do that over on the site. Take a look at them pixel-pick all you want
but also download the raw files that I’ve given you so that you can zoom in one-to-one
3 to 1-pixel peeper and determine whether this lens is for you. But let’s take a look at some the images and
give you some thoughts along the way. So, this is a seagull, of course, it’s not
an airplane but there’s a lot of seagulls flying around down the shore and I was really
happy with how sharp this was, the detail under the wings, the sharpness, and separation
of the seagull itself onto the background with this glass in the background looks really
good. Now, moving through some of these images this
is really what I want to talk about, this is a 600mm shot using the 5D Mark III. This is a full-frame camera and I am filling
the frame edge to edge not cropped at all, you can look at the raw file and see that
for yourself but this is an unbelievable image because it’s at 600mm, we have to think about
that. This lens, it gives you 150 to 600 where are
you going to reach like that unless you’re using a 600mm f/4.0 which runs about $12,000? So, what is very interesting about a lens
like this is that I think in some cases it’s better than that 600 f/4.0. Now, it’s not going to be as sharp as that
or as fast focusing but there’s a big difference between $1,000 and $12,000 right? So, what I like about the range of the 150
to 600 is that it allows me to get images that I wouldn’t be able to get with a fix
focal length lens. For example, last year shooting the air show
I used a 300 2.8 and I had to wait for the planes that come to me to fill the frame because
I didn’t want crop. Well, in this case I can go to the planes
and then zoom back with them because the 150 to 600 gives me that range plus taking a look
at the shot, it’s sharp, it is pretty colorful but I did punch that up in the raw file because
we got bond on the day. It was – as you can tell from the video
it was such a hazy day but with the raw file, I’m able to bring that out. Now, I can show you what it looked like before
it was edited, this is what it looked like and also one of the things that I used was
lens correction, Lightroom audio has a lens correction built-in here, you can see the
vignette around it, but simply by clicking the enable lens correction bam, it gets rid
of it. Now it’s good for some images, it didn’t always
work when I was using it but it worked for this one and this is one of the best shots
that I have here. You can see the vignette on a shot like this
it’s pretty strong after I brought the file back as best as I could. Let’s keep moving here. This is one that I wanted to show you, this
is a 600mm shot with the 7D Mark II meaning it’s a 960mm equivalent, we filled the frame,
nobody out there was getting the shot except for the guy next to me with a 600mm f/4 but
he wasn’t getting any of the wider shots because he couldn’t zoom, so that’s what this lens
gave me. And as we go through here this is an important
picture to talk about, this is a shot at 1320th of a second shot all the way out at 600mm,
so you could see the guy right here and the reason I’m shooting at 1320th is because I
wanted to get the propeller. But let’s look at the settings real quick,
600mm on the 7D Mark II is a 960mm equivalent. Now, the rule of thumb is that you don’t want
your shutter speed to be slower than your focal length. So, in this case theoretically you don’t want
to shoot it slower than 1/1000 of a second but I’m hand-holding at 1320th which is breaking
all the rules which should be giving me some motion blur, but I use the OS2 on this lens
the second OS that it has for the optical stabilization. And to be able to hand-hold it and to get
this image as sharp as it, zoomed all the way out and being a 960mm equivalent is absolutely
insane, that means that the OS is working extremely well so that is a plus for this
lens. As we keep moving forward, filling the frame
again the focus is what I want to talk about next. I was able to rack through 15, 16, 20 shots
in a row with the lens focus tracking and of course the body has something to do with
that, the better body that you use it’s going to help in combination with a lens to get
better focus tracking. But even on a 7D Mark II, this is a consumer
camera, it was able to focus and track even while shooting at 10 frames a second to make
sure that each picture was in focus. So, the autofocus speed, really good the autofocus
capability of tracking to continually track, really good as well, so that’s a bonus for
this lens. Now I want to show you this to zoom in on
it. Look how sharp the sky rider’s guy head is,
you can see it right. This is 500mm, again, with just about any
lens on the market you’re not getting that reach unless you have a 150 to 600. This is just to give you an example of the
Boca in the background, I’m at f/8 and I’m wider at 226mm and you can see that’s pretty
prevalent in the background. You can see the boaters and everything so
that could become a distraction because it doesn’t blow out as much where say a 600 mm
f/4 is going to compress the background even more and give you nicer Boca but it’s that
trade-off, $1,000 lens $12,000 lens, you have to keep all that in mind when you’re shooting. The one last thing that I want to say is that
150 isn’t always wide enough. So, this is what ends up happening as you’re
trying to track the subject is 150, it’s wider on a full-frame but then when you put it onto
a 7D Mark II and you have that crop factor, well you’re not going to be able to fill the
frame at 150, most of the time you’re going to cut a lot of stuff off, that’s just what’s
happening here. All right, so the big question right now is
do I recommend it? Now, based off of the price point 1000 bucks
based off of everything that I’ve done in this Real World Review I can absolutely say,
that yes I would recommend it. No, didn’t think I would going into it because
I’m not a big fan of super mega zooms like this, but now that I’ve used it in the real
world it gave me something that I may not have been able to get even with the more expensive
lenses. Having the zoom options like I said from 150
to 600 gave me the ability to go out and touch the planes that I wouldn’t have been able
to touch any other way, The focus was spot on, the images are clean and sharp, they are
not as sharp as a more expensive lens but in the end all that really matters is that
I got the pictures, they’re very, very usable, you can see that in the raw files yourself. So, that is where I’m going to leave it. I do recommend this for 1,000 bucks you can’t
go wrong putting this in your bag if you’re shooting birds, if you’re shooting nature,
if you’re shooting anything outdoors. Where I draw the line is if you’re going to
try to use this indoors, it’s not going to give you what you want, but I do recommend
this and that is all I’m going to say about this. And that is another Real World Review this
time of the Sigma 150 to 600mm contemporary version lens. Jared Polin, See you. So, I hope you enjoyed that video, if you
haven’t subscribed here on YouTube please go ahead, hit the subscribe button so that
you can get the latest videos as they go live. But if you’re really interested in how to
shoot an air show, how to set your camera, all of the mentality that goes into capturing
images like I have done, well, I’ve done a five minute portrait out Atlantic City at
one of the air shows where you can click up on the screen right now to go ahead and check
out that five minute portrait at an air show.

100 Replies to “Sigma 150-600 Contemporary “Real World Review”: The BEST Wildlife / Sports lens for under $1,000?”

  1. Nikon P1000: 24 to 3000mm (F2.8 to F8) and probably less Chromatic aberration because it has a smaller sensor.
    And the camera is smaller as well. (Still quite bulky tho)

  2. Thanks for the great review.
    Plz let me know whether this lens can be used with Canon 800D for Wild Life and Birds photography…???

  3. Sure but how's it work on an everyday laymans camera? Like a Nikon D90? Not everyone can afford a 3,000 dollar camera…..

  4. Hey Jared
    Could I ask you to do a review on the Tamron 150-600 and G2 please, but in comparison to the Sigma 150-600 and Sports in reference. Im trying to decide which one to get.
    Thanks and love the work!

  5. What setup did you use to shoot close up clips of those planes flying? was it still the same sigma lens on manual focus?

  6. this lens(sport version) vs. tamron 150-600 g2 vs. canon 400mm 5.6
    shooting mainly birds| camera body: canon t5i

    suggestions/ tips?
    i currently have a tamron 70-300mm, I like it and it works well for the price. however my biggest gripe with the lens is the chromatic aberration, it doesnt take the sharpest of photos, and sometimes takes forever to focus. will any of the 3 lenses help with the issues im having or should I switch to something like a 5D mk III?

  7. Hi guys, I’m going to be renting this lens for an air show I’ll be going to this year, should I rent the 7d ii or the 1Dx ii?

  8. I've been shooting with this lens for a year and a half with good results. After watching your video, I learned 3 new tips I never knew about my lens that should improve it's use even further. Thank you!

  9. i have a canon eos 4000d which is a crop sensor camera and i am getting very confused with the dg part of the sigmas lens, does that mean that it can only fit a full frame camera ore does that mean it can fit both a full frame and a crop sensor camera?

  10. 2:42 "So generally speaking, I'm not a big fan of the histogram." So, you shoot RAW and you're not a fan of the histogram? Lol, this guy…

  11. hi, you should give the video codec some time to render the images sharp. in the first part of the video I thought all photos are unsharp. you are changing to fast to get an impression of the photos in the videos.

  12. Will the Sigma 150-600 mm lens fit Canon M50 with EF Adapter? If fits how about the Autofocus? Please answer my 2 questions

  13. Hello Jared, incredible work dude! Awesome! I have being follow your videos for about 6 months, very educational, I learn a lot from your experience now I take my camera every where, now the people know me with my camera on my side, this coming very good for my on my plans to professional. Thanks Sir I really appreciate your passion for teach, I hope one day I became a good teacher in photography as you.

  14. I’ll be shooting with a 7D Mark II at an air show this year, should I rent the Canon 100-400L or this? Thanks

  15. How does this Sigma compare to Tamron 150-600mm G2? Which one is better? Please help i am torn between these two!

  16. Nice test, not too much of a difference from the more pricey lens and with the right software and computer who's gonna notice any difference?

  17. A good test, I have found shooting fast moving aircraft incredibly challenging and it looks like you got amazing results.

  18. Good photographer, but he diminishes himself with the stupid Afro, much like the painting dude, Bob Ross.

  19. I just purchased this lens based on this review. I watched a couple of other reviews but yours was more informative and to the point. Thank you!

  20. Great Review, matching my own experience with that lens.
    The only thing that's really annoying to me is the estimated 160° turn of the zoom ring, which you also stated. I mean it's "only" 4x zoom, that would easily be accurate enough with a 90° turn!

  21. im searching for an lens to get football and socer. Outdoor but often we having not that nice weather meaning, cloudy. Im shooting with and D5300 (i know beginner body) would this thing be nice for it ? ore should i pick up an 70-200 2.4? (i can stand often direktly on the sideline)

  22. hey Jared, did you do a comparison of the contemporary vs sport version? what about vs the nikon 200-500?

  23. To save a lot of money buying these expensive lenses, get closer to what you want to capture. Excluding the Moon of course.

  24. Love your reviews! Spot on! My question is I shoot a lot of Surfing and Wildlife and I have the Nikon 200-500 5.6 which is 5.6 all the way thru. love the the idea of having the Sigma with that extra 100mm and the price point is great for me. I shoot with the D500. How does the Sigma compare to the Nikon? Still love my Nikon lens but will the Sigma perform as well? If so, then it's a slam dunk for me.

  25. I am considering this lens to go with my Canon 6D Mark 2 and Canon 80D, Would it work well for me doing some shots of the moon as well as wildlife? Thanks.

  26. Fabulous Review! I'm looking at that lense vs the Tamron and from what I see, the Sigma would do what I need it to do. Thanks Jared!

  27. Jared, great review and I am leaning towards the Contemporary over the Sport which I recently rented for a motorsport race. Did you do fine tuning to the lens with the USB dock or in camera? Thanks.

  28. I don't think those planes are flying at five-six hundred miles an hourand another thing that lens isn't bad but it's not cheap I've seen better

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