Review Sigma 150-600 mm C @ 650D

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The Sigma 150-600 mm Contemporary is an affordable telephoto zoom for amateur photographers. As far as zoom range and brightness are concerned, the Sigma 150-600 mm Contemporary gives nothing up to the more heavily built Sigma 150-600 mm Sports, which we reviewed previously. The Sigma 150-600 mm Contemporary will be delivered with a Canon, Sigma or Nikon mount. Right now, the Sigma 150-600 mm Contemporary is only available with the Canon mount. We previously reviewed the Sigma 150-600 mm Contemporary on a Canon 5D MK3 (full-frame sensor) and now on a Canon 650D (with an APS-C sensor). And the large group of owners of a Canon with an APS-C sensor (Canon 7D MK2, Canon 70D, Canon 760D, etc.) have a really great combination if they choose the Sigma 150-60mm Contemporary.  

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Sigma 150-600 mm C: "wearable" extreme telephoto zoom

Sigma 150-600mm C testSigma 150-600 mm Contemporary @ 600 mm f/6.7, 1/500 sec, ISO 1000
(Click (2x) on the illustration above for a larger version.)

In order to prevent motion blur, you will usually choose a higher ISO value at the longest focal distance with a large aperture of f/6.7. Even then, the high sharpness at full aperture shines.  

Wearability vs professional build and image quality

Together with the Sigma 150-600 mm Contemporary, the Sigma 150-600 mm Sports also appeared, for about 700 euros more. The Sigma 150-600 mm Sports not only has a more complex optical design (24 lenses in 16 groups vs 20/14), but it is also built to use under the most extreme conditions. Both the front lens and the rear lens element are treated with the same kind of moisture- and soil-repellent fluorite coating as the most expensive Canon and Nikon telephoto lenses. The Sigma 150-600 mm Contemporary is only treated with this special coating on the front lens. Just like the professional lenses from Canon and Nikon, the Sports version of the 150-600 mm is extra-well sealed against dust and splashwater. The Contemporary version only has an extra rubber seal for the mount. The tripod collar of the Sports version is more heavily build and is fixed to the lens. With this tripod collar, you can also turn the lens 90 degrees without having to remove the lens from the tripod. The tripod collar of the Contemporary is much smaller—a bit too small for my taste, so that you can less easily carry the lens by the collar than with the Sports version. The tripod collar of the Contemporary can be removed from the lens.

The focusing ring for manual focusing is broader and therefore much more comfortable to work with on the Sports version than the small focus ring of the Contemporary version. The sun cap of the Contemporary is made of plastic. The sturdy sun cap of the Sports is made of metal. That is rare even for professional high-end lenses from other brands.

All these differences are arguments due to which many professional photographers will prefer the Sigma 150-600 mm Sports above the Sigma 150-600 mm Contemporary. On the other hand, price, more compact dimensions and the lighter weight (1 kg lighter) will appeal to the amateur photographers. The filter size of the 150-600 mm Contemporary is impressive at 95 mm, but still small in comparison with the 105 mm filter size of the Sports version.

Build and auto focus

The build quality of the Sigma Contemporary lenses is of nearly the same high level as that of the Sigma Arts or Sports lenses. The lens has a metal mount, which thanks to a special treatment is stronger and more wear-resistant.
A weight of nearly 2 kg and a hefty length at the longest focal distance make this no lens with which you will long or often shoot by hand. But it is possible, as you can read from the image stabilization test.
Large zoom lenses have the tendency to zoom out if you point them downward ("creeping"). You do not have to be bothered by that with this lens, because you can fix the focal point with the help of a switch to one of several focal distances marked on the lens (150, 180, 200, 250, 300, 400, 500 and 600 mm). As soon as you turn the zoom ring, the zoom lock is switched off, and you can choose another focal distance. If you do not use the zoom lock, creeping is nearly unavoidable with this kind of zoom lens.
The Sigma 150-600 mm Contemporary is delivered including a luxurious lens bag, sun cap and a shoulder strap.
Specifications
Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG HSM OS Contemporary
Image Stabilization:+
lenses/ groups:20/14
length x diameter:260 / 105
filter size:95
Weight:1930
Lens hood:-
The unique mount conversion service offered by Sigma makes it possible to switch your trusty Sigma 150-600 mm lens to a camera from another brand, without having to sell all your lenses. All Sigma lenses from the Contemporary, Sport or Art series can be converted to another camera mount. This telephoto zoom is also suited for the new generation of Sigma teleconverters, which were released at the same time. With Sigma's unique USB dock, you can easily install firmware updates yourself or fine-tune the AF. Lensdesign
sample image Review Sigma 150-600mmSigma 150-600 mm Contemporary @ 650D, 600 mm f/6.3, 1/1000 sec, ISO 500
(Click on the illustration above for a partial enlargement at 100%.)

Vignetting

The Sigma 150-600 mm Contemporary is designed for use on a camera with a full-frame sensor. If you use such a lens on a camera with a smaller sensor, then you only use the center of the lens, and you have no trouble with vignetting.

Vignet

Optical Stabilizer

We did not carry out the image stabilization measurements with the Sigma 150-600 mm Contemporary on a Canon 650D. On a Canon 5D MK3, we achieved a profit of 4 stops with the Sigma 150-600 mm Contemporary at a focal distance of 600 mm, as can be seen in the graph shown here. For the test shots made without image stabilization, 1 notable outlier, made with a shutter time of 1/30 of a second, caused a kink in the green curve.

On a Canon 650D, I can still take sharp pictures with a Sigma 150-600 mm Contemporary at a focal distance of 600 mm and a shutter time of 1/60 of a second. If you measure the sharpness of the picture, then you note that the sharpness is less than that of a shot made from a tripod, but you still have a picture that is usable for many purposes. That is really very good.

VRtest

Distortion Sigma 150-600 mm Contemporary

The distortion is negligible across the entire zoom range. Should it ever be necessary, then any distortion is simple to correct with software.

Distort

Sigma 150-600mm C test, Sigma lenzen test, Review Sigma 150-600mm
Sigma 150-600mm Contemporary @ Canon 650D, 600mm f/8, 1/200 sec, ISO 1600

(Click on the illustration above for a jpg—compressed for the web—without supplemental sharpening.)

Flare & chromatic aberration

All large telephoto lenses are more sensitive to internal reflections than lenses with a focal distance between the—common—28 and 200 mm. With such large glass elements and a design with 20 lens elements, it is practically impossible—certainly if you do not a lens cap—to completely exclude flare and ghosts when using an extreme telephoto zoom—regardless of the brand. Sigma paid a great deal of attention in an early stage of the design to the prevention of ghosts as a result of internal reflections. Sigma's Super Multi-Layer Coating reduces flare and ghosts, and also ensures sharp, contrast-rich shots. Even with bright backlighting. During the practice test, we did not encounter any ghosts or flare. Here, too, the Sigma 150-600 mm Contemporary puts on a solid performance. In the practice shots, we did not find any visible chromatic aberration, recognizable by colored edges at sharp contrast transitions.

Sharpness

The Sigma 150-600 mm C is built of 20 elements in 14 groups, including three FLD ('F' Low Dispersion) lenses and one SLD (Special Low Dispersion) lenses. These high-quality glass types make an important contribution to high resolution and contrast. The Sports version therefore includes one additional SLD element. The even sharpness from corner to center is remarkably good. Just as with most telephoto zooms, the sharpness becomes a little bit less as the focal distance becomes higher, but even at the longest focal distance, the sharpness is still impressive.

Rezz

Bokeh

700Lepelaarcrop
Sigma 150-600 mm Contemporary @ 361 mm f/5.6, 1/640 sec, ISO 320
The Sigma 150-600 mm Contemporary, just like the most expensive telephoto zooms, an aperture with 9 rounded lamellae. The limited focal depth of an extreme telephoto lens in combination with the extremely high sharpness at full aperture—as can be seen in the practice shot above—also help to separate the subject from the background. The shots of our bokeh test set-up also looked great. We saw no onion-rings in the bokeh circles of sharp light sources in the background. As far as bokeh is concerned, I feel that the Sports version beats out the Contemporary, in particular for shots of distance subjects with a restless background.

Conclusion Sigma 150-600 mm Contemporary @ Canon 650D

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Look in our list of all reviewed lenses or the lenses we have reviewed with a Canon mount in order to compare the performance of this lens with other lenses.

testcamera: Canon 650D

ECWYSIWYG score: This table shows the performance of this lens if you save the files in the camera as jpg, where you have applied all available in-camera lens corrections. This score gives you for this lens/test camera combination: "What you see is what you get".


200
300
8.4
7.8
9.2
9.4
8.2
267
400
8.3
7.8
8.8
9.1
8.2
333
500
8.2
7.6
9.1
9.2
7.9
400
600
8.2
7.5
9.4
9.2
8.1
467
700
8.2
7.5
9.4
9.4
7.8
600
900
7.4
6.6
9.4
9.4
8.1
Overall
Overall
8.1
7.4
9.1
9.3
8.1
ECPure RAW score: This table shows the performance of this lens if the file is stored in the camera in RAW format. This score approaches the intrinsic quality of the combination of lens and test camera.

200
300
8.3
8.3
9.2
9.6
8.5
267
400
8.1
8.1
9.2
9.7
8.5
333
500
7.8
7.9
9.0
9.6
8.2
400
600
7.4
7.5
9.0
9.5
8.4
467
700
7.4
7.6
9.0
9.4
8.2
600
900
7.4
7.5
8.7
9.4
8.4
Overall
Overall
7.6
7.7
9.1
9.5
8.4

Pros

  • Large zoom range
  • High build quality and simultaneously light for a large telephoto zoom
  • High image quality
  • Very effective image stabilization
  • Fine-tuning possible with the optional USB dock
  • Suitable for Mount Conversion
  • Attractively priced

Cons

  • Small tripod collar

Too long, didn't read (TL/DR)? The Sigma 150-600 mm Contemporary is an extreme telephoto zoom with an equally extremely high price-to-quality ratio that I can recommend without hesitation to every amateur photographer.

I am exceptionally positive about the optical performance of the Sigma 150-600 mm Contemporary series. This is a beautifully finished, solidly built extreme telephoto zoom that with a weight of 2 kg is still usable for amateur photographers shooting by hand. The good built-in image stabilization then becomes an important asset. Professionals might prefer the more heavily built Sports version, which is also extra well-sealed against dust and splashwater, or the brighter Sigma 150-600 mm Sports. I have often come across disappointing results when testing less expensive telephoto zooms at the longest focal distance. But with an SLR camera with a crop-factor and the Sigma 150-600mm Contemporary, you are guaranteed to make surprisingly beautiful pictures of distant subjects.

Ivo Freriks
Author: Ivo Freriks
With Camera Review Stuff I hope to make a modest contribution to the pleasure that you get from photography. By testing cameras and lenses in the same way, evluating the results and weighing up the pros and cons, I hope to help you find the right camera or lens.

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