Pretty impressed with the new Sigma 60-600

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#1
For me this is a small/light/slow lens, which is basically why I got it. It's just a tiny bit smaller/lighter than my 120-300/2.8 C.
A couple quick backyard test shots wide open at 600/6.3... just got it today and haven't done any fine tuning or anything.
These are just SOOC Jpegs with low profile settings (reduced sharpening/contrast/etc, and noise reduction turned off), taken handheld.
_SGK0216.jpg
100% crop, ISO 800
_SGK0216-4.jpg
_SGK0215.jpg
100% crop, ISO 4500, shade/very flat light
_SGK0215-2.jpg

I think I'll be selling my 80-400 VRII...
 
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#3
I didn't even know they did a 60-600, is this a modern "Bigma"

Bet its a beast of a lens.
Yup, it's a new release, and supposedly sharper than the Nikon 200-500 (@500) and other 150-600 offerings. But it's also more expensive.
If I can get these kinds of results handheld w/o really trying and no fine tuning, I expect it can do even better. I'll have to see how it works with the 1.4x (840/8.8)... I expect that might be just a bit too far in anything other than optimal conditions.
 
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#5
Interesting. I have a shopping list of new lenses, and one I'd made my mind up about was the Tamron 150-600 G2. Then this whopping thing came along and I've been waiting for some reviews to compare. It's hard to believe the Sigma could match the Tamron's reported sharpness, not with that ambitious range. Also a third heavier and nearly twice the price, but I'd take it if the optical performance turns out to be really close to the G2.
 
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#6
Be interested to know how you get on with it Steven (y)
 
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#7
Interesting. I have a shopping list of new lenses, and one I'd made my mind up about was the Tamron 150-600 G2. Then this whopping thing came along and I've been waiting for some reviews to compare. It's hard to believe the Sigma could match the Tamron's reported sharpness, not with that ambitious range. Also a third heavier and nearly twice the price, but I'd take it if the optical performance turns out to be really close to the G2.
I went off a couple of trusted reviews... on FM and this one: link to resolution test page
 
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#8
Be interested to know how you get on with it Steven (y)
I'm encouraged and hopeful... I'm getting older (53 shortly) and I have more than a couple physical issues (helicopter crash(es))... carrying the really big kit any significant distance is getting to be more painful than rewarding. I'll still be using the big stuff if it's a "park and walk" kind of situation, but for longer hikes and more casual shooting I think I need to find a lighter solution. So far, I think this will do...
 
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#9
I'm encouraged and hopeful... I'm getting older (53 shortly) and I have more than a couple physical issues (helicopter crash(es))... carrying the really big kit any significant distance is getting to be more painful than rewarding. I'll still be using the big stuff if it's a "park and walk" kind of situation, but for longer hikes and more casual shooting I think I need to find a lighter solution. So far, I think this will do...
Sharpness looks good at 600, and LensTip (as per your link above https://www.lenstip.com/545.11-Lens_review-Sigma_S_60-600_mm_f_4.5-6.3_DG_OS_HSM_Summary.html ) say it beats the original 150-600 S. Sigma's own MTF graphs though, show the two are effectively identical at 600 with the 150-600 having, if anything, a miniscule advantage. I don't know what distance LensTip were using, could be relatively close as you need a huge studio to test a 600mm lens at realistic range. That might explain it, other than simple copy variation, but your quick test images are impressive and prove what the lens is capable of (y)

On the other hand, lenses like this are often used quite close for things like garden birds, so equally valid. That raises the question of focus breathing and I wouldn't be surprised if actual focal length drops fairly dramatically at close distance.

AF performance is the other critical factor. It'd be interesting to know how that compares to your Nikon 400/2.8. There are lots of reviews vs all the other super-tele zooms, but not so many against the acknowledged best in class :)

Sigma MTF links:
https://www.sigma-imaging-uk.com/lens-item/150-600mm-f5-6-3-dg-os-hsm-s/
https://www.sigma-imaging-uk.com/lens-item/60-600mm-f4-5-6-3-dg-os-hsm/
 
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#10
Sharpness looks good at 600, and LensTip (as per your link above https://www.lenstip.com/545.11-Lens_review-Sigma_S_60-600_mm_f_4.5-6.3_DG_OS_HSM_Summary.html ) say it beats the original 150-600 S. Sigma's own MTF graphs though, show the two are effectively identical at 600 with the 150-600 having, if anything, a miniscule advantage. I don't know what distance LensTip were using, could be relatively close as you need a huge studio to test a 600mm lens at realistic range. That might explain it, other than simple copy variation, but your quick test images are impressive and prove what the lens is capable of (y)

On the other hand, lenses like this are often used quite close for things like garden birds, so equally valid. That raises the question of focus breathing and I wouldn't be surprised if actual focal length drops fairly dramatically at close distance.

AF performance is the other critical factor. It'd be interesting to know how that compares to your Nikon 400/2.8. There are lots of reviews vs all the other super-tele zooms, but not so many against the acknowledged best in class :)

Sigma MTF links:
https://www.sigma-imaging-uk.com/lens-item/150-600mm-f5-6-3-dg-os-hsm-s/
https://www.sigma-imaging-uk.com/lens-item/60-600mm-f4-5-6-3-dg-os-hsm/
The best images always come at closer distances (for numerous reasons), so I was concerned about the potential focus breathing issues. A quick test puts it at somewhere around ~550mm at MFD (as compared to the 400/2.8 + 1.4x TC)... I have no idea how close it is to a true 600mm at infinity at this point (not that it matters much), but it seems to be close to it by 25-30ft (tighter than the 400+1.4). FWIW, MFD is spec'd at 2ft, but at 600mm it is very close to the 400/2.8 at around 9ft. At those kinds of FL's a 25-50mm change doesn't make a lot of difference so I'm happy enough with it.

The Nikon 153 pt system doesn't have any f/2.8 points, and it only looses some outer cross point functionality at f/5.6. So I don't think f/6.3 is going to be a big hit since most wildlife/sports is center of frame (or very nearly)... the lens is f/5.6 at 300mm, f/6 at 350mm, and f/6.3 at 500mm. I do expect a little bit of AF vignetting will reduce accuracy/speed for f/5.6 points.
I have the AF set to Fast Priority and initial impression is that it does seem quite fast, but also a little spastic... like it's less "certain." I have no idea how that is going to play out in use though. Set like this it does hunt more than the 400+1.4 in low light with lowish contrast subjects (blows right past the focus point). It might actually be a little slower than f/6.3 at 600mm and just lying about it...if it's f/6.3 at 500mm it almost has to be slower at 600mm (f/7.5) :(. But maybe the 500mm aperture is rounded up??? (I know, not likely). Edit: The entrance pupil does appear to continually increase in size throughout the zoom range... so maybe it's not lying.
Luckily, the 153pt system has pretty decent f/8 AF capabilities... it will actually focus at f/11 with good light/contrast (center points).

I do see a slight difference in the 30LP plots and a little quicker deviation of the S/M lines which would give a slight advantage to the 150-600 in center sharpness and bokeh. But my understanding is that a lot/most of manufacturer MTF charts are calculated/theoretical and not actual test measurements. Either way, I'm not too concerned... the lens' MTF isn't likely to be the limiting factor most of the time. ;)

What I'm really wanting to know (but kind of dreading) is what the lens offers me over the 120-300/2.8 + TC's as the size/weight difference is pretty minimal. And below 100mm the lens' performance supposedly drops off pretty bad.
 
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#11
Thanks for that Steven (y)
 
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#12
I just did a quick test as I have C2 set to the opposite extremes for AF/OS speed; and set this way it does hunt a lot less in low light/contrast, but it's also notably slower/more deliberate (as expected).
So I have C1 set to maximums, C2 set to minimums, and Off returns it to the defaults (middle). That's pretty cool... I've never had this kind of functionality/choices before.
 
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#13
Very helpful reading your findings, Steven. The review graph and your sample images certainly haven't ruled out this lens for me at this stage. The AF hunting would put me off if it weren't for your experiments. Finding focus first time most of the time, and in lower light, is of more value to me than flat-out speed. It's a shame lenstip don't appear to have tested the G2 Tamrons, side-by-side comparison would be ideal. It looks like I'll just have to absorb all the valid reviews I can find and probably handle in-store to check for any ergonomic failures. Judging from your experience so far I'd probably be very happy with it.
 
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#14
A few short notes from my experiences so far...

I've been trying out my new 60-600 Sport, but for field hockey. Shifting from my usual 70-200 f2.8, I find the image quality is very good, both at 60 as at 600, the extra reach is brilliant, I can shoot from one end of the pitch to the other with little cropping. There are drawbacks though, the weight being the main one. I can't walk around hand holding this lens for the three or four or so hours of shooting so I use my stool and rest my arm to knee to support the weight. I have a monopod that I need to persevere with that should help.

The focusing seems fast, although it has battled to lock on sometimes at 600, even in sunlight, without just easing of the end stop a bit. I haven't had a play around with the focus settings apart from keeping the same in-camera settings (on the Canon 5D4) as I use for the 70-200, and I haven't connected it to the dock yet to set up C1/C2.

I find that to change the zoom from 60 to 600 takes a lot of rotating and is a little stiffer than expected. I'm used to just a flick of the finger to go from 70 to 200 and I tend to knock the manual focus ring sometimes when hand holding too, as I need to keep my full hand on the zoom ring to be able to react quickly. The IS is good and seems very stable and yet still tracks in AI Servo very well.

I have the 1.4 and 2.0 TCs but haven't tried them on it yet.

That said, although I have mentioned some drawbacks, they really highlight my inexperience so far with the lens. All in all, I'm very impressed, a great lens.
 
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#15
Very helpful reading your findings, Steven. The review graph and your sample images certainly haven't ruled out this lens for me at this stage. The AF hunting would put me off if it weren't for your experiments. Finding focus first time most of the time, and in lower light, is of more value to me than flat-out speed. It's a shame lenstip don't appear to have tested the G2 Tamrons, side-by-side comparison would be ideal. It looks like I'll just have to absorb all the valid reviews I can find and probably handle in-store to check for any ergonomic failures. Judging from your experience so far I'd probably be very happy with it.
I don't think I would choose any of the slower zooms for fast/accurate focus in low light. Of course, the other/better options are quite expensive comparatively...
 
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#16
I don't think I would choose any of the slower zooms for fast/accurate focus in low light. Of course, the other/better options are quite expensive comparatively...
Quite so. I don't expect a lens like this to tackle low light scenarios, and the camera's AF detection is subject to the amount of light the lens can deliver. I just included low light as more often a factor for me and my gear. What I meant was that a lightning fast AF mechanism isn't terribly important to me. Instead I'd prioritise a camera / lens combo finding focus dependably and not hunting, with slower movement being an acceptable compromise. Hunting causes me to miss shots far more than a merely slow AF motor. If I ever find the time to shoot more than occasional wildlife then I'll start looking into big fast primes.
 
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#17
FWIW, in terms of light to the AF module the aperture limit is around f/5.6-7... wider than that doesn't transmit more light to it (the aperture of the PDAF module itself is somewhere around f/32).

What happens at smaller apertures is that focus points get vignetted/masked out by the aperture blades. On some cameras they loose some points at apertures smaller than f/2.8 (i.e. a few Canons). On most (all?) cameras they loose some points at apertures smaller than f/5.6 (this is also what causes the loss of cross type functionality). And by f/8 many cameras have pretty much lost all of the focus points. There's actually a transition that occurs where some of the AF points are shaded/vignetted by the aperture, but not fully blocked. I expect that is what is happening with this lens at f/6.3 (and similar lenses as well)... it's just starting to affect the f/5.6 only focus points.
 
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#18
Sorry to resurrect a thread from the dead but was just interested in hearing about your continued experience of this lens a year on...

i'm looking at shooting longer than the 200mm max i've been using previously & have been looking at options.
I did try my 2x TC on my 200 f/2 but it didn't get me far enough & turned a spectacular lens into a meh lens :sneaky: so i will need longer..
After a woeful experience with a cheap Sigma a few years back i've not really used off brand lenses (although i did have quite a good Tamron 17-50 on the second sample) but i am now open to the idea. People have long reported good results from their bigmas & i was looking into a 150-600 Sports.
Now i have seen the 60-600mm which is apparently lighter, sharper & generally better.
Main thing i would like to know from people with real world experience of this lens is the AF speed?
People say its fast. But is it Nikkor 70-200 or 24-70 fast? i've become kinda used to the almost instant AF of the pro zooms & slower focussing lenses seem almost painful in comparison :rolleyes:

Any help/advice from owners/users gratefully received :)
 
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#19
I have used the 60-600 Sport a lot for field hockey with a Canon 5D mark 4 now for about a year or so.

The focusing depends very largely (at least in the case of the Canon 5Dm4) on the focus settings etc. set up in the camera. It took me quite a while to best adjust those settings for the best results.

I've used it for 6 to 8 hours in a day at the pitchside and it's a heavy lens and needs a monopod minimum unless you're a body builder.

In my opinion the performance is very good. The better the light the better the results of course and it doesn't compare to my Canon 70-200 2.8 m3 but then I wouldn't expect it to and I certainly can't afford a prime 400 or 600 f4, but the reach from one end of the pitch to the other outways that. Added to that being able to quickly open the lens wide to 60mm as well is very helpful.

I do sharpen and add texture in LR in pp but I expect to have to do that when shooting at 6.3 at 600mm.

Would I recommend it? Certainly yes unless you've got deep pockets and can afford a fast prime.

Hope that helps.
 
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#20
I've used the 60-600 almost exclusively this year and I have been quite happy with it. Mine is extremely sharp at 600/6.3 on my D850 (w/o calibration).

But it is an f/6.3 at the long end, which makes it a little slower than the f/5.6 minimum most PDAF systems are primarily designed for; which means it requires good light/contrast for fast autofocus. In rather low light/contrast situations it can tend to hunt, in marginal conditions it is just slower. This is a characteristic of any lens that is f/6.3 or smaller max aperture; it is also typical of an f/4 prime with a 2x TC on it...

This is a screen shot of an image at 400% zoom with only basic/automatic edits/sharpening applied. And it's actually sharper than this on my monitor (forum compression). Don't get me wrong, the realities of using long FL's in the field makes getting this kind of result very challenging... it doesn't occur all that often; but that's my fault.

Screen Shot 2020-02-05 at 5.46.01 PM.jpg
 
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#22
I have used the 60-600 Sport a lot for field hockey with a Canon 5D mark 4 now for about a year or so.

The focusing depends very largely (at least in the case of the Canon 5Dm4) on the focus settings etc. set up in the camera. It took me quite a while to best adjust those settings for the best results.

I've used it for 6 to 8 hours in a day at the pitchside and it's a heavy lens and needs a monopod minimum unless you're a body builder.

In my opinion the performance is very good. The better the light the better the results of course and it doesn't compare to my Canon 70-200 2.8 m3 but then I wouldn't expect it to and I certainly can't afford a prime 400 or 600 f4, but the reach from one end of the pitch to the other outways that. Added to that being able to quickly open the lens wide to 60mm as well is very helpful.

I do sharpen and add texture in LR in pp but I expect to have to do that when shooting at 6.3 at 600mm.

Would I recommend it? Certainly yes unless you've got deep pockets and can afford a fast prime.

Hope that helps.
Thankyou for your response. i'm hoping light won't be an issue as i'll be using it mainly during summertime to reach out to Surfers/Kitesurfers/Windsurfers etc
Don't really want to have to get my feet wet :LOL:
 
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#23
I've used the 60-600 almost exclusively this year and I have been quite happy with it. Mine is extremely sharp at 600/6.3 on my D850 (w/o calibration).

But it is an f/6.3 at the long end, which makes it a little slower than the f/5.6 minimum most AF systems are primarily designed for; which means it requires good light/contrast for fast autofocus. In rather low light/contrast situations it can tend to hunt, in marginal conditions it is just slower. This is a characteristic of any lens that is f/6.3 or smaller max aperture; it is also typical of an f/4 prime with a 2x TC on it...

This is a screen shot of an image at 400% zoom with only basic/automatic edits/sharpening applied. And it's actually sharper than this on my monitor (forum compression). Don't get me wrong, the realities of using long FL's in the field makes getting this kind of result very challenging... it doesn't occur all that often, but that's my fault.

View attachment 272830
WOW :clap:

Thats pretty awesome right there.
Looks like i know what i'll be buying next (y)

Thankyou
 
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#24
I've been using mine for around a year now on a series of safaris and the results have been a treat. The only downside is that if the creature you've been waiting for decides to show up at dusk you're not going to get such good results. Or any!

It is heavy, but stick it on a strap and only lift it when necessary. In a safari vehicle it rests in my lap until needed and then I brace my arm against my chest if I need to hold it up for long. You soon develop a technique.

Recommended for image quality and flexibility.
 
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