Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 HSM DG OS Contemporary - Review / Test
Lens Reviews - Canon EOS (Full Format)

Review by Klaus Schroiff, published July 2017


A little while ago, we reviewed the mighty Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM | Sports - quite an impressive lens in terms of size and weight and despite its long zoom range, it's also pretty good. The "Sports" lens has a little cousin that is sometimes overlooked - the Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM | Contemporary. Just based on the name specs, there isn't really any obvious difference. However, it is part of Sigma's "Contemporary" lineup so it's targeting normal mortals rather than professionals. Consequently it has a price tag of "just" 900EUR/1100US$ or about half as expensive as its bigger brother. According to Sigma, the Contemporary is supposed to be very sharp in the image center but the image corners aren't on the same levels as on the Sports lens. If so that's probably good news because - let's be honest here - a super-tele lens doesn't usually require sharp corners (nor was the Sports lens overly impressive in terms of corner performance).

Given the quite substantial price difference between the Sports and Contemporary lens you may expect that this is also reflected in the mechanical quality. However, this is not really the case - at least not to an extend where it really matters. In terms of quality - or at least perceived quality - the only obvious differences are the focus ring which is smaller and maybe a little less smooth to operate - and the much smaller and as such also less stable tripod mount. Even if you prefer to shoot handheld the latter is a little unfortunate because it makes carrying the lens (using the tripod mount) somewhat less comfortable. Other than that it is a high quality construction based on Sigma's usual combination of TSC (Thermally Stable Composite) and metal components. Typical for such long zoom lenses, it extends substantially when zooming towards the long end of the range but the inner lens tube doesn't wobble even at the most extreme setting. Our sample showed no significant amount of zoom creeping but Sigma implemented a zoom lock which is functional at all zoom settings. The zoom action is a slightly stiff which is no surprise given the heavy lens groups that have to be shifted. Last but certainly not least, it is worth mentioning that the Contemporary is substantially more light-weight (1.9Kg vs 2.8Kg) and somewhat smaller than the Sports variant ... and yes, that you can feel the difference after a long day.

The Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM | Contemporary features an optical image stabilizer ("Optical Stabilizer" (OS) in Sigma terms). I wasn't able to find an official figure regarding its efficiency. However, based on real world experience with the lens, it seems to provide a gain of 3ish f-stops. Other than a general purpose OS mode, there's also a dedicated mode for panning. Sigma's HSM (Ultrasonic AF) is quite fast, accurate and virtually silent. The lens is also compatible to Sigma's (optional) USB Dock so the lens' firmware can be updated without sending it to the Sigma service.

Optical construction20 elements in 14 groups inc. 1xFLD & 3x SLD elements
Number of aperture blades9 (circular)
min. focus distance2.8m (max. magnification ratio 1:4.9)
Filter size95mm (non-rotating)
Hoodbarrel-shaped, supplied
Other features
  • tripod mount
  • OS
  • Dust and splash-proof
  • water-repellent coating
  • zoom lock at any position
  • compatible to Sigma tele-converters (albeit without AF beyond f/8)