In the Field: Sigma 60-600mm f4.5-6.3 DG OS HSM Sports Zoom

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If your taste in focal lengths ranges from normal to super-telephoto and you hate having to carry more than one lens at a time, your train has arrived. The new Sigma new 60-600mm f4.5-6.3 DG OS HSM Sports zoom, one of the newest members of Sigma's Global Vision series lenses, is a 10x optical zoom (39.6° to 4.1° AoV) that's available in a choice of Nikon F, Canon EF, and Sigma SA lens mounts. The lens used for this review had a Canon mount and my test camera was a Canon EOS 6D.

Like all Sigma Sports series optics, the new 60-600mm zoom is made of a combination of magnesium-alloy and polycarbonate materials and is dust- and weather proof with oil-repellent coatings on the lens's huge 105mm front element. The lens's rotating tripod collar features an Arca-compatible base plate with ¼"-20 and 3/8" threads, and there are 90° detents for locking the lens into horizontal and vertical position.

Photographs © Allan Weitz 2018

Caught in the rain without a cover? No problem. Sigma’s 60-600mm über-zoom is dust- and weatherproof.
Caught in the rain without a cover? No problem. Sigma’s 60-600mm über-zoom is dust- and weatherproof.

Within the lens barrel are 25 elements in 19 groups, including three FLD (F Low Dispersion) and one SLD (Special Low Dispersion) lens elements for minimizing chromatic aberration. A 9-bladed rounded aperture enables a pleasing measure of bokeh at wide apertures.

Though classified as a Sports-series lens, the Sigma 60-600mm f4.5-6.3 DG OS HSM Sports Zoom should, by no means, be limited to sports applications.

The lens's HSM Hypersonic AF system features focus limiters for controlling focus parameters (Full Range, 10m - ∞, or 2.8m – 10m) along with the ability to use the optional Sigma USB Dock for creating custom focus ranges that better fit your needs. Manual focus is also available full time or on the fly. Nine out of ten times, I found the AF system to be accurate and responsive and, when shooting in AF Servo mode, my focus points seemed to lock onto moving subjects like ticks on a dog.

Please note that the Nikon version features an Electronic Diaphragm Mechanism.

A couple of sights captured while biking along the Columbia Trail, in Hunterdon County, New Jersey

This lens is large, especially when racked out to 600mm, and while you can handhold it—at 5.8 lb, not counting the camera body, a tripod or monopod is strongly recommended. Most of the images accompanying this review were captured with my camera and lens mounted on a Benro carbon fiber Traveler Angel-series tripod with a Benro GH2 Aluminum Gimbal Head. I highly recommend gimbal heads when using longer telephotos for reasons of speed and balance.

The Sigma 60-600mm f4.5-6.3 DG OS HSM Sports Zoom is an excellent lens for capturing architectural details from a distance.

When handholding this lens, you flip the switch on the lens's Intelligent OS image stabilization system, which per Sigma gives you a 4-stop advantage against camera shake. In practice, I was pleasantly surprised to see how dead-on the focus was among my handheld shots, most of which were captured at the longer end of the focal range.

Even at longer focal lengths, the Sigma 60-600mm zoom can be used handheld, thanks to the lens's Intelligent OS image stabilization system, which gives you a 4-stop advantage against camera shake.
Even at longer focal lengths, the Sigma 60-600mm zoom can be used handheld, thanks to the lens's Intelligent OS image stabilization system, which gives you a 4-stop advantage against camera shake.

The minimum focusing distance for this lens is 8.5' but, when closer focusing is desired, you have the option of setting the lens to the 200mm mark, which enables you to focus down to a smidge under 2' for 0.3x close-ups (1:3.3). When shooting in this mode, the lens behaves like a nifty fifty, albeit a big one.

Need to shoot close-ups? Set the Sigma 60-600mm Sports Zoom to the 200mm mark and you can capture photographs at 0.3x (:3.3) magnification.
Need to shoot close-ups? Set the Sigma 60-600mm Sports Zoom to the 200mm mark and you can capture photographs at 0.3x (:3.3) magnification.

When racked out to 600mm, the lens all but shouts out, "Hey – Looka' me!" especially with the lens shade attached, but when racked in to the 60mm position with the shade reversed, the entire package folds down to a travel-friendly 10.6". When biking, or traveling from point A to point B, the lens and body fit comfortably into a Lowepro Flipside Sport 10L backpack.

The Sigma 60-600mm f4.5-6.3 DG OS HSM Sports Zoom features on-the-fly manual focus overrides, and it has a zoom lock for preventing creep or locking the lens to a specific focal length. If there's a downside to this lens, it would have to be the lack of a drop-in filter slot—something common to other lenses of this size and caliber. If you want to use filters, you must pony up for a set of 105mm filters, which, for what it’s worth, is the same filter thread size found on the Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM Sports and 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Sports zoom lenses.

The Sigma 60-600mm f4.5-6.3 DG OS HSM Sports Zoom is, by any measure, a large lens. At the 600mm mark, it measures about 14.5", and that’s without the lens shade. Retracted to the 60mm mark, with the shade mounted in the reverse position, it measures a more manageable 10.6".
The Sigma 60-600mm f4.5-6.3 DG OS HSM Sports Zoom is, by any measure, a large lens. At the 600mm mark, it measures about 14.5", and that’s without the lens shade. Retracted to the 60mm mark, with the shade mounted in the reverse position, it measures a more manageable 10.6".

Over the years, I've worked with numerous zooms and long telephoto lenses, and though I prefer toting around gear that doesn't make me want to down a few Ibuprofen along with my lunch, I must admit I’m going to miss having a single lens handy that takes me from normal to ridiculous telephoto when I need it.

Do you use longer zooms? If so, what's your take on them, and how would the Sigma 60-600mm f4.5-6.3 DG OS HSM Sports Zoom fit your needs? Let us know in the field below.

11 Comments

This lens may just be the ticket I'm looking for!  I shoot ranch dog and herding trial events (professionally) in an extremely dusty environment.  I've been using a Nikon 80-400 for arena work and my Sigma 150-600 Sport when the dogs bring livestock in from long distances, both with my Nikon D4s.  Over the years my Nikon lens has become full of dirt (a known problem) the zoom mechanism is so difficult to rotate that my hand has become damaged.  It costs a lot to send in for repairs, just to get full of dirt again.  My 150-600 is too long on the short end for the arena work when the dogs run closer to me.  The new Sigma, being dust and weatherproof, would probably be a better investment than repairs to the 80-400.  Now, I wonder how difficult the zoom is to turn since I typically am constantly using extreme variations in focal length and my hand has arthritis as a result of working this filthy 80-400!  Oh, and now my focus and vibration reduction is bouncing around... pretty much toast?

Great idea. About a year ago, my wife and I debated whether or not to chose the 150-600, with its long range or the 50-500 for its short range advantage. We are both wildlife photographers and made the decision to get the 150-600. That being said, we would definitely have liked to have this new lens. Best of both worlds.

I've been shooting with the Sigma 150-500 for years... at the time I bought it, I could have gotten their 50-500 but didn't think the IQ would have been as good with the 10x zoom...  Everything I've read and seen, that 10x zoom was every bit as good as mine... so when I heard about the new 60-600 WEATHER SEALED lens I'm intreagued.... I'll be renting it next summer to shoot the 12 meter Yacht races in Newport RI next summer!!!!

Many years ago I had the Sigma 50-500 on a Nikon.
Yes, not perfect on low light but I loved it and the OS helped at least somehow. But it was sharp with a pretty fast AF. ok, fairly heavy to carry around ;-o
I was thinking about the 150-600 but with all the experience before I realized sometimes something closer as the 150 appears and I would have lost the scene.
So now with the 60-600 it is back to my mind. Changing lenses many times in dusty outdoor environment is not attractive; with 60-600 surely will be less. Yet since I moved to Sony several years ago I miss the e-Mount. Doubt they will ever build it (time will tell) and I am concerned using an adaptor :-(

I own the Sigma 150-600 (in a Nikon mount) love the lens for my nature & wildlife photography but I really can't see the usefulness of the 60-150mm on a lens of this size which almost always would require a (heavy duty) mono pod I use a Gitzo GM5561T with mine and wouldn't anything less stronger Love the 150-600 I use it on both my D300 crop (225-900) and my D600 with great results

Whoops, sorry, I meant 60mm and 60-600.

An interesting lens! Strangely, it's a little lighter and shorter than the Sigma 150-600 Sport; is there any reduction in optical quality (the optical designs are quite different)? I am not convinced that a 10x zoom is all that useful in practice; I wouldn't mount this on a camera to use it at 50mm! However, I guess the point is that you have the option in the rare case that it is needed.

I would certainly buy either the 50-600 Sport or 150-600 Sport ... if it were available in K-mount. ☹️

I would find the 60-150 range of this 60-600 lens useful.  I have a tamron 150-600 I love, but often when using the lens something happens closer than 150mm allows me to capture.  shot lost, or just too zoomed/cropped to use.  If only I had the ability to go down to 60mm for those moments between the long shots, it would be great.

oh, and I don't mount it on my camera, I mount the camera onto the lens!

Nikon D7100 / Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD

Aloha Gary...
I find that using a panoramic technique solves my problems of being just a tad bit too close for a full shot...
Take several shots in burst mode; overlapping each shot about 20-50 percent from the last one (trying to keep the "film plane" as steady as possible); then stitch them all together in your favorite photo editing software in post...
I use a new comer to the scene from serif in the UK: choose the photos; stitch them together; and edit as desired.
* * *
I would post an example except I don't see a way to post any photos...(what?!)
B&H IS a photo and video store, correct...?
And they don't let anyone post images (even limited-sized, smaller ones would be nice - <4MB, for instance)...?

Come on, B&H. . .
* * *

Until that time. . .
 

I just came to read an article and make a comment...
My comment is NOT editable once posted...
AND
I cannot add any images to my post to provide an example...
WOW...!
* * *
You're an online international photo and video sales point without the ability for anyone to post photos OR videos to support their claims, recommendations, or suggestions...
* * *
You're making it hard to want to come back to read any future articles.
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You guys do exist in a 21st Century time zone, don't you...?
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Until that time. . .

Paul - when I shoot sailing regattas, I usually shoot with 2 cameras (Nikon D7100's) - my 150-500 is on 1 and my 50-150  or my 17-70 is on the other (all Sigmas).... I find I get a quite a few shots in the 60-150 range.... 

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