I have been using a Canon EF 75-300mm lens for many years now. It gives you great shots even though the low light performance is not all that great. This is why I jumped on the opportunity to review the Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM lens. While I was not sure about the aperture value, the excitement of using a 600mm lens in migratory bird season got me pumped up.
I tested the lens first on my rooftop where there are an unusual number of squirrels and doves. It is always hard to click photos of squirrels, the hyper-active and easily-hassled animals that they are. And if the lens is about a kilo like this Sigma, it calls for steady and strong hands. The images were stellar, and much better than what my Canon lens could ever give -- and trust me I have shot more than my fair share of overactive rodents.
When the light is good, the images come out really good with the detail and the colours standing out. The lens, as I said before, is heavy. But that does not mean it it tough to handle. In fact, I used it on my Canon 1200D, which is not even a full frame camera. The body of this compact DSLR looks tiny in comparison to the zoom lens, but it is still easy to manage as a single unit. However, it is recommended that you use it with a Full Frame camera.
I did the customary moon shot and that too without a tripod. The images were good, given that I was struggling to keep the lens steady. With a professional grade tripod, the images would have been much better. Don’t try using this lens on a regular tripod, as it will not be able to handle the weight.
I tried shooting some migratory birds in the Sanjay Lake Park near my house in East Delhi. Yes, I was ambitious given that again I was not using a tripod. With the early morning light, the images were not that sharp. However, you can still make out the detail of the feathers on the cranes.
When the light improved, and the subject came closer, the results were much better. Look at the detail near the eye of the bird. And you can even make out the brighter sunlight. It helps that the lens is good with auto-focus and very fast.
Not all subjects need to be alive when playing with a lens of this kind. I zoomed in on some leaves far away with the migratory birds flying away in the background. The subtle colours gave me a high.
This bird is at least 300 m away and yet I could zoom in, lock on the subject and click a decent shot.
It is hard, but yes you can manage to click sharp photos of moving subjects far away with a lens this heavy.
With the right settings, I could achieve good colours and even a silhouette.
This photo of the goose was shot at relatively close quarters and that shows. The detail where the beak is going into the feathers really stand out.