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10-31-2016, 11:13 PM   #1
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Sigma 150-600 sport vs $4400-$8000 lenses

I have been meaning to getting around to comparing the sigma 150-600 sport to several lenses I have kicking around.

For the first round I will be testing the sport against the sigma 300 F2.8 ( images are from raw with no down sampling, lens correction including chromatic aberration, and no sharpening). Shot using focus bracketing along with MLU, cable release, no image stabilization and
picking the best from the set

For the first round comparing the 2 lenses they are both shot at the same FOV F/6.3 , the sigma was only stopped down 1/3 while the 300 F2.8 was stopped down 2 1/3 arguably the best for that lens.






You can click on the images to see full size

As I upload more images I will reveal the answer

For the next set will be the same but shot at F/8 for both lenses

11-01-2016, 01:01 AM   #2
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Ian - thanks for posting these, I'll be interested to see the other comparison photos.

A few months ago, I got one or two critical replies regarding an article link I posted in which the Tamron 150-600 was seen as a viable, lower-cost alternative to more expensive glass such as the Canon 100-400 and 600, on the basis that it was very decent optically whilst being lighter and offering greater versatility (indeed, Lenstip's tests concluded that the Tamron 150-600 competes favourably with the Canon 100-400 f/4 L, whilst offering greater focal length range). I use the Tamron 150-600 on Sony A-mount, and I've been very impressed with it. As I understand it, the new Sigmas are a little better still.

In your above photos, I'm guessing that the first is from the 150-600 and the second from the 300 f/2.8 - working off the definition of the test chart and a very, very slight difference in feather detail. What's clear from these examples is that at this level of reproduction, the differences are minor...
11-01-2016, 09:53 AM   #3
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I recently bought the Nikon D500 and the Sigma 150-600 Sport. I have been very impressed with the results. The only down side is the 6.3 aperture which reduces the number of focus points. However autofocus and tracking has been very good even with the reduced number of points. I look forward to your shots at f8.
Sigma has done a very good job with their recent lenses. I am looking forward to see the reviews of their recently announced 500mm f4 Sport lens when it starts shipping soon. I will probably add this lens for at Christmas for some low light birds in flight photography.
I still have my Pentax camera and lenses for everything but wildlife photography with no plans to change at this time.
11-01-2016, 11:59 AM   #4
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While I love my Tamron 150-600mm lens, it's not all a free ride compared to when I had my Canon 100-400mm (versions I and II). For one, the Canon can use a teleconverter. You can't do that with the Tamron. Also, the way Tamron reverse-engineers their "Canon" mount creates one not the same as Canon itself. There are incompatibilities. I know for a fact that the Kipon EF-MFT adapter doesn't work with the Tamron at all, despite it being a Canon EF mount, at least in theory.

The Tamron isn't anywhere near as tanklike and weather-sealed either. Nor does it have a wide f4.5 aperture at the short end.

Are they the same, or roughly equivalent optically? Maybe. But even if they are, you're comparing apples to oranges. Yes, everybody likes to get the great deal that makes everyone else seem a fool for paying for more expensive equipment. In this case you can only do that by ignoring the other issues.

11-01-2016, 12:09 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wolfeye Quote
Are they the same, or roughly equivalent optically? Maybe. But even if they are, you're comparing apples to oranges. Yes, everybody likes to get the great deal that makes everyone else seem a fool for paying for more expensive equipment.
I don't think that's the point of this comparison (at least, I hope it isn't - that's not how I read it, anyway). Nobody will ever look like a fool for buying the more expensive, higher end lenses (and if they did, I wish I had the spare cash to look like a fool with them! ). Depending on what, where and when you shoot, the more expensive glass can offer huge benefits over the cheaper models. The take-away here (and this was the point I tried to get across in a previous thread) is that these lower-end zooms are capable of very high - almost comparable - image quality, but in a more limited number of scenarios...
11-01-2016, 12:15 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by BigMackCam Quote
I don't think that's the point of this comparison (at least, I hope it isn't - that's not how I read it, anyway). Nobody will ever look like a fool for buying the more expensive, higher end lenses (and if they did, I wish I had the spare cash to look like a fool with them! ). Depending on what, where and when you shoot, the more expensive glass can offer huge benefits over the cheaper models. The take-away here (and this was the point I tried to get across in a previous thread) is that these lower-end zooms are capable of very high - almost comparable - image quality, but in a more limited number of scenarios...
I agree completely. I did sell both my Canon versions and went with Tamron. Haven't regretted it at all.
11-02-2016, 07:07 PM   #7
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Because of one single image quality defect between the 2 lenses I have felt the need to keep the identity of the lens secret until the test have concluded. This way you cannot predetermine the lens in the following test.
Now these are shot using the same parameters as before but at F9 I went with F9 over F8 as that is a full stop rather than F8





---------- Post added 11-02-2016 at 07:12 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by BigMackCam Quote
Ian - thanks for posting these, I'll be interested to see the other comparison photos.
No thank you for taking part.
I also wanted a link somewhere that I can go thru my findings so that other people may benefit from the testing, and its also welcome to see what others think of the attributes and differences between the lenses.

---------- Post added 11-02-2016 at 07:19 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Wolfeye Quote
While I love my Tamron 150-600mm lens, it's not all a free ride compared to when I had my Canon 100-400mm (versions I and II). For one, the Canon can use a teleconverter. You can't do that with the Tamron. Also, the way Tamron reverse-engineers their "Canon" mount creates one not the same as Canon itself. There are incompatibilities. I know for a fact that the Kipon EF-MFT adapter doesn't work with the Tamron at all, despite it being a Canon EF mount, at least in theory.

The Tamron isn't anywhere near as tanklike and weather-sealed either. Nor does it have a wide f4.5 aperture at the short end.

Are they the same, or roughly equivalent optically? Maybe. But even if they are, you're comparing apples to oranges. Yes, everybody likes to get the great deal that makes everyone else seem a fool for paying for more expensive equipment. In this case you can only do that by ignoring the other issues.
I like to think of the test more like a green apple to red apple test

For right now and this portion of the testing is more based on the IQ at the same DOF and FOV later on I will give insight into key features that separate them, like you say that the 100-400 can use a tc while the 150-600 cannot ( on my body the 150-600 can AF) but a key feature is that the 150-600 can reach 600 without a TC where as the 100-400 needs a tc. Now the question that's needs to be answered what is better one lens with a tc or the one without. and how does that affect AF

---------- Post added 11-02-2016 at 07:23 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by BigMackCam Quote
In your above photos, I'm guessing that the first is from the 150-600 and the second from the 300 f/2.8 - working off the definition of the test chart and a very, very slight difference in feather detail. What's clear from these examples is that at this level of reproduction, the differences are minor...
You have to remember while there is a minor difference those differences took going thru focus bracketing, MLU and cable release to reveal them

---------- Post added 11-02-2016 at 07:29 PM ----------

The next testing will be done using the sigma 300 F2.8 with the sigma 1.4 tc F6.3 against the sigma 150-600 @ the same FOV and F6.3


Last edited by Ian Stuart Forsyth; 11-02-2016 at 07:31 PM.
11-02-2016, 11:05 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by RockvilleBob Quote
I recently bought the Nikon D500 and the Sigma 150-600 Sport. I have been very impressed with the results. The only down side is the 6.3 aperture which reduces the number of focus points. However autofocus and tracking has been very good even with the reduced number of points. I look forward to your shots at f8.
Sigma has done a very good job with their recent lenses. I am looking forward to see the reviews of their recently announced 500mm f4 Sport lens when it starts shipping soon. I will probably add this lens for at Christmas for some low light birds in flight photography.
I still have my Pentax camera and lenses for everything but wildlife photography with no plans to change at this time.
With the D500 and the 150-600 do you have access to 3d tracking, I know with the D800 the cutoff points is 6.7? I know this as the 200-400 and 1.7 becomes F6.7 and I loose 3d tracking, but still have 9d,21D and 51D. Even then I still have a high degree of success with BIF with F6.7
11-03-2016, 12:55 AM   #9
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Thank you for your efforts and information Ian! Very helpful and interesting. I would like to see some samples of remote subjects as well if you have the time and kindness! I have seen differences between lenses in the rendering and how haze affects the IQ, depending on their optical formula.

Last edited by redpit; 11-03-2016 at 02:34 AM.
11-03-2016, 01:35 AM   #10
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Interesting results, Ian. So far, I have:

A: 150-600
B: 300/2.8
C: 300/2.8
D: 150-600

Images B & C look crisper at screen sizes, but fully magnified they show some chromatic aberration; still, for me personally, they seem to have more definition than A & D, which are softer.

What is evident, again, is that both images look great on-screen. At this level of reproduction, there isn't a huge advantage of one over the other, at least in terms of the optical quality...
11-03-2016, 12:38 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ian Stuart Forsyth Quote
With the D500 and the 150-600 do you have access to 3d tracking, I know with the D800 the cutoff points is 6.7? I know this as the 200-400 and 1.7 becomes F6.7 and I loose 3d tracking, but still have 9d,21D and 51D. Even then I still have a high degree of success with BIF with F6.7
The D500 has been a quantum leap in AF performance for me. I have not used 3 D tracking. A friend with a D500 and Nikon 500 f4 says it does not work that well for birds in flight but does work for sports.

However with the Sigma 150-600 Sport auto focus and tracking are fantastic.

I went out to shoot eagles at Conowingo Dam yesterday. The warm water and cool air produced a dense fog which just did not lift. Here is a three shot sequence of a fast moving gull I took at 600mm f6.3 1/1000 ISO 360. No noise processing just the images followed by a crop of the third and then a super crop of the third showing the gull's head. The eye and pupil are there, ugly but there. With previous cameras and lenses I would never have gotten this sequence.

The D500 is a quantum step from where I was. The Sigma 150-600 Sport is very good. I have not even found the need to explore 3D tracking

These were shot with a short monopod with the foot attached to a belt harness around my waist. Image stabilization off.

Again I show these only to illustrate both the auto focus and tracking of the combination of the D500 and the Sigma 150-600 Sport in a very demanding situation - poor light and low contrast.
Attached Images
         
11-04-2016, 08:57 PM   #12
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Okay the 300/1.4 tc and the 150-600 are ready, but first I must go thru some the problem I have run into.

With one of the lenses when shot at same F 6.3 showed less DOF to the other, even when stopped down 1 full stop there was very little improvement to equalize the DOF. For this test I had chosen to keep and hold the exposure the same as in wildlife photography at least for me I am light level limited in a lot of what I shoot. This might not mean the same for you but with very little improvement going to F9 you are into the realm of diffraction and if you can shoot at F6.3 with one lens and get better results it hard to stop down by 2 stop to see any improvement. I have a feeling that the DOF issues are more to do with how we are pushing the lens than the DOF its self.





---------- Post added 11-04-2016 at 09:00 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by BigMackCam Quote
Images B & C look crisper at screen sizes, but fully magnified they show some chromatic aberration; still, for me personally, they seem to have more definition than A & D, which are softer.
Don't trust the smaller preview images as they are resized by my image hosting site and I have very little control over how they are sharpened and no clue to how they are doing the resizing and the compression used, the full size are originals.

---------- Post added 11-04-2016 at 09:23 PM ----------

Now for the 300/2tc and the 150-600 both at 600mm F6.3
Again I have run into the problem of the appearance of a shallower DOF shot with one of the lenses, so again I have chosen to hold the exposure for the reasons posted above.






Next set of images I will be testing the sigma300mmF2.8 on a dx 16mp body to a FF36mp with the 150-600 shot in 1.2 crop. I have chosen this for mainly people select 1.2 crop for the increased frame rate.
11-07-2016, 08:24 PM   #13
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Answer
A 150-600
B 300
C300
D150-600
E150-600
F300
G150-600
F300

---------- Post added 11-07-2016 at 09:35 PM ----------

For part 2 of the test was done for the reason why I picked up the 150-600 to be used on FF



The above was taken with a cropped body with the 300 F2.8 at F5.6




The above is taken using a 1.2 crop, I selected this as it is common for me to use the 1.2 crop on the D800 to increase the frame rate and buffer. As you can see you can easily over come the resolution of the 300 with the 150-600 when shot in 1.2 crop ( the 1.2 crop images are scaled to 16mp


above is FF 36mp scaled to 16mp
11-17-2016, 11:23 AM   #14
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Thought I would cross post a couple of shots from an outing to Conowingo Dam to photograph eagles. These were all shot on A D500 with the Sigma 150-600 Sport. These were all shot at 600mm on a short monopod with the foot secured to a pouch around my waist. No OS was used. I find the double-crested cormorant in flight one of the tougher birds to photograph despite their size. They fly fast, they fly low to the water - it looks like less than a foot off the water, and they are dark making picking them up tough. This cormorant shot is about 50% of the original.
11-19-2016, 01:17 AM   #15
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The next testing was done with the Nikon 200-400 F4, first starting off at 200mm F5 and compared to the sigma 150-600 F5.3 at the same FOV




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