Sigma 150-500mm F5-6.3 DG APO HSM OS A-mount lens reviews

reviews found: 12   
reviewer#18352 date: Sep-17-2015
sharpness: 4.5
color: 4
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 4.5
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP; 61MP61 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:SAL18135
Minolta 100-200 F4.5
price paid:560 € (new)
positive:- very good lens os! i get sharp images till 1/60s handheld
- stable build
- sharpeness, also @500 it's very good for me
- good hsm af
negative:- zoom range from 150mm .. see below
comment:I had this lens on my Africa Safari Trip and i made very good pictures with it. The OS is great, there is a second lens OS mode, there you can shoot from driving car .. it corrects car shaking really good.
The lens is very good in sharpness @500 in my opinion. A little bit more than you turn off AF and use MF. (but it's only for slow oder star objects)
One negativ thing is there for APS-C. If you want to shoot birds, you often don't find them @150mm. So the start focal length 150 isn't usefull for birds or other little objects in trees eg. You should buy the SIGMA 50-500 instead.
reviewer#11992 date: Sep-25-2014
sharpness: 4.5
color: 4
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 4.3
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP; 61MP61 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Minolta 75-300 Big Beercan
Minolta 70-210 F4
Minolta 100-300 Non-APO
price paid:$809 AUD (new)
positive:Good IQ for the price
Silent AF
Reach
OS
negative:Not tack sharp at 500mm wide open.
Heavy - but manageable handheld.
OS *see below
Tripod collar *see below
comment:Worked out of the box with both my A350 and A77, no updates required.
Takes abit of getting used to going from the older beercan series of lenses, after a few hours the arms start aching handholding it.
Sharpens up nicely at 500mm when stopped down to F/8.
Gave it a 4 in build rating due to my copy having quite heavy zoom throw, it's brand new though so might loosen up over time.

*Negative on OS: Probably not used to in lens OS yet but after prolonged use I have slight vertigo setting in due to the way the image "floats" around in the viewfinder.
*Negative on tripod collar: Using a VG on my A77 leaves very little room between the grip and collar. Enough to get your fingers around the grip but with knuckles connecting to the collar.

*Update: Even though the OS still gives me slight vertigo I have to add that it works pretty darn well, have got tack sharp images going all the way down to 1/40sec handheld. Not advisable but can be done with some practice.
reviewer#11258 date: Jul-19-2013
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.9
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP; 61MP61 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Minolta 75-300 big beercan
Sony 55-200
Tokina AT-X Pro 80-200 f/2.8
Sigma 400mm f/5.6
price paid:1100 USD
positive:Good IQ for the price
negative:A bit heavy handheld, but usable.
A shame Sigma lenses have to be updated for SLT
comment:I have had this lens for about 3 year now, and have had my ups and downs with it. The lens is cheaper now, about 950 USD in norway
On my A300 it's pretty decent.
On my A33 it is much better.
On my A77 it used to be great until i updated the firmware to 1.07 on my camera, then it became very soft no matter what settings i did use on my camera/lens.
I shipped to to a Sigma partner repair shop to get the lens updated. After the update this lens is just great, and i love it.
I use it for shooting birds, and i use it handheld for sitting birds and birds in flight. I have to admit that it took a while to get used to the wieght of it.
Not tested on the A300 and the A33 after the update, as it stays on my A77 almost all the time.
I do recomend this lens for all that are in need of a good lens and 500mm focal length. Just make sure it has the latest software. Some photos can be seen in the sample area.
reviewer#11213 date: Jun-27-2013
sharpness: 3.5
color: 4
build: 3
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 3.9
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP; 61MP61 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:70-300G
500/f8
price paid:820€
positive:affordable
sharp from 150-350mm
no vignetting seen (aps-c + ff)
af = fine
motor HSM = fine
OS works beautiful on a6000 + LA-EA4 (= good combo)
negative:soft between 400-500mm
good between 300-350
reasonable between 350-400
OS is not great - it works but don't expect miracles.
comment:It's sharpness between 400-500mm isn't great (the 3.5 score is due to this). With a tripod and all stabilisation things are a little bit better.

Things are a lot better with the 150-500 DG APO HSM OS - when using it on the a6000 (center point) combined with the LA-EA4 (i have no clue why it performs better on the a55 + a6000 with la-ea4). The OS is giving good results and sharpness is a bit better too (even when compared to the A68). Some hunting may occur in low light when using it with the la-ea4. I managed to take handheld hosts with this combo (thanks to the OS - give the OS time, watch out for the sleeping modus - set it high enough, otherwise you'll miss lots of good shots).

Where this lens give a not so good background is at large distances near infinite. Was photographing on a lake today with tons of rubbish in it - it all looks fine at 150,300, 350 - when going to 500mm the leaves get a kind of weird bokeh at the larger distances (that may be one of the reasons that the sharpness on the A68, a900 isn't top at 500mm). This will not happen when the subject is at 0-35meters though. Use OS (i use mode 2 handheld) on the a6000 it's good (do not use it on a tripod).

At 500mm you also have a lot more fringing.

You choose: OS or SSS/Steadyshot - not both at the same time!

Sigma (Benelux) updated it's info on the website as requested - it's nice to see that they listen to their customers.

It's sharp at 150-> 300 - good between 300-380 - still usable at 500mm - a lot better at 420 - so try to avoid using 500mm.

Price/Quality is ok, but it's in no way a perfect piece of optics. Take your time to learn how to handle this lens - and try it out on all of your body's to find the winning combo.

Further tests reveal with a Sirui head K-30X + heavy tripod also Sirui (rated for 18KG fibre - M-3204X) - in manual mode all stabilization off - that this lens is without no doubt.

I was able to see how good/bad the optics are. The conclusion stays the same - this lens is not worth a score above 3,5 for it's problems with a-mount camera's between 380-500mm, and still some more minor effects seen with the la-ea4+a6000. I'm gonna try it out soon with the a7II + la-ea4. If that works better, i may opt to give it a better score.

It's not sharp at 500mm - take it to 420-450mm and it gets a little bit better.

I used to have a 500 f8 AF - well that was a lot sharper than this lens - difficult to focus without lots of light - but sharp (although you have to take the donuts for granted in the bokeh).

The difference between a full frame test and the aps-c is visible. This lens performs a little bit better on Full Frame than on APS-C - sharper at the longer end too (center sharpness).

The Tamron 150-600 is a little bit better than this zoom - the same can be said about the Sigma 150-600's (S and C versions!). I have no clue on VC and OS on those 3 lenses - take your time and test the combinations.
reviewer#10757 date: Dec-6-2012
sharpness: 2.5
color: 4
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.3
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP; 61MP61 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Pentax 55-300mm
price paid:900USD
positive:Autofocus very fast
No noise
negative:Sharpness after 300mm
comment:Mounted on a Pentax K-5. Very bad sharpness from 300mm to 500mm. Too expensive for such bad quality. My Pentax 55-300mm is better then the Sigma
reviewer#10474 date: Aug-26-2012
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP; 61MP61 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sigma 135-400
price paid:600GBP New/Open box
positive:Crackingly Sharp when stopped down ... little if any hunting in good light, image quality is excellent even with the matched 1.4 Sigma Tele-converter but hunts a little in low light....2xDG almost unusable
Love the constant focus override ability and bokeh to kill for
negative:Hood bayonet wears easily ...would love this to be metal
comment:
Had this lens for about 4 months now....

Light years ahead of the 135-400 in all areas .... once you get use to the weight/balance, Hand held birds in flight are a snap on a bright day ....200 to 500-ISO/f8-@-3000-4000sec produce some stunning sharp images with Stella colour and contrast, fringing (Purple) can make it self felt but only when stretched right out and heavy crops are in order...

And with the Sigma 1.4 DG converter, in manual on the 77 cropped censor .... works a treat on Dragon flies at 1.5M ....in fact if you use the in body 2x smart tele-converter as well will give you 2000mm+ with still more than exceptable results .... A must have in my bag now....

..........GET SOME!
reviewer#10413 date: Jul-29-2012
sharpness: 4.5
color: 4
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.7
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP; 61MP61 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sony 70-300mm g
Tamron 70-200mm
price paid:£620
positive:Cheap for the image quality
OS onboard works well
Build quality
Works on A77 (for me anyway)
negative:None for me
comment:For the price this is a good lens. I am glad to have made this purchase and am looking forward to trying it out on Safari this year.
reviewer#10244 date: May-28-2012
sharpness: 4.5
color: 4
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.7
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP; 61MP61 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:70-300mm G
70-200mm f/2.8 Tamron
price paid:999
positive:IQ for the price.
Focal range.
Build quality.
negative:None really - has met my expectations.
comment:Lens OS performs better than in camera SSS. Have gotten some good hand held shots, but usually use on a tripod or mono-pod. Focus is reasonably fast, but can search. After adjusting the micro-focus on the A77, focus accuracy is +5 on that body, limited use on A55, A700 shows focus is OK.

I am pleased with performance of lens wide open at 500mm.
reviewer#9943 date: Feb-18-2012
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.9
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP; 61MP61 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:SAL70400G
price paid:950 AUD
positive:Very sharp
Good build
Great OS
negative:AF hunts - bad in low light
Heavy
Focus ring takes getting used to
Bad IQ loss over 400mm and wider than f/8
comment:Great lens for the price really solid build though this reflects in its heaviness when carrying for too long, though not necessarily a bad thing and the sturdy tripod mount makes for a convenient handle. The best thing about this lens is its sharpness even at 500mm hand held which is fantastic. The inbuilt OS is very good and when I 1st got the lens I tried shooting with the OS off and SSS on and vice versa to compare and the lens OS won hands down. I only have 2 minor complaints 1 is the focus ring is mounted very close to the camera and takes some getting used to and 2 at times the AF searches slowly at 500mm when tracking moving objects.

*Update:
I've had this lens a few years now and thought I would update this review. I use this lens a lot and I now know how to get the best from it. Since my original review I have upgraded to an a99 and birding has become a passion. I found that the loss of IQ between 400-500mm very bad with increase in CA and other weird fringing therefore I now don't go beyond 400mm. Also any wider than f/8 gives the same loss of IQ. Now that sounds negative but if you shoot within these perimeters you can get some outstanding results and IMHO I believe it's almost comparable to the 70-400G which I have also used. I can shoot birds at 400mm using ISO1250 f/8 and get tack sharp images with minimal cleaning up in post.
The only other real issue I've found is that it is quite slow, the autofocus often hunts and is terrible in average light although the a99 doesn't have the greatest AF system either.
A focus limiter would be very handy for this especially for bird in flight shots.
As I write this I am in the process of buying a 70-400G2 as it ticks a few of the boxes the Sigma is missing and I here it has a very good AF drive. I'm not sure what will become of the Sigma then.
reviewer#8885 date: Apr-7-2011
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.9
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP; 61MP61 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:
missing
price paid:8995 KR
positive:Good range 150 to 500.
Only 2.2 meters closest focusing distance.
Optical stabilization in two steps.
negative:Lens hood is of lesser quality and also the front lenscap.
Drains battery fast.
comment:I like how it is constructed. The focusing ring is close to the camera body and I like it that way since you don't have to move your hand away from the camera you can reach the focus ring with your index finger.

Built like a tank, it feels solid. Not so sharp at 500mm f6.3 but stopped down to f8 it is really sharp!
reviewer#8144 date: Oct-26-2010
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP; 61MP61 MP
ownership:I used to own this lens
compared to:
missing
price paid:GBP 750
positive:Sharp
Good Colours
Optically stabilized
negative:Big and heavy
comment:I took this lens to Kew for the Dyxum meet-up and was very impressed with it's sharpness and colour rendition. The only think to remember is to switch off SSS when using this lens as it has it's own stabilization built in.

I know I put down big and heavy as a negative, but to be honest it is as much a postive as well - it reflects the build quality of the lens and the quality of the optics. This lens is pretty sharp and from what I have seen so far can produce some very pleasing shots wide open right across the zoom range.
reviewer#7355 date: Apr-26-2010
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.9
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP; 61MP61 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sigma 170-500 APO DG
Sigma 70-300 APO Macro
price paid:999 USD (new)
positive:Very Sharp at F/8
Very good OS
Good Build
Great Range
negative:Heavy
Battery Drain
Awkward Focus Ring
comment:I got this lens to replace my okay-but-not-great Sigma 170-500. I wanted to keep the range, but improve the sharpness. This lens delivered!

Even at 500mm wide open, this lens is much sharper than the 170-500 ever was. Stopped down to F/8, it's the sharpest lens I've ever used. I'm sure some of the big primes are a little better, but I don't think anything in this price range comes close. I gave it a 4.5 only because it needs to be stopped down for best results. Once at F/8, it's a 5/5.

The build quality is very good with two exceptions. The lens hood is plastic that can bend a little. It's not bad at all, but it doesn't match the high build quality of the rest of the lens. The zoom lock switch is tricky to engage if the lens is pointing down. I think the weight needs to be off the lock mechanism to work. These are both minor issues

The OS is amazing. Sigma claims it's good for 4 stops. That might be a little bit of an overstatement, but not much. I found that I can shoot 500mm hand-held at 1/30 sec, compared to 1/400 with the OS turned off. If I'm doing my math right, that's about 3.5 stops. There are three options for OS: Horizontal and Vertical, Vertical only (for panning) and off. But they're labeled 1, 2, off, so you'll have to remember which is which. I did notice that when using the OS, my batteries drained about 50% faster.

The HSM isn't quite as fast as I had hoped, but it is still much faster than the non-HSM 170-500. From minimum distance to infinity in about .75 sec. The focus ring is smooth, but placed near the camera body, which makes it awkward to use when hand-holding.

The tripod foot is spaced away from the lens and is contoured for use as a handle. This is a surprisingly useful feature.

Overall, I'm blown away by the performance of this lens. It is much better than my expectations, and I'd recommend it to anybody looking for a long-range lens for about $1000.
reviews found: 12   

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 12
  • sharpness: 4.33
  • color: 4.50
  • build: 4.75
  • distortion: 5.00
  • flare control: 4.75
  • overall: 4.67

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