Sigma 600mm F8 Mirror A-mount lens review by iraqigeek

reviewer#10624 date: Oct-27-2012
sharpness: 5
color: 4
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 4.6
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 500mm F4.5
Canon 200mm F1.8
price paid:£77 + £15 shipping
Weight for the focal length
negative:Manual Focus
comment:First, let me clarify that there are TWO versions of this lens. One that has an 85mm aperture, and the other that has a 95mm aperture. I own the 2nd, which looks exactly like the pictures of this lens here (same finish, and same color).

The lens itself is great for a mirror lens. For the focal length, its pretty compact and light. The DOF is hair thin, as expected from any 600mm lens. Owning the Canon 200mm F1.8, I was a bit prepared for the shallow DOF, as that lens too renders very shallow DOF.

Optically, the lens is hair splitting sharp on my A65. Really really sharp if you focus it correctly. SLT cameras give this type of lenses a new life with their focus peaking and focus magnification functions. SSS also works great with this lens. I was able to get sharp images handheld at 1/60s!!! (keep in mind the effective focal length on a crop sensor is 900mm)

Even when paired with a 2x Kenko Pro 300 TC its plenty sharp for my taste. At the closest focusing distance of 2 meters, the combination gives a 1:1.5 magnification!

I'm still learning how to use this lens, and adjusting to having no aperture control, and hence no DOF control, but its a fun lens and definitely worth quite a bit more what I paid for it given how sharp it is.

Yes, color and contrast are not comparable to a good refractive lens, but if you shoot RAW it can be processed to your liking quite easily. Yes, it flares badly without the hood (the lens came without it, but found its original hood, in the same color, on ebay and its on its way) but I can't complain about that given the price.

To sum up, if you own an SLT camera and want a long telephoto on a tight budget, this lens should definitely be on your shortlist. Very compact, and very much hand holdable in good daylight.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 18
  • sharpness: 3.83
  • color: 3.33
  • build: 4.72
  • distortion: 4.39
  • flare control: 4.33
  • overall: 4.12 - Home of the alpha system photographer
In memory of Cameron Hill - brettania