Here’s our concise review of the budget Sigma 100-400mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM | C…
With all eyes currently on Sigma’s amazing Art and Sports ranges, we almost take its Contemporary line-up for granted – but this fresh release’s massive reach and sharp optics swiftly remind us why Sigma is so successful.
This full-frame lens, which boasts a massive 21 elements in 15 groups and has 9 rounded diaphragm blades, is just as at home on an APS-C body, where it will give you up to a whopping 640mm on a Canon or 600mm with Nikon’s 1.5x crop. Such an extensive telephoto focal range in an incredibly svelte 1160g package makes this lens ideal for wildlife and sports photographers.
The lens embodies Sigma’s excellent design quality, with a very sturdy hard plastic shell, as well as two extremely robust rings for zoom and focus, both of which have superb grip.
At the side of the barrel a slew of switches allow you to change between auto and manual focus, set focus limiting to reduce hunting (though the autofocus is impressively accurate and quick), turn on one of two modes of image stabilisation and select between two custom modes.
OS (optical stabilisation) works well during static use, allowing sharp handheld results at 400mm indoors at speeds as slow as 1/200sec. It also allows you to switch to the panning mode, which stabilises the horizontal movements for fast-action shots. The C1 and C2 customisable modes require you to buy the Sigma USB hub, which is an optional extra, though this does allow you to fine-tune your lens to suit your favourite genre, as well as upgrading firmware.
Image quality is amazing, rivalling the premium Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L MkII but at a fraction of the price. Thanks to its relatively slow aperture, it returns sharpness throughout the range, with the corners being extremely impressive, in many cases even more so than the pricier Canon.
Bokeh is rendered very well, though with a long focal length and maximum aperture of f/5 this isn’t the best lens to achieve beautiful blurred portrait backgrounds. Chromatic aberration is totally absent, regardless of the focal length, and while vignetting is apparent in the corners at wider apertures, it disappears by f/8.
Sigma advertises this mammoth glass as featuring a push/pull zoom design, which allows you to pull to extend the barrel and move through the zoom range. This is a widely featured by-product of extending-barrel lens designs though, with many examples having this ability, and we were left a bit cold, finding the focusing rings to be much more capable of precision framing.
This is a budget lens when compared like-for-like with its counterparts, but its outstanding performance, travel-friendly weight and extremely attractive price set it worlds apart, and make it a very attractive proposition for both Nikon and Canon users. sigma-imaging-uk.com
- Min. focus: 160cm
- Filter size: 67mm
- Weight: 1160g
- Find out more at the Sigma website