Sigma 150-600mm Contemporary Lens Sharpness Test

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byumpp
byumpp Regular Member • Posts: 265
Sigma 150-600mm Contemporary Lens Sharpness Test
1

I have been using the Sigma 150-600mm C (with a6000 + MC-11) for the past few days. The first day, I hated the weight and handling of it. As I use it more, I am more comfortable hand-holding it. I still feel a bigger camera body and/or monopod will help a lot. I am not planning on using a tripod since I walk/hike a lot while photographing.

Below I have included a few photos. Except the Brick Wallphotos, all photos are handheld. As you can see, I am not getting a very good result. I am not blaming the lens yet, but I would like you guys to review the photos and comment whether I have a good copy of the Sigma lens. The brick wall photos were taken using the 10 sec timer on a step ladder with a DIY bean bag. Setup shown below . I also turned off the OS on the lens, but in camera, I could not find where to turn it off. All the photos are straight out of the camera, all Jpegs.

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Cavig1 Regular Member • Posts: 490
Re: Sigma 150-600mm Contemporary Lens Sharpness Test
1

This combo never worked well for me. The a6000 just doesn't auto focus well enough for moving birds or wildlife. The a6400 works much better af-wise.

I agree about the ergonomics. The small camera size requires you to balance the lens with your left hand. Versus using your right hand with a bigger or heavier camera. Although I shoot handheld 100% of the time, if I were shooting with this combo I'd use a monopod or tripod.

Also, there's no OS in the a6000 body. So there's no menu setting to turn steady shot.

Good luck and good shooting 🙂

Cavig

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Tord S Eriksson
Tord S Eriksson Forum Pro • Posts: 11,902
Re: Sigma 150-600mm Contemporary Lens Sharpness Test

byumpp wrote:

I have been using the Sigma 150-600mm C (with a6000 + MC-11) for the past few days. The first day, I hated the weight and handling of it. As I use it more, I am more comfortable hand-holding it. I still feel a bigger camera body and/or monopod will help a lot. I am not planning on using a tripod since I walk/hike a lot while photographing.

Below I have included a few photos. Except the Brick Wallphotos, all photos are handheld. As you can see, I am not getting a very good result. I am not blaming the lens yet, but I would like you guys to review the photos and comment whether I have a good copy of the Sigma lens. The brick wall photos were taken using the 10 sec timer on a step ladder with a DIY bean bag. Setup shown below . I also turned off the OS on the lens, but in camera, I could not find where to turn it off. All the photos are straight out of the camera, all Jpegs.

The branches over the little birdhouse are out of focus, while the house is perfectly in focus. Smaller aperture might have helped, but the branch might be moving, so, maybe, your shutter speed wasn't enough?!

I see no issues with this shot, just boost the contrast a bit!

The male mallard (in eclipse) looks great! The dames have brick-colored beaks!

Other than that, as your a6000 has no IBIS, you need to use the classic formula: 1/ (focal-length x crop factor) to avoid shake being an issue, especially as you've turned the OS off.

So never over 1/1,000 sec, probably using a 1/2,000 to be on the safe side when testing the lens' sharpness.

With OS on, I'd guess 1/250 is 'safe', but don't bank on it.

A more modern camera might have helped, too, as they are getting better at getting the right focus.

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tordseriksson (at) gmail.....
Owner of 1 Canon, 1 Olympus, 1 Pentax, 1 Ricoh, 1 Sony, and a lot of Nikon, cameras.

 Tord S Eriksson's gear list:Tord S Eriksson's gear list
Olympus C-8080 Wide Zoom Ricoh GR Nikon 1 V1 Nikon D600 Nikon 1 V2 +24 more
byumpp
OP byumpp Regular Member • Posts: 265
Re: Sigma 150-600mm Contemporary Lens Sharpness Test

Cavig1 wrote:

This combo never worked well for me. The a6000 just doesn't auto focus well enough for moving birds or wildlife. The a6400 works much better af-wise.

I agree about the ergonomics. The small camera size requires you to balance the lens with your left hand. Versus using your right hand with a bigger or heavier camera. Although I shoot handheld 100% of the time, if I were shooting with this combo I'd use a monopod or tripod.

Also, there's no OS in the a6000 body. So there's no menu setting to turn steady shot.

Good luck and good shooting 🙂

Cavig

Thanks Cavig! I am planning to buy a camera. My heart is on the a6400, but I am also looking at the Canon 80D (there is a great deal for a refurbished 2 lens combo for US$ 699). Based on my experience with the a6000 + Sigma combo, I am not sure if the a6400 will be much help (from the handling prospective). But I also want a camera that can do everything (portrait, sports, landscape etc and easy to travel with) and the a6400 seems like the one.

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 byumpp's gear list:byumpp's gear list
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byumpp
OP byumpp Regular Member • Posts: 265
Re: Sigma 150-600mm Contemporary Lens Sharpness Test

Tord S Eriksson wrote:

The male mallard (in eclipse) looks great! The dames have brick-colored beaks!

Other than that, as your a6000 has no IBIS, you need to use the classic formula: 1/ (focal-length x crop factor) to avoid shake being an issue, especially as you've turned the OS off.

So never over 1/1,000 sec, probably using a 1/2,000 to be on the safe side when testing the lens' sharpness.

With OS on, I'd guess 1/250 is 'safe', but don't bank on it.

A more modern camera might have helped, too, as they are getting better at getting the right focus.

Thanks Tord! I turned off the OS when camera was on a tripod (in this case on a ladder). I have read that when the camera is on a tripod, the OS should be turned off. The OS was turned off only on those brick wall shots and they were taken on AP mode with the ISO 100.

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 byumpp's gear list:byumpp's gear list
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Cavig1 Regular Member • Posts: 490
Re: Sigma 150-600mm Contemporary Lens Sharpness Test

Yeah an 80D would definitely give you a better experience comfort-wise. I use a 7Dii with this lens, which is similar in size to an 80D. And although it's a handful the balance is much better.

Having written this, check out the recent Sony APS-C forum posts by zackiedawg (Justin). He sometimes uses the 150-600 Tamron with an A6300 and gets great results. That lens is similar in size and weigh to the Sigma C. I'm sure he can give you some pointers if you are serious about using a Sony aps-c camera with a heavy supertelephoto lens.

Cavig

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Michel Jarry
Michel Jarry Contributing Member • Posts: 541
Re: Sigma 150-600mm Contemporary Lens Sharpness Test

byumpp wrote:

Tord S Eriksson wrote:

The male mallard (in eclipse) looks great! The dames have brick-colored beaks!

Other than that, as your a6000 has no IBIS, you need to use the classic formula: 1/ (focal-length x crop factor) to avoid shake being an issue, especially as you've turned the OS off.

So never over 1/1,000 sec, probably using a 1/2,000 to be on the safe side when testing the lens' sharpness.

With OS on, I'd guess 1/250 is 'safe', but don't bank on it.

A more modern camera might have helped, too, as they are getting better at getting the right focus.

Thanks Tord! I turned off the OS when camera was on a tripod (in this case on a ladder). I have read that when the camera is on a tripod, the OS should be turned off. The OS was turned off only on those brick wall shots and they were taken on AP mode with the ISO 100.

I do not claim to know how to perform sophisticated lens testing but looking at your setup, I think that you are not eliminating all potential causes for blurriness :

  • Even with a (relatively) fast shutter speed, your stepladder setup outside cannot prevent camera shake if there is even just a very mild wind or some vibrations caused by passing vehicles, especially if pixel peeping at 100%. This is why many will buy expensive carbon fibre tripods and top of the line heads.
  • Your Handheld shots cannot be considered relevant in this context.

The following shot is the sharpest I was able to achieve with my Tamron 150-600 G2 adapted to my Nikon Z7, in the following conditions:

  • Shooting in my studio ;
  • Air conditioning turned off (no air flow);
  • Carbon fiber Gitzo tripod with Arca Swiss P0 ball head;
  • Target vertically levelled with electronic level;
  • Camera perfectly levelled and aligned to center of target;
  • Cable release with Exposure Delay of 3 seconds;
  • Electronic first shutter curtain (to avoid shutter & diaphragm slaps);
  • Vibration reduction OFF;
  • Sharpest picture over three shots (they were all perfectly in focus to me) using AF-S single point on the center of the target.

I suggest that you redo your tests indoors as thoroughly as you can, over several shots, and if in doubt, return your lens for replacement or repair if too late...

Good luck,

Michel

 Michel Jarry's gear list:Michel Jarry's gear list
Nikon Z7 Nikon 85mm F1.8G Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm F4G ED VR Tamron SP 150-600mm F5-6.3 Di VC USD G2 Nikon Z 35mm F1.8 +2 more
Tord S Eriksson
Tord S Eriksson Forum Pro • Posts: 11,902
Re: Sigma 150-600mm Contemporary Lens Sharpness Test

byumpp wrote:

Tord S Eriksson wrote:

The male mallard (in eclipse) looks great! The dames have brick-colored beaks!

Other than that, as your a6000 has no IBIS, you need to use the classic formula: 1/ (focal-length x crop factor) to avoid shake being an issue, especially as you've turned the OS off.

So never over 1/1,000 sec, probably using a 1/2,000 to be on the safe side when testing the lens' sharpness.

With OS on, I'd guess 1/250 is 'safe', but don't bank on it.

A more modern camera might have helped, too, as they are getting better at getting the right focus.

Thanks Tord! I turned off the OS when camera was on a tripod (in this case on a ladder). I have read that when the camera is on a tripod, the OS should be turned off. The OS was turned off only on those brick wall shots and they were taken on AP mode with the ISO 100.

The OS/VR/OIS (whatever) is made to cancel human shakes, while most lenses on tripods usually have a nasty high-frequency vibration, which the anti-shake system simply isn't made to handle. Some lenses have intelligence built-in that can 'feel' when the vibration is non-human, and simply turns off when attached to a tripod head.

I think the Nikon 200-500 is such a lens.

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Mark K
Mark K Veteran Member • Posts: 6,427
Re: Sigma 150-600mm Contemporary Lens Sharpness Test

We have a brilliant hand holding lady bird shooter using D7xxx and Sigma C..and she was able to shoot up to 1/2 seconds at longest end.

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Mark K

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Tord S Eriksson
Tord S Eriksson Forum Pro • Posts: 11,902
Re: Sigma 150-600mm Contemporary Lens Sharpness Test

Mark K wrote:

We have a brilliant hand holding lady bird shooter using D7xxx and Sigma C..and she was able to shoot up to 1/2 seconds at longest end.

That is darn impressive!

I doff my hat!

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tordseriksson (at) gmail.....
Owner of 1 Olympus, 1 Ricoh, and a handful of Nikon, cameras.

 Tord S Eriksson's gear list:Tord S Eriksson's gear list
Olympus C-8080 Wide Zoom Ricoh GR Nikon 1 V1 Nikon D600 Nikon 1 V2 +24 more
byumpp
OP byumpp Regular Member • Posts: 265
Re: Sigma 150-600mm Contemporary Lens Sharpness Test

Cavig1 wrote:

Yeah an 80D would definitely give you a better experience comfort-wise. I use a 7Dii with this lens, which is similar in size to an 80D. And although it's a handful the balance is much better.

Having written this, check out the recent Sony APS-C forum posts by zackiedawg (Justin). He sometimes uses the 150-600 Tamron with an A6300 and gets great results. That lens is similar in size and weigh to the Sigma C. I'm sure he can give you some pointers if you are serious about using a Sony aps-c camera with a heavy supertelephoto lens.

Cavig

Thanks again! I already asked Justin and he has given some good ideas. At the moment, I am trying to find if my lens is sharp or working as expected before investing in other items and even a new DSLR.

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 byumpp's gear list:byumpp's gear list
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byumpp
OP byumpp Regular Member • Posts: 265
Re: Sigma 150-600mm Contemporary Lens Sharpness Test

Mark K wrote:

We have a brilliant hand holding lady bird shooter using D7xxx and Sigma C..and she was able to shoot up to 1/2 seconds at longest end.

That's awesome! I wish I had that skill :).

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 byumpp's gear list:byumpp's gear list
Sony a6000 Canon EOS 80D Sony E 50mm F1.8 OSS Sony E 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 OSS Canon EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM +3 more
byumpp
OP byumpp Regular Member • Posts: 265
Re: Sigma 150-600mm Contemporary Lens Sharpness Test

Michel Jarry wrote:

byumpp wrote:

Tord S Eriksson wrote:

The male mallard (in eclipse) looks great! The dames have brick-colored beaks!

Other than that, as your a6000 has no IBIS, you need to use the classic formula: 1/ (focal-length x crop factor) to avoid shake being an issue, especially as you've turned the OS off.

So never over 1/1,000 sec, probably using a 1/2,000 to be on the safe side when testing the lens' sharpness.

With OS on, I'd guess 1/250 is 'safe', but don't bank on it.

A more modern camera might have helped, too, as they are getting better at getting the right focus.

Thanks Tord! I turned off the OS when camera was on a tripod (in this case on a ladder). I have read that when the camera is on a tripod, the OS should be turned off. The OS was turned off only on those brick wall shots and they were taken on AP mode with the ISO 100.

I do not claim to know how to perform sophisticated lens testing but looking at your setup, I think that you are not eliminating all potential causes for blurriness :

  • Even with a (relatively) fast shutter speed, your stepladder setup outside cannot prevent camera shake if there is even just a very mild wind or some vibrations caused by passing vehicles, especially if pixel peeping at 100%. This is why many will buy expensive carbon fibre tripods and top of the line heads.
  • Your Handheld shots cannot be considered relevant in this context.

The following shot is the sharpest I was able to achieve with my Tamron 150-600 G2 adapted to my Nikon Z7, in the following conditions:

  • Shooting in my studio ;
  • Air conditioning turned off (no air flow);
  • Carbon fiber Gitzo tripod with Arca Swiss P0 ball head;
  • Target vertically levelled with electronic level;
  • Camera perfectly levelled and aligned to center of target;
  • Cable release with Exposure Delay of 3 seconds;
  • Electronic first shutter curtain (to avoid shutter & diaphragm slaps);
  • Vibration reduction OFF;
  • Sharpest picture over three shots (they were all perfectly in focus to me) using AF-S single point on the center of the target.

I suggest that you redo your tests indoors as thoroughly as you can, over several shots, and if in doubt, return your lens for replacement or repair if too late...

Good luck,

Michel

Michel,

Thank you so much for taking the time to respond to my post! I really appreciate your time and the detailed response. Sorry, it took me a little longer to come back here and respond you. I was doing some more testing based on your advice. You seem to know how to perform a sophisticated lens testing!

By the way, the outdoor test, I was pretty far away from the road and there was a very few or no cars on the road. I was in a church parking lot. But the morning was kind of windy.

Well, I do not have all the equipments like yours, but I tried my best to do a good test indoor. I turned off the home AC. Made sure nobody was home, so there is nobody walking around. The height of the target and the camera/lens height were about the same. I used the new bigger bean bag on a very stable stool. Images were taken AP mode, 10 seconds timer, ISO 100. It's indoor in the morning, sun coming from the right side of the target thru closed window blinds.

Anyway, here are some photos. Please review and let me know if I should keep the lens or send back. I have time to return it.

First three set of photos, I am doing the back or front focus test that I saw online.

Focused on the middle battery on letter "G"

Focused on the most left battery on letter G.

Focused on the most right battery on letter G.

P.S.: I would also love to hear from those of you who have used the 150-600mm lens in the past or currently using it and what you think about the quality of the copy of my lens. It may have everything to do with my skills or not having the right tripod etc, but if you feel like something wrong with the lens, then I am sending it back. Thank you!

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 byumpp's gear list:byumpp's gear list
Sony a6000 Canon EOS 80D Sony E 50mm F1.8 OSS Sony E 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 OSS Canon EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM +3 more
Tord S Eriksson
Tord S Eriksson Forum Pro • Posts: 11,902
Re: Sigma 150-600mm Contemporary Lens Sharpness Test

Loved it at f/7.1, and that is the setting I use personally on my 150-600 S.

The box looked better than the batteries, for some odd reason.

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tordseriksson (at) gmail.....
Owner of 1 Olympus, 1 Ricoh, and a handful of Nikon, cameras.

 Tord S Eriksson's gear list:Tord S Eriksson's gear list
Olympus C-8080 Wide Zoom Ricoh GR Nikon 1 V1 Nikon D600 Nikon 1 V2 +24 more
byumpp
OP byumpp Regular Member • Posts: 265
Re: Sigma 150-600mm Contemporary Lens Sharpness Test

Tord S Eriksson wrote:

Loved it at f/7.1, and that is the setting I use personally on my 150-600 S.

The box looked better than the batteries, for some odd reason.

Thank you Tord!

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 byumpp's gear list:byumpp's gear list
Sony a6000 Canon EOS 80D Sony E 50mm F1.8 OSS Sony E 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 OSS Canon EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM +3 more
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