Sigma kicks off 2023 on a big note today, announcing the 60-600mm f/4-6.3 DG DN OS Sports lens for Sony E-mount and L-Mount. Bringing in a completely new optical design (compared to the 60-600mm for Canon EF and Nikon F mounts) that is optimized for mirrorless cameras, this is the first 10x ultra-telephoto lens for mirrorless cameras. For those looking for a lens that can do it all, the Sigma 60-600mm ticks off a lot of boxes. From wildlife to sports, travel photography to landscapes, the 10x zoom range offers a lot of flexibility.
With the Sports designation, the lens is built like a tank, with gaskets and seals all around the mount, focus and zoom rings, and switches. It’s not a lens for those looking to save weight in their camera bag, coming in at 5.5lbs, but it is only about a pound heavier than Sony’s 200–600mm, and about ½ a pound lighter than the DSLR version of the 60-600mm.
While the internal optics have been redesigned, the exterior of the lens looks very similar to the 60-600mm for DSLR’s. Some notable features include a heavy-duty screw on lens hood, a tripod foot that is arca-swiss compatible, and multi-material structure (a combination of magnesium, Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic, and Thermally Stable Composite) that balances durability and weight savings. The switches include a focus switch, range limiter, OS settings, and Custom settings - all of which are tucked behind the tripod collar towards the lens mount. In-between the focus and zoom things you get the lock switch (which locks the barrel at the designated focal lengths), and 3 function buttons, which can be customized within the menu of the camera.
The aperture consists of a 9-blade rounded diaphragm, which contributes to smooth out-of-focus areas, and Super Multi-layer Coatings to minimize flare and ghosting. The optics are composed of 27 elements in 19 groups - with 2 FLD and 3 SLD elements. Like all Sigma lenses, it is made in Japan. The minimum focusing distance ranges from 17.8in (60mm) to 102.4in (600mm). If you like using filters, the 60-600mm has a 105mm filter thread.
The focus motor is a newly developed linear motor “HLA (High-response Linear Actuator)”, which helps with fast and accurate focus lock-on and tracking. To help stabilize the size and weight of the lens, Sigma’s OS2 mode provides 7-stops of stabilization on the wide end, and 6-stops at the telephoto end. To help with quick zooming, the entire focal range can be accessed in just under half a turn. Or, you can also use the contoured curve of the front of the lens to push/pull the barrel in and out (called Dual Action Zoom by Sigma).The L-Mount version is compatible with Sigma’s 1.4x and 2x teleconverters, allowing for ultra-telephoto lengths of up to 1200mm - with a trade-off of losing a lot of light.
While testing out a pre-production version, the lens performed great. Paired with a Sony A1 and an A7 IV, the focus was snappy and accurate in decently lit environments, and still did well for a super-telephoto in low light situations. Despite having to move around a lot of glass, the autofocus motor was extremely quiet and barely noticeable. The biggest downfall, as with most long zoom lenses, is the weight. Carrying this lens around all day can be cumbersome, and a monopod was extremely useful when spending a few hours at a nature preserve, or hiking through parks and stopping to photograph wildlife.
The Sigma 60-600mm f/4.5-6.3 DG DN OS | Sports is available in E-Mount and L-Mount and will be priced at $1,999. The lens is expected to start shipping mid-February. The lens can be pre-ordered here.