Currently the longest Telephoto lens in Sony’s FE lens lineup is the FE 70-300mm F4.5-5.6 G OSS. When I have needed a longer zoom I have previously used Sony’s SAL 70-400 with my A7RII using the LA-EA4 or LA-EA3 adapter. This combination, however, loses the Lock-On AF capability of the A7RII. Then, along came Sigma who released their MC-11 adapter that allows Alpha users to use Sigma lenses (with Sigma’s AS mount or Canon’s EF Mount) and retain both Eye-AF and Lock-On AF capability.
With this in mind, I decided to test the Sigma 150-600mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM (made available from DigiDirect, Melbourne). The Lens is available in two versions, ‘Sports’ and ‘Contemporary’. On the surface these two lenses appear very similar in specs such as focal range and maximum apertures. The Sports, however, has a lens construction that uses 24 elements in 16 groups and weighs in at 6.3 lb (2.86 kg) while the Contemporary uses 20 elements in 14 groups and weighs in at 4.3 lb (1.95 kg). With more glass and metal in the Sports this pushes the weight of the Sports to just shy of 3 KG – quite a beast of a lens. I tested the heavier (by nearly 1 KG) Sports version and this lens would require some considerable strength to shoot with the lens fully extended/zoomed to 600mm without the use of a monopod for more than just a few shots. I attached my lens strap to the lugs on the lens and my monopod mount to the collar on the lens. Three mount points are provided but with a light mirrorless camera such as the A7RII the most forward mount was selected.
The Lock-on AF works as advertised (although it can have trouble to lock on in low ambient light or low subject contrast) and the images produced are very sharp (even wide open at f/6.3 at 600mm). The lens settings I primarily used were: Focus – AF On, OS: Position 2 (for panning) and the focus limiter set to either 10m to Infinity or 2.6 metres to 10 metres, depending on whether the subject was near or far. The Camera settings primarily used were AF-C, Continuous Shooting – Low, Lock-On Expandable Spot and Auto ISO set to Faster.
Although I am very impressed with the sharpness of the images produced, perhaps the star of the show is Sigma’s MC-11 adapter that has shown that we can now enjoy all of the AF features of our Sony mirrorless cameras, even when using adapted lenses. This should, for once and all, silence the critics about possible gaps in Sony’s FE lens lineup.
An album of Ultra HD examples (including some at full-resolution) are available here: Sigma Ultra HD Sample Images
If you decide to purchase a Sigma lens you will need to choose between the Sigma SA mount and Canon EF mount versions of the same lens, and then match this with the appropriate adapter. I would lean towards choosing the Canon EF versions as this will provide you with the option to use Canon lenses on the MC-11 adapter. Some reviewers have reported favourable results, even though Sigma recommend using Sigma lenses only with the MC-11 adapter. Click on the links below to order the lens and adapter from B&H Photo.