On Friday, 12 September 2014 the SIGMA Corporation announced not one but two game changing hyper-telephoto zoom lenses, the 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Contemporary Series lens and its big brother the Sports Series. But what are the exact differences between SIGMA’s lenses and which one is best for your style of shooting?
Weight and Size
The most glaring difference between the lenses is their weight and physical measurements. The Contemporary lens weighs in at 1.93kg, nearly a kilo lighter and 2cm shorter in length than the Sport making it better for handheld telephoto shooting. The larger and more robust sport series lens features a better build quality and weighs 2.86kg due to its metal construction, it is designed for shooting with a tripod or monopod for support.
Another variation between the lenses is their optical construction and types of lens elements used to control aberrations. The Contemporary model has 20 elements arranges in 14 groups and utilises one “F” Low Dispersion (FLD) element while the Sport line model boasts 24 lens elements in 16 groups and features two “F” Low Dispersion (FLD) elements.
There is a big difference between the handling of the lenses as well. The 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Sport lens provides shooters with a choice of two zooming methods, either the traditional twist to zoom control or a rapid push/pull zoom function which delivers a lightning quick transition from wide angle to fully extended. The hood on the sport edition is specially designed for a better grip that supports this shooting style.
Here is an example of the SIGMA Push/Pull Zoom Design:
The weather protection also varies between the two models with the contemporary featuring a water and oil repellent coating on the rear element, where the sport has a coating on the front element and the back. The sport also offers a comprehensive dust and splash proof construction where the contemporary limits protection to more vulnerable the lens mount area.
The Sports line is a high-end lens with more advanced optical components inside and a more rugged, weather proof construction. It is ideal for photographers who demand the best performance from their gear and appreciate the option to control their compositions with the quick push/pull zoom handling.
The Contemporary line delivers excellent optical performance at a significantly reduced weight and length. It is better suited for photographers on-the-move who value every gram of weight saving that allows them to shoot handheld for longer.