09 Feb Sigma 100-400 Sony E Mount Review
My first ever autofocus super zoom lens! I’ve been avoiding getting one of these big autofocus tele’s for the longest time. Mostly because I really didn’t have any consistent use for one. It fills two categories for me, REALLY fast moving action, and unique landscape perspectives. Its just about impossible to accomplish the first category with anything else. We recently added a husky puppy to the family which really pushed this lens into the spotlight. I figured the 24-105 I had would get the job done and sadly it just cant keep up. Subjects moving towards you or away from you at a running pace are HARD to keep in focus. Unless you have this lens of course. Now there are a few options available for the Sony E mount system in this superzoom flavor. Theres the Sony 100-400 GM, Sony 200-600, and this one. The first two options are $2000+, this one is under a grand. I haven’t used Sony’s very expensive offerings so I cant definitively say that this lens is as good. But the performance I observed from using this Sigma, makes me not really care.
This isn’t a heavy bunch of glass. Surprisingly its really lightweight! The body is made of composites and metal, is supposedly weather sealed (more on this later), and overall feels very robust. The zoom ring has a perfect lock to lock rotation, you can go from 100-400 in one quick hand motion. Autofocus is fly by wire, and the 3 times in the lenses life you’ll manual focus it, its adequate. The buttons and switches on the side are nice and not cheap feeling. The Lens hood is also a point of praise, it clunks very securely into place and feels like it could take a beating.
My only gripe with the build quality isn’t so much with its quality, but the design. When zoomed, the barrel extends out. This is totally subjective, but I don’t like it. It seems to me that water and dust can easily get into the lens with it extended. Ive been out shooting in heavy snow, and found myself reluctant to zoom in on subjects because I’m worried that the inside of the lens will fog up from moisture. This may be an unfounded fear, and so far it hasn’t happened in even moderate rain. It still sits in the back of my mind however. Its also worth noting that the Sony 100-400 GM lens is similarly designed and people seem to not have issues.
IMAGE QUALITY & STABILIZATION
Sharp across the whole zoom range is all there is to know with this lens. Every time I really nail a shot with this thing, I marvel at the lenses performance. The image stabilization works really well with the sensor stabilization in the a7R3 as well. For static subjects, you can shoot hand held down to some crazy low shutter speeds all the way out at 400mm. This image below represents my best case scenario. Mid day sun, zoomed all the way out to 400mm. The stabilization really helps with composition. Almost as if by magic all the hand shake just disappears when you half press the shutter button.
As a result of this the minimum aperture isn’t much of an issue as long as you’re shooting during the day. As the sun goes down however you’re going to have to start raising that ISO up to some pretty high numbers. Ive found that ISO1600 generally will keep your shots crisp and editable when paired with the A7R3. Thinking about Sony’s 100-400, you only gain one stop of aperture, and in turn one stop of shutter speed, not really worth the extra $1500 in my opinion.
Its fast. Really fast. For a lens thats $1500 less than its only competitor, I’m blown away. The pictures that Ive managed with this lens seem like pure magic. Our 5 month old husky is FAST. When we go to the off leash dog park she opens up the throttle and runs! The Sigma lens keeps up with her no problem. Ive found that the only thing that cant keep up is me trying to track her and keep her tight in the frame. Something you’ll have to get used to if you get one of these.
For what this lens is tailored to, its amazing. Want to track fast moving objects accurately? Look no further. Its compact, light, and sharp. All for a bargain price comparatively! Even if you were in the market for the Sony 100-400GM lens Id strongly consider this one. Save yourself the extra $1500! Heres a few more examples shot with the A7R3 and Sigma 100-400 E mount.
Do you have the Sigma 100-400 E mount lens? Let me know in the comments below!