A Budget Superzoom For Sony


Wildlife photographers who shoot with Sony have been restricted in relation to lens alternative. The Sony 100-400mm GM was launched in early 2017, however the worth ($2,500) was out of attain for a lot of. Final yr, Sony launched the 200-600mm G, which was a bit extra price range pleasant ($2,000) however is a fairly large lens to hold round on wildlife hikes.

Luckily, Sigma recently announced their new 100-400mm Up to date lens for Sony E-Mount and Leica/Panasonic/Sigma L-Mount. We had the possibility to check out an E-Mount 100-400 for just a few days – learn on to see what we thought.


The look of the lens is conventional “World Imaginative and prescient” Sigma. It has the identical black end and a little bit silver “C” inlay. You get a Focus Mode swap (AF/MF – no handbook override alternative like on the non-mirrorless model of this lens), focus limiter swap (full vary, 6m-infinity , and 1.6-6m), OS Mode swap (1, 2, Off), and an AFL button. The lens can be lacking the Customized Settings swap (C1, C2, Off) that’s discovered on the non-mirrorless model. Lastly, whereas the lens has a lock swap, it’s only enabled at 100mm, and it lacks a tripod collar (which could be bought individually).

Whereas it’s a light-weight lens, discovering good steadiness may be an inconvenience for these desirous to apply it to a monopod with no collar. The non-obligatory tripod collar is similar one which comes with the Sigma 105mm f/1.four ART, and has an arca-swiss foot, however does add some heft to the lens.

The hood incorporates an indented ring, for lack of a greater description, that permits for photographers to simply push/pull to zoom as an alternative of twisting the zoom ring. This got here in useful for me, as I usually shoot Nikon and the zoom route is reversed. The friction is sort of good, permitting for a fast focal size adjustment with out overdoing it.

Whereas the construct high quality isn’t as sturdy because the Sony 100-400 GM, the Sigma nonetheless feels nicely made, and is mud/moisture resistant. One fascinating factor about this lens is that although it’s longer than the EF/F mount model, it weighs barely much less (1135g vs 1160g+125g for the MC-11). Sigma additionally says that the lens is appropriate with each the 1.4x and 2x teleconverters (L-Mount solely). Hopefully E-Mount teleconverters are on the horizon, permitting this lens to succeed in as much as 800mm.


At first look it looks as if this lens is only a Sigma 100-400mm with an MC-11 welded on, however Sigma says this lens was designed completely for full-frame mirrorless cameras. The autofocus works nicely on the number of Sony our bodies we examined it on, together with Eye-AF for each people and animals. Having used the Sony 100-400mm GM a handful of occasions, there wasn’t a lot of a distinction by way of autofocus velocity and monitoring.

In comparison with the older Sigma 100-400 Up to date on a Nikon D750 and on a Canon 7D II, the DN model of this lens appears to have sooner total autofocus (when examined on a Sony a7 III, a7R III, and a9). That is seemingly as a consequence of Sigma’s use of a brand new stepping motor to offer sooner and quieter autofocus. The efficiency enchancment in comparison with an EF mount 100-400mm with a MC-11 is fairly noticeable—if in case you have a MC-11, don’t trouble saving the $200 to get the EF model.

Whereas the sharpness is probably not equal to the 100-400 GM within the corners, the vast majority of shooters seemingly received’t discover a distinction, apart from the slower aperture and having to bump your ISO a bit. Sigma claims the picture stabilization within the lens offers as much as four stops of compensation, which paired with Sony’s IBIS ought to permit photographers to get sharp photos at slower shutter speeds.

The shut focus distance of the Sigma isn’t as spectacular because the Sony 100-400mm GM, however when evaluating 2 photos at 400mm taken on the minimal focusing distance, the Sigma appears to have a slight edge in sharpness on this scenario. Vignetting and distortion aren’t too unhealthy, however are undoubtedly essentially the most noticeable at 400mm. Chromatic aberration is minimal, even in excessive distinction conditions.

Actual World Use & Pattern Pictures

Having used the Sony 100-400mm GM in addition to the Sigma 100-400mm for EF with a MC-11, the brand new 100-400mm DN is certainly an enchancment over the DSLR model. When utilizing it at a nature protect to {photograph} all types of wildlife, it felt like I used to be utilizing a local lens. The time it took to lock on to a topic was quite a bit faster than the tailored model, and the monitoring didn’t miss a beat in most conditions.

The 100-400mm GM could also be a bit sharper total, and when capturing bursts of images chances are you’ll get just a few extra keepers, nevertheless it’s onerous to justify the $1,550 worth distinction for many photographers. Though the Sony has a sooner aperture vary, more often than not when capturing wildlife I wish to cease down a bit and sometimes shoot at f/eight for max sharpness.

Should you’re searching for a sooner aperture lens, sadly the Sigma doesn’t maintain a big aperture lengthy, and begins stopping down fairly shortly. Scroll right down to see some pattern images (click on to enlarge):


Last Ideas

Should you’re searching for an extended zoom lens, however don’t need to pay Sony costs, the Sigma is certainly value a glance. At nearly a 3rd of the worth, the Sigma will permit for extra photographers to get the superzoom attain that’s wanted for wildlife, birding, and sports activities images with out breaking the financial institution. It’s additionally value when you wish to shoot telephoto landscapes.

The Sigma 100-400mm DN for E-Mount and L-Mount can be priced at $949, needs to be accessible round July 13th, and could be pre-ordered here.

In regards to the writer: Ihor Balaban is a photographer and retailer supervisor of the digital camera retailer Pixel Connection in Avon, Ohio. To be taught extra concerning the retailer, head over to the Pixel Connection website. This publish was additionally revealed here.

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