Zoom Lock Switch on the left. On the right, top to bottom is the Focus Mode Switch AF/MO/MF, Focus Limiter Switch, Optical Stabiliser Switch, Custom Selector Switch. Also shown to the right of the switch panel is the tripod mounting ring with twist knob for tightening.
A Zoom Lock is fitted, which securely locks the lens at 150mm for transport purposes, and can also be set at full 100mm zoom settings to assist in accidentally slightly moving off the required zoom setting. As with the Sigma 150-600 S, I found this to be quite useful. When set at these 100mm intervals it can however be disengaged (except for the 150 lock setting) with a slightly firmer twist of the knurled zoom ring. The zoom ring operates smoothly with an anti-clockwise rotation to zoom from 150 to 600mm. Zoom creep occurs when the lens is pointed down or up with the lock disengaged.
Focus mode switch AF/MO/MF: Offers not only the standard autofocus (AF) and manual focus (MF) modes, but also MO which is Manual Override allowing the manual focus ring to be operated even when the focus is on continuous AF mode. How often this will be used remains to be seen, I didn’t find the need to use this feature, but as usual, it’s nice to know it’s there if you need it. An ultrasonic type focus motor that Sigma calls HSM (Hyper-Sonic Motor) for a fast and quiet AF function is standard for this lens.
A focus limiter switch is fitted, providing settings of 2.8m – 10m, 10m – infinity, and the full focus range.
Optical Stabiliser Switch – A two-stage OS is included:
- Mode 1: Normal OS in both horizontal and vertical planes
- Mode 2: Panning mode – OS in the vertical plane only
Also fitted is a special Custom Selector Switch: Using the USB Dock (sold separately, and which basically looks like a rear lens cap with electronic contacts and a USM cable) with the free Sigma Optimization Pro software the user can update the firmware of the lens and add custom settings to his lens setup for AF, OS function and focus range. Different settings can be stored in two memories, C1 and C2.
A very sturdy, removable tripod mounting collar is supplied. The lens tightens securely in the collar with the familiar twist knob operation.
Mass: Being the lightest in its class the lens is easy to handhold and does not feel such a dead weight when walking long distances in the field carrying it by hand. It is almost a full kilogram lighter than the Sigma 150-600 S and just about a 100g lighter than the Tamron 150-600. The lens will still feel a little hefty to those not used to the large tele-zoom lenses.
Size: Typical size for a lens of this class; I didn’t find it to be a bulky lens.
The plastic lens hood uses a bayonet type fitting and clicks securely into place.
In the sturdy cardboard box, the buyer will find his lens with lens caps front and rear, lens hood, padded neoprene carry case and a lens strap. An information sheet which doubles as a user manual with all relevant info and warnings is also provided.
I prefer using a monopod with the big lenses when covering sporting events or doing birding photography on foot. The relatively, light weight of this lens didn’t really push me towards using a monopod, although I did use one for some of the testings.
Many of my nature shots were taken whilst handholding the lens and relying on the OS to neutralise camera shake when light levels were lower resulting in slower shutter speeds. I found that the OS worked really well, providing at least a 2.5 stop advantage, closer to 3 stops as average.
The Blue Crane was taken handheld with OS in mode 1.