Sigma 100-400mm f/5-6.3 HSM DG OS Contemporary (Canon EOS) - Review
Lens Reviews - Canon EOS (Full Format)

published August 2018

Introduction

There was a time when xx-300mm zoom lenses were considered a mainstream full format offering. However, with full format cameras representing the premium league nowadays that has shifted a little towards xx-400mm zoom lenses. It seems premium users also want more and who doesn't anyway? Of course, there's no real novelty factor here - Canon has been offering the 100-400mm L IS for decades - but this always came at a high price. Recently we have seen two newcomers though - the Sigma 100-400mm f/5-6.3 HSM DG OS Contemporary and a similar Tamron lens priced below 800EUR/USD thus. That's less than half the price of the Canon lens albeit you do lose 1/3 stops in speed.

The lower price tag of the Sigma 100-400mm f/5-6.3 HSM DG OS Contemporary has more reasons than just the speed. The quality of the construction is very good but it is not a professional grade lens. That's hardly surprising because it's a member of Sigma's "Contemporary" lens lineup which is targeting consumers rather than professionals. The lens body seems to be made of plastics based on a metal mount. There's also no weather sealing nor a dedicated tripod mount. The simpler construction has an advantage though - at 1160g it is comparatively light-weight. The zoom is a little stiff whereas the focus ring operates smoothly. A barrel-shaped lens hood is also provided.

The AF is reasonably fast but it stays short of native Canon lenses here. Typical for HSM lenses the autofocus is also near silent. During our testing, we had no love affair with Sigma's image stabilizer (OS). Unlike "normal" image stabilizers, it doesn't really stabilize the viewfinder image but it is activated upon firing. It is supposed to give you a gain of 3-4 f-stops. In real life, we didn't even come close to this figure. At best we are talking about 2 f-stops. That all being said, it is possible to change the OS characteristic via Sigma's USB dock. We did so and activated "visual stabilization" (stabilized viewfinder image). That worked to some degree but not quite as much as we'd hoped for. The OS efficiency is supposed to suffer when using this mode but the efficiency isn't high in the first place anyway.

Specifications
Optical construction21 elements in 15 groups including 4x SLD elements
Number of aperture blades9 (rounded)
min. focus distance1.6m (max. magnification ratio 1:3.8)
Dimensions86×182.3㎜
Weight1160g
Filter size67mm
Hoodbarrel-shaped (bayonet mount, optional)
Other featuresimage stabilizer