Sigma S 60-600 mm f/4.5-6.3 DG DN OS – first impressions

12 January 2023
Maciej Latałło

2. Build quality

The following chart presents a comparison between basic properties of the new Sigma, its reflex camera predecessor, and two other zoom lenses which focal ranges end at 600 mm and which are designed for full frame mirrorless cameras.

As you can notice, the Sigma has to fight against other Sigma lenses because from 2021 you can buy a bit lighter and smaller S 150-600 mm f/5.6-6.3 DG DN OS model. The Sony FE 200-600 mm f/5.6-6.3 OSS weighs the same, but it is also the longest in this group which is connected to the fact that it's a closed construction, not changing its physical dimensions during focusing. All Sigmas change their dimensions and, on passing to the 600 mm focal length, they get longer by about 100 mm.

In the photo below the Sigma S 60-600 mm f/4.5-6.3 DG DN OS is positioned next to the Sony FE 200-600 mm f/5.6-6.3G OSS, mentioned above.

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Sigma S 60-600 mm f/4.5-6.3 DG DN OS – first impressions - Build quality

The lens starts with a metal mount that surrounds contacts and a properly matted, ribbed tube. Inside that tube you see a a black 26x21 mm frame and behind it there is a rear element of the lens, about 28 mm in diameter. The element doesn't move so the lens remains completely sealed from this side, an important and a positive change, especially if you compare it to the build quality of its reflex camera predecessor.

Sigma S 60-600 mm f/4.5-6.3 DG DN OS – first impressions - Build quality

The proper tube of the lens is made of metal. It starts with a smooth ring that quickly increases its diameter and on it you find a white dot, making an alignment with a camera easier, and '023', meaning the year of production. On the enlargened part of the ring, looking from above, you find an inscription with the name and parameters of the lens, and, on the right side, the producer's logotype and the serial number. On the left, there is a whole array of switches. The frist of them, FOCUS, allows you to set the focusing mechanism mode with two options: AF and MF. The MO (Manual Override) option present in the predecessor, allowing you to move the ring even if the continuous AF is switched on, was removed. The next switch limits the autofocus working range. There are three possible positions: FULL, from 6 metres to infinity, and from the minimum focusing distance to 6 metres. Then you see the OS switch, responsible for the optical stabilization (modes 1, 2 and OFF) and finally at the very end there is a CUSTOM switch with three options: OFF, C1, and C2. It allows you to choose between personalized focusing mechanism modes saved after calibrating the lens by the Sigma USB Dock.

Sigma S 60-600 mm f/4.5-6.3 DG DN OS – first impressions - Build quality

A very solid tripod socket with a removable lens foot, allowing you to turn the lens, is another part of the instrument. Unfortunately, it cannot be taken off entirely from the body and it's a pity. Sometimes you walk around with this kind of lens quite a long distance without the necessity of using either the tripod or the monopod and removing such a huge adapter would cetainly make the lens less cumbersome and handier.

Then you see a narrow, immobile ring made of metal with an inscription MADE IN JAPAN and its minimum focusing distance stated for extreme focal lengths: 0.45-2.6M/1.48-8.53FEET.

Further on you find a manual focus ring as wide as 30 mm, covered by ribs, enabling you a comfortable grip. It's a focus-by-wire construction and its work is very even. The focus throw amounts to an angle of almost 200 deg when you turn it quickly; if you slow down you are able to reach a value of 300-400 deg, allowing you very precise settings.

Sigma S 60-600 mm f/4.5-6.3 DG DN OS – first impressions - Build quality

Then there is an immobile part of the casing with the 'S' letter meaning the lens belongs to the 'Sport' series, and the LOCK switch that blocks the zoom position. It is interesting the switch works not only for both ends of the range but also for many other focal lengths, marked on the barrel. There is also another very ingenious feature of the switch available: if you have a focal length blocked and you want to release it you don’t have to reach the switch with your finger, it’s enough you shift the zoom ring more vigorously and the switch releases the blockade on its own. Three round FOCUS LOCK buttons that, additionally, can be programmed, are an original feature of the newest Sigma as they couldn't be found on the barrel of its predecessor.

A zoom ring, as wide as 65 mm, is the next part of the casing, most of its surface covered by comfortable rubber ribs under which there are focal lengths markings at 60, 80, 100, 120, 150, 200, 250, 300, 400,and 600 mm.

Sigma S 60-600 mm f/4.5-6.3 DG DN OS – first impressions - Build quality

The following part of the lens consists of a widening casing, with the front element system. That part extends with the increase of the focal length on a smooth, uniform, solid-looking tube made of plastic, making the whole instrument longer by 10 cm.

The front element, 91 mm in diameter, is only slightly hidden inside the barrel and surrounded by a non-rotating filter thread, 105 mm in diameter. The lens doesn't feature a typical hood thread because the hood is attached with a special clamp.

Sigma S 60-600 mm f/4.5-6.3 DG DN OS – first impressions - Build quality

The producers emphasize the fact that, in order to reduce the weight and make the lens more portable, they used different kinds of materials in the barrel such as magnesium alloy, TSC (Thermally Stable Composite), and carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP). The barrel also features special sealing to make it dust and splash resistant, and outer elements are covered by water- and oil-repellent coating.

Sigma S 60-600 mm f/4.5-6.3 DG DN OS – first impressions - Build quality

When it comes to optical construction you deal here with as many as 27 elements positioned in 19 groups – two elements more than in case of the reflex camera predecessor. The producers declare that two of them are made of FLD glass which properties are similar to those of fluorite, and three others are made of low dispersion SLD glass. Inside, you can also find a circular aperture with nine blades that can be closed down to a value ranging from f/22 to f/32 depending on what focal length you apply.

It's worth adding that the complex optical construction is aimed not only at providing high image quality but also very efficient image stabilization. According to official declarations of the producers the image stabilization unit can deliver an effect of 7 EV of compensation at 60 mm and 6 EV at the 600 mm focal length. These values are really impressing; when the final specimen of the lens is sent to our office for testing we will check them for sure.

You should also add that the lens is compatible with just L-mount version of teleconverters and USB Dock.

Buyers get in the box with the lens: a hard case with its own strap, a hood with a cloth cap, a strap for the lens, tripod socket keys, and both traditional caps. The fact that the producer actually adds a front cap is a nice geture, especially for those who don't want to/ don't need to carry the hood around and use its cloth cover.

Sigma S 60-600 mm f/4.5-6.3 DG DN OS – first impressions - Build quality