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Lens review

Sigma S 60-600 mm f/4.5-6.3 DG OS HSM

9 November 2018
Maciej Lata³³o

4. Image resolution

The resolution (meaning here the MTF50 function) test of the Sigma S 60–600 mm f/4.5–6.3 DG OS HSM was based on RAW files from the Canon EOS 5D Mark III. In the case of that reflex camera the decency level is situated around 30-32 lpmm and the best fixed-focal lenses can reach as high as 45-49 lpmm. It’s worth adding that the resolution record on that sensor not so long ago belonged to the Zeiss Otus 1.4/28 (49.2 lpmm), but then it was beaten slightly by the Sigma A 85 mm f/1.4 DG HSM, and then the Sigma A 135 mm f/1.8 DG HSM; currently it amounts to 51.6 lpmm.

Let’s check how the Sigma 60-600 mm compares – the graph below presents its results we got in the frame centre at 60, 100, 200, 300, 400 and 600 mm.

Sigma S 60-600 mm f/4.5-6.3 DG OS HSM - Image resolution


At the beginning I would like to add that I tested the Sigma at six different focal lengths and it was deliberate. I actively looked for a weak point. After all it is a common flaw of hyper telephoto zooms with a high zoom ratio. Meanwhile the Sigma surprised me very nicely because it didn’t show any weaknesses in the frame centre. Not only its results are more coherent than the results of the Sigma S 150-600 mm but, what’s even more surprising, at the longer end of the focal spectrum the newer model fares actually better. Especially the 600 mm performance of the new Bigma should be praised; at this point the tested lens fares distinctly better than all 150-600 mm lenses tested by us so far. It also outperforms the Nikkor 200-500 mm at the 500 mm focal length.

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The tested lens didn’t have any problems with reaching values near 40 lpmm or even exceeding that level at all focal lengths, no matter whether it was near the maximum relative aperture or on slight stopping down. Taking into account the focal range, offered by the lens, such a performance can be called truly sensational.

Still… as there are no weak points in the frame centre perhaps you can find them on the edge? Let’s check how the Sigma S 60-600 mm performs on the edge of the APS-C/DX sensor.

Sigma S 60-600 mm f/4.5-6.3 DG OS HSM - Image resolution


Once again I failed to find any weak points. In the case of all previous tests of 150-600 mm and 200-500 mm lenses the results were good but you always managed to find focal lengths where the tested instruments just brushed against the decency level. The Sigma S 60-600 mm doesn’t have any such focal lengths. It fares the weakest by the maximum relative aperture at 60 and 400 mm but even there the MTFs are able to reach 34-35 lpmm, well above the decency level. Once again the results at all focal lengths are quite similar for this zoom ratio.

Let’s check the situation on a very demanding edge of full frame – below you can find an appropriate graph.

Sigma S 60-600 mm f/4.5-6.3 DG OS HSM - Image resolution


In this testing category and in this class of equipment we haven’t seen a lens without weak points yet. Usually the maximum focal length was the weakest, as even after stopping down it had problems with reaching 30 lpmm. In the case of the Sigma S 60-600 mm the maximum focal length fares well. The biggest crisis you witness at 400 mm because at the maximum relative aperture the lens falls a tad below the decency level and you have to apply f/8- 11 in order to reach that level at all. The overall image is, once again, very positive. The Sigma S 60-600 mm can be considered the best out of the whole group of lenses of this class.

As you guess, our summary can be only enthusiastic. To be honest I didn’t expect such brilliant results. I thought we would get a lens a bit better than the Sigma C 150-600 mm but it would have problem to compete on equal terms with the Sigma S 150-600 mm. Meanwhile the Sigma S 60-600 mm fared better than both these models and also better than other lenses from this segment we have tested so far. A round of applause!

At the end of this part of the test traditionally we present crops taken from photos of our resolution testing chart saved as JPEG files.

Canon 5D MkIII, JPEG, 100 mm, f/8.0
Sigma S 60-600 mm f/4.5-6.3 DG OS HSM - Image resolution
Canon 5D MkIII, JPEG, 400 mm, f/5.6
Sigma S 60-600 mm f/4.5-6.3 DG OS HSM - Image resolution