Nikon 200-500 VS Sigma 150-600 Sport “Real World Review”


Jared Polin: Right before we jump into this
video if you haven’t signed up for the froknowsphoto email list you can do so just look for this
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it and I will send you a free guide to capturing motion in low light situations. Jared Polin froknowsphoto.com and this is
a side-by-side comparison of the Nikon 200-500 millimeter versus the sigma 150-600 millimeter
sport edition. Now these are two of the most popular lenses
out there in the super zoom range and I wanted to run them through their paces side by side
to help you guys decide which one is for you if you’re looking for a mega zoom. Now I like to do real world review so that
is what I did with this lens or both of these lenses. I took him out to a major league baseball
game, the Phillies were playing the Marlins and because I was shooting a major league
baseball game I wasn’t allowed to do any video that’s why I didn’t bring a film crew with
me, but I still wanted to get the side by side comparison in a real world and there
is no better place to test these two super zooms then at a major league baseball park. Now what camera did I use? I used two D4S’s. Why did I use the best sports camera out there
in the world right now? Because I wanted to give these lenses the
best ability to shine. I wanted the best the best focusing capability,
the best focus tracking capability. I wanted really good ISO quality because you
got to remember that these are slower lenses in terms of f-stops and I wanted to get that
better range. So basically I wanted to give these lenses
a fair shake. Now keep in mind not everybody is going to
have a D4S when they purchase these lenses, we purchase any of these lenses but I wanted
to give it the best ability to get the best shots possible, so that there was no concern
saying well you use the low end camera that’s why maybe it wasn’t as sharp as it should
have been or that’s why the contrast or focus tracking or OIS or VR wasn’t any good. So, with that said I am going to show you
or give you the ability to download all the full res exports from both lenses as well
as give you DNG files to compare side-by-side. Because my goal was to get images that were
similar side by side. I was switching camera to camera throughout
the entire shoot. So I’m going to tell you a little bit about
these lenses at all times, different pictures are going to pop up just to show you different
things but we’re going to get into the computer and show you side-by-side comparisons to give
you what I think about it. So let’s go down this list that I have. Both of these lenses give you a huge zoom
range. Nikon gives you the 200-500, the Sigma goes
wider and it goes longer but there’s a trade-off on both sides the Nikon is a fixed 5.6 which
is nice especially knowing that at 500 you’re going to have a 5.6 whereas with the Sigma
you’re going from F5 which is actually wider to F6.3 all the way out at the longest end,
which means you’re losing more light using that lens. Now price wise the Nikon is 1400 bucks where
the Sigma is $2,000 but keep in mind Sigma makes a $1,000 version that may compare a
little better to the Nikon version. I just wanted to use the best of the best
Sigma with what Nikon considers their best super zoom out there. In terms – So pricing wise you can see there’s
a big difference either way you slice it whether you go with the contemporary or the sport
on the Sigma side there’s going to be a couple hundred dollar difference either way. So let’s look at the weight. The Nikon weighs in at 4.6 pounds whereas
the Sigma weighs in at 6.3 pounds so you’re looking at two – almost you know a two pound
difference that is a lot of weight that you have to carry around all day. That’s why when I use the Sigma during the
baseball game I used a monopod and with the Nikon I didn’t need the monopod because I
could handhold that much easier. Now the Sigma contemporary is about the same
weight as the Nikon version is right there. Let’s talk about size and feel. The Nikon smaller and lighter, Sigma a little
bit more heavy. Zoom range: The Nikon zoomed much easier. I don’t know if there was a difference between
makes of lenses but the Sigma was very tight, it was harder to turn which makes it harder
to shoot, because when you’re trying to track something and you’re now concentrating on
zooming that’s a little more difficult. Focus speed very good on both sides, both
of them track the subjects very well, didn’t miss focus on pretty much any of the shots
that I took. IOS and VR both of those handled very well,
give me a nice image stabilization. And focus tracking both were very good, so
they both give you a great zoom range. What do I like about the range? Well you have 200-500 or 150-600 that is a
massive amount of room. Normally when you see pros shooting sports,
they’re using 300 2.8s, 408 2.8s, five and 600mm F4s. They use those and they’re a hell of a lot
more expensive. You’re looking at $12,000 for one of those
600mm they use those because of the clarity and the focus speed, and the sharpness, and
just the beautiful Boca that they’re going to get. But if you’re not going to spend that money
and you want to spend $2,000 or less you kind of can’t go wrong with one of these mega zooms
but one of the main concerns with all of the mega zooms like this is the 5.6 or the 6.3
apertures. That means that these are meant for bright
day shooting. I shot on an overcast day which meant I was
pushing the ISO to 3200 or 4,000 so you’re not going to use this type of lens indoors. It’s not going to be a great lens for shooting
in low light situations because you’re going to have to bump up your ISO so high which
is going to in turn hurt the quality of your images. But the zoom range that you’re getting is
something that you’re not going to get with a fixed 300 mm or fixed 600 mm so it’s all
a trade-off plus you’re saving a lot more money. We did that trade-offs, so we’re talking about
who it’s for right now. It’s for somebody that’s going to shoot
birds, it’s somebody that’s going to shoot sports outdoors and you’re not worried about
blowing out that background as much of what they call the Boca. You can still blow out the background, you
could still get nice focusing speed and nice hand holding ability, but I will tell you
that I did feel that on both lenses sides they weren’t super, super tack sharp. Now they’re sharp or they’re in focus but
it doesn’t have that super tack sharpness that you get with a 600 F4 or a 300 2.8 or
a 400 2.8. But again, is it fair to compare a 2,000 or
less dollar lens to a 6,000, 7,000 or 13,000, 14,000 dollar lens? No not really. Let’s turn to the computer, look at the side-by-side
comparisons and then we can wrap it up and you can make a decision for yourself. So here what I’ve done is I’ve tried to ­I’m
not going to show you all of them, I’m not going to show you all of them because I took
a lot of pictures. I took almost a 1,000 pictures between both,
yeah a little over a 1,000 pictures as you can see over here with both lenses but I tried
to do side by sides to get similar images. So something like this, here we go, let’s
do that. You can see that they’re pretty similar, the
ones at 320 millimeters on the Nikon side and on the Sigma side we’re at 340 millimeters. So pretty similar and as you zoom in, in this
case you get you got to you know, I don’t know. What’s better? That’s why I’m giving you both of these files
to pixel peep yourself to decide which is better. I think they both handle well and if I’m being
completely straightforward with you, I think the Sigma throughout the shoot feels a little
better in terms of clarity and sharpness. In terms of contrast, I think that the Cannon,
sorry, the Cannon, the Sigma is showing a little bit more contrast with less work than
what the Nikon is doing. And of course I’ve processed all these images
because that’s how you’re going to get the best determination of how good it all is. So let’s zoom in here, get out of here ICloud
preferences. I noticed this, the foot is much sharper there
than it is here. It’s suddenly out and the dirt, all of this
seems to be much more fine detailed than on the Nikon side. But in the Boca area, it seems like the Sigma
is bringing out a little bit more grain or noise than smoothness on the Nikon side. This is nitpicking guys, so I’m not a big
fan of nitpicking and pixel peeping. If I need to zoom in one to one to see minor
differences, then there might be a problem but that’s why I’m giving you all the files
to play with yourself to determine that on your own. So let’s keep moving down the list here. Similar images, you can play with them. I really just want to show you guys photos
here. So I put both of those side by side, you can
do that. I don’t want to look at those side by side,
let’s look at these side by side because they’re pretty similar. I hit that, hit the Y, this button right here
and zoom in. So what do we have over here? This is the Sigma on the left and we’ve got
the Nikon on the right and I guess it’s going to vary from image to image because of course
sharpness and movement. You can see that one four thousands of a second
versus 15 thousandth of a second, I tried to keep everything similar. In this case, you’re at 6.3, this one’s at
5.6, they’re all very similar. You got to try to determine. I can’t tell you which Boca is better, I really
can’t. I can’t tell you which color is better because
a lot of that comes down to how I’m editing it but these are very similar images almost
exactly the same. Of course, not taken at the same time because
I’m using two different cameras and I didn’t set them up to shoot at the same time but
the Sigma looks a little cleaner to me in the face. It just looks like it’s not as muddy where
the Nikon seems to be a little more muddy. So we’ll go through a couple of these, let
me get rid of the side by side comparisons. Just to show you some of the ones I get. This is Nikon 200 to 500. This is what I’m talking about, about sharpness,
it looks sharp but it’s not super duper as extremely tack as you would get with one of
the higher-end lenses. Is it bad? By no stretch of the imagination , no. It’s very good and this is nitpicking what
I’m doing right now. I love the range that it gives you. Something like this, you know, it looks good
but remember you’re bumping your ISO up higher to get these images because I’m shooting sports,
I want a faster shutter speed. You have to keep all of that in mind when
you’re shooting. Again, we’ve got the Nikon 200 to 500, you
have a nice range. I found myself shooting these lenses 300 and
further except for when I was closer to home plate where I was sitting and I needed to
get that wider shot. I liked having the Sigma, give me the wider
shot because 150 is a nice range compared to the 200. And then being able to reach all the way out
and grab a 600 millimeter is absolutely insane. I love the wider 150 to 600 versus 200 to
500 but the trade-offs are one weighs four pounds, one weighs six pounds, one’s easier
to carry around. They’re both big, you’re going to have to
decide which ones you like so let’s keep moving. This is the Nikon again. Now this is one of the issues I ran into with
the Sigma. It’s like I couldn’t get the focus on the
eye and it’s not the D-4s problem and it’s not my problem because I know I’m on focus
where I want to be . But it just couldn’t hit where I wanted on that tight focus where
I wanted it. But the color and the contrast looked beautiful
especially when the sun finally freaking came out because it was an overcast day, the tones
here looked great, the compression looks great. Yes, the background is a little more distracting
than if you were using a 2.8 or an F4 but that’s what’s going to happen. You’re just not able to blow the background
out as much at six three or five six. So this is at 300 millimeters you can see
that it’s a 5.6 but anytime you go after that ­ So like 320 millimeters, then you’re starting
to look at it going to F6 and climbing up from there. But really nice contrast, really nice tones,
that’s the Nikon again. This is the Sigma, 550 millimeters. Again Sigma, 270 millimeters, I’m sitting
really close to the field, awesome place. And those are the sample images, I’m giving
you the rest of them to play with. All of the ones I shot, all of the keepers
that I’ve edited you can download and play with the JPEGs and I’m giving you a handful
of raw files to play with so you can pixel peep all you want. So who is it for? Not who is it for, but which one do I think
is better? I think it’s very hard to tell you hands down
that one is better than the other. There are trade-offs, the Nikon is lighter
and easier to carry around and you don’t need a monopod. The sigma, I think is sharper, gives you a
better contrast, gives you a better tone with less work in the editing of the file. But it’s much heavier. It’s built better, it’s built extremely well,
it is a professional lens at 2,000 bucks but do I want to carry around the 6.3 pound lens? But then again on both sides, you have a huge,
huge range. Nowhere in any of the Nikon or the Canter
or Sony sides or whatever or Sigmas are you going to find mega zooms that you’re going
to reach as far as you can with something like this. Cannon has a 100 to 400, I rather buy a Sigma
150 to 600. Even though the Cannon’s lighter, I think
that that’s a great lens. So it’s going to come down to you guys deciding,
is the weight an issue? Do you need more reach? Do you need to be wider? Can you live with 6.3 versus a 5.6? There’s not a huge difference between the
third, roughly a third of a stop right there between the 5.6 in the 6.3. Focus speeds are great, clarity is great. I’ve talked about this at Infinitum already,
I don’t want this to go too long. If I had to pick one to use more, I mean,
I would be more apt to take the Nikon version around because it’s lighter and it’s easier
to carry. And plus if I’m going to shoot a concert and
I know which I’ve done, I’ve shot Hall and Oates with the 200 to 500. That 5.6, I don’t want to go to 6.3. Now I’m bumping my ISO up to 10,000 or higher
and I’m starting to run into trouble. You have to take into consideration the body
that you’re using, lower end bodies at higher ISOs those aren’t going to compare to what
the D4S is going to do so take that into consideration. But if you need a mega zoom, you can’t go
wrong with the 200 to 500 Nikon at 1,400 bucks. And if you can afford the higher end sport
edition for the Sigma 150 to 600, it’s a great lens,. They’re both great lenses. If I needed to give an edge getting rid of
weight and everything else and just look at image quality, I may give an edge to the Sigma
professional, the sport I don’t think the contemporary would match. The contemporary would be a good combination
to go with the 200-500 Nikon but if I had to choose quality wise, I’ll go with the 150-600
Sigma by a little bit. Minuscule amount do I think that the quality
of the images are better. I’ll leave it at that, you can download all
the raw files and everything for yourself to try it out and that is it. Jared Polin, froknowsphoto.com. See you.

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