A Review By Pramod Mani, SIGMA Ambassador
The approaching long weekend filled me with excitement as I looked forward to a break from my usual routine. My plan was to visit Surf Turf, situated near Covelong Beach on the East Coast Road in Chennai. Whenever I need to unwind and escape the constant demands of life, I find solace in the beaches. To my surprise, Sigma contacted me to evaluate their new 100-400mm F/5-6.3 DG DN OS lens designed for X-Mount (Fujifilm cameras).
Given that I am a dedicated user of Sigma lenses (16mm, 30mm, and 56mm DC DN) for my Fujifilm camera, the chance to test a telephoto lens during my upcoming Surf Turf excursion felt like more than a mere coincidence.
Filled with intense curiosity, I couldn’t resist the urge to immediately unpack the lens. The lens arrived in great packaging, accompanied by a lens hood and a Sigma manual. My initial reaction to this lens was exceedingly positive, and I’ll elaborate on the reasons:
- The lens felt surprisingly lightweight, which was a welcomed aspect. The build quality left
a strong impression, boasting a construction of magnesium alloy.
- Given that this is a telephoto lens, weight plays a significant role, especially considering
its design for Fujifilm X-mount cameras. The lens’s versatility was indeed a factor to
- The filter thread size is 67mm, which aligns with the 16mm DC DN lens designed for the
In my current collection, I possess the Fujifilm XT-5 model featuring a 40MP sensor. There’s often a concern about whether a non-native lens can effectively utilize the 40MP capacity to deliver high-resolution results. To address this, I promptly affixed the lens to my XT-5 camera and headed to my terrace for bird watching. Initially, I adjusted the AF function to AF-L to initiate the process, which permits manual focus with a single press of the AF mode button. The area around my residence frequently hosts Common Mynas, and I managed to locate one perched on a coconut tree branch. I decided to test out the subject tracking feature (bird tracking) of the XT-5, and the outcomes turned out to be remarkably impressive.
400mm 1/500s f/7.1 ISO 640
400mm 1/1000s f/7.1 ISO 500
As the afternoon progressed, the sky became overcast, eventually leading to rainfall. Daylight was completely obscured, prompting me to glance out of my window in an attempt to find a potential test for the lens. Adjacent to my apartment, raindrops had collected along the edge of a wall. In order to capture this scene:
- I adjusted the lens to manual focus and activated the focus peak function.
- The rain droplets only became visible at a higher ISO setting. Despite the anticipated noise due to the elevated ISO, the resulting output was undeniably impressive.
Let’s Head Out: Surf Festival
This was the day I had been eagerly anticipating—the surf festival.
I rose at 6.00 AM, gathered my belongings, and prepared to depart. The early morning sunrise painted the beach with a warm glow as surfers readied themselves for the Trination surf competition preliminary rounds. The atmosphere was charged with an incredible energy, exactly what I had hoped for. I did notice the absence of a tripod mount, which would have provided a secure grip and the ability to attach the lens. Despite this, I managed to hold the lens manually and began capturing shots. The only drawback arose when I attempted to use the MF ring while in AF-L mode—it failed to function, prompting me to eventually switch the AF function to AF mode. As Fujifilm users, we are fortunate to have a dedicated dial enabling us to switch seamlessly between Single, Continuous, and Manual Focus modes. This detail was crucial for me to remember in order to navigate between auto and manual focus effectively.
Surfers were out in the water, prompting me to swiftly activate Eye Auto Focus and transition into Continuous Focus to maintain tracking on the surfers. The lens’s zoom dial exhibited a seamless, effortless motion, yet the Optical Stabilization 1 feature proved less convenient. It took a moment to lock the auto-focus when using the half-pressed shutter release button on the camera. Consequently, I had no choice but to resort to Optical Stabilization 2 for capturing panning shots. The lens’s stepping motor, tailored to function seamlessly with human eye tracking and subject tracking, effectively synchronized with the XT-5’s AF-C function. This resulted in producing sharp and focused images of the surfers.
In my professional opinion, the Sigma 100-400mm F/5-6.3 DG DN OS lens is a true gem for wildlife and sports photographers. Its exceptional build quality, superb optical performance, reliable autofocus, and effective stabilization combine to create a lens that stands up to the demands of professional shooting. Whether you’re capturing the grace of wildlife or the energy of sports, this lens will undoubtedly elevate your photography to new heights. Sigma has once again delivered a masterpiece that earns my wholehearted recommendation.