As I was being handed the Sigma 100-400mm 5-6.3 DG HSM OS Contemporary to test and review I saw the size and thought, oh, here we go – a super heavy telephoto lens. When I was holding it, my first comment was, “this lens is incredibly light for its size.”

Lightness is not the only thing this “Contemporary” (OK an original name that is catchy….we know the ART line) lens has going for it. I was blown away by the sharpness and incredible color quality this lens allowed me to capture. OK, not so fast, I know, but the OS lens stabilizer makes up for this at the slower shutter speeds allowing one to hand hold this lens in low light.

Sigma is one of my favorite companies because they are aware of the photographer’s and cinematographer’s needs. Moving forward at a steady pace offering incredible lenses and now an incredible zoom range of 100-400mm at a price that will not break the bank.
I took this lens to one of my favorite testing grounds: the Santa Monica Pier. I was taking my “Borrow Son” Miles fishing on the pier super early after our 6 am $ 4.00 Denny’s Everyday Slam breakfast. After Miles parked himself at the end of the pier with his 3 fishing rods, two rigged for great white and thresher sharks, I was off searching for a range of subjects to capture with the 100-400mm Sigma lens. The zoom and focus actions were second to none. The OS stabilizer worked great in the only darkish place I could find: the video arcade.

When I came back to work on the images on my computer, I was blown away by the overall quality. Not a cheap lens by any means and nothing cheap about its construction, feeling very robust with beautiful glass. In this day and age by comparison to higher end glass, this one is a bargain for the price and performance.

Uncropped vs. Cropped| Sigma 100-400mm | 400mm 1/500 F/16 ISO 400 | Credit: Ralph Elliott Starkweather

Check out my snaps and see what you think. 

Santa Monica, CA | Sigma 100-400mm | 291mm 1/400 F/11 ISO 200 | Credit: Ralph Elliott Starkweather
Santa Monica, CA | Sigma 100-400mm | 160mm 1/640 F/11 ISO 200 | Credit: Ralph Elliott Starkweather
Santa Monica Pier | Sigma 100-400mm | 220mm 1/500 F/11 ISO 200 | Credit: Ralph Elliott Starkweather
Shark Fisherman – Santa Monica Pier | Sigma 100-400mm | 100mm 1/400 F/16 ISO 200 | Credit: Ralph Elliott Starkweather
Santa Monica Pier | Sigma 100-400mm | 186mm 1/800 F/6.3 ISO 200 | Credit: Ralph Elliott Starkweather
Video Arcade | Sigma 100-400mm | 100mm 1/30 F/5.6 ISO 400 | Credit: Ralph Elliott Starkweather
Coast Guard Rescue Helicopter | Sigma 100-400mm | 164mm 1/320 F/16 ISO 200 | Credit: Ralph Elliott Starkweather
Roller Coaster – Santa Monica Pier | Sigma 100-400mm | 291mm 1/800 F/6.3 ISO 100 | Credit: Ralph Elliott Starkweather

Lens Specs from Sigma:

Category: OS Lenses, Telephoto Lenses, USB Dock Compatible, MC-11 Compatible

Class: Contemporary

Typical Photography: Macro, Travel, Nature & Wildlife, Sports & Action


The Sigma 100-400mm 5-6.3 DG HSM OS Contemporary is a state-of-the-art telephoto zoom that brings a new level of portability and quality to the super telephoto market. Touting Sigma’s Optical Stabilizer (OS), the Sigma 100-400mm 5-6.3 Contemporary is highly compact and lightweight compared to similar products on the market. A push/pull zooming function and a new Hyper Sonic Motor (HSM) allow for a more responsive approach to photography while a 1:3.8 macro feature can be utilized from up close or from a further distance. Like each and every Global Vision Lens, the Sigma 100-400mm Contemporary is handcrafted at our single factory in Aizu, Japan and undergoes individual evaluation before leaving Sigma’s facility.

  • Full Frame Lens with APS-C compatibility
  • Compact size meets strong image quality
  • Ideal Use: Travel photography, wildlife photography, nature photography and bird photography
  • 4 Year USA Warranty

Purchase the The Sigma 100-400mm 5-6.3 DG HSM OS Contemporary