Sigma Goes Long with the 100-400mm f/5-6.3 DG DN OS Lens for Mirrorless

Sigma is continuing to expand its commitment to full-frame mirrorless, and the L Mount in general, with the launch of the 100-400mm f/5-6.3 DG DN OS Contemporary lens. This is the fifth lens from Sigma that has been specifically designed for the shorter flange-back distance of full-frame mirrorless camera systems, as opposed to SLR-intended lenses that have been adapted to mirrorless mounts, and brings with it an especially sleek form factor, lightweight design, and impressive optical qualities to suit the current crop of high-res cameras.

While it is available for Sony E-mount cameras as well, the Leica L version of this lens stands out as something unique for the fledgling mount. It's the first super telephoto for the L Mount, which is shared among Sigma, Leica, and Panasonic right now, and opens up new long-range shooting possibilities for these cameras. Despite it being a long-reaching, so-called "super" telephoto, it is also part of Sigma's Contemporary series of lenses, which means it also retains a modest size and weight for walk-around, handheld use.

In terms of optics, this 100-400mm has an array of low-dispersion glass that helps to reduce color fringing and chromatic aberrations throughout the zoom range, as well as realize accurate color and reduce flaring. Among other features, one of the most welcome will be the inclusion of optical image stabilization, which compensates for up to four stops of camera shake. This OS system can be used in conjunction with camera-based in-body image stabilization, too, for even more robust support to aid making sharp handheld images.

In terms of focusing, this lens follows the path laid by the 24-70mm f/2.8 DG DN and uses a stepping motor to enable quick and quiet AF performance for both photo and video needs. An integrated AFL button can be programmed to adjust various shooting settings from the lens, and a focus limiter switch also lets you constrain the focusing range for faster focusing within the specified range. Also, when working at the 400mm position, a minimum focusing distance of 5.2' is available for a 1:4.1 magnification ratio that suits headshot and other midrange shooting applications.

Other points worth noting: the 100-400mm has a rounded nine-blade diaphragm and a brass bayonet mount, and it is dust  and moisture sealed at the mount to suit working in adverse conditions. Also, it is compatible with the optional TS-111 Tripod Socket if you're looking for a well-balanced means of working with this lens atop a tripod or monopod.

Sample images taken with the Sigma 100-400mm. Doug Guerra

Beyond the lens itself, Sigma is announcing even more goods for L-mount shooters, including a pair of teleconverters and a newly designed USB Dock. The TC-1411 and TC-2011 1.4x and 2x teleconverters, respectively, allow you to extend the effective reach of a lens even further. When paired with the new 100-400mm, the T-1411 turns the lens into an effective 140-560mm f/7-9 and the TC-2011 produces an effective 200-800mm f/10-12.6 range. Both teleconverters fully maintain AF, AE, and OS functions as well as transfer Exif data. And, finally, Sigma is also releasing a UD-11 USB Dock for L-mount only, which will allow you to fine-tune some focusing settings and update the firmware of compatible lenses.

Sigma TC-2011 2x Teleconverter & Sigma UD-11 USB Dock

What are your thoughts on Sigma's new super tele zoom? What are your thoughts on the L Mount in general? Let us know, in the Comments section, below.

23 Comments

Why isn't there for micro 4/3?  There are some beautiful sigma optics for micro 4/3 and not such a beautiful one?

Sounds like a fantastic lens but I am still with my Nikon D810 and Tamron lenses - I love the quality but am interested in getting a lighter body down the road and lens. My  Tamron 70-200 2.8  is a beast when traveling so thought this sigma might be the answer to my prayers :)
Is the sigma 100-400 NON-mirrorless version is equal in quality and functionality?

Hi Eileen, are you asking if the Sigma 100-400mm SLR lens is equal to this new 100-400mm lens for mirrorless? If so, the frank answer would be "No." The more general answer would be that they should be reasonably similar in their look, and this new lens is based off of the old design, but the new one has a slightly different optical design, form factor, and even the exterior handling has been tweaked a bit so the new one can take an optional tripod foot. The best advice I would give is to get the lens for the camera system you'd expect to use it most with; if you think you'll be shooting more with a mirrorless body, even though you have an SLR, I'd still go with the mirrorless-specific lens. If you're going to use the lens primarily with your Nikon D810 and occasionally with a mirrorless body, then the older SLR-specific model would be the way to go.

So B&H sends this email saying, Sigma's New 100-400mm f/5-6.3 DG DN OS Lens for Mirrorless, and I come here. By "mirrorless" they mean "Sony Mirrorless" or "Leica Mirrorless" only. Bait and switch, really. I'm invested in Nikon now, so let me know when there's a Z interface.

Hopefully Sigma will be able to make their lenses in Nikon Z in the future, but at the moment Nikon is the only brand making AF lenses for their Z lens mount. I don't think you're alone in hoping to use some Sigma glass on those cameras; as a big fan of Sigma, I'm right there with you.

Ha. Nikon is way behind the game and you knew that going in. No one means “Nikon” when they say mirrorless. 

Sony finally gets an incredibly popular lens that have been available on Nikon F mount for years.

"Ha Nikon is way behind the game"

Sounds like a fantastic lens but I am still with my Nikon D810 and Tamron lenses - I love the quality but am interested in getting a lighter body down the road and lens. My  Tamron 70-200 2.8  is a beast when traveling so thought this sigma might be the answer to my prayers :)
Is the sigma 100-400 NON-mirrorless version is equal in quality and functionality? 

I own the Sigma 100-400 for Nikon and it's incredibly sharp and fast focusing. As far as I can tell the mirrorless lens is basically the same. 

I spent a lot of time deciding between the Tamron 100-400 (weather sealing and tripod collar) and Sigma, but apparently the Tamron version isn't very sharp, especially at 400mm.

I would order two of these 100-400 for L in a heartbeat, but I waited months and months for Sigma (through B&H) to finally deliver on their viewfinder for the fp. 
 

They’re saying July delivery, but how the heck can I trust that? I don’t want to go through this ridiculous waiting game again because their production isn’t meeting demand.

Hi Ira- I know the feeling, I was also anxiously awaiting the fp viewfinder delivery. On one hand it's not the worst problem since it shows there's popularity and interest in this system that I like, too, but on the other I think even Sigma was surprised and a bit overwhelmed at the excitement and attention they've received for the fp. I can't speak for Sigma in regard to their production capabilities or timing (although, in my experience, they've been great in the past considering the breadth of their product line), but B&H's delivery projections are based on information we receive from the manufacturer. So, to the best of our knowledge right now, that date is accurate.

While I don't see myself picking this up as I already have the Sony 100-400 GM, I like Sigma's dedication to bringing "standard" lenses to the Sony E-mount - I've never been a fan of the sacrifices Tamron has made to their E-mount line to meet their specific mentality around "light, compact, cheap, and 'same filter diameter'" lenses. Sigma seems to be meeting us somewhere in the middle with "lighter than Sony", "more compact than Sony", "cheaper than Sony", but yet still maintaining traditional (and tried and true) focal lengths, functional buttons, and build quality. Tamron had a great trend going with their DSLR lenses, but Sigma seems to have a better plan for mirrorless. Ironically, I own the Tamron trinity for Sony E-mount (just got the 70-180), but eyeing a change (waiting for Sigma's 70-200).

Good points, Ron, and I think in both Tamron and Sigma's cases they're being smart about how they're approaching contributing to an existing pool of lenses. And I'm happy that they're not all doing the same thing, even if I favor one approach to the other. You're right that Sigma is sticking more to the classic focal lengths and form factors, which is great if you know exactly what you want, but I'm glad that Tamron is providing an alternative to this norm with some lenses that are a bit unique. It makes it more fun to choose either direction, versus just having every brand making the same focal lengths and sized lenses.

What are the advantages of this lens compared to a cheaper Sigma 100-400/5-6.3 for Canon with MC-11 adapter?

The main advantage will be size and weight; the lenses are actually pretty comparable in form to each other, but with the older SLR lens, you'll need to factor in the MC-11 that will add more bulk to the whole setup. The new lens is also able to accept the optional TS-111 tripod collar (the old one cannot). Also, the new lens is designed specifically for the shorter focal flange distance of mirrorless systems, so, in theory, optical performance could be expected to be better and there is the satisfaction and more solid feeling of not having an adapted lens. It also depends on if you already have the older 100-400 or MC-11, or if you still shoot with a DSLR in addition to your mirrorless camera.

$107 for a tripod collar that should be included in the price of the lens? No thanks.

Again, Sigma just ignores Z and MFT mounts.

Yes, unfortunately the lens isn't available for Nikon Z as of now. Hopefully in the future there will be more room for third parties to make AF lenses for the Z system, but until then, it looks as if Nikon wants to keep their AF protocol to themselves for their own lens development; as of right now, there are no AF lenses available for Nikon Z except for the ones made by Nikon themselves. In regard to Micro Four Thirds, this lens is a DG DN lens, intended for full-frame systems, versus the DC DN line that is meant for APS-C and Micro Four Thirds models. This lens would likely feel pretty oversized for the Micro Four Thirds system compared to a lens designed specifically for the smaller sensor sizes.

Being oversized didn't keep Sigma from selling the 50-500mm in Four-Thirds (not Micro).  Not a stellar performer, but it still has its uses.

No Z mount or RF mount? Big missed opportunity.

Unfortunately Sigma hasn't brought their DG DN lenses over to Z and RF just yet, and are focusing on E and L only for the time being. Hopefully in the future they'll be available for all the full-frame mirrorless systems, though, as I'd love to use a lens like this on something like the Z 7.

all e-mount bodies are weather sealed but this lens ain't, and its a super zoom so will be used outdoors mostly but has no weather sealing... no thanks. 

I agree it'd be great to see some more attention paid to weather sealing, but also take note that this lens is part of Sigma's Contemporary line that prioritizes weight, size, and value compared to something like their Sports line lenses that are more geared towards use in harsh conditions. Hopefully we'll see some DG DN Sports lenses from Sigma in the future.

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