If the luxury of being able to sit in a blind waiting for critters to come into view existed in these parts, the Sigma 150-600mm would be perfect. For five-mile strolls like the one I took this morning, it starts to get a bit heavy.
Here in the most densely-populated country on earth, places where an expat critter photographer can peacefully sit in wait can be counted on one hand. And in those few places, one might be joined by a crocodile, a python, or a cobra; or wake up with an extra thumb the following morning. That’s the main reason I’m almost constantly walking.
The Sigma would also be tolerable with a decent camera attached to it. I try to find the good qualities in any new gear rather than gripe about the negatives; but the S5, with an interface that appears to have been designed by Fisher-Price, is one of the most user-hostile cameras I’ve ever used. Changing EV requires a button press before rotating the dial. AF-ON requires that the button be pressed below the surface before it will work. Animal detection and tracking are just words on the menu.
Raw files are the least malleable of any digital files in recent memory. I used a raw viewer that has no camera profiles and tried to raise the shadows under the wings of a White-Bellied Sea Eagle I captured this morning, and ended up with so much chroma noise that the critter looked as though he’d been decked out by Elvis’ jumpsuit maker.
After comparing the setup with the R6, EF 100-400mm and 1.4X, I realized that a more fair comparison might be with the 90D and 100-400mm bare. Although the Sigma gets a bit more detail, that Canon setup is about a pound lighter—with a nimble camera that’s fully capable of image acquisition.
Hopefully Sigma will bring the lens to the market in RF mount, at which time I will re-acquire. But with the stark difference between AF methods, I don’t fancy mothballing the current Sigma in the hope that a mount change will be possible.
Lastly—and totally unrelated—the photo following is for anyone who still thinks the R6 can’t do action photography…