Sigma 70mm f/2.8 EX DG Macro Prime Lens for Sony DSLR Camera
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- Special Low Dispersion (SLD) lens and two high refractive index SLD lenses provide excellent correction for all types of aberrations
- Super multi-layer lens coating reduces flare and ghosting
- Floating focus system provides extremely high optical performance from infinity to 1:1 macro
- Equivalent field of view to 105mm macro lens when used on a digital SLR camera with an APS-C size image sensor
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Description for Sigma 70mm f/2.8 EX DG Macro CAF Lens for Canon Digital and Film Camera
This medium telephoto macro lens is ideal for both digital SLR cameras and 35mm film SLR cameras. The 70mm focal length gives an equivalent field of view as our popular 105mm macro lens when used on digital SLR cameras with an APS-C size image sensor. The design of this lens makes it suitable for taking pictures in all situations from infinity to 1:1 macro, both with natural light conditions or flash. A Special Low Dispersion (SLD) lens and two high refractive index SLD lenses provide excellent correction for all types of aberrations and produce an exceptional level of optical performance. Sigma's super multi-layer lens coating reduces flare and ghosting and helps create a natural color balance. The floating focus system provides extremely high optical performance from infinity to 1:1 macro. A focus limiter switch in incorporated on the lens, improving the speed and accuracy of autofocus by limiting the focus range. A screw-in lens hood is included for convenient use of circular polarizing filters.
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
This sigma 70mm however, pics up that extra bit of detail that few lenses I've used if any can pick up. No doubt, some of the Ziess or higher end glass is probably better but in this price category maybe not. This lens is very sharp at 2.8 and by that I mean it is consistently usable! I've tried a few lenses that have reputations for being sharp wide open but really it turned out they were not. The Sigma 70 macro is particularly good on smaller format cameras due to the almost lack of veiling/fall-off due to use of lenses sweet spot. This lens is usable at f/2.8 for nice sharpness and smooth transitions (Good for portrait and close-ups). I stop to f/4-f/5.6, to clean up any aberration in high contrast situations (mostly in corners) and to sharpen up corners a bit and increase depth of field. Also stopping down increases contrast and brightness a touch but that is about it.
So why four stars? Because I could not give 4.5 stars and while this lens is very sharp wide open, it doesn't stop down as far as Nikon macro lenses, which is important for depth of field in macro photography. The sharpness of this lens past f/5.6 falls off a little and at f/11- f/16 less gradual. I know this is physics and diffraction but I feel in close ranges perhaps other macro lenses surpass this one stopped down. This may or may not be true or it may be a result of such great sharpness wide-open. Also I've heard on DX cameras that this lens slightly over exposes and on my d90 I think I can confirm this. In many situation I actually like this because wide open my images are sharp, smooth and bright which makes it look very crisp, especially at smaller prints! However, because of a slight tendency to over expose I just keep my eye on the meter in bright lighting. Hey wait minute, I always have to keep an eye on my camera meter anyway as it always seems to need a slight -0.3 compensation (d60, d200, d90) anyway.
I also gave four stars because while I do think that the build quality is nice and solid and has a very good quality feel, the auto focus is a bit noisy and mine rattles a bit near the lens element when fully extended using AF. I am not sure if this is normal, it sounds as if there is a cheap UV filter attached and is shaking due to the AF motor. I Don't know, but the focus is accurate, the view-finder never shakes and it only rattles a bit is when fully extended out to near 1:1. I gloved up and checked the front element and retention ring and all was tight with no wobble or looseness so maybe this is normal.
Anyway, despite a few handling quirks, this lens feels very good in use. I sometimes like Sigma EX lenses and the way they feel and sometimes I don't. This 70mm macro I do. It has a nice smooth feel, is solid and has a nice weight to it and also a very handy mounting ring (like Tokina 100mm macro). This Sigma focuses accurately on my d90 and also has a nice smooth manual focus feel for an AF lens. Which by the way, is only one button (Nikon) or lever to switch to manual focus. I know this is not as good as AF-S, but at least it's not a lever on the camera body and a goofy button on the lens too!
Overall the Sigma 70mm 2,8 macro is a fantastic macro lens, the working distance is a bit close (approx. 3-4 inches from front of lens) and won't allow built-in flash coverage at or near 1:1. Despite this the lens is still definitely worth a look. I think it is a great outdoor, hiking and travel lens that is a lot of fun for close-ups and macros as well as portraits due to its 105mm focal length on APS-C type crop cameras. This Sigma is also good for distant objects as well. The detail it resolves at all distances or magnifications and apertures really is impressive!
I try to review from a balanced perspective based on my actual user experience in the field. I try to be as accurate as possible because like you, I value all reviews and the bits of different information I can gather here and there to help me find what I am looking for!
Hopefully I've been helpful to you!!
The autofocus is extremely accurate (but see notes below). Even at f/2.8 and near 1:1 magnification, it nails the focus. Manual focus is made much more accurate by the 270 degree rotation of the focus ring. When the camera is vertical the focus is held. The bokeh is also wonderful, better than any of my lenses (other than the STF).
The focus accuracy, sharpness, and bokeh make this an excellent portrait lens. While not a super fast lens, I was able to get some excellent hand held indoor architecture shots.
OK, now for the bad news. The most obvious concern is the AF-- it is slow and noisy. For macro work, this is not a concern since you will probably focus manually (peaking and AF confirm work perfectly even in MF). Indeed, for the maximum magnification you will extend the lens fully and move the camera. There is a focus limiter, and while it is odd in its function-- it does work and speeds up the AF when it is used. For me, I knew the AF limitations ahead of time so these are not a problem at all.
The only other downside is the lens hood. It is metal, and screws into the filter threads. When the hood is in place, the lens cap cannot be attached since the hood is using the threads. The large end of the hood has a 77mm filter thread, so a cap or filter can be attached there. This works quite well, even though it is a little odd (such a configuration looks very hip and retro if that is your thing). I suppose a 62mm CPL could be put on the lens, then the hood screwed into the filter-- allowing easy rotation of the filter. I have not tried this, but it occurred to me. Even though the hood is odd, it works and is quite durable.
In summary: if you are looking for a really good macro lens with a comfortable working distance, this is a really good choice. If you are also looking for a portrait lens, that ought to seal the deal. I have used this as a walkaround lens just to see how it would do, and even there it performed quite well. The AF performance might be a concern to some, but compromises have to be made somewhere to allow a lens to have as great a focus range as this lens-- and for me this is reasonable but as they say YMMV. The lens hood is weird but functional, and in some cases might even be an advantageous design.
I knew the limitations before my purchase, and I have no regrets.