Dive into a whole new world of photography with an affordable third-party Macro lens such as this Sigma model.
The Sigma 105mm f/2.8 is available in Canon, Nikon, Sony and Sigma mounts, fitting full-frame and APS-C D-SLRs. Sixteen glass elements in 11 groups make up the optics and a Super Multi-Layer Coating reduces flare and ghosting. The maximum f/2.8 aperture is great for portraits, but drops to f/5.6 when focused at full macro, which slows the shutter speed options when shooting at 1:1. At the other end of the scale, the minimum f/22 aperture is extended to f/45 at the closest focusing distance.
Featuring an inner floating focus mechanism and HSM (Hyper-Sonic Motor) the Sigma 105mm f/2.8 boasted the fastest AF on test, and snappily found our subject. AF was very quiet, but it did make a gentle noise when switching the Optical Stabilizer (OS) on – not a huge problem, but potentially enough to scare a nervous subject. However, the barrel length is consistent regardless of focus setting, which is handy, and there’s also a focus limiter option to prevent the lens hunting through its entire range. We would have liked a slightly wider focusing ring, though in use it proved easy to find and the dual-mode OS performed very well in handheld shooting.
Our main gripe with the Sigma 105mm was its weight. At 725g, even when attached to our full-frame D600 we found it quite front-heavy, ideally needing a tripod collar to balance the weight into the centre of the lens and D-SLR combo. The upside is this lens has a tank-like build and its EX finish gives peace of mind with its splash-proof design.
Although it’s not the cheapest of lenses, the Sigma 105mm macro proved to be worth its price-tag. The HyperSonic Motor provided the fastest and most accurate AF and the Optical Stabilizer was invaluable for handheld shots, but where the lens really excelled was in the image quality it produced. Chromatic aberration control was excellent, with next to no fringeing apparent throughout the entire aperture range, and the optics also delivered the best results for both centre and edge sharpness. The only downside of the 105mm was its weight; it feels beefy even on a larger body, so if you’re using a smaller D-SLR or haven’t been eating your spinach, the Tamron 90mm may be the preferred option, as it offers a weight saving of 175g.
- Street price: £329
- Full frame/APS-C: both
- Lens mounts: Sigma, Canon, Nikon, Sony
- Max. Aperture: f/2.8 (f/5.6 at 1:1)
- Min. Aperture: f/22 (f/45 at 1:1)
- Min. focus: 312mm
- Filter thread size: 62mm
- Dimensions: 78.3x126.4mm
- Weight: 725g
- Visit: www.sigma-imaging-uk.com
This review was first published in the August 2013 issue of Digital Photo - download back issues here.