24 March 2009

Sigma 70-300mm F4-5.6 DG Macro Telephoto Lens for Sony Alpha Mount

Got this lens quite a while ago, prolly more than 3 weeks already ... enough time for me to properly push this lens to the limit and see what this very much underated lens can do.

This is my first Sigma Lens and after extensive researches on the net i found there are more cons than pros about this lens.

Lotsa users complained that even tho this lens highest zoom range is up to 300mm but the usable range is only up to 220mm and the rest of the range (ie from 220 - 300mm) is useless because it will become very soft ....BUT again ... we have to find out whether those who complained about the softness of this lens are actually those who knew what they are doing or not??

First lets take a brief look at the tech specs, and then its time for photos!

Lens Construction

14 Elements in 10 Groups

Angle of View 34.3degrees - 8.2degrees
Number of Diaphragm Blades 9 Blades
Minimum Aperture F22
Minimum Focusing Distance 150cm / (95cm Macro mode)
59.1 in / (37.4 in. Macro mode)
Maximum Magnification 1:4.1 / 1:2(Macro mode)
Filter Size Diameter 58mm
Dimensions Diameter 76.6mm X Length 122mm
3.0 in. X 4.8 in.
Weight 545g/19.2 oz.



Sigma 70-300mm F4-5.6 DG Macro all drawn in


Sigma 70-300mm F4-5.6 DG Macro fully extended


Sigma 70-300mm F4-5.6 DG Macro 58mm diameter Kenko UV filter


Sigma 70-300mm F4-5.6 DG Macro Front Cap


Sigma 70-300mm F4-5.6 DG Macro front glass element


Sigma 70-300mm F4-5.6 DG Macro Back mount


Sigma 70-300mm F4-5.6 DG Macro Gold Imprint


Macro switch of Sigma 70-300mm F4-5.6 DG Macro

The lens in general ...

Took a few shots imediately after i got the lens, the first shot i took while waiting for the traffic light to turn green.


f4, iso100, 1/640s, 70mm

Great IQ (image quality) sharp image and vibrant colors under natural sunlight.


f 5.6, 1/2000s, iso100, 300mm


f5.6, 1/2000s, iso100, 300mm

Zoom range can be seen in the abive 2 photos, the top one were taken at 70mm and the one below were taken at 300mm. Thats the kind of zoom you could expect from this underated lens.


f8, 1/200s, iso200, 90mm

This one above, taken at broad daylight on the beach with no flare/ghosting visible.


f10, 1/500s, iso200, 300mm

Full zoom, handheld in broad daylight by the beach, no signs of flare nor CA still. Image is sharp at maxed zoom.

f13, 1/320s, iso100, 300mm (image cropped at 100%)


Image of the moon captured with the help of a tripod and a shutter release switch.


To see whether this lens is capable of capturing sharp images at 300mm please checkout the few photos below.


Sample #1
f8, 1/2000s, iso200, 300mm


100% corp from sample #1

The first photo is the one taken from 300m handheld with the same setting as stated underneath the photo. the second photo is a crop in 100% zoom (actual pixel) and no softness were detected, its still bloody sharp at 100% crop.


Sample #2

f10, 1/500s, iso200, 300mm

100% corp from sample #2

The #2 photo is the one taken from 300m handheld with the same setting as stated underneath the photo. the second photo is a crop in 100% zoom (actual pixel) and no softness were detected, its still bloody sharp at 100% crop.

I managed to get pretty decent photos from this lens event at max zoom of 300mm, all those who complained about the softness of this underated lens have either shaky hands or probably got it mixed up with other 70-300mm Sigma lens (as Sigma do have more than 5 varieties of lens under the 70-300mm category). The other possibility is that their copy suffering from bad autofocus maybe??

Macro


Not true macro but at 300mm 1:2 ratio its gets pretty close to the true macro and the best thing is, if you loves capturing macro of insects ... the 300mm really comes in handy.

Just a glimse of what kinda macro (closeup) shots you could get with this lens ...


f5.6, 1/10s, iso400, 300mm


f5, 1/15s, iso400, 210mm


The actual size of the object as compares to a 20 cents coin.

all macro shots were taken handheld with no tripod support. Pretty sharp and decent macro and with enough lights this lens can do wonders!


In a Nutshell

I got this Sigma 70-300mm F4-5.6 DG Macro Telephoto Lens at a bargain, at barely 1 month old the previous owner switched to another system and have to sell off all his gears.

With 11 months of warranty left I did not need to think longer than 5 minutes to seal the deal witht he previous owner. It came with all the warranty card, official receipts, covers, hood and lens bag.

Pros :
  1. CHEAP!
  2. Light enuff to travel with even tho its kinda bulky
  3. Sharp throughout its focal length
  4. Great Colors
  5. Acceptable build quality (at this price range - new one cost about RM700-800 retail)
  6. Versatile range, ie. from 70mm to 300mm
  7. Accurate AF (auto focus)
  8. I like the rubber feeling of the lens grip
  9. manual focus is a breeze
  10. Macro mode (extremely useful)
  11. Did i mentioned CHEAP?

Cons :
  1. Slow AF (Auto focus) in low lights conditions.
  2. Bulky (not heavy just bulky)
  3. Prone to softness at far end of zoom if user do not know how to handle it.
  4. Macro range limited to between 200mm to 300mm and Min focus range under macro mode too.
  5. AF hunts alot under low light conditions.
Looking at the cons ... and then you look back at how much it cost you for a lens which can capture those kinda images shown above, at this prize i think one should be glad that you made the decision to get this lens instead of the others more expensive 300mm telephoto lens.

If you are a budget concious photographer, this is just the telephoto lens for you! Highly recomended by another budget concious photographer! :)

9 comments:

  1. I used to hunt for 'affordable' lens last time like Tamron 70-300 (RM680 - brand new), Tamron SP90 RM1200 - used ) ... But after trying the Nikkor 17-55 f2.8 ( RM5200 - new ), I swear to myself that I will not ever buy any third party lens, ever !

    Now the kit lens replaced with Nikkor 17-55 f2.8, Tamron 70-300 replaced with Nikkor 70-200 f2.8,
    Tamron SP90 maybe with Nikkor 60mm f2.8,
    and another Nikkor 85 f1.4 ...

    Try not to put any of those pro lens on your camera, I can assure you, you will ended up swiping you platinum card in the camera shop very soon .. hehehe

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  2. How much is CHEAP ah?

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  3. Cantik photos... but like Bryan asked.. How much is CHEAP? :P

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  4. Ahtak : RM5,200??!!! *GULP* I hope i dont kena poison as deep as u lor lol!

    Bryan : a tele photo lens that can gives u a similar quality will cost at least 4 figures .. the 3 figures one all kenot harap one .. even the 75-300mm SAL sony lens ... but this one is exceptionally good. If you are lucky you can get one around RM500-600. Mine is 1 months old copy and i got it for RM580 only.

    Angie Tan : new one street price between RM700-800, used one cost from RM500 onwards depending on the conditions of the lens and whether there is any warranty left.

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  5. After I tried on Sigma & Nikkor 70-300mm, I decided to get Nikkor lens, although is about 3x price of Sigma 70-300mm. The reason Nikkor's VR feature is outstanding, no more blurish at 300mm with 1/30 speed.

    To get sharper quality on Sigma, you have to use f11 or above, that's the con of Sigma, overall to me is ok.

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  6. so nice the pictures although i duno how to use it and no idea wut those specs are...

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  7. Mr Kenny must be filthy rich!! I can only afford cheap lens (still doing survey) due to my own high maintenance~ haha! What do you recommend dummie (new entry) like me to buy zoom lens?

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  8. This is probably one of the most thorough reviews I have seen in a while. Great stuff man! I agree that this lens brings out some great color. Also, I'm a college student so the price of the Sigma 70-300 DG is super low. It really is the only lens I could afford.

    The macro on it could use some work, but like you said, you shouldn't expect a normal macro from a zoom lens

    I decided to write a post about your content on my site. I'll link back to this page from it...

    Keep cranking out the great content!


    Peter Gust

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  9. Thank you so much for this! I was considering this lens because I'm currently low on cash but seeking a new lens, and the price kept drawing me to it, and I've heard good things about this lens from a few people, but I wanted a good full-on review from someone who knows fully what they're doing.

    I'll be buying this lens for sure!!

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