Sigma has come out with some fantastic lenses lately--my current favorite lens being the Sigma 35mm f1.4. I favor prime lenses and have been looking for a great macro lens to add to my gear. Is the Sigma 105mm f2.8 going to be that lens for me?
The Sigma 105mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro Lens for Nikon DSLR cameras is a medium telephoto length macro lens perfect for doing close up shots without feeling like you have to be right on top of your subject. The prime lens offers a wide 2.8 aperture which, coupled with Sigma's Optical Stabilizer (OS) system, makes for great handheld shots, even in low light. With a solid feel and sleek, clean design, this lens from Sigma is quite impressive both in terms of image quality and quality of the user experience. The lens, available for Canon, Nikon, Sigma and Sony mounts, retails for $969 but currently has a $200 instant savings special offer to bring the price to $769.
Build and Design
This lens fits right in line with the new sleek, modern, streamlined look of Sigma's recent lens offerings. It features a very solid, very high quality build that feels like solid metal construction, even though the lens is made primarily of a very hard specialized plastic. The focus ring moves quickly, smoothly and effortlessly in both autofocus and manual focusing modes. Everything about it feels high quality and like a solid build that will last for many, many years to come.
Even though the build is solid and the aesthetics of the lens are gorgeous, image quality is where this macro lens really shines. Sigma's 105mm f2.8 macro lens produces beautiful, tack-sharp photos even wide open, although for maximum sharpness, you will want to stop down, especially when shooting close up for macro photography. The lens features Sigma's Special Low Dispersion (SLD) lens and one high refractive index SLD lens, which together correct for aberration and distortion quite well. The lens is coated with Sigma's Super Multi-Layer Coating to reduce flare and ghosting, and I found that the images had good contrast coming straight out of the camera. Macros as close as 1:1 are consistently sharp and beautifully rendered, as are shots using the lens as a medium telephoto for portraits. The 9 blade diaphragm produces beautiful bokeh.
Ease of use/User Experience
This lens was a joy to use! The HSM (hyper sonic motor) motor provided quick, quiet autofocus that was not only fast but quite accurate, producing tack sharp images with ease on my Nikon d600. I prefer manual focus for macro photography, and the manual focus ring was smooth and quick to adjust, and my images came out beautifully with crisp detail in the subject. I am a firm believer in AF fine tuning/microcalibration for best results, but even straight out of the box with no adjustments on my NIkon d600, the results were amazingly sharp and gorgeous.
I love this lens! Macro photography is always a fun adventure, and the Sigma 105mm f2.8 lens makes the most of it. It is sharp in focus and has beautiful, creamy bokeh. I love this 105mm focal length for macro, so that I don't have to be right on top of my subject. At the current price of $769, this is an incredible buy for such a high quality lens that is built to last. So, I think at last my search for a macro lens has come to an end. I will be picking this one up as soon as I can!