Sigma 105mm f/2.8 EX DG Macro

 
Lens Reviews / Sigma Lenses i Lab tested

Lab Test Results

  • Blur
  • Chromatic Aberration
  • Vignetting
  • Geometric Distortion
  • Blur
  • Chromatic Aberration
  • Vignetting
  • Geometric Distortion

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105mm $447
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image of Sigma 105mm f/2.8 EX DG Macro

(From Sigma lens literature) This macro lens is ideal for digital SLR cameras as well as film SLR cameras. This lens is designed to reduce the influence of harmful light caused by reflections from the digital image sensor.

The Macro 105mm F2.8 EX DG lens is very suitable for taking close-up pictures and it enables the use of natural light conditions or flash. The greater working distance of this lens is very advantageous when taking pictures of flowers or insects.

Depth of field of medium telephoto macro lenses is generally very shallow; however, Sigma, Canon and Konica Minolta mounts of this lens have a minimum aperture of f/45 (f/32 for Nikon and Pentax mounts) for incredible depth of field.

A screw-in hood is included, for convenient use of circular polarizing filters. It is possible to attach an 77mm filter in front of the lens hood.

This lens also incorporates a Dual Focus (DF) system that is designed to make the lens easy to hold during auto focusing. The large focus ring offers smooth and positive action while focusing manually.

Test Notes

A (roughly) 100mm macro lens is a great choice for macro photography: The macro focusing capability lets you get up close and personal with your subjects, but the 100mm focal length gives you enough working distance to avoid getting too personal. This also seems to be a bit of a sweet spot in terms of lens makers' ability to craft high-quality optics.

The Sigma 105mm f/2.8 macro lens follows true to form for its class, delivering exceptional sharpness, low distortion and low chromatic aberration. On cameras with APS-C sized sensors, light falloff or vignetting is very low as well, with a maximum of about 0.1 stop of light loss wide open. It holds its own very well against the similar offerings from Canon and Nikon.

Bottom line, this is just an excellent macro lens, at a very good price, competing strongly against the major manufacturer's own offerings at a street price $100 or more lower.

Full-Frame Test Notes:

The full-frame test results for the Sigma 105mm f/2.8 macro lens are pretty much as you'd expect from a high-quality prime lens. Maximum chromatic aberration is about the same as on an APS-C sensor camera, but the average level is slightly higher, indicating that proportionately more of the frame is showing some (minimal)) distortion. As you might expect, light falloff (vignetting) is a bit h igher at about 0.4 stop wide open, quickly decreasing to 0.1 stop or less at apertures of f/5.6 or smaller. Geometric distortion is likewise just slightly higher than on a sub-frame body.

A note about the blur plots for this lens - Astute readers will note that the optimal performance appears to be somewhat better (lower BxU numbers) on the 5D than the 20D. We consider this to be an artifact of minor differences in the two cameras' pixel dimensions and in-camera sharpening processing, magnified by the extreme sensitivity of the DxO analysis application and the fine gradations of our graphing scheme. The colors on the graphs make it easy to see variations of considerably less than 1 BxU near the lower end of the graph's range. We've scaled the results to match the performance between cameras as best as possible, but our current gain-only normalization seems to leave the 5D's results looking slightly better at the "good" end of the scale when the "bad" end results are more or less in-line. Given that the differences seen for the optimal conditions are tiny, fractional-BxU unit variations, they really aren't statistically significant.

Sigma 105mm f/2.8 EX DG Macro

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Sigma 105mm f/2.8 EX DG Macro User Reviews

8.7/10 average of 18 reviews Build Quality 8.3/10 Image Quality 9.4/10
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by (5 reviews)
    Sharp. Very sharp. Good colorrending.
    Extends

    This is a very sharp and well build lens.
    Hunts a little on Nikon D200, but works perfect on D300 and D700. Recomended.
    A little gem on Nikon. No need for upgrade to the newer version. If you don´t need the OS of cource. This one is proberly sharper. (?)

    reviewed April 6th, 2013 (purchased for $280)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by (12 reviews)
    Image quality, compact, lightweight
    extending barrel, slow and hunting on AF

    This was my first macro lens and I still kept it after buying the 150mm as it has a lot to offer.

    Ultimately the bigger lens may just have the edge on image quality but this is sharp and capable of great results. I kept it because the 105 is actually easier to use as its effective depth of field is greater (sharpness rolloff from focal plane is less severe), making focus easier and its compact and lightweight form makes it ideal to carry around all day or when travelling. I have shot some great macros abroad for this reason.

    For bugs its a great reach, being a good compromise between working distance, size and the dangers of camera shake owing to effective focal length at typical shutter speeds.

    It works well with extension tubes, as its weight doesn't strain the mounts.

    The barrel extends, which means there is probably more possibility of mechanical wear over time and it looks a bit ungainly...a side effect is that its easy to rest it on a prop or your hand.

    Fab little lens and a great intoduction to macro with reasonable price and ease of use. I would recommend it over the 150mm for a beginner as its easier to get good results.

    reviewed September 28th, 2009
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by (3 reviews)
    Amazing image quality
    Non

    Despite the fact that I have to focus manually because my camara's body hasn't got motor to focus, I think if I had the option I wouldn´t use it because in macro you have to focus manually.

    The quality of the images are amazing. I love the blur at the background, It´s lovely. It's very sharp and has nice colours...

    The macro pictures that are in my blog are taken with this optical.

    http://doneliaperez.blogspot.com

    reviewed September 11th, 2009 (purchased for $561)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by (2 reviews)
    IQ, Tack sharp, good build quality, cost
    Slow AF, need to use manual/AF ring

    I just purchased this lens and found it to my liking. For its intended purpose (macro) it really shines.

    I found it to be the sharpest of the current crop of lenses I use. A quality lens to add to your collection indeed.

    reviewed August 1st, 2007 (purchased for $378)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by (24 reviews)
    sharp, exact colours, nice bokeh, good price and quality
    AF - but no problem, because good macro-fotografers don´t use it!

    A very popular lens! No wonder at all... the price-quality is top.
    But in this class they are fighting very hard - Tamron DI 90, Canon 100, Tokina 100 - very strong class!
    I decided this one - I love the EX-finish at my Canon 20Da - the Canon 100 was a bit too heavy and expensive, the Tamron I am using with my Pentax K 10 and the Tokina were only to buy with Nikon-mount. So now I own the whole family - Sigma 50, 70, 105 and my "bulldog" 150!
    The best of them is the new 70mm - really outstanding picturequality, but the rest are very close - highly recommended!

    reviewed May 15th, 2007 (purchased for $370)
  • 7 out of 10 points and recommended by (8 reviews)
    Good Image quality
    Slow AF

    Having used this lens a lot, all i can say its that the lens element are great, and give you excellent image quality even wide open it's good, and become very good to excelent once you stop it down a little. AS macro lens i usually stop it until f13, getting very good results. The color out of it is good, very saturated, but it may be some underexposure it provoques. The AF is very very slow, especially at macro mode 1:1, and it's noisy!

    I would recommend it as an alternative but only if have to.

    reviewed January 15th, 2007 (purchased for $452)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by (10 reviews)
    Very high picture quality
    Slow and noisy autofocus

    Optical quality: Very good wide open, excellent by F4, from F5.6 seems to have higher resolution than the 6 Mp CCD of Nikon D50. The colour rendition is neutral, or slightly (pleasantly) warm. It is not prone to flare and ghosting.

    Mechanical quality: The build quality is quite good. The autofocus is slow and noisy. Manual focusing is quite pleasnant to use, better than most AF lenses I have tried.

    reviewed January 8th, 2007 (purchased for $550)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by (6 reviews)
    sharp!, good constrast
    SLOW and loud AF, AF hunts

    I use this lens more for its macro feature than for portraits but when I use it for portraits, it is so sharp that you can see pores on skins.

    I'm glad I bought this lens instead of the Nikon version even though I do not use this often. It takes excellent sharp and contrast photos of close-up subjects. It is much cheaper than the Nikon version, although the new VR version looks nice too. However, when you are using macro mode, you should be using a tripod anyway.

    My complaint is the AF is very slow, loud, and hunts. Sometimes it's better to just use manual focus or continuous focus if the subject is moving around.

    reviewed January 6th, 2007 (purchased for $400)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by (12 reviews)
    Sharp, vivid images, good build quality
    a little too tele for my taste

    I initially bought this lens for macro work, but because of the great image quality, I ended up using it for everything that I could.

    I never understood the "dual focus" mechanism, but it didn't get in the way too much.

    overall I would say this is about the best lens you can get for the money.

    My only complaint is that I found myself wishing it were a little more wide angle.

    reviewed January 1st, 2007 (purchased for $350)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by (62 reviews)
    superb image and build quality
    slow AF *but see below

    I am a fan of Sigma's EX series lenses - superb build and IQ, and when equipped with HSM, fast, silent and accurate. Of all the thrid-party lens manufacturers, I think Sigma ranks up there.

    AF for this lens is slow as all "true" macros are - and mostly due to the extended (and accurate short distance) focus range. Macro afficionados are used to this and won't mind. Casual users might.

    reviewed December 31st, 2006
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by (8 reviews)
    Image quality
    Extending barrel

    I have to question some of the reviewers who dramatically state that the AF is "sooooo" slow. Did you make sure the limit switch was activated and that the clutch was disengaged from MF?

    I have several USM and HSM lenses, and while this AF isn't as fast or quiet, I still think it is perfectly acceptable. Besides, how many people actually use AF for Macro? That's just asking for trouble.

    Anyway, this is a nearly perfect optical lens. That, coupled with a price that is about 25-30% less than the Canon equivalent was enough to sway my purchasing decision.

    It is a bit ugly when extended out all the way, but not that big of a deal. If you think you're going to squash a bug with it as it extends, then you *really* need to re-think your hobby/profession, because your technique is terrible.

    Overall *highly* recommended.

    reviewed December 23rd, 2006 (purchased for $380)
  • 8 out of 10 points and recommended by (5 reviews)
    Hard to do better than this optically.
    Extremely long focus range makes for slow focusing, focus clutch a bit clumsy.

    Optically... you would be hard pressed to do better than this lens at any price. It is fast, tack sharp, and just probably the best lens I have put on either my digital or film bodies. Couple that with its $400 street price, excellent build quality, and a 4 year warranty and you have a tremendous value in both a fast tele prime and 1:1 macro with excellent working distance.

    It is not without its faults as the focus ring clutch is a little clumsy and I am still trying to get used to Sigma's EX finish, but it is a top notch performer.

    That's it as I simply have nothing bad to say about this lens. Yes HSM would be an improvement, but you could spend significantly more and not get the optical quality that this lens offers!

    reviewed December 22nd, 2006 (purchased for $420)
  • 8 out of 10 points and recommended by (1 reviews)
    Sharpness, contrast
    Slow noisy auto-focus

    I've used this lens on a Nikon D70 and D200. I only use this for macro work and for that it is great since I usually focus manually. One thing that I was not aware of before I bought a macro lens is the lens manufacturers list the close focusing distance from the focal plane not the front element. Add to that the lens hood, the recessed front element and the long extension for macro work and this means that, at 1:1 magnification, the front of the lens hood is ~3-4" away from the subject. Having said that, I love the results I get with it.

    reviewed December 21st, 2006 (purchased for $400)
  • 6 out of 10 points and not recommended by (13 reviews)
    noisy; extends as much as it is long already; slow AF

    I compared this lens to the Canon 100/f2.8 in the store. I was really prepared to buy a non Canon lens. But then I got it in my hand on a 30D body... :-(
    AF was sooo slooow. Often, it didnt focus right at all. Although, for the noise it was making, it seemed to work really hard. What set me off the most, was that it extends as much as it is long already: nice bug, oops, I squashed the bug. All these shortcomings could have been compensated by good sharpness, if the lens had been dirtcheap. But it wasn't. So I saw no reason at all to even consider it.
    Then the 100/f2.8. AF could be faster but still much faster than the Sigma. Internal focus, nice. USM, sssssweet. Like I said, why even consider this lens???
    I gave image quality an 8 based on the input from other reviewers. Still I hope, this review was useful to you.

    reviewed December 2nd, 2006 (purchased for $459)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by (15 reviews)
    Resolution,distortions,vignetting,CAs,bokeh.
    None.

    This is an excellent lens. Resolution is excellent from F:2,8 at center and borders, distortion is really low, no visible. Vigneting is low at F:2,8 but disappears at larger apertures. Nice bokeh. CAs are exceptionlly low. Contruction quality is very good. The limit switch feels a little weak.

    reviewed November 20th, 2006 (purchased for $424)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by (15 reviews)
    IQ, 1:1 life size, f/2.8
    Hate to switch the A/F on/off

    Pros:
    Image quality is exceptional - sharpness, color and contrast are great
    In my opinion 105mm is a sweet spot of the macro lenses - gives you *some* working distance, but is still handholdable unlike 200mm lenses
    Much cheaper than the Nikkor version (well, it's not AF-S VR either)
    Being a dedicated macro lens it goes down to 1:1 life size (or even greater on the DX-format sensors)

    Cons:
    A/F is very slow with my D70, but then who needs A/F in a macro lens
    Changing focus from A/F to M/F and vice versa requires you to changes it on the camera body *and* on the lens
    It's easy to switch the lens's AF mode when taking it out of the bag
    The build quality isn't great - the plastic gets scratched easily

    Summary:
    Great lens for the money. Its only alternative (price wise) is the great Tamron 90mm SP Di.

    reviewed November 17th, 2006 (purchased for $500)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by (7 reviews)
    Optical quality
    Slow and noisy AF

    This lens is very sharp, well build. It only lack USM.

    reviewed February 16th, 2006 (purchased for $450)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by (2 reviews)
    Sharp - good optical performance

    Image sharpness limited by camera pixel density - sharp as. I'm using this with an eos 350D. I'm very happy with this lens. I'd challenge this site to review it in comparison to the Canon 100/2.8 macro.

    reviewed January 9th, 2006 (purchased for $780)