10 out of 10 points and recommendedOutstanding macro, sharp images, excellent OSzoom rotation is backwards from the other Sigma lenses I've used
I've had the lens now for 1 week and I've put it thru some basic macro and non-macro shots in both low-light, ambient light and sunlight conditions. The lens has performed exceptional in all instances. Paired with my new Canon T4i camera I am getting amazing images in my opinion. Here is a link to some of the photos I've taken with the lens so far:reviewed July 12th, 2012 (purchased for $419)
Like the other Sigma lenses I've owned, this lens feels sturdy and very well built. The 72mm filter size means the filters are not too pricey.
The official minimum focus distance is listed as 8.7" but as others have stated, that value must be from the sensor and not the lens for I am able to focus on objects 2" away from the lens (e.g. see the photo of the bug on the flower at the link above).
Image quality seems outstanding. The first image at the link above (the cat with its tongue out) is resized down to 1600 pixels but is otherwise untouched. The detail at 70mm, f/8 and 400 ISO is outstanding in my opinion.
Focusing is quite fast and accurate I have found.
My only beef at this point is that to zoom in requires a clockwise turn and to zoom back out counter-clockwise. My other sigma lenses were the exact opposite so I find myself still going in the wrong direction. It is just a matter of retraining myself though.
My previous Sigma lens was the 24-70mm F/2.8 lens (the non OS and HSM) version. It was an excellent lens as well but this is far better. The extra 7mm on the wide-angle end is nice and I am not concerned about not having F/2.8 thru the entire zoom range. The truth is that I prefer to shoot at F/4 to F/8 for best sharpness results anyway. Also, at the close distances I am shooting at F/2.8 starts blurring too soon from the focal point. In addition, the high ISO quality of the images produced by the T4i allows me to shoot closer to F/8 in low-light conditions and not only get clean images but sharp images as well. The following image was shot at iso6400 (F/4 and 70mm) in a room with the curtains closed. Light was not good but I was still able to capture a good image:
I definitely like the zoom lock but have found that the zoom is not "loose" and the lens does not zoom out if pointed down as I have noticed with other lenses.
I would definitely recommend this lens and am VERY happy with it so far.