Sigma 300mm F4 Macro APO A-mount lens reviews

reviews found: 16   
reviewer#44465 date: Feb-6-2020
sharpness: 4
color: 4
build: 3
distortion: 4
flare control: 4
overall: 3.8
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Minolta APO 100-300mm f4.5-5.6
Tokina ATX 100-300mm f4
Sigma APO 400mm f5.6
Canon FD 400mm f4.5
Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 Macro HSM II + Sig DG EX 1.4x TC

price paid:80.00
positive:* Fairly sharp wide-open
* Very sharp stopped down even slightly
* Well built (except for the Zen coating)
* Sturdy tripod foot
* Good MFD for a 300
* Built in hood is effective
* Decent control of CA
* Works very well with the Sigma x1.4 TC, and even the Kenko ProPlus 300 x2 TC produces useable images if there's adequate light to allow stopping it down a little
* AF\MF clutch
negative:* Zen coating, zen coating, zen coating. It's utter crap.
* Sigma's AF on their legacy lenses is prone to stripping and failure. My AF is completely stripped, it's now a MF only lens. If it didn't have the ability to mechanically disengage from AF, the lens would be a paperweight, like many of the older Sigma's I have.
comment:I swore to myself that I wouldn't bother with another Zen era Sigma. These are a little less common than many of the other from that time period - I don't no how many were made but I expect people hang on to them for longer.
The coating isn't too bad on my copy, only slightly tacky in a couple spots. I'm curious to see how long that lasts before it's a serious issue. Combination of the coating and the material around the hood made it excruciatingly hard to pull the hood out and push it back in. I had to take an exacto blade and remove a bunch of the coating and what was either a strip of flocking or degraded felt. Once that was gone the hood works much better now, without being too loose.

AF is broken so I can't comment on it's performance. MF damping in MF is loose but fairly smooth, which means it's pretty easy to rotate with just a finger or two if it's mounted on a pod. It's a sturdy, heavy feeling lens, as is the removeable tripod foot.

Unsurprisingly being a macro it seems to handles closer subject matter better than far, but that said I've been using it for birds and wildlife and it does quite well. Performance wide open at f4 has a little SA, lowered contrast, but still has good resolution. At 5.6 it's super sharp (relative to it's age and specs).

It's hard to fully recommend this without some serious caveats about the potential issues with the coating and tendency for AF failure, but if the price is good and you are aware of or can work around these problems (like I was) then this can be a really great, faster budget option.
reviewer#31701 date: Oct-14-2016
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 4.7
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Minolta 24/2,8
Minolta 28/2,8
Minolta 50/1,7
Minolta 100/2,8 Macro
Sigma 300/4,0
Minolta 28-35/3,5-4,5
Minollta 35-70/4,0
Minolta 70-210/4,0
price paid:
missing
positive:Sharp
negative:Heavy
Does not work on all film cameras. - See comment.
comment:Works well on a 700si and 9000.

Dynax 7 hung up, when camera powered on with the lens attached. Sigma does not had any firmware upgrade and the Sigma support offered only a cash back for a very small amount agains a crappy zoom. But, with a Kenko 1,4 teleconverter it worked well.

No problems on my other APS-C cameras (7D and a77ii)
reviewer#10217 date: May-16-2012
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 4
flare control: 5
overall: 4.8
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Minolta reflex 500mm f8
Minolta 75-300mm beercan
Bresser 1000mm f8 M42
price paid:290 Euro
positive:- Solid build quality
- Minimum focus distance 1.2 m
- Macro Capabilit 1:3
- Overall image quality
- Flare control
- Built in Hood
- APO version
- Quality/price rate 10/10
- great for outdoor sports
- fast and accurate autofocus
- nice tripod collar construction, quickly removable
- Sharp IQ
- Focus limiter
- Accurate and precise AF
- Relatively fast AF
- good Image quality
- 600mm. f8 on ff with 2xTC, 900 mm f8 on crop !!!
negative:- sun hood a little tight
comment:This is about the nicest 300mm f/4 that I'm aware of.
Love the bokeh , it's creamy and so smooth.
It's built well, it performs exceptionally well and it has a wonderful look.
It's a very nice prime telelens. Focus is really fast Close focus distance let you take very nice pictures of insects . Excellent build quality.
The focus limiter is very use full to fast autofocus operation.
Speaking of sharpness, it is good at 4f, very good between f4 en f5.6, and excellent above f5.6 .
The tripod collar is easy to use and removable.
After one month testing, I was impressed with the optical quality of this. Sharpness is much better than expected.

If you can find a good copy, don't let it slip away.
This prime will make your day('s). It will be far away from a disappointment !

reviewer#10058 date: Mar-26-2012
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 4.8
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Minolta 100-300 APO
Sigma 70-300 APO macro
Sigma 70-200 f2.8
Sigma 180 f5.6 macro
price paid:264 EUR
positive:Awesome results with 1.4x (approx. 1:2)
Fast autofocus! (focus limit)
Solid as a tank
120cm. minimum focus distance
Inexpensive 600mm. f8 with 2x
No CA at all!!!
Built-in hood
negative:A bit heavy
Hard to find
comment:I am impressed with its sharpness... much better than expected!

If you are looking for a new lens with these features you have to prepare at least $1500, so if you find one on ebay ... do not hesitate ...Grab it!

This is a great macro lens, especially for large insects such as butterflies or dragonflies. The subject remains sharp and the background is fully diluted. With my A580 I can shoot at 400-800 ISO with no noise problems, which can make great pictures even at that focal length (1.4x multiplier 420mm. with), keeping the speed at 1/300 or less.

You get a multiplication factor of approximately 1:2 with the 1.4x, allowing perfectly to fill the frame with a butterfly, even with the largest papilionidae.

I have yet to try it with birds... (with the 2x becomes a 600mm. f8!!!) When testing with other subjects I found that maintains the auto focus and no visible CA.

I will upload some pictures as soon as I return to the countryside again with this gem.
reviewer#9830 date: Jan-22-2012
sharpness: 4
color: 4
build: 5
distortion: 4
flare control: 4
overall: 4.2
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Minolta 100-300 f4.5-f5.6
Minolta Beercan
price paid:L350 (used Mint)
positive:Great for Macro (with teleconverters)
Love the colours
Pull out lens hood
Focus limit switch
Bokeh
negative:Its a bit big (as you would expect)
comment:This was my first and only "super telephoto" prime and I have to say I am really pleased with the results.

I have been using this and a beercan for trips to the zoo and shooting wildlife and they make a good combination.

The thing I like about this lens are the colours and the detail it can render when you get the focus spot on, the DOF is shallow for this lens, I would not like to have a F2.8 version of this lens.

I have taken a few great portraits with this lens the 300mm or 450mm on my 7D allows you get some great candids photos
reviewer#8631 date: Feb-7-2011
sharpness: 4
color: 4
build: 5
distortion: 4
flare control: 4
overall: 4.2
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I used to own this lens
compared to:Sigma 400 F5.6 APO
price paid:260 Euro(used mint)
positive:Fantastic short MFD
Sharp stopped down a bit
1:3 magnification ratio
Nice OOF
negative:To short for birding
Heavy
Slow AF sometimes
comment:I sold my crappy Sigma 400 F5.6 APO(see my review) to finance this lens and that was a very good move.

I found this lens was a bit short for birding so I bought a Minolta AF 500mm F8 Reflex(which I didn't like, see my review) to complement it.

Sold both to finance the Tamron SP AF 200-500 F5-6.3 Di.
reviewer#6084 date: Sep-19-2009
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.8
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:
missing
price paid:
missing
positive:color
sharp
no CA
macro
negative:AF a bit slow
comment:this is absolutely the best long range lens i've ever used. very good image quality. AF is okay because of its long focus range.
reviewer#5826 date: Aug-7-2009
sharpness: 4
color: 4
build: 4
distortion: 4
flare control: 3
overall: 3.8
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:sigma 400f5.6 apomacro
sony 300f2.8G
price paid:
missing
positive:
missing
negative:
missing
comment:
missing
reviewer#5753 date: Jul-24-2009
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 3
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.5
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Minolta 70-210/3.5-4.
Falcon/Samyang 500/8
price paid:400 USD (used)
positive:Good image quality
Sharp from F/5.6
No CA visible
Good results with TC 1.4x APO
Macro 1:3
negative:A lot of problems with AF system
comment:Very good image quality. Useful in bird/wildlife photos, but AF have some limitations, esp. in AF-C mode. After 1 month an AF failure occured :( Many problems with repairing/spare parts.
reviewer#5598 date: Jun-26-2009
sharpness: 4
color: 4
build: 4
distortion: 4
flare control: 4
overall: 4
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sigma AF 400mm f/5.6 APO
Canon MF 400mm f/4.0 APO
price paid:400.00
positive:Image quality
Size
negative:AF/MF switching mechanism
Hard to find
comment:I needed something to replace my Canon 400mm since I switched to the Sony a100.

This lens is very nice. Image quality is almost like the Canon ... I think it is a little softer wide open.
A lot better than the Sigma 400 ... but I was expecting that.
Shorter than my Canon (I think it was about 10ft long).

A great replacement for the expensive f/2.8's.

Not easy to find ...
reviewer#3561 date: May-6-2008
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Tokina 400mm AT-X SD AF F5.6
Sigma 400mm APO non macro
Sigma 400mm APO Macro (Canon mount)
Minolta 75-300mm BBC
price paid:300 USD used
positive:Sharp IQ
Macro (1.2m, 1:3)
Focus limiter
Solid construction
Accurate and precise AF
Relatively fast AF
Tripod collar
Built-in lens hood
1.4x TC usable
Inexpensive
negative:None
comment:This is a fast and sharp 300mm F/4 lens.

AF is faster than both Tokina 400mm and Sigma 400mm APO non-macro lenses on Sony A200. The IQ is better too. 1.4 TC can be used to make it a 420mm f/5.6 AF Macro lens and this is the reason why I only compared this lens with 400mm lenses. It seems that the sharpness and AF were not significantly affected with 1.4x TC. It did hunts a lot with 2x TC and the IQ was degraded but it became a 600mm f/8 lens.

This lens is so much alike the renowned Sigma 400mm APO Macro lens in terms of IQ, looks, and construction. To me it is as good if not better because it provides more mobility and flexibility. Unlike Sigma 400mm APO Macro lens which is longer and heavier (even heavier than Canon EF 400mm L) this lens give you the convenience of light traveling and easy conversion to a 420mm f/5.6 with 1.4 TC.

Even though the lens is rarer than Sigma 400mm Apo Macro it is always priced lower. Grab it if you can find one at reasonable price.
reviewer#3062 date: Dec-10-2007
sharpness: 4.5
color: 4
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 4.5
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Beercan
Tokina AT-X 400 AF 400 SD F5.6
price paid:300 EUR
positive:- Solid build
- great for outdoor sports
- fast and accurate autofocus
- nice tripod collar construction
negative:- sun hood a little tight
comment:On F/4 it is still a little soft, but F/5.6 and higher it is very sharp. It can be used handheld easlily. I've used it on close ups at outdoor sports, and it does a great job every time I use it. It is sharper than the Tokina, and allows crops to that image size. If you find one for a reasonable price, and looking for some prime millimeters, this certainly is a good choice.
reviewer#2496 date: Jul-1-2007
sharpness: 4
color: 4
build: 5
distortion: 4
flare control: 5
overall: 4.4
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:
missing
price paid:350
positive:Bomber build
Macro
Quality/price ratio
tripod collar
negative:AF/MF clutch
comment:Bought this lens a few years back secondhand and have enjoyed it for macro work and wildlife. Focus limiter is a big help for focus speed. Speed is ok, about what you'd expect for such a big lens w/o a motor. Picture sharpness and color is very good considering the price. It is super heavy though so a tripod is a must. (It can be hand held w/ the 7D and do a fair job)
reviewer#1764 date: Feb-7-2007
sharpness: 4
color: 4
build: 5
distortion: 4
flare control: 4
overall: 4.2
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:
missing
price paid:
missing
positive:Well built
Tripod Collar
Integrated, slide out hood.
APO
Limit Switch
negative:AF/MF Clutch!
Included Sigma lens cap is not great, but is actually better when a filter is on the lens.
comment:Random buy, saw it new, and the store wanted to get rid of it... so that's my story.

If you remember to set the AF/MF clutch to AF before you turn on the camera, you're golden. The clutch manually separates the focus ring and the screw drive, so to effectively do MF, you need to use the clutch and the body af/mf switch.

On the plus side for the clutch, since your hand is on the lens, if you forget to activate the limit switch, the lens tends to hunt in low contrast situations (swans in lake with ice patches - very white), you can use the clutch to help af by going into lens mf mode, adjusting to closer to where you should be, and setting it back to af where the af motor will finish getting your focus right.
reviewer#140 date: Oct-6-2005
sharpness: 4
color: 4
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.6
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I have experience with this lens
compared to:
missing
price paid:
missing
positive:Well Built
Macro Capability
Inexpensive
Tripod Collar
Built in Hood
negative:AF/MF clutch
comment:I am finding that I like teles. This lens ended up as an impulse purchase. I thought I wanted a 400/5.6, but in the end wound up with this lens. AND I'm glad I did.

The AF/MF clutch as others have mentioned is annoying. For me the worst part is if you leave it in MF and turn the 7D on, it does not like the fact it can't focus to infinity to get a reference. So you need to make sure it is in the AF position when you turn the camera on. No matter if the camera is in MF or AF mode. That is really the only annoying part for me.The ring works fine, and I never accidentally bump it.

The focus is as fast as I would expect a 300/f4 lens to be without an in lens motor. Meaning that it is not super fast, but really not that bad either.

The tripod collar is easy to use and removeable.

I was impressed with the optical quality of this lens for the price. Sharpness is better than expected. I agree with whomever wrote that colors are a bit warm. Also, you only have to go up 1 stop for a good increase in sharpness.

Thanks for this lens Valder. I love it.
reviewer#130 date: Oct-4-2005
sharpness: 3.5
color: 3
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 3.9
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I used to own this lens
compared to:- KM 80-200/2.8 G HS APO
price paid:320 USD (used)
positive:- Solid build quality
- Minimum focus distance
- Overall image quality
- Flare control
- Very cheep on the second hand market
negative:- AF/MF switch (ring) .. I hate it
- AF on the slow side, not that good in dim light situations
comment:I bought this lens only recently second handed. Not that I needed a 300mm lens that badly, but it was a good offer (here on dyxum forums) and I couldn't resist. At this moment this is the only non Minolta lens I own.
The lens build is good, with an practical slip on hood and removable tripod collar. What I don't like is the AF/MF switch which is pretty redundant on 7D (we have AF/MF button under our finger on 7D body and that switch is causing additional step in switching from auto to manual mode)
Lens weight is appropriate for an 300/4 lens and if not for that AF/MF thing I would be more satisfied with the overall lens build.
The lens is decent when AF is concerned. I had slower lenses than that, but I'm used to faster AF speed from my other lenses. However, the lens is very reliable in AF which was one of my biggest doubt prior the purchase.
A bit on a warm side, the lens is sharp enough. Wide open, isn't anything spectacular, but still very usable. I haven't noticed any picture degradation caused by CA or flare which is a real bonus considering that the lens is a bit older model.
Oh, I love the minimum focusing distance which provide additional flexibility.
Since the lens is no more in production, it can be found only on the second market. And if you need a prime of that range, and you are tight on budget, I can only recommend considering this lens. It's far away from a disappointment.
reviews found: 16   

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 16
  • sharpness: 4.31
  • color: 4.31
  • build: 4.50
  • distortion: 4.50
  • flare control: 4.31
  • overall: 4.39

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