Sigma 400mm F5.6 APO telemacro A-mount lens review by pseudogrammaton

reviewer#41968 date: Dec-1-2017
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
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; 61MP61 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Canon 400/5.6;
Any ultra-zoom I've tried;
price paid:$285 (US/American)
positive:Astonishingly sharp dead-center;
Excellent colors;
Very good bokeh, sometimes excellent;
Solid build, yet 1 lb. lighter than modern xx-600 ultrazooms, but approx. same min. focal distance;
Works well with macro tubes, keeps sharp at 2x zoom at 2.5 feet;
negative:Typical iris hot spot when stopped down past f/16;
Hood a bit fiddly;

On A7r2, using the LA-EA4 SLT/half-mirror adapter:
AF hunts a bit, be sure to use the limiter & back-focus button;
LA-EA4 screw drive actuates even when lens is hard-toggled to manual;
comment:Copies of this on Minolta / Sony A-mount are very rare.

Shooting on an A7r2 (Sony FE-Mount), all-manual, with diaphragm control via an adapter & 42mm of macro tubes** reveals:

- Close-focus down to 0.75 meters;
- 2x magnified details verging on pixel-scale detail;
- More than sufficient acutance to accommodate a 1.4x or 2x TC.


- I plan to investigate how much the LA-EA4 SLT half mirror impairs IQ;
- Research if the LA-EA4 will behave with auto-macro tubes;
- A good teleconverter is well worth the investment;

**(macro tubes on a long lens is an old-school trick from back in the day when ultra-tele's had 10 meter MFD's -- macro tubes cause less than one stop of light to be lost even when nearly doubling the image (macro tube 40% rule))

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 19
  • sharpness: 4.58
  • color: 4.58
  • build: 4.42
  • distortion: 4.89
  • flare control: 4.26
  • overall: 4.55 - Home of the alpha system photographer
In memory of Cameron Hill - brettania