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

reviewer#9209 date: Jul-5-2011
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; 61MP61 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Tamron 180/3.5 macro.
price paid:295GBP
positive:Very sharp at f/8
negative:Not very sharp at f/5.6
Bokeh is a little poor for a prime.
comment:A harder lens to use than the Tamron 180/3.5 macro although IQ is similar stopped down. At 180mm the Tamron is hand holdable and lite enough to walk around with. Steady Shot works great. At 400mm this monster needs its own lens box and a monopod for stabilizaton.

Set up with the monopod its a pig to carry. Sadly some wildlife just doesn't have the patience to wait for assembly so this is a case of stop, assemble camera, lens and monopod and then wait for the wildlife to arrive.

AF seemed OK for speed. Sometimes it got confused but no worse than any other macro. Focus was spot on - I didn't know sigma could do that.

Macro sharp at F/8 but only with a stand. Steady Shot is not enough. Don't bother with F/5.6. I am giving it a 5 because for me a totally sharp F/8 is what I need. If you must use F/5.6 then 4 at best. Maybe 3.5.

Very little CA and that correctable in photoshop.

Bokeh is usually good but there is a little outlining. More like a decentish zoom than a prime. Poor for a macro. I would give it a 3 but honestly I don't think it has had significant effect on any of my photos so far.

I have given the build a 5 because it looks good to me.

I have not tested flare.

This is a good birds & butterflies lens. For such small subjects F/8 is as fast as you can go and still hope for a usable depth of field. 100% crops look good. Great value for money.

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