Sigma 70mm F2.8 EX DG Macro A-mount lens review by MediaArchivist

reviewer#10803 date: Dec-26-2012
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 MP24MP24 MP36MP36 MP42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:N/A
price paid:450 USD (new)
positive:Sharpness
Focus accuracy
Bokeh
Super-macro ratio of 110%
negative:Slow AF
Noisy AF
Odd lens hood
comment:I gave this lens a "5" across the board, but there are a few caveats if you are thinking of buying it. But first the good stuff: it is sharp. It is the sharpest lens I own, just a little more than the 135 STF. The reputation this lens has for corner to corner sharpness is well deserved-- even on the a99ii wide open.

The autofocus is extremely accurate (but see notes below). Even at f/2.8 and near 1:1 magnification, it nails the focus. Manual focus is made much more accurate by the 270 degree rotation of the focus ring. When the camera is vertical the focus is held. The bokeh is also wonderful, better than any of my lenses (other than the STF).

The focus accuracy, sharpness, and bokeh make this an excellent portrait lens. While not a super fast lens, I was able to get some excellent hand held indoor architecture shots.

OK, now for the not-so-good. The most obvious concern is the AF-- it is slow and noisy. For macro work, this is not a concern since you will probably focus manually (peaking and AF confirm work perfectly even in MF). Indeed, for the maximum magnification you will extend the lens fully and move the camera. There is a focus limiter, and while it is odd in its function-- it does work and speeds up the AF when it is used. For me, I knew the AF limitations ahead of time so these are not a problem at all.

The only other downside is the lens hood. It is metal, and screws into the filter threads. When the hood is in place, the lens cap cannot be attached since the hood is using the threads. The large end of the hood has a 77mm filter thread, so a cap or filter can be attached there. This works quite well, even though it is a little odd (such a configuration looks very hip and retro if that is your thing). I suppose a 62mm CPL could be put on the lens, then the hood screwed into the filter-- allowing easy rotation of the filter. I have not tried this, but it occurred to me. Even though the hood is odd, it works and is quite durable.

In summary: if you are looking for a really good macro lens with a comfortable working distance, this is a really good choice. If you are also looking for a portrait lens, that ought to seal the deal. I have used this as a walkaround lens just to see how it would do, and even there it performed quite well. The AF performance might be a concern to some, but compromises have to be made somewhere to allow a lens to have as great a focus range as this lens-- and for me this is reasonable but as they say YMMV. The lens hood is weird but functional, and in some cases might even be an advantageous design.

I knew the limitations before my purchase, and I have no regrets.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 39
  • sharpness: 4.97
  • color: 4.87
  • build: 4.82
  • distortion: 4.95
  • flare control: 4.79
  • overall: 4.88
Dyxum.com - Home of the alpha system photographer
In memory of Cameron Hill - brettania