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

reviewer#44254 date: Mar-30-2019
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:Sony DT 30mm f2.8 macro
Minolta 50mm f2.8 macro
Minolta 50mm f3.5 macro
Sony 85mm f2.8
Sigma 90mm f2.8 macro
Minolta 100mm f2.8 D macro

price paid:93 GBP
positive:Sharp, 1:1 macro, fast focusing for a macro.
negative:Screw in lens hood, lens cap doesn't fit on to lens hood. MFD too short.
comment:First look at new arrival.

There is plenty to like about this lens, it does the job very nicely - a good 1:1 macro. I find that it focuses quickly even at macro distances, as good or better than any other AF macro I have tried. This is not to say that it is as quick as more modern motorised lenses, just quick for a screw driven macro.

It's sharp at f2.8 but the corners get even better by f8 - worthy of full marks but not as good as, for instance, the Minolta macros.

MFD is shorter than I'd like for such a long lens. At 1:1 it is the longest macro I have, leaving about 40mm from front of lens to subject. Even the little Sony DT 30mm f2.8 macro is better with 60-65mm stand off.

Colour is good, but not Minolta. There is very little CA, it is better than the older macros in this respect.

Distortion is minimal, nothing I have felt the need to correct.

I haven't really tested flare control yet, I may revisit my mark after more experience.

The build quality is pretty good, but it is let down by the details. I'm not fond of the matt paint finish (at least it's not sticky). The lens hood screws into the filter thread, which is not the end of the world, less convenient than a bayonet fitting, but more secure (or so I thought until it fell off while I was carrying it on camera). Naturally it does not attach to the lens when reversed - which is seriously inconvenient at times. Even worse is that the hood does not have a thread or lip which would enable the lens cap to be attached while the hood is fitted, instead it has a 77mm filter thread at the end of the hood - so you need a different lens cap when the hood is on. The lens cap is the old side pinch type, not ideal, centre pinch would be better.

Some lenses just feel better than others, there is something about them that is right - I guess this is a personal thing and that we would differ if asked to rate 'feel' - but this lens doesn't have it for me in the same way as the Minolta 50 f2.8 and 100 f2.8 D or even the Sigma 90mm f2.8.

It is quite a nice length for general portrait /short tele use and a good deal better than any zoom I have covering 70mm - better built (hood excepted) but second in IQ terms to the Sony 85mm f2.8, though that cannot double as a macro.

The Minolta 50mm f2.8 macro is sharper, cheaper.

Compared to the Minolta 100mm f2.8 D macro, it is cheaper and, perhaps, a better focal length for APS-C cameras. But the 100mm is better in all other respects.

The Sigma 90mm macro is cheaper, has much better lens to subject distance at 1:1 and is built like an early Minolta AF.

All in all the only macro I have that the Sigma 70mm has any real advantages over is the Minolta 50mm f3.5 macro, which is f3.5, will only go to 1:2 and feels flimsy in comparison. However, it is a tad sharper.

One final gripe - Lightroom reports this lens as a Minolta AF 100-300mm F4.5-5.6 zoom!

If you want a 70mm prime then go for it, there is no other in A mount. If you want a really good macro it's a viable choice, but you'd do better elsewhere.

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 - Home of the alpha system photographer
In memory of Cameron Hill - brettania