Sigma 90mm F2.8 Macro A-mount lens review by Phil Wood
|Phil Wood#44246 date: Mar-15-2019|
flare control: 4
|ownership:||I own this lens|
|compared to:||Minolta - AF 50mm f2.8 macro|
Minolta - AF 50mm f3.5 macro
Sigma - 70 F2.8 EX DG Macro
Minolta - AF 100mm F2.8
Sony 85mm f2.8 SAM
|price paid:||80 GBP|
|positive:||Compact, sharp full frame tele macro, useful portrait length, good 1:2 macro.|
|comment:||First impressions of a newly acquired lens.|
This is a nice lens - built with plenty of metal, reminiscent of the original Minolta 50mm macro, similar in length but broader of beam. Focusing is pretty good and there is a focus limiter to help when it begins to hunt. Images are sharp if not the sharpest - it is no match for the Minolta macros in that respect. However, it is a useful length for handheld bug hunting and noticeably smaller, lighter and cheaper than the Minolta 100mm D.
I am a great fan of macro primes in general preferring them to conventional primes - the only normal lens I have of similar FL is the Sony 85mm f2.8 SAM. Choosing between the two would be difficult, the Sony has better IQ within its limits (no macro) and is lighter with better coatings - but it is clearly built to a very tight budget; this Sigma is far better built, making it heavier, has good IQ and 1:2 macro and is cheaper.
There is a 1:1 converter, which I do not have, but it seems to be a matched close-up lens, I won't put a lot of effort into finding one. The lens would obviously be better with integral 1:1, but it's not that much of an issue (easy for me to say since I have the 1:1 Minolta macros).
Comparing the Sigma with the Minolta 100mm is a bit like comparing the Minolta 2.8 and 3.5 50mms - a lighter 1:2 macro vs a considerably more substantive 1:1. However, where there is little to choose between the two Minolta 50s in terms of IQ the Sigma is clearly second to the Minolta 100 (to be fair the Minolta is my all time favourite prime). I can see myself selecting the Sigma over the Minolta when I want to save space/weight and want a macro in the bag in case of need.
My copy came via ebay from Germany so postage pushed up the price, but it is still well below typical prices for the Tamron 90mms or the Minolta 100mms, whilst the extra cash will be a sensible outlay if you are keen on this sort of FL macro, the Sigma is not a bad option if the budget is tight.
UPDATE: I have now had the opportunity to compare it with the same manufacturer's 70mm macro. The 70mm is a true 1:1 macro lens, but I still prefer the 90mm, largely because the 70mm has a stupidly close MFD that makes 1:1 shooting of anything a bit of a trial (it's little better than the Sony DT 30mm macro in that respect).