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Howard Sandler | profile | all galleries >> Technical Stuff >> Sigma 105mm f2.8 EX DG Macro Lens Evaluation tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

Nikon D80 Evaluation | Nikkor 18-200mm f3.5-5.6G IF-ED AF-S DX VR | Nikkor 18-70 DX Evaluation | Depth of Field Demonstration | Nikkor 70-300 mm G Zoom Lens Evaluation | Nikkor 50mm f1.8D AF Lens Evaluation | Nikkor 85mm f1.8 D AF Lens Evaluation | Nikkor 24mm f2.8 AF-D Evaluation | Sigma 105mm f2.8 EX DG Macro Lens Evaluation | Lighting Equipment | Skin Smoothing | Nikkor 35mm f1.8 AF-S DX Evaluation

Sigma 105mm f2.8 EX DG Macro Lens Evaluation

I'm happy with this lens with one exception: the autofocus (I'm refering to non macro where one would want autofocus) is not that great. On my D80 it tends to miss and hunt and even when it locks on, the residual focus error at f2.8 is noticeable when approaching focus from near to far; i.e. there is an uncorrected residual error that depends on the direction from which you approach focus. I assume that's because the camera has some average estimate of how much to turn the focus screw to get the image to precise focus and it underestimates with a lens like this that requires so much racking for a small change in focus.

I get excellent results with manual focus, even with the viewfinder of a D80. The manual focus adjustment capability is very precise; a lot of turning of the ring for a small adjustment. Optical performance is great; all that I hoped for. One might wonder why bother with an f2.8 maximum aperture for a macro lens which is almost always used stopped way down; the reason is that f2.8 allows you to have a bright image with very shallow depth of field for manual focusing. I also plan to use this wide open for outdoor portraits with shallow depth of field.

The build quality seems very good, and I like the clutch mechanism to disengage the focus ring so it doesn't turn when autofocusing. The front lens element is very deeply recessed so a lens hood is not necessary.
Full frame
Full frame
100% centre crop
100% centre crop
100% crop near the edge
100% crop near the edge
Full frame
Full frame
Centre Crop Comparison
Centre Crop Comparison
Edge Crop Comparison
Edge Crop Comparison
Bokeh at f2.8
Bokeh at f2.8
Water drop in the sink
Water drop in the sink