24th January 2021, Singapore/Malaysia – We apologize that this review was 01 week late due to the torrential storms that had washed down Singapore for weeks. And finally the weather clears up and I am able to try out the lens (before another storm came 2 hours later). Back to the review, Sigma had always been a favorite brand for Macro Lenses, not just from the pricing point, but from usability, quality and the options of focal length available as compared to proprietary brand offerings. Some of you who had been following this site will know that I own all the EX Series Sigma Macro lenses (30mm, 50mm, 70mm, 105mm, 150mm & 180mm) and when the ART Series 105mm Macro was announced, I was thrilled. Why so? Simply Sigma Macro lenses had proven itself over the years offering me & photographers superb & quality macro images while saving me lots of cash.
So let’s dive in and see what the new Sigma 105mm F2.8 DG DN Macro (ART) has to offer. Comes in L Mount and Sony E Mount, the version that was issued to me was the Sony E Mount, which (strangely) weights slightly less than the L Mount (by 5 grams). The external construction of the lens promises high quality build as expected from an ART lens.
The new Sigma 105mm ART had been redesigned from the EX 105mm version. In fact Sigma had achieved the “limits” for a mid-range telephoto focal length lens perfecting the bokeh, the sharpness and as well the full functionality of a macro lens. (And those who does portraits, set the lens to “Full” and F2.8 you will love what you see). Well, it is nothing new as Sigma had always strive to improve their current offerings with many times ended up building a completely new lens – this 105mm Macro is a great example.
Inside the lens, the elements are optimized for quality and sharpness with 17 elements in 12 groups including 01 SLD element right towards the end of the configuration. Featuring 09 rounded aperture blades that focuses down to F22, the magnification ratio reaches 1:1 at the minimum focusing distance of 29.5cm. While many may lament that why cannot go closer, I will suggest you go back to your table-top macro lenses (30mm, 35mm 50mm) as the 105mm was designed for further shooting without compromising on the magnification as well as not to agitate the insects that you are approaching for field macro.
The buttons layout are interesting, you get the usual focusing selector (MF or AF), there is a AF Lock button now, 03 selectable shooting range limiter, and (interestingly) and “click” selector and when you select it, your aperture ring has no clicking sound when you manually turned the aperture ring – and a lock button too for the aperture – what I did was, just set the aperture to “A” and control the aperture from inside the camera.
The front of the lens take 62mm filters (was expected 67 or 72mm) and personally I love the focusing ring. It stretches from the front of the lens and 65% of the lens barrel length. So it is easy for manual shooting. Not a massive lens at φ74mm × 135.6mm and definitely light (710g) so your hands won’t feel tired for an afternoon of shooting.
I paired the Sigma 105mm Macro to a Sony camera (this lens can be used on all Sony E-mount & FE-Mount bodies) & Victor Cheah’s Customed Diffuser and took it out to my playground at Thomson Nature Park for a review run. I was lucky to have close to 2 hours of good weather before the storm came.
Let’s check out what I shot with this lens.
As a person who is used to close-focusing macro lenses, I spent the first few minutes trying to understand how to use this new 105mm properly. As I usually do not read the specs before I review the lens, it took me a while to get used to the slightly further focusing distance. After that, using the lens was a breeze. I just have to remind my self that this is NOT the old EX 105mm that I already had.
I was pleasantly pleased with the quiet focusing, fast & accurate – but my advise, please selected the focal length limiter properly before you shoot. If you set to “FULL”, prepare for a little hunting during focusing, well, every other macro lens have the same issue too, I was using 0.295m to 05m range for this review with the occasional “FULL” mode.
The ergonomics of the lens are well thought out, I pretty much “blind-located” all the buttons easily and without much issue. I know I had said this earlier, but I really like the focusing ring. Thick, grippy and it has that expensive feel.
The lens produces sharp and quality images that (maybe its the Sony body) but lens plays an important part too. I like the colors produced and the overall sharpness of the images.
And the storm came and I ran for my life.
Summary: The Sigma 105mm F2.8 DG DN Macro (ART) is continuing the legacy of Sigma macro lenses. Giving photographers an alternative to macro photography with more choices of focal length, cheaper prices and the lenses promises high quality images (in some cases the quality is even better than your proprietary brand macro lenses).
I like the feel of this Sigma 105mm Macro and it is a very usable lens, practical and easy to use, reasonably small in size and light to be carried everywhere I go. Excellent color rendering and a very very capable lens.
I don’t like the fact that this lens is currently available for L Mount and Sony E mount, let’s hope versions for Canon, Nikon will be announced soon. (and if they decides to make for Micro Four Thirds, I am sure Olympus & Panasonic Lumix users will be happy too) – (What Fujifilm?) – mean time Canon users can still fall back on the mighty 70mm Art.
Last words – Buy it!
Buying this Lens
Alright peeps, Buy your NEW Sigma 105mm F2.8 DG DN Macro | ART here from our accredited merchants for a peace of mind!
(Our eStore coming soon by the way!)
Renting this Camera
For those of you who wish to try out the camera/ lens before purchase, we are pleased to share that this camera & lens is available for rental at our appointed rental merchant:
Camera Rental Centre is Conveniently Located at:
50 South Bridge Road, CMO Building, (very near to Clarke Quay MRT)
#02-18. Singapore 058682
Reviewer: AL Lee