Review Sigma 105 mm/2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro (C APS-C)
The Sigma 105 mm 2.8 OS Macro has entered the market in the summer of 2011. A big difference with the previous model is the built-in image stabilization. The focal length of 105 mm is sometimes a bit tight on a full-frame camera in macro photography; you are often working in your own shadows then. In this regard, a 150 mm or a 180 mm macro is preferred. A focal length of 105 mm is very useful as a portrait lens in many cases. And if you enjoy working with primes, the Sigma 105 mm 2.8 Macro OS is a logical step after a 50 mm standard lens. The actual price at the moment is much lower than the suggested retail price at its introduction, which makes this Sigma macro lens even more attractive.
Construction and Autofocus
The lens is made of a high-quality type of plastic, and the mount is made of metal. Sigma fortunately does not use the delicate hammered motif anymore. The focus ring turns completely free of play and with just the right friction. The stroke is about 180 degrees. The whole feels very solid and the lens is supplied with two large lens hoods: one to use with a full-frame camera and one to use with an APS-C camera. The AF is driven by a USM motor.
Focusing with a Canon 5D MK2 is not very quick; from 15 meters to 1.5 meters in 0.32 seconds. That is a fraction more than the USM-powered Canon 100 mm 2.8 IS Macro. Focusing makes some noise and in low contrast, the AF sometimes shows seeking behavior.
The image stabilization provides a gain of approximately 3 ½ stops. The lens becomes so much more versatile because of that. At a focal distance of about 33 cm, the effectiveness is approximately 1 stop. A similar phenomenon also occurs with the Canon 100 mm 2.8 IS Macro. The image stabilization of the Sigma makes an occasional grunting sound, long after the image was taken too.
Vignetting Sigma 105 mm macro
Vignetting, expressed in stops, is very low at all apertures. Even at full aperture you will not have to take it into account in practice. Quite an accomplishment for a full-frame lens.
Distortion Sigma 105mm macro
The distortion is extremely low, namely -0.12%. This will never be visible or distracting in practice.
As you can see in the Sigma 105mm macro sample image above, blurred elements in the foreground or background are common and thus important in macro photos. We see that the Sigma displays that blur very nicely woolly.
In backlight, the flare is not so bad; this is less than with the Canon 100 mm 2.8 IS Macro.
Resolution Sigma 105 mm macro
The resolution, expressed in lines/sensor height, exhibits good values. Stopping down only once is needed to achieve a high peak. The difference between the center and corners is very small which is advantageous. The resolution at f/11.0 is hardly less than at f/8.0. With macro, it is sometimes necessary to stop down in order to get enough depth of field. A lens that draws sharply.
Sigma 105 mm/2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro, coner f/5.6
Sigma 105 mm/2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro, center f/5.6
The chromatic aberration is low and also in this area, the Sigma performs very well.
Conclusion Sigma 105 mm/2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro review
WYSIWYG score: This table shows the performance of this lens if you store the files in the camera as jpg, where you have all available in-camera lens corrections applied. This score gives you for this lens/test camera combination: "What you see is what you get".
Pure RAW score: This table shows the performance of this lens when the file is stored in the camera in RAW format. This score approaches the intrinsic quality of the combination of lens and test camera.
Minor difference in resolution between the center and corners
Very low distortion
Effective image stabilization at normal focal distance
Sensitive to flare
Tendency to hunt at low subject contrast
If you're looking for a lens with the highest image quality for a Canon APS-C camera at an attractive price, seek no further: the Sigma performs very well. For example, distortion and vignetting are low and, important in macro, the bokeh is beautiful. Two small remarks, after a long search. The autofocus sometimes searches in low contrast. And the resistance towards flare is less compared to the current Sigma Art lenses. The Sigma 105 mm 2.8 OS Macro is cheaper than the Canon 100 mm L 2.8 IS Macro. This one has a slightly higher chromatic aberration, is more sensitive to backlight and doesn't deliver a higher resolution.
Author: Ivo Freriks
With Camera Review Stuff I hope to make a modest contribution to the pleasure that you get from photography. By testing cameras and lenses in the same way, evluating the results and weighing up the pros and cons, I hope to help you find the right camera or lens.
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Hi,<br />I am about to decide either to buy a nikon 60mm micro or sigma 105mm. They will be mounted in a D7100 and I do really want to make a good investment instead of having to replace my purchase few months later.<br /><br />I would appreciate...
Hi,<br />I am about to decide either to buy a nikon 60mm micro or sigma 105mm. They will be mounted in a D7100 and I do really want to make a good investment instead of having to replace my purchase few months later.<br /><br />I would appreciate any comments that would be very helpful.<br /><br />Bests regards....
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Hi EDP,<br /><br />We haven't tested the Nikon 60mm macro yet, so I can not say much about that lens. <br />Maby macro photographers prefer a larger focal length. This enables them to keep more distance from their subject. Not only for nature...
Hi EDP,<br /><br />We haven't tested the Nikon 60mm macro yet, so I can not say much about that lens. <br />Maby macro photographers prefer a larger focal length. This enables them to keep more distance from their subject. Not only for nature (you don't scare your butterflies), but you also will not block your light when you come so close.<br />The Sigma 105mm has built-in VR, which is a nice extra. And as you can see, it offers high image quality with a Nikon D7100.<br /><br />Best regards,<br /><br />Ivo