Review Sigma 70mm macro

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Sigma 70mm f/2.8 EX DG Macro & Nikon D800E (N FF)

Since 2007, the Sigma 70 mm 2.8 Macro lens is a member of a comprehensive package Sigma macro lenses. In addition to the Sigma 70 mm 2.8 Macro, a Sigma 50 mm macro, a Sigma 105mm macro, a Sigma 150mm macro and a Sigma 180 mm macro lens are available. All these lenses are suitable for full-frame and APS-C sensors. This comes in handy when you start with an APS-C camera and switch later to a full-frame sensor camera, like the Nikon D800E or Canon 5D MK3. The Sigma 70 mm Macro has a good focal length for portrait photography on an APS-C sensor camera, like the Nikon D7000 or the Canon 60D. Using a full-frame sensor camera, as here, a Nikon D800E, the focal length of the Sigma 70 mm Macro is too short for a flattering portrait.

Sigma-70-mm-macro-review

Construction and autofocus

 
The lens is made of a high-grade type of plastic, and the lens mount is made of metal. The finish of the body is called by Sigma "NR" coating (New &Robust). The lens feels solid, the focus ring turns smoothly without play and the filter does not rotate. The lens includes a sturdy lens hood.
The autofocus is not of the HSM type and focusing with a Nikon D800E is not very smooth.The AF also makes more noise than we are accustomed to with modern lenses. The lens has a switch to limit the focusing range, which is - given the AF speed and the macro range- a welcome addition.
Specifications
Sigma 70 mm f/2.8 EX DG Macro
Image Stabilization:-
lenses/ groups:10/9
length x diameter:95 / 76
filter size:62
Weight:525
Lens hood:+

Vignetting Sigma 70 mm macro

 
Vignetting, expressed in stops, is even at full aperture within reasonable boundaries. Quite an achievement as measured here with a full-frame sensor camera. Starting at aperture f/4.0 vignetting is even completely negligible. Sigma-70-mm-macro-review-vignet-at-Nikon-D800E

Distortion Sigma 70 mm macro

 
Imatest measurements reveal that distortion is low. For a macro lens that may be important. When photographing birds and bees, you will not notice a small amount of distortion. However, macro lenses are also applied for reproduction of paintings, documents or stamps. Then a low distortion is important.
Sigma-70-mm-macro-review-distortion-Nikon-D800E

Resolution Sigma 70mm macro

 

The resolution ofstandard jpg files from a Nikon D800E, expressed in LW/PH is very high and constant over the entire image. The difference in sharpness between center, edges and corners is very,very small. That means that this lens delivers high center to corner sharpness over the entire aperture range. Absolute top performance of the Nikon D800E + Sigma 70 mm Macro combination!

Sigma-70mm-macro-review-resolution-at-Nikon-D800E

A sample image illustrating the high sharpness of jpg images delivered by the Nikon D800E and Sigma 70 mm macro combination.

Click on the image for a 100% crop from the area in the red frame.

Sigma70mm-macro-sampleimage

Bokeh

 

Often sharp lenses display less beautiful bokeh, but the bokeh of the Sigma70 mm Macro looks nice. Sometimes you see a ring on the outside of the bokeh, as you can see in this image.

Click on the image to see a larger version.

70mmbokeh

Flare

 
With a bright light source inthe studio shining directly into the camera, we encountered flare, but no ghosting. During the field test we didn't encounter any ghosting or flare. Sigma-70-mm-macro-review-flare2

Chromatic aberration Sigma 70mm Macro

 
Also in the area of chromatic aberration the Sigma 70 mm Macro is very good. Chromatic aberration is pretty lowat all apertures. Sigma-70-mm-macro-review-CA-at-Nikon-D800E

Conclusion Sigma 70mm f/2.8 EX DG HSM macro review


GoodStuffmini

See our list of tested lenses or the lenses with a Nikon mount tested by us to compare the performance of this lens to other lenses.
ECWYSIWYG score: This table shows the performance of this lens when you store the files in the camera as jpg, with all available in-camera lens corrections applied. This score gives you for this lens/test camera combination: "What you see is what you get".
70
70
8.6
8.0
8.6
8.6
9.2
6
6

Pros

  • High resolution, even at f/2.8
  • Centre resolution and corner resolution are almost equal at all apertures
  • Very low distortion
  • Very low vignetting from f/4.0
  • Low chromatic aberration
  • Good value for money

Cons

  • AF could have been faster and quieter

 

The Sigma 70mm macro is "just" f/2.8 Macro and not f/1.4 or f/1.8. But the sharpness of the Sigma 70mm macro at f/2.8 is immediately very high, both in the center and in the corners.The rule of thumb that you need 2 stops for optimum sharpness, does not apply to this lens. Also in other areas the Sigma 70 mm macro impressed us. The amount of vignetting on a full frame camera is low, the distortion is low and the chromatic aberration is kept well within bounds. The design of the autofocus is old and an upgrade towards quieter and faster would be a good idea for Sigma. The finish is of a high level and the asking price for the Sigma 70 mm Macro is relatively low, if you consider it's stellar optical qualities.  
Ivo Freriks
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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Comments (1)

  1. Guido

Hi Ivo, thanks for this Review, I rate this lens as one -if not THE best lens I have.

BUT the links to other tests (dxo etc.) unfortunately route to the Sigma 1.4/85.

Thanks for your efforts with this site.

Kind regards
Guido

 

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