Today I received an early birthday present from my girlfriend. I've been wanting one for a loooong time now and it's finally here.
It's a Sigma 70mm ex macro lens. I have never owned one, and for the photography I do, I was wondering why I didn't get one before. Now I can't wait to try this baby for flowers and bugs, but for now I took it for some test shots with my girlfriends baking stuff.
My first impression when I first held it was it's a bit heavy for it's size. Doesn't really matter because it really cannot compare to a 70-200 is usm lens which I carried around for a hiking trip the last couple of months...I mean if I can carry that beast for hours I really can't complain about this one. Build quality is good. Same as what you can expect from an EX grade Sigma lens which is their top of the line. I love that matte finish. Some people don't really like it because it scratches very easily. I couldn't care less. I snapped it onto my Rebel and took my first few shots. I tried shooting with autofocus on.
Now this is the downside to this lens. The motor sounded like Robocop trying to get his gun from his holster. It is LOUD...and I thought the motor on the 50mm 1.8 Canon was loud, this one takes the first place for that! The focus is also slow, and hunts in low light. That is why it has a limiter switch on the side to limit the travel time when it's focusing. with the limiter on, it still is pretty slow. Though I've read that slow focus is typical on macro lenses except for the ultrasonic motor ones. I really didn't care either because I am using this lens on manual focus. Auto focus on macro photography isn't fun at all.
Here is where it gets good. The lens is SHARP. As I have read on one review site, one guy says be careful not to cut yourself. I suppose macro lenses are supposed to be sharp but this one is crazy sharp. Here's a sample of a battery taken about 4 inches away:
Of course, compressing these images to be jpegs for the web does not give it justice. But the original was 10 time sharper than this.
Now 70mm is kind of a weird range for a macro lens. Sigma was pretty smart in doing this as this lens can be used on a full frame sensor and a crop body. Used in a full frame it is a real 70mm lens. Used on a crop body, this becomes a 112mm which is just perfect for macro. In my opinion, 50mm is too short and a 100mm used on a crop body is too long. I have a small studio so I went for a shorter lens.
I am really glad I got this lens. Kudos to my girlfriend.
Here are some shots of my girlfriends cupcakes: