Next up in my gear bag is the Sigma 70mm Macro lens.  This is one sweet lens.  With an aperture that goes down to f2.8 this is legally classified as “fast glass”.  It’s got some super nice bokeh, and has an impressive range for it’s sweet spot – ranging from roughly f2.0 – f11.  Seriously, it’s tack sharp through that entire range.  It’s got the characteristic touch and handling of all Sigma lenses with its brushed matte black coating.

Other features include the manual on/off switch for auto-focus, which is typical for most lenses these days, but one thing I particularly enjoy is the limiter.  While this is also characteristic for macro lenses, it helps to keep you within a certain range of focus so it doesn’t have to search as long before finding that tack sharp point.  This toggle can be turned on or off any time, so it really helps when you are in Macro mode or shooting portraits.  Oh yeah, did I mention this does a nice job at portrait work?  The 70mm fixed focal length means I don’t have to get too up close and personal like you would with a 50mm lens, but I also don’t have to be as far away from the subject so it’s still fairly easy to interact with subjects.

If I had to list downsides, they would be that without the limiter on, it can take a while to focus, and that it is somewhat noisy when it is searching.  I am very spoiled by the USM features of Canon bodies, and wish I had the Sigma equivalent (HSM – Hypersonic Moter), but that was just not available in this lens at the time (and don’t think it is to date…).  Lastly, I don’t like how the lens shade prevents you from capping the lens when out in the field.  If the lens hood is on, the cap simply cannot be in place.

As with any fixed focal length lens, it forces you to compose with your feet (if you want a tighter shot, step forward a few paces, and if you want to go wider, step back).  But it does give you tack sharp results each and every time.

Here are a few sample shots I took with this lens, both in normal mode and in macro mode over the weekend for this post.  My in-laws were in town so we did the tourist-y thing.  First off, we visited the Hammonds Candy Factory where pictures are not only welcomed, but encouraged – so, my camera in ahd with 70mm attached (intentionally only went out with one lens each day…), I got some good samples of each category, except Macro (you need a tripod most times when shooting Macro work – at least I do in anything but the brightest light!):

Still Life

Candy Form Press
Candy Form Press

Some of the wonderful candies at Hammonds

Candy Swirl
Candy Swirl

Weights and Measures

Weights and Measures
Weights and Measures

Portrait

Cute as a teddy bear!
Cute as a teddy bear!

There you have it – the 70mm Macro f2.8 from Sigma – the third lens in my bag.  Coming up next week, the 70-200L f4.0.  it’s an oldie but a goodie!  What do you think?  How does the Sigma 70 Macro stack up based on what you’ve read here?  Like it?  Love it?  Hate it?  What other macro lenses do you have experience with?  Share your thoughts in the comments!  Happy shooting and we’ll see you back here again tomorrow!

Don’t forget about the Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Contest announced over on Learning Digital Photography!  Win your own copy of LR by sharing images in the Flickr thread here!

6 thoughts on “The Sigma 70mm Macro

  1. I’ve got the Sigma 70mm and I’ve also got the Sigma 100mm macro and the 70 is my favourite because of the closer range. As you say, it can double as an excellent portrait lens and I use it for that purpose a lot.

  2. I recently got the 70-200mm f/4L, will wait for what you have to say next week about it! Don’t have a 1:1 Macro, but my Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 does a decent macro. I would like to hear about your take on stacking extension tubes on a 50mm lens to get macros.

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