Saturday, February 9, 2013

Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 DG APO Macro

A very wallet-friendly tele zoom, with APO (apochromatic) element. Is it worth it?

+ super-cheap
+ new versions also have internal focus motor.
+ although not a pure macro, it does allow you to get quite close.

- image quality only adequate
- no VR means tripod/monopod is a MUST
- cheap plastic, easy to break

This is an example showing the "better half" of the focal range. This is at 95mm

Intended Users
Great for:
  • a cheap tele alternative, particularly for entry-level cameras (which do not have a focus motor)
  • casual snapshots
  • learning to use long tele zooms (tripod/monopod use is an art)

Not for:
  • quality work. It simply isn't good enough, especially at the long end.
  • birds or fast action. With f/5.6 at 300mm, autofocus is slow and hunting in low light.
  • shots without tripod/monopod. Forget it.

Final Verdict
This is a very cheap lens (I found a used one - the motorized version - for $80). It has decent image quality - for the price - until about 200mm, but quality drops rapidly after that, particularly in the corners of the frame. All things consider, not a bad choice. But make sure you understand that you get what you pay.

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