I do not often get a chance to test Sigma lenses here in the column - I don't own a Canon, Nikon, or Sony body to which they might be attached. But this week I got the opportunity to grab a demo-body Canon from the shelves to exercise a Sigma macro lens - and I am delighted that I could. I've had a good morning in the studio.
The Canon body was the 75oD - a very capable small-frame body with a number of modern features - not the least of which is a modern and efficient processor. I cannot pretend to be a Canon expert, but the operation was simple enough to let me use it as I would my normal mirror-less. I did not figure out the live view in the small time I had it but I'm sure it was there somewhere. The body functioned flawlessly.
The lens was the Sigma 70mm F2.8 DG Macro
. I know that means that it could also function on a full-frame body, but I am used to APS-C sensors for my tabletop work so I thought I'd do it that way for comparison.
The finish and construction seem flawless - with a considerable glass heft to the lens. They include a deep lens hood but the front element is recessed enough as it is, I should have thought. The lens will do true macro 1:1 and will get as close as 28.5 cm from the subject.
There is a limiter switch provided if you do not want to search the entire focusing range each time you shoot.
The entire outfit is hand-manageable for most shoots and would even sustain a flash on the hot shoe to reach out past that lens barrel.
But what of the results? The rig could integrate with the studio flash and Canon have a usable flash setting in their white balance menu. Thus the smallest aperture - f:22 - could be in use all the time. Please note that there did not seem to be any diffraction even at that small aperture.
It did seem a little long for me - I generally run from 18mm to 35mm on these small sets - but the AF performance was spotlessly fast and precise. See the land Rover and the little Austin for this. The Bell Model 47 is really a very tiny aircraft indeed, so the ability to delineate the tail structure was amazing.
If I were photographing minerals, flowers, fungi, jewels, or scientific objects, I would unhesitatingly recommend this lens. You can get it in either Nikon or Canon and I cannot imagine that the native manufacture's lenses would be any improvement over this Sigma.