by Ian Burley
Sigma 105mm f.2.8 EX DG Macro typical pricing guide: USA: $399, UK: £279, EU: €449
The Sigma 105mm f/2.8 EX DG is a true macro optic that can deliver a 1:1 reproduction ratio at the sensor plane when focused to its closest possible subject distance. In plain English, this lens can satisfy all but the most demanding needs of a photographer who needs to get really close to tiny objects like insects, flower parts, delicate mechanisms, etc. And you won't need extension tubes to get this close. But this lens is also a very useful medium telephoto, equivalent to a 210mm in 'old' full frame 135 format currency.
With a maximum aperture of f/2.8, it's usefully fast, enabling good autofocus performance under low light. You can also achieve nice limited depth of field effects to blur out distracting backgrounds and foregrounds.
Close focus aperture shift
It's worth noting that at close focus distances, the true aperture value of the lens changes because of the length of the barrel extension. When using through the lens metering there should be no exposure inaccuracy issues, and for external or manual exposure setting Sigma provides a simple table for biasing the exposure progressively between +0.6 EV at 1:4 reproduction ratio (0.58 metres) and 1.8 EV at closest focus 1:1 reproduction.
In terms of size, the Sigma 105 is about twice as long as the new super compact Digital Zuiko 40-150mm f/3.5-5.6 zoom. The comparatively large dimensions result from the need to house a long barrel that accommodates the extra long focus range from infinity down to about four inches from the end of the lens.
Being classified as an 'EX' category Sigma lens, the 105mm Macro is a 'premium' quality Sigma model though it doesn't feature Sigma's superior HyperSonic Motor (HSM) autofocus. Along with the lens Sigma supplies a zip-up protective case and a screw-in, non-reversible lens hood. Curiously, the supplied user guide refers to a bayonet-fit hood.
Below is a thumbnail gallery of captioned pictures exploring the Sigma 105mm f/2.8. Click on a thumbnail to see each view of the lens along with its description:
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