Sigma 105mm F2.8 DG DN MACRO Art Review
The Sigma 105mm F2.8 DG DN MACRO Art is a mid-telephoto macro prime lens for Sony E-Mount and L-Mount (Sigma, Leica and Panasonic) full-frame mirrorless cameras.
It can also be used with APS-C sensor models where it provides a 157.5mm equivalent focal length.
The Sigma 105mm F2.8 DG DN MACRO Art features 12 elements in 7 groups including one Special Low Dispersion (SLD) element and a Super Multi-Layer Coating to reduce flare and ghosting.
If offers a minimum focusing distance of 29.5cm, giving a working distance of 14.1cm, with a life-size maximum magnification ratio of 1:1.
It has a near-circular 9 blade diaphragm which creates an attractive blur to the out-of-focus areas of the image, while an internal focusing mechanism means the lens barrel doesn’t move, and it's also dust and moisture resistant.
Other new features include a traditional aperture ring that's complemented by both a Lock button and a De-click button. There's also a customizable AFL button, as per many of Sigma's other lenses.
It's fully compatible with Sony’s Continuous AF (AF-C) and high-speed autofocus modes, plus the camera's in-body image stabilisation system, if it's available.
On the L-Mount version of the 105mm F2.8 DG DN MACRO Art lens, Sigma’s TC-1411 (1.4x) and TC-2011 (2x) teleconverters can be used to produce an even larger magnification ratio of 1.4:1 and 2:1 respectively, with the working distance remaining at 14.1cm when using both. The maximum apertures become F4 and F5.6 respectively.
The Sigma 105mm F2.8 DG DN MACRO Art lens is available now priced at £699 / $799 in the UK and the US, respectively.
Ease of Use
Weighing in at 715g and measuring 13.4cm in length, the Sigma 105mm F2.8 DG DN MACRO Art is just over 100g heavier and 3mm longer than its main rival, the Sony FE 90mm f/2.8 Macro G OSS.
It's overall size complements a small camera body like the Sony A7 III body that we tested it with, as shown in the product photos.
Build quality is excellent. The lens has a plastic shell with a mixture of metallic parts and a compound material, TSC (Thermally Stable Composite) used inside.
It also incorporates a brass bayonet mount that's supposedly more durable. The optical elements are made of high-grade glass.
The Sigma 105mm F2.8 DG DN MACRO Art has a weather-sealed dust and moisture resistant design which makes it well-suited to life in both the field and the studio.
There is a traditional aperture ring on the lens barrel, which allows you to set the aperture in 1/3 steps, complete with full aperture markings.
The aperture is also shown in the viewfinder or on the LCD screen as you change it via the ring.
The aperture ring is nicely damped and makes a distinctive click as you change the setting, and it also has quite a stiff action, making it less easily moved when stored in a pocket or bag.
The ring can also be used to toggle between auto aperture control (the ring is set to A) or manual aperture control (the switch is set to one of the aperture values).
When the aperture ring is set to A, it can be locked into place via the unmarked aperture ring lock switch on the lens barrel, so that you can use the camera body to change the aperture without fear of it being inadvertently set on the lens.
When the aperture ring is set to one of the aperture values, the aperture ring lock switch prevents the ring from being set to A.
The Sigma 105mm F2.8 DG DN MACRO Art also has a Click switch, which as its name suggests can be used to de-click the aperture ring mechanism when shooting video or for more candid subjects, or to turn it on for stills.
Focusing is usefully internal and manual focusing is possible when set via the Focus switch on the lens barrel.
Full-time manual focus override is also available at any time simply by rotating the focus ring when using Sony's DMF focus mode.
The Sigma 105mm F2.8 DG DN MACRO Art lens has a generously wide focus ring that's very nicely damped and ridged for easier grip.
The focus throw is very large to allow for more precise manual adjustments when shooting macro subjects.
There are no hard stops at both ends of the range, though, making it more difficult to set focus at infinity.
Polariser users should be pleased that the 62mm filter thread doesn't rotate on focus.
When it comes to auto-focusing, the Sigma 105mm F2.8 DG DN MACRO Art zoom proved to be a fairly quick performer on the Sony A7 III that we tested it with, taking about 0.25 seconds to lock onto the subject.
We didn't experience too much "hunting" in good light, with the lens quickly and accurately focusing almost all of the time. It does struggle a little more in low-light conditions, though, often requiring a few attempts to successfully lock onto the subject.
For a macro lens, it's a fairly quiet performer thanks to the integrated HSM (Hyper Sonic Motor) driven internal focusing, but in more general terms the AF mechanism is still quite audible. Thankfully it's much quieter when recording video, making it ideal for movie shooting.
The Focus Range Limiter switch prevents the lens from hunting through the entire focusing range. There are three options - Full, infinity to 0.5m, and 05.m to 0.295m.
The Sigma 105mm F2.8 DG DN MACRO Art has a round AFL (Auto Focus Lock) button which keeps the lens locked to the current focusing distance, useful if you're auto-focusing and don't want the lens to try and find focus again.
Alternatively the AFL button can also be re-configured to assign various functions to the lens barrel.
The Sigma 105mm F2.8 DG DN MACRO Art does not feature optical image stabilisation, instead relying on the A7 III's own built-in stabilisation system.
This is a key difference between this lens and the Sony FE 90mm f/2.8 Macro G OSS, which does feature built-in stabilisation.
The Sigma 105mm F2.8 DG DN MACRO Art lens is commendably supplied with both a padded case and a good quality plastic round lens hood (LH653-01) which locks into place when fully engaged.
The Sigma 105mm F2.8 DG DN MACRO Art's focal length of 105mm provides an angle of view of 23.3 degrees.
Chromatic aberrations, typically seen as blue or purple fringes along contrasty edges, were not very apparent in our test shots, only appearing in very high contrast areas.
Light Fall-off and Distortion
With the lens set to its maximum aperture of f/2.8, there is some obvious light fall-off in the corners, requiring you to stop down by at least 2 f-stops to prevent it.
There's some very slight barrel distortion evident at 105mm in the RAW files - the Sony Alpha A7 III camera automatically and successfully applies corrections to the JPEG files.
Sunstars and Flare
The Sigma 105mm F2.8 DG DN MACRO Art doesn't create the nicest sunstars when stopped-down to f/16 or f/22, as shown below, although flare is at least well controlled when shooting directly into the sun.
The Sigma 105mm F2.8 DG DN MACRO Art offers a minimum focusing distance of 29.5cm with a maximum magnification of 1x / 1:1.
Bokeh is a word used for the out-of-focus areas of a photograph, and is usually described in qualitative terms, such as smooth / creamy / harsh etc.
In the 105mm F2.8 DG DN MACRO Art lens, Sigma employed an iris diaphragm with 9 rounded blades, which has resulted in quite nice bokeh in our view.
We do realise, however, that bokeh evaluation is subjective, so we've included lots of examples below for your perusal,including the same subject shot at all seven full aperture values.
In order to show you how sharp the Sigma 105mm F2.8 DG DN MACRO Art lens is, we are providing 100% crops on the following page.