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08.03.2011

APO Macro 150mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM Features:

  • Designed for use with full frame digital SLR cameras. May also be used with smaller APS-c size sensors with a corresponding effective increase in focal length to about 225mm with most cameras
  • Splash-proof feature protects the lens from the effects of harsh weather conditions
  • Offers Sigma’s OS System (Optical Stabilization) allowing handheld photography even in low-light situation
  • HSM (Hyper-Sonic Motor) ensures a quiet & high-speed auto focus
  • Focuses down to 1:1 magnification ratio at its closest working distance of 15 inches

by Dave FitzSimmons

Shot wide open at f/2.8, the darker petals of this Tabris rose are emphasized in a dreamy close-up shot, taken with Sigma’s new 150mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM APO Macro at f/2.8, 1/1000 sec., ISO 100. Kingwood Center, Mansfield, Ohio. Photo copyright David FitzSimmons 2011. All rights reserved.

If you could imagine the perfect macro lens, what qualities would it have?
How about these:

  • Super sharp
  • Durable
  • Optical Stabilization
  • Wide maximum aperture
  • Pleasing Bokeh
  • Weather sealing
  • Hyper Sonic Motor
  • Affordable

Meet the new Sigma 150mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM APO Macro lens, by the above standards, the perfect macro lens.

Not just a lens for flowers and other small subjects, the Sigma 150mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM APO Macro makes a great portrait lens. Here I used the 150mm macro to photograph Jillian Doherty, a model at this summer’s New England Camera Club Conference. F/8, 1/250 sec., ISO 100. Photo copyright David FitzSimmons 2011. All rights reserved.

I have to begin by admitting that I got a little nervous when the folks at Sigma told me they were coming out with a new 150mm macro lens. Why? Because I had been raving for years to audiences across North America about how great the previous version was. I wondered how Sigma’s engineers could make such a great lens even better. They did.

During a recent trip to Canada, I kept the new Sigma 150mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM APO Macro at my side in the car in case we spotted wildlife. Oh, did we! We saw about 8 black bears in a matter of a few days. Sigma 150mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM APO Macro, f/2.8, 1/400 sec., ISO 800. Photo copyright David FitzSimmons 2011. All rights reserved.

The new 150mm macro has all the incredible attributes of the previous lens and more. They took an already durable, well-built lens and, as Emeril Lagasse would say, “kicked it up a notch.” Simply put, the svelte exterior feels rich in your hands, with a black metal barrel that is well-crafted and solid. The detachable tripod color is silky-smooth to turn, and the hood locks on tightly and extends far, certain to eliminate stray rays from the sun or other lights. This new baby even has weather-sealing!

One of the advantages of a macro lenses is that they are designed to focus across a flat field. Here I photographed an antique 1957 Washington Senators Yearbook with the Sigma 150mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM APO Macro, keeping everything in focus and distortion-free from corner to corner. F/8, 1/4 sec., ISO 100. Photo copyright David FitzSimmons 2011. All rights reserved.

In addition, the lens has optical stabilization. Okay…so you say, “It’s a macro lens. I’m just going to use it on my tripod at high magnifications. I don’t need Optical Stabilization.” Well, not so fast: I think you’re gonna fall in love with OS on this f/2.8 prime.

My family and I took a trip this summer to Lake Superior Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada. While traveling, I kept the 150mm macro in the front seat of the car with me, where I could photograph wildlife on the spur of the moment. Black bears appeared along the road quite frequently, and Optical Stabilization allowed me to grab sharp shots immediately. Roughed grouse were fairly common. I followed one of these well-camouflaged birds into the underbrush. Needless to say, without time to set up my tripod, having a fast telephoto lens with OS allows you to hand-hold wildlife shots with confidence.

I spotted this roughed grouse crossing the road near Magpie Falls, Ontario, Canada. I jumped out of the car with the new Sigma 150mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM APO Macro and took this hand-held photo just into the edge of the woods. Grouse will often sit stock-still and let you approach within 10 to 15 feet. F/6.3, 1/80 sec., ISO 400. Photo copyright David FitzSimmons 2011. All rights reserved.

What about the OS performance? I put the OS to the test upon my return home. I shot at one of my all-time favorite gardens: Kingwood Center, Mansfield, Ohio. Spectacular landscaping surrounds the elegant estate of former business magnate, C. K. King. Besides photographing flowers, I turned the lens on Kingwood’s architectural features. A brass cupola with a large bell inside adorned the mansion’s carriage house. Positioned about 100’ away, I tested the 150mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM APO Macro with the OS on and off.

To test the effectiveness of the Optical Stabilization on the new Sigma 150mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM APO Macro lens, I photographed this roof and cupola at Kingwood Center, Mansfield, Ohio. Hand-held Canon 5D, f/16, 1/8 sec., ISO 100. Photo copyright David FitzSimmons 2011. All rights reserved.

The shot to the left is my best image with the OS off. The shot on the right is with the OS on. Click on the image above to see a 100% magnification. Kingwood Center, Mansfield, Ohio. Hand-held Canon 5D, f/16, 1/8 sec., ISO 100. Photos copyright David FitzSimmons 2011. All rights reserved.

In my first sequence, I shot a Canon 5D at ISO at 100, f/16, at 1/8 of a second. While my shots with the OS turned off were all unacceptable, I easily achieved sharp results with the OS on. I decided to push the envelope even further: I added the Sigma 1.4X Teleconverter EX APO DG to the mix, effectively creating a 210mm focal length. And, I kept the ISO at 100 and the aperture at f/16, meaning I’d be shooting a 210mm lens at ¼ second. The result: sharp again with the OS on. Remarkable! Excellent detail at ¼ second at 210mm!

To push my test even further, I added the Sigma 1.4X Teleconverter EX APO DG, creating an effective focal length of 210mm. Kingwood Center, Mansfield, Ohio. Hand-held Canon 5D, f/16, 1/4 sec., ISO 100. Photo copyright David FitzSimmons 2011. All rights reserved.

The shot to the left is with the OS off. The shot on the right is with the OS on. Click on the image above to see a 100% magnification. Kingwood Center, Mansfield, Ohio. Hand-held Canon 5D, Sigma 1.4X Teleconverter EX APO DG, Sigma 150mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM APO Macro, f/16, 1/4 sec., ISO 100. Photos copyright David FitzSimmons 2011. All rights reserved.

So, turn on the OS when you are shooting any number of subjects, including during portrait sessions. Speaking of portraiture, if you love illuminating faces with window light, you can easily hand-hold full-frame and APS-C camera bodies and get super-sharp images.

Super-sharp and ergonomically designed, the new Sigma 150mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM APO Macro is a fine lens for portraiture. Here I used it to photograph Alicia Rossman, a model at this summer’s New England Camera Club Conference. F/8, 1/250 sec., ISO 100. Photo copyright David FitzSimmons 2011. All rights reserved.

For portrait shooters, if sharpness and OS don’t convince you that the 150mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM APO Macro makes a great portrait lens, consider its bokeh. The previous, non-OS version was one of the greatest lenses I’ve ever shot with not only because of its sharpness but also because of its excellent bokeh. The same holds true with the new OS version. And it’s no surprise: The optics remained the same between the two versions. The nine blade diaphragm and the well-designed lens elements produce soft, pleasing out-of-focus areas.

Combine the excellent sharpness of the new Sigma 150mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM APO Macro lens with the power of Helicon Focus, and you can produce finely detailed images with nearly infinite depth of field. This image consists of five different shots, each focused on different planes across the subject, combined into one image using Helicon Focus software. Kingwood Center, Mansfield, Ohio. Five images, manually focused, f/11, 1/4 sec., ISO 100. Photo copyright David FitzSimmons 2011. All rights reserved.

Of course, most of us buy a macro lens to shoot close-ups of flowers, butterflies, stamp collections, or other small subjects. For these purposes, the 150mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM APO Macro naturally shines. While I most often shoot this lens at f/16, I also shoot it at f/22 and obtain professional results. This is remarkable because most lenses suffer from a significant drop off of image quality at their smallest aperture due to diffraction, but the 150mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM APO Macro remains sharp throughout its aperture range. I can confidently shoot at f/2.8 for romantic images of flowers and then photograph insects at f/22, retaining details across much of my subjects.

Using the new Sigma 150mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM APO Macro lens inside a light tent allowed me to capture an evenly lit and tack-sharp image of a Rosa rugosa on a windy beach at Katherine Cove, Lake Superior Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada. F/11, 1/4 sec., ISO 100. Photo copyright David FitzSimmons 2011. All rights reserved.

And if super sharp images, class-leading bokeh, and excellent Optical Stabilization aren’t enough, consider the price. At $300 to $400 dollars less than similar lenses from other camera manufacturers, how could you go wrong?

To see more of David’s work or to find out more information about upcoming Sigma FitzSimmons Photography presentations and workshops, visit fitzsimmonsphotography.com .

Curious Critters, a children’s picture book by David FitzSimmons, will be available in November. Photo copyright David FitzSimmons 2011. All rights reserved.

Stay tuned for David’s newest publication, Curious Critters, a children’s picture book featuring animals from across the North America, which will be available in November. All photographs in the book were taken with Sigma lenses, most of them with macro lenses, some with the 150mm macro. For more information, visit Curious-Critters.com.


SPECIFICATION

APO MACRO 150mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM Lens

This latest version of the Sigma Macro 150mm F2.8 EX DG HSM boasts Optical Stablization (OS) which is critical to equipment sporting this focal range and is now splash-proof. Offering the latest optical design technology this lens remains a large aperture medium macro lens ideal for shooting the smaller things in our world that exists virtually unseen. A macro lens is one which will focus on a subject close enough to render it “life-size” on the image plane in your camera. It also has a “flat” field” front lens element so that it can shoot images of flat objects such as artwork or postage stamps and be tack sharp all the way across the image. With HSM (Hyper-Sonic Motor) a quiet & high-speed auto focus is ensured. It provides extremely high optical performance from infinity to 1:1 Macro. Three SLD (Special Low Dispersion) glass elements provide optimum color correction and sharpness throughout the entire range and Super Multi-layer coating reduces flare and ghosting. It has superior peripheral brightness and provides sharp and high contrast images even at maximum apertures. The OS offers the use of shutter speeds approximately 4 stops slower than would otherwise be possible. It is also compatible with Sigma APO Tele Converters. Ideally suited for taking pictures of insects or other small creatures, but it is also the perfect focal length for facial portraits rendering the best perspective of the human face. This greater distance also allows the photographer more flexibility in lighting the subject with natural light reflectors. So don’t miss the tiny insects, flowers of the world or the details in a stamp or coin collection or a piece of embroidery all of which are seldom noticed but offer a fascinating world if you look closely enough. Capture them with the Sigma Macro 150mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM APO Macro.

Lens Construction19 Elements in 13 Groups
Angle of View16.4 degrees
Number of Diaphragm Blades9
Mininum Aperturef22
Minimum Focusing Distance38cm/ 15in
Filter Size (mm)72mm
Maximum Magnifications1:1
Dimensions
(Diameter x Length)
79.6mmx15 mm/3.1in. x 5.9 in
Weight1150g / 40.6oz.
Corresponding Mounts
SigmaOS, HSM, APO, EX, DG, Macro
NikonOS, HSM, APO, EX, DG, Macro
CanonOS, HSM, APO, EX, DG, Macro
OS – Optical Stabilizer Function
HSM – Hyper-Sonic Motor
APO – Apochromatic
EX – EX Lens
DG – DG for Digital* The appearance, specifications, and the like of the product are subject to change for improvement without notice.

LENS CONSTRUCTION

Lens Construction

MTF CHART

MTF Chart

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6 comments so far

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  1. GREAT WISH I HAD THE$ TO BUY ONE……

  2. Magnificent , I like it very much

  3. Looks great in these examples – how does it perform at longer distances as a “landscape tele”?

  4. Beautiful detail. Thank you for sharing. I plan to add my 10mm and 24-70mm f2.8s.

  5. I have the older version 150mm micro and I would like to share some of the pics . Its a great lens and and very versatile .

  6. The 1.4 teleconverter looks great. How effective is the 2X teleconverter @ F5.6 ? Will it AF with my D800 like the 1.4 will ? While I know it can’t be as sharp as the 1.4 will it be as good or better than the 300 on my Nikon 80 -400 mm F4.5 -5.6 lens ? Just heard about the Sigma 180mm F2.8 OS due out at end of April. I received the basic specifications ( i.e. Minimum focus 18.1, length 8.0, 86mm Filter size, weight and price not given as yet). I know we have a different perspective with this lens Vs the 150; that weight and length will be greater as well as price. My question is, since I have a NIkon 80 -400 will the 180mm be better , same or worse than my 80 -400 with the use of the basic as well as the two teleconverters available ? Thank you in advance for your time .