Lens Guides

Sigma’s 105mm F2.8 Macro OS

The Sigma 105mm F2.8 Macro EX DG OS HSM  lens has become one of my favorite lenses for macro photography in the field. So what makes me reach for this lens when Sigma offers five macro lenses when I own all of them? The answer is balance, the 105mm lens is really good at everything and one of the best in terms image quality. This lens can give you the sharpest results possible with an excellent balance of size, weight, working distance at a very high value per dollar price.

© 2014 Robert O'Toole | Sigma 105mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro, Nikon D800E, manual mode, 1/200th s at f/16, ISO 400, Single SB-R200 wireless flash at 1:4 power manual mode, handheld.
© 2014 Robert O’Toole | Sigma 105mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro, Nikon D800E, manual mode, 1/200th s at f/16, ISO 400, Single SB-R200 wireless flash at 1:4 power manual mode, handheld.
© 2014 Robert O'Toole |
© 2014 Robert O’Toole |

© 2014 Robert O'Toole |
© 2014 Robert O’Toole |

The strongest feature of the 105mm F2.8 Macro is image quality. It offers sharpness and resolution that is amazing, take a look at the 100% crop sections of the full size images in this post to get an idea of just how sharp this lens really is. All the images below were made handheld or with a monopod and a single diffused wireless flash.

© 2014 Robert O'Toole | Sigma 105mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro, Nikon D800E, manual mode, 1/200th s at f/8, ISO 200, Single SB-R200 wireless flash at 1:8 power manual mode, handheld.
© 2014 Robert O’Toole | Sigma 105mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro, Nikon D800E, manual mode, 1/200th s at f/8, ISO 200, Single SB-R200 wireless flash at 1:8 power manual mode, handheld.
© 2014 Robert O'Toole | Sigma 105mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro, Nikon D800E, manual mode, 1/200th s at f/8, ISO 200, Single SB-R200 wireless flash at 1:8 power manual mode, handheld.
© 2014 Robert O’Toole | Sigma 105mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro, Nikon D800E, manual mode, 1/200th s at f/8, ISO 200, Single SB-R200 wireless flash at 1:8 power manual mode, handheld.

When it comes to choosing a macro lens, balance is important since there is never a perfect solution, everything is a selection of trade-offs. The Sigma 105mm for example might not have the same super creamy bokeh of the Sigma 180mm macro, but in the field the 180 macro can be a challenge to work with flash because of the long working distance. The trick is that when you need the softest background possible you can always shoot at a wider aperture and stack frames to get the depth of field you need.

© 2014 Robert O'Toole | Sigma 105mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro, Nikon D800E, manual mode, 1/200th s at f/8, ISO 640, Single SB-R200 wireless flash at 1:8 power manual mode, handheld.
© 2014 Robert O’Toole | Sigma 105mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro, Nikon D800E, manual mode, 1/200th s at f/8, ISO 640, Single SB-R200 wireless flash at 1:8 power manual mode, handheld.
© 2014 Robert O'Toole | Sigma 105mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro, Nikon D800E, manual mode, 1/200th s at f/8, ISO 640, Single SB-R200 wireless flash at 1:8 power manual mode, handheld.
© 2014 Robert O’Toole | Sigma 105mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro, Nikon D800E, manual mode, 1/200th s at f/8, ISO 640, Single SB-R200 wireless flash at 1:8 power manual mode, handheld.

It’s important to look at everything a macro lens has to offer and avoid getting fixated on only one or two criteria. The Sigma 105mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro lens is one of my favorites for field work and is an excellent all around macro lens.

If you have any questions or comments be sure to share ’em in the comments section below.

Robert O’Toole is a Sigma Pro and has been a professional photographer for more than 20 years. As an accomplished instructor, Robert leads photography workshop tours across the US and internationally. For more info visit Robert’s web site at robertotoolephotography.com

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Comments (4)
  1. Craig. says:

    Hi,
    I am thinking about buying a the Sigma 105mm for insect photography. I am concerned that the lens will be too close to the subject at 1:1 magnification. I am used to working with the Nikon 105 macro and really like that distance. It seems that the Sigma lens comes out fairly far when shooting 1:1. Is this the case? How far is the lens from the subject in this case?
    Thank you so much!

  2. Jean-François Laferté says:

    Hi,

    I have a Sigma 105mm macro with my Canon 7D Mark II.
    I was wondering:should I always use the manual mode?Is the manual mode on the lens as well as on the camera?
    Thanks for the clarification..
    Jean-François

  3. Nick Vrona says:

    Using manual focus on your lens can be helpful when shooting macro photos, but if autofocus gets the results you want, it’s just as good! Using manual exposure mode on your camera is definitely recommended for the most control over your photographs, but again, sometimes full Auto or priority modes can work too… it all depends on how much control you want to have.

  4. William Gollob says:

    Can you use Nikon D850 photo shift with this lens?

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