SIGMA America’s intrepid team of technical representatives are back with another gear test! This time, we took the SIGMA 105mm F2.8 DG DN Macro | Art lens for a spin, shooting close-up images of tiny objects (of course) as well as some human-sized subjects for variety!
Marc Farb – SIGMA Technical Representative
Macro lenses are the most versatile lenses that a photographer can have or add to their kit. They are definitely ideal for shooting things like bugs and flowers at a 1:1 (life-size) ratio, but those who understand the properties of what a real macro lens can do are the people that shoot outside the box, so to speak. In fact, with this simple macro prime, you can get even more creative and make portrait magic.
I love to shoot portraits on location. The 105mm F2.8 DG DN Macro | Art is an ideal focal length for portraits, while also being versatile enough to shoot extreme close-ups, and its size and weight are perfect for 99.9% of the waking world to handhold while shooting.
The killer part of what this lens can do is that even at a wide open aperture, the compression of the 105mm gives a perfect depth of field for portraits, and the properties of the macro part makes it achieve infinity focus much faster than a non-macro lens… you know what that means, right? It means your bokeh is just off-the-charts sweet and creamy!!! This DG DN lens (designed exclusively for mirrorless platforms) delivers performance beyond expectations and really does not disappoint.
Mike Hill – SIGMA Technical Representative
If you are a sentimental minimalist like me, then I suggest collecting small treasures throughout your life. It’s an easy way to avoid accumulating too many large objects, but you may slowly become a micro hoarder. I’m talking about jars filled with concert pins, keepsakes and various souvenirs. To capture some of these mementos in picture form, I recently tried the 105mm F2.8 DG DN Macro | Art for the first time and was amazed with the optical performance. Check out this tiny fairy carved from a matchstick, purchased at a street fair in Brazil.
Focusing on the matchstick through the glass jar was no problem for the 105mm macro, even in autofocus there was no hunting and the lens was surprisingly quiet. I plan on traveling with this 105mm macro lens more because it just works perfectly, can be used as a portrait lens, and for a 1:1 macro it is very compact.
Brian Linhoff – SIGMA Technical Representative
The 105mm F2.8 DG DN Macro | Art is quickly becoming a staple lens in my bag. Being one of the more versatile primes you can own makes it an easy selection to keep in the bag all the time. With ability to provide 1:1 reproduction with unrivalled sharpness at its focal length, the 105mm F2.8 DG DN Macro | Art is just simply amazing.
The off-center sharpness is what really impresses me. Besides being excellent for close-up photography, this 105 is a great short telephoto. I took it for a hike around Devil’s Den State Park in Arkansas, and came back with some stunning imagery on the SIGMA fp and Sony A7R IV. Next up for me is to take it out for a portrait shoot!
Aaron Norberg – SIGMA Technical Representative
As someone who tends to lean on the wider side of lens options, I wasn’t sure if the new 105mm F2.8 DG DN Macro | Art was a lens that I’d use all that often. After spending a few weeks with it however, I’ve found it to be a fun change of pace.
With its telephoto focal length and short minimum focus distance, the 105mm F2.8 DG DN Macro | Art is a natural at pulling every little detail from your subjects. I’ve had a blast looking at my surroundings with a new perspective, just in time to catch the colors that come with the change in seasons.
Brian Matsumoto – SIGMA Technical Representative
I have always been a fan of the 105mm focal length for portraits, railroad, and macro photography. I really like using the 105mm F2.8 Macro EX lens for both Canon and Nikon. I really enjoy the extra working distance that this focal length offers. So I was anxious to go out and try the new 105mm F2.8 DG DN Macro | Art lens on my Sony A7R III camera.
I was very impressed with the focus and tracking speed of this lens. The train that I photographed (below) is moving at 50 mph and the sun is just setting. The macro ability of the lens is stunning and the bokeh is creamy smooth. With COVID keeping people contact very low, I have not tried this lens for a portrait but I am sure it will be outstanding. In addition to the excellent image performance, this lens is water and dust resistant, which is a huge plus. Plus, this lens features internal focusing, meaning the lens does not change length as one’s focus point changes.
Nick Vrona – SIGMA Marketing Specialist
Since the early days of 2020, I’ve spent a LOT of time at home, and as such, I’ve spent much more time looking more closely at the things I pass by on a daily basis. I have always appreciated and enjoyed macro photography — the notion of making normal, everyday objects look beautiful and grand is certainly appealing — but not until I had no choice did I really sink my teeth into it. And just in time, the 105mm F2.8 DG DN Macro | Art came along to give me an excuse to expense a trip to an arboretum and put my newfound interest into practice!
Admittedly, I don’t have much experience shooting pictures of skittish insects and flowers that would NEVER STOP MOVING no matter how mild the breeze, but for the few hours I had the 105mm F2.8 DG DN Macro | Art in my hands, I felt like a pretty accomplished macro photographer. And thanks to the short working distance (and especially the focus limiter switch, which is a HUGE help), the images ain’t too bad either!
With the lens attached to a Sony A7 III, flowers were tack sharp with gorgeous falloff where I wanted it. Insects were rendered in lovely detail in their natural habitats (not dead on a light table, as is often the case with macro shots of bugs). Random, boring objects — both big and small — looked special due to the unique optical characteristics of this lens. If only there had been actual humans to photograph!
Unhappily, it’s made for the SONY range and I shoot with Nikon’s. And the existing Sigma 105mm f/2.8 Macro EX DG OS HSM, although optically very good, was introduced some 8 years ago and is now way behind on AF performance, and perhaps not comparable to the SONY-mount mm F2.8 DG DN Macro | Art version in a number of other important respects
If this was available in an F-mount suitable for my D500 & D850 I would place my order IMMEDIATELY.