Hands On: Sigma 105mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro Lens

Handheld, 1/10th of a second, awesome bokeh
Handheld, 1/10th of a second, awesome bokeh

Handheld, 1/10th of a second, awesome bokeh

Holy lens acronyms Batman! EX DG OS HSM, what a mouthful. Sigma recently sent me one of these bad boys for review. As I currently own the older Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM Lens, I was looking forward to getting my hands on an up-to-date macro lens and especially with image stabilization or, as Sigma calls it, optical stabilization).

I’ve used some Sigma lenses in the past and never have been terribly impressed with the build quality so I was hoping this one would change my thinking towards their lenses of this nature. Upon holding the lens, I think I can safely say that Sigma has made their new lenses up to my standards. It has the right amount of weight to it which balances nicely on my 5DmkII.

I attached the lens onto the camera and starting popping off some shots. The stabilization was what I wanted to test out the most so I set set my aperture to 2.8 and changed the ISO so that I would be pushing the stabilization into overtime to get a crisp shot. This meant shutter speeds hovering around 1/15th of a second for me. Immediately I was quite blown away with how slow I could go and still get a good image.

You can see from the sample images just how slow I was able to go while handholding. 1/4 of a second handheld anyone? Yes Sir!

My time with the lens was unfortunately cut off prematurely as the copy of the lens I received had a minor problem with it. The stabilization motor would make a slight grinding noise every time it engaged and disengaged. I couldn’t see it actually affecting the images (especially with the shutter speeds I was able to obtain) and Sigma confirmed that the noise wasn’t normal but shouldn’t affect the performance but for good measure, they had me send the lens back. A new one is on the way.

In any case, I don’t consider this a bad thing even though I’m reviewing the lens. For one thing, someone else could have previously reviewed this unit and perhaps it was damaged from them or perhaps it was damaged in transit.

Take a look at the quick sample images I created while I had it. As much as it pains me not to polish an image in software, these samples are unedited and still look pretty good. I hope you guys are amazed as much as I am with how well the stabilization works on this macro. I can’t wait to receive this lens again and really dig into it. More to come people, stay tuned.

Not too shabby for handheld at 1/4th of a second

Not too shabby for handheld at 1/4th of a second

Another nice shot taken handheld at 1/20th of a second

Another nice shot taken handheld at 1/20th of a second

A moving animal taken handheld at 1/13th and still quite sharp

A moving animal taken handheld at 1/13th and still quite sharp

Handheld, 1/25th of a second

Handheld, 1/25th of a second

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