Collected here are links to, and summaries of Sigma 150mm f/2.8 APO EX DG Macro HSM lens (Nikon mount) user and professional reviews and image samples.
My review and samples
After having owned the Nikon 105mm VR for a few months I decided to sell it off for the following reasons:
- 105mm wasn’t long enough to give me the amount of subject isolation I wanted. I desired a background with greater blur.
- The bokeh of the nikkor 105mm VR lens is pretty good, but I wanted something better
- Because most of my shots were taken with the camera on a tripod, I hardly used the VR (vibration reduction) function. I then thought of just selling off the 105 VR and get a much cheaper macro lens in its place
I had initially considered the Tokina 100mm and Tamron 90mm lenses as replacements. The Tokina was my preferred choice. It focuses quieter, has a build that I like and has slightly more reach in terms of the focal length.
But when I played around with the Sigma, I was hooked. For slightly less money than the 105mm VR, I get the following benefits:
- More reach, owing to the 150mm focal length vs the Nikon’s 105mm
- More working distance at 1:1 magnification (the front element can be further away from the subject owing to the much longer focal length)
- A very nice, 3-setting focus limiter switch
- The tripod collar is a nice touch. I can now rotate the camera from a horizontal position to a vertical one without having to adjust the ballhead.
I lose VR (the Sigma doesn’t have an OS, or optical stabilization, function) but that’s OK for my type of shooting (macros and closeups with the camera on a tripod). The lens has HSM (Hyper Sonic Motor) focusing with full time manual focus override — focus is silent, fast and I can always override the AF by directly turning the focusing ring.
Here are some samples taken with the Nikon D300 plus Sigma 150mm combination — click the thumbnail for a larger version, and the link above that to access related information:
Bikini and portraiture samples
To my eye, the Sigma 150mm f/2.8 HSM lens does a better job than the 105mm VR at rendering bokeh, which makes it a better lens for portraits when I want a blurred background.
Click here to view a larger version of the images and read the related forum discussion.
I have a couple of people pictures here that were shot with the D300 plus 105mm VR Nikkor. Although not directly comparable, you might be able to draw some conclusions about the differences in bokeh between the two lenses.
Samples shot with the use of a Joby SLR-ZOOM Gorillapod
See the setup I used for these shots in my Joby GP3 Gorillapod SLR-Zoom Flexible Tripod post.
- Full-sized JPEG — straight conversion in Nikon Capture NX 1.3.1, Excellent Quality setting.
- RAW file.
Reviews and tests
Sigma 150mm f/2.8 vs Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 VR — bokeh comparison: Steve Horne shot a quick test sequence comparing the bokeh and out-of-focus background characteristics of images photographed with these lenses.
Luna Moth, by Brian D: This was shot with the Nikon D80 camera. Larger version of the photographs can be viewed at Brian’s Flickr gallery — here’s a direct link to the original version of the most impressive image from the set. Brian increased the magnification using extension tubes (Nikon mount) — read his comments here. Extension tubes are fitted between the rear portion of the lens and the lens mount of the camera, and allow you to bring the front element of the lens closer to the subject, thus giving you higher magnifications.
Bug macros and a bird: “Kluso” shot these photos with the Sigma 150 f2.8 macro lens mounted on the D70. Flash was used for the images as the photographer did not wish to use a tripod. Kluso confirms that there is no A(utomatic) / M(anual) focus mode switch on the Nikon version, and found the focus limiter switch very useful.