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05-16-2014, 12:07 AM   #1
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Does anyone know about this lens:Sigma 70mm Macro?

Hi all,

Was looking at a longer focal length lens for stage/concert and portrait work. I've read positive reviews from this site and others praising the Sigma 70mm Macro.
Does anyone have input on this lens capabilities in low light with max ap. of f2.8? Low light AF is also important. Also anyone has used this for portrait work as well maybe can comment in that regard.

I have also considered the well recommended 70mm-200mm f2.8; however, fear of focusing discrepancies through the zoom range has made me more aloof with zooms, so I am leaning towards fast primes at the moment.

Thank you in advance for all replies~

05-16-2014, 12:40 AM - 1 Like   #2
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It's a very sharp lens. I think the camera will be the main determiner of the AF performance (prefereably a K-5 II or newer).


The main thing I'll say is if you're going for that focal length you might as well get a faster lens. I'm sure most of these are more expensive than the Sigma 70, but they're worth it. A DA70/2.4 would be a little better, an FA77/1.8 (or possibly Sigma 85/1.4) would be significantly better, and an FA*85/1.4 would be even better than that.


Even though I have the excellent DA*50-135/2.8, I find the FA77 (or now the FA*85 I replaced it with) are the ideal lenses for low light stage work. The DA*50-135/2.8 should be stopped down to f/3.2 or f/3.5 for better IQ, while the FA77 is excellent wide open at f/1.8 (and the FA*85 at f/1.6 or sometimes even f/1.4). So in practice they're 2 stops faster, making them better choices than an f/2.8 zoom.



Also, any of these lenses (including the DA*50-135) are better for portraits than the Sigma. The Sigma 70 macro is one of the sharpest lenses made, but that's a characteristic you usually don't want for portraits. You usually want good (but not overdone) sharpness with a wide aperture and nice looking Out Of Focus backgrounds. Again, in order of preference, FA*85, FA77, DA*50-135, and Sigma 85/1.4 (some other people (not me) would say the Sigma's as good as the FAs for portraits, but I doubt you could say this for stage work).




If you have the money, you really should put it into one of these lenses. You can see from my profile I have a pretty extensive lens collection. If I had to cut it down, the FA*85 would be the first lens I'd keep, followed by the F*300, the FA*24, the two DA* f/2.8 zooms, and the FA135/2.8. So it's worth dumping all your money into an FA*85 or FA77 if you have to.

Last edited by DSims; 05-16-2014 at 12:48 AM.
05-16-2014, 12:45 AM - 1 Like   #3
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if anything the sigma 70 macro is to sharp for portraits for my purpose. When you need check with the person you photographed if they had dirt or nits in their hair - then in my books the lens is to sharp. For concerts expect any macro to hunt although I have found the K3 much better behaved than any of my other pentax cameras. The sigma does have a focus limiter. As far as macros go I prefer my pentax 100mm WR but it is even more prone to hunting.

I much prefer my pentax 77 1.8 for skin tones and colour for portraits and people photos. You might find it is a bit to tight for performances but is a faster lens.

I find my 50-135 zoom great in low light except its not fast at focusing and not always accurate but I haven't used it enough with the K3 to see if it does a better job.
05-16-2014, 03:55 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Bob from Aus Quote
I find my 50-135 zoom great in low light except its not fast at focusing and not always accurate but I haven't used it enough with the K3 to see if it does a better job.
Come to think of it I probably haven't given the DA*50-135 enough of a chance in these situations, because I don't want to deal with either 2 stops more noise or 2 stops more motion blur. So it still might be a viable option. But I know I tried it at first and wasn't satisfied at the time.


Last edited by DSims; 05-16-2014 at 04:10 AM.
05-16-2014, 12:57 PM - 1 Like   #5
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I had the 70 and it's main strength (sharpness) might not be what you want in a portrait lens. For focusing, I did not find it hunted too badly in low light and it has a focus limiter so that would shorten the time. It is kind of a noisy focuser. Not as big a deal at a rock concert but more of a deal at a classical performance or stage show. Obviously you can switch to manual focus. But you mentioned AF. Hope that helps.
05-16-2014, 05:14 PM   #6
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Thanks for all the input everyone!

---------- Post added 05-16-14 at 05:36 PM ----------

I like the approach of 77mm f1.8 for stage work. I am not familiar with Sigma 85mm f1.4 rendering/colors, is it compared to Pentax lenses? How is 77mm AF in low-light? Also DSims, I've noticed you are from Southern California, are you from Los Angeles?
05-17-2014, 07:13 AM   #7
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I agree with all of the above. I love my Sigma 70mm for macro work, and it's my fastest lens so I pull it out when I need better low light performance -- but if I was buying a lens specifically for your needs, I don't think I'd pick this one.

Portrait with 70mm:


Macro with 70mm:
05-20-2014, 11:38 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by NicoleC Quote
I agree with all of the above. I love my Sigma 70mm for macro work, and it's my fastest lens so I pull it out when I need better low light performance -- but if I was buying a lens specifically for your needs, I don't think I'd pick this one.

Portrait with 70mm:


Macro with 70mm:
Thanks everyone for the response. It looks like I may be choosing between the 77mm and the Sigma 85mm.

05-20-2014, 12:31 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Relativity Quote
I like the approach of 77mm f1.8 for stage work. I am not familiar with Sigma 85mm f1.4 rendering/colors, is it compared to Pentax lenses? How is 77mm AF in low-light? Also DSims, I've noticed you are from Southern California, are you from Los Angeles?
I'm between LA and SD. I go to LA once or twice a month, typically.

Which camera are you using? It will affect AF performance. It matters for low-light AF capability, as well as general AF performance.


I don't have good info on how fast the Sigma's HSM AF performance in comparison to the screw-drive Pentax lenses like the FA77. The FA*85 and FA77 do well on the last 2 generations of Pentax bodies. Has anyone here done such a comparison on a recent body? It should be something newer than a K-5.
05-21-2014, 08:33 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by DSims Quote
I'm between LA and SD. I go to LA once or twice a month, typically.

Which camera are you using? It will affect AF performance. It matters for low-light AF capability, as well as general AF performance.


I don't have good info on how fast the Sigma's HSM AF performance in comparison to the screw-drive Pentax lenses like the FA77. The FA*85 and FA77 do well on the last 2 generations of Pentax bodies. Has anyone here done such a comparison on a recent body? It should be something newer than a K-5.
I am using K50. Not sure if that is considered fast AF. Also, nice to bump into another Socal pentax person!
05-21-2014, 11:08 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Relativity Quote
I am using K50. Not sure if that is considered fast AF. Also, nice to bump into another Socal pentax person!
It has faster/better AF than the K-5, slower than the K-3.

The K-5 II/IIs also sits between the K-5 and K-3. I think the K-5 II/IIs may be a little better than the K-50, but I'm not certain.


The bottom line is your K-50 will give you pretty good AF performance on either type of lens - screw-drive or in-lens AF motor. Some in-lens motors (especially on certain Pentax lenses) are relatively slow in focusing, so that will be the same on any camera. But since Pentax will have screw-drive lenses remaining on the roadmap for a long time into the future (and they depend on it to keep some of their lenses as small as possible) they've really upgraded the in-camera screw-drive AF system lately, so all screw-drive lenses (both old and new) benefit from this. It's just another example of how Pentax DSLRs are great for legacy glass.


So an FA77 should perform pretty well; I'm hoping someone else will chime in on the AF performance of the Sigma 85/1.4's HSM.
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