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08-14-2016, 02:53 AM   #1
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Sigma 70mm f/2.8 EX DG Macro Lens with K1??

Morning everyone,

Is there any reason why the Sigma 70mm f/2.8 EX DG Macro wouldn't be a good option for the K1?

Specs suggest it should be fine, but I can't find it listed as an option or suggestion on any sites (whether online stores or review sites/blogs) - makes me think I'm missing something. Don't want to make an expensive mistake.

Any K1 users out there enjoying this combo??

08-14-2016, 03:06 AM   #2
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You're probably not seeing much because it was discontinued more than a year ago. But it was a great lens on APS-C, and I don't see why it wouldn't be a good choice for the K-1 if you're looking for a macro lens shorter than your typical 100mm.

It's strange, though, that this lens isn't returning any results in our sample photo search system. Its lens ID must be ambiguous...

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08-14-2016, 03:42 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Muzzle Quote
Specs suggest it should be fine, but I can't find it listed as an option or suggestion on any sites (whether online stores or review sites/blogs) - makes me think I'm missing something. Don't want to make an expensive mistake.
There are reviews that claim this is the sharpest lens ever (ok, they were written some years ago, so things probably changed since), that it is absolutely stunning. Some users here have it and I think they love it. Of course, it is only 70mm and on FF that is a little short for 1:1 macro - you will have to be really really close to the subject.
That said, it has always been rather rare. It was discontinued and is even more rare now. So keep your eyes peeled in marketplace, keh com, ebay and similar websites.
I was looking for a Sigma 70mm some years ago, but simply bought a Pentax DFA 100mm instead. 1:1 macro, super sharp, WR, QS, FF compatible, looks great, really fair price, longer focal length (makes macro generally easier) and it is readily available. I don't regret it.

Sigma 70mm F2.8 EX DG Macro Lens Reviews - Sigma Lenses - Pentax Lens Review Database
08-14-2016, 04:34 AM   #4
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As noted in other comments, all reviews of the 70mm Sigma macro were highly impressed by its IQ, rated by several as among the sharpest lenses ever made for 35mm. It's lackluster sales might be connected to the odd focal length, many would-be buyers opting for the more common 90 to 105mm focal length macros. If the FL fits your needs* and you can obtain one at a realistic price, it is surely a top-quality product. However, if there isn't one readily available, I would recommend opting for the DA 100mm macro which has been available recently at very attractive prices.

*If I had this macro, I would regard it as a "studio" lens, best for working indoors. For field macro, working with free-roaming insects, it would be too short, too difficult to get close enough for a good shot. Even a 100mm can be difficult for live, unconfined insects. I prefer my ancient 200mm macro.

08-14-2016, 07:07 AM   #5
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What everyone here has said is true: very good lens (I've had it in 2 different mounts), hard to find these days, kind of short for bug macros (but nice for plants/ flowers as it gives a nice sense of environment instead of isolation). Optically, the Sigma 70mm is an exemplary macro - sharp, flat field, very little CA, nice bokeh, decent AF for a macro (though you'll want to use MF for serious macros). Also, the used price is typically less than a Pentax 100mm.

Furthermore, I've also had the DFA WR 100mm Macro, and it just isn't as good as the Sigma 70, IMHO. The Pentax has more reach and nice bokeh, but far more aberrations (really bad LoCA) and the WR version has no focus limiter (really important if you want to use it for non-macro), so find the the older Pentax 100mm Macro model if you can - it's optically identical, just different features (like a focus limiter!) and externals.

BTW, my K-1 arrives this week, so I'll definitely be trying out the Sigma 70mm on it, which means all of my above statements are based on APS-C only. Don't expect much to change other than field-of-view and shallowness of focus.
08-14-2016, 07:54 AM   #6
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Sigma 70mm is a fantastic lens, it is full-frame so should work fine on K-1. Whether 70mm is a good length or not depends on what you want to use it for. It does not have an aperture ring, which means if you want to use it with tubes, you need ones with contacts which are hard-to-find and tend to be finicky still. But it is a great macro. (And never been "rare" until recently since they stopped making it.) I see the Sigma 105/2.8 macro come up used quite often, pretty easy to find right now (As I write this, KEH has one for $289 and Adorama has another for $239) -- so longer and also quite good (not as sharp as the 70mm, but nothing is), don't know why it doesn't get more mention. (The 105mm DOES have an aperture ring -- there is a DG and earlier non-DG version, DG would be preferred but they may be exactly the same.)

Last edited by vonBaloney; 08-14-2016 at 08:03 AM.
08-14-2016, 08:48 AM - 1 Like   #7
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I will insert another recommendation: Almost all versions of Tamron's 90mm macro have an excellent reputation, going back to the Adaptall II model.
08-14-2016, 09:02 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by WPRESTO Quote
I will insert another recommendation: Almost all versions of Tamron's 90mm macro have an excellent reputation, going back to the Adaptall II model.
I have heard that too, but I've also often heard that the Adaptall model is very prone to internal reflections/hotspots on digital. (And have avoided it for that reason, so can't comment further.) Only the Adaptall model -- not the later Pentax mount ones which are supposed to be excellent...

08-14-2016, 09:13 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
You're probably not seeing much because it was discontinued more than a year ago. But it was a great lens on APS-C, and I don't see why it wouldn't be a good choice for the K-1 if you're looking for a macro lens shorter than your typical 100mm.

It's strange, though, that this lens isn't returning any results in our sample photo search system. Its lens ID must be ambiguous...
Mine shows up as a Sigma 30mm 1.4 as discussed in the thread on Sigma reverse engineering. Sigma hasn't licensed a unique ID for every lens, they double up on some. The 70 is definitely one of them.

Here is the Photozone test on Canon
Sigma AF 70mm f/2.8 EX DG macro - Full Format Lab Test / Review

QuoteQuote:
It has an excellent rating on Canon FF. It should be the same on the K-1.
The Sigma AF 70mm f/2.8 EX DG macro is capable to deliver exceptionally sharp results throughout most of the aperture range. The bokeh (out-of-focus blur) is very smooth and buttery and bokeh fringing isn't a really significant issue. Typical for macro lenses it also produces a negligible degree of distortions. Lateral CAs (color shadows at the image borders) are very low in absolute terms albeit a little higher than average for a macro lens. The Sigma lens has one distinctive weak sport - the AF. Its accuracy is fine but it is both very slow and noisy. The build quality is on a very high level thanks to a metal construction and tight tolerances.
I Love helens, hate the weight and size though for a 70mm lens.
08-14-2016, 10:59 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
Its lens ID must be ambiguous...
The forum software uses libraries based on exiftool and exiftool does not have the Sigma 70/2.8 Macro (any version) in its lookup table.

For the OP...If I see a Sigma 70/2.8 EX DG Macro in K-mount at a decent price, I will buy it. It is a desirable lens IMHO.


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08-14-2016, 11:00 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by WPRESTO Quote
I will insert another recommendation: Almost all versions of Tamron's 90mm macro have an excellent reputation, going back to the Adaptall II model.
One caution is that the Adaptall II version is a 1:2 magnification lens and requires a matched 2x converter to attain 1:1.


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08-14-2016, 11:04 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Na Horuk Quote
Of course, it is only 70mm and on FF that is a little short for 1:1 macro - you will have to be really really close to the subject.
The working distance for 1:1 is the same regardless of crop. What changes is the FOV at 1:1.


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08-14-2016, 11:44 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
The working distance for 1:1 is the same regardless of crop. What changes is the FOV at 1:1.
Thanks for pointing that out!
Still, on APSC you get a different FoV, one that gives an apparent "boost" to magnification, and this makes 70mm macro, even 50mm and 35mm macro, much more reasonable on APSC.

Anyway, back to OP: Yes, Sigma 70mm is great macro and if you can find it, you will most likely enjoy it, whether on FF or APSC.
You also have plenty of alternative options which are easier to find, like DFA 100mm (and its previous versions), Pentax DFA 50mm, Sigma 105mm, Tamron 90mm.. none of these will disappoint you optically. They are all pretty great, and come at a reasonable price, considering how great their rendering is. I have not seen any forum posts where someone would complain about one of the modern 1:1 macro lenses
08-14-2016, 10:38 PM   #14
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Thanks to everyone for their replies. In summary, what I take away is this:

- Great lens
- Should work with the K-1
- Unusual FL for a macro

On that basis, I'll keep my eye out for a good deal, but probably go for the suggested 100mm macro to start off with and treat the Sigma as a supplementary lens if I can grab one for a good price at some point.
08-15-2016, 12:53 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Muzzle Quote
- Great lens
Imdeed, ImagingResource used (uses?) it as their reference lens for cross-brand comparisons.
QuoteOriginally posted by Muzzle Quote
- Should work with the K-1
It does work on the K-1. I own both.
QuoteOriginally posted by Muzzle Quote
- Unusual FL for a macro
The difference between 70mm and 90mm is not that big and 90mm is a very popular focal length for a macro lens.

A shorter focal length can help avoiding undue compression with small subject. I guess that's why Pentax offer a 50mm macro.

When worrying about lens-shy subjects compare the "working distances" not the "minimal focus distances". The latter include the length of the lens so you'll probably find that the actual differences between subject-front-lens distances are not as big as you might think.

BTW, Thomas Shahan creates his incredible macro shots with reversed lenses with which he practically has to touch the subject. In that light we shouldn't be blaming our tools.
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