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Sigma 50mm F2.8 Macro

Reviews Views Date of last review
15 54,950 Thu May 12, 2016
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
100% of reviewers $153.20 9.07
Sigma 50mm F2.8 Macro

Manual focus with 'A' auto-aperture setting.
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Registered: May, 2015
Location: Hampshire
Posts: 891
Lens Review Date: May 12, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Macro at 1:1
Cons: Build quality of focussing ring.
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 8    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-5   

This is just a first impression of this lens so don't take too much notice of the scoring.

The lens was in a Charity shop (or goodwill shop I think the term is in America) along with a Pentax K1000 with a -M50mm F1.7, a -A28mm f2.8 and a -M200mm F4 for the princely sum of around 100 dollars US at todays rates. All the kit looked a bit battered and none of the lenses had front caps and only 1 of them a rear cap. I could not see much past the finger marks and dust on the lenses but this Sigma had my attention....even though I had promised not to spend out on any more lenses this month....because it was a macro lens. I knew if the lens was in half way decent condition it might be worth a few dollars to add it to my collection as the Tamron 90mm F2.5 I have only provides 1:2 macro and to be honest I do not think it works well at the end up to infinity. Might just be my copy though. The assistant let me look at the lens but indicated that the Manager had priced the lot together and I would have to come back Friday if I wanted to negotiate just for the Sigma. In a fit of madness I asked her what she might sell the lot for (I have no copies of the other lenses anyway) and she said 75 dollars, I said 60 and we agreed on approximately 66.
After cleaning them up a bit I took them out and shot a few images, the Sigma impressed me with the images but not the fact that the rubber focus ring had some of the distance scale lettering rubbed off.
Anyway I recommend this lens as a good buy at the cheap end of the macro market, I have no doubt that when I use a tripod the images will be better as my hand holding is not too steady.
Colours are pretty good too.

New Member

Registered: March, 2010
Location: L.A.
Posts: 20
Lens Review Date: March 8, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: very sharp, 1:1 macro, well-built, precise focusing
Cons: Long throw
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: Pentax K5, Fuji XT-1   

Probably one of the best lenses out there in terms of cost-to-quality ratio. Few know it even exists, and most who do hang on to theirs because they understand what a brilliant lens it is. The build is superb (superb indented rubber focus ring), bokeh is terrific, and the focus accuracy is spot on. I love that it's also a 1:1 true macro. Aperture goes from 2.8-22, which means you can shoot in all kinds of light. And with the 80-85mm digital equivalent, it doubles as a wonderful portrait lens. What I like about this lens is that it's not only a macro lens but an all-around great shooter. Instead of purchasing a new 60mm xf lens for my XT-1, I just got an adapter for $12, slapped this baby on, and away I went. So what there's no auto-focus? Who uses auto-focuse for macros and portraits anyway? Not me.
Loyal Site Supporter

Registered: October, 2015
Location: Central Missouri
Posts: 5,176
Lens Review Date: February 28, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: 1:1, Solidly Built Lens, Sharp
Cons: None

I have this lens in an OM mount. I could not find any specifications for the lens so here is what I can measure from the copy I have (I cannot find any published information). I see other unanswered questions about specifications.

Image Format - Full Frame/35mm
Aperture Ring - Yes
Length - 67mm
Diameter - 67mm
Weight - 327g
Diaphragm - Automatic, 6 Blades
Max. Aperture - F2.8
Min. Aperture - F22
Filter Size - 52mm

I weighed it barefoot. My weights on other known lenses are lower than the listed specifications.
New Member

Registered: March, 2010
Location: Brittany, France
Posts: 4

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: May 16, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $60.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharp, light, precise manual focus, PKA
Cons: None so far
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 10    Camera Used: Pentax K30   

This lens was cheap on the Bay. I got it in great condition.
The manual focusing is very precise ; the A setting helps a lot, of course.
The colors are warm, very pentax like.
Very recommended.

New Member

Registered: August, 2014
Posts: 2

3 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: September 6, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $90.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharp, fast, native 1:1, long throw
Cons: short working range at 1:1, shallow dof, price, aperture ring feels cheap
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 8    Value: 9    Camera Used: sony NEX 5R   

You will need patience with this lens for live macro subjects as at 1:1 you will have to get very close to your subjects, which inevitably results in them running/flying away and you shouting profanities at flowers.

It is good fun to use and is definitely sharp enough when you nail the focus, which can be a bit tricky at times with the shallow dof. Anyway I feel pictures will give a better indication than my words so here's a few I've taken with this lens

Last of the Zebras by Caledonia84, on Flickr

Sigma 50mm f2.8 Macro by Caledonia84, on Flickr

Sigma 50mm f2.8 Macro by Caledonia84, on Flickr

Sigma 50mm f2.8 Macro by Caledonia84, on Flickr

Sigma 50mm f2.8 Macro by Caledonia84, on Flickr

West end Skyline by Caledonia84, on Flickr
New Member

Registered: March, 2014
Posts: 1
Lens Review Date: March 21, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $61.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: 1:1 macro, substantial weight without being too heavy
Cons: maybe a more substantial aperture ring
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: Canon A-1, AV-1 AL-1   

I was able to acquire an incredibly smooth example of this lens ! I did notice the slight flimsy of the aperture ring but nothing drastic. Gave the lens a good workout at Longwood Gardens, Kennett Square, Pa., at their orchid show. What a joy this lens is ! Enough to make one fall in love with MF film lenses all over again. On a par with the great Canon 50mm FD macro. This lens is sharp, clear, crisp. Great color. Surprising bokehs too ! What a great value for me - just 61 dollars from our favorite auction site. If you can find this lens, snap it up. It's a good rare find.
Veteran Member

Registered: October, 2012
Location: Colorado
Posts: 1,433

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: February 3, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $330.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Great from 1:1 to infinity, good flat-field correction, very fast, light, electrical contacts, sharp
Cons: Focus creep when mounted vertically
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 9    Value: 9   

I was given this as a gift new in 1996 or so. It remains my most-used lens in the last nearly 20 years. I use this lens a LOT for reprographic work -- digitizing plate negatives, film, an photo prints. I use it for the aspherical correction, flat-field quality, and overall contrast and color transmission. This lens has little or no character, meaning only that it does not add color tint, hue shift, or aberration to subjects. In fact, I can't recall ever seeing this lens exhibit chromatic aberrations at all.

Because this is an f2.8, the viewfinder is very bright. Obtaining exact focus is also very easy. This lens thrives on delivering precise focus.
As for the thing I named as a flaw -- focus creep, when I do reprographics, the lens' face is parallel with the floor, so gravity pulls the helicoil and focus slips to about a half millimeter behind the subject after about five minutes. So the focus creep is insignificant in about 90% of uses.

One key benefit of this lens is that it focuses from about 1 centimeter in front of the lens to infinity. The infinity images are very sharp and true-to-life because of the lens' overall quality.

Here are some images I've digitized with this lens.

These digitizations all represent, very well, the original negatives. The Sigma 50mm Macro doesn't change a subject's character, nor does it distort it in any noticeable way. As an affordable macro option, I would expect this to be less than $150 as of this review's writing, this lens represents a clear and good choice.
New Member

Registered: October, 2013
Posts: 5
Lens Review Date: October 10, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $110.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: sharpness, 1:1 macro
Cons: aperture ring in manual mode
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 9    Value: 10   

Very nice and sharp macro lens, colors are cooler than I like. My copy had the same problem with A mode: it worked at the beginning well, but after some days it got only recognized as a manual lens. The problem is a little spring that pushs the tiny contact in the picture below which went out of position. I opened the lens and could put it in place but something is strange with aperture settings now, it somehow has shifted for about one step (4=3,2), so I have always to underexpose for 2/3 or 1 step.

New Member

Registered: May, 2012
Posts: 14

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: May 25, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $120.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: sharpness, price
Cons: coating on the rubber goes away easily
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 8   

I bought this lens while waiting to buy the Tamron 90mm macro. What I didn't know is that I was going to fall in love with this lens. A serious performer, shots where above my expectations, fantastic colors, incredibly sharp, focus ring smooth....and on top, small and light so you can carry an excellent macro always with you.

I don't know why I sold it (well yes, I needed the money to buy the Tammy), but if I can, I'll get another copy of this cheap but amazing macro lens.

An example here:
Inactive Account

Registered: March, 2011
Location: Baltimore, MD
Posts: 1
Lens Review Date: January 18, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $200.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Very good macro performance, Bokeh, Focusing
Cons: Flimsy aperture ring
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 8    Value: 10   

A very nice lens, starts out useable at f/2.8 and climbs until about f/5.6 where it peaks a little early. Not as sharp for normal operating distances as pentax-a 50 f/1.7, but the difference is not large. This is, of course, expected, but the difference is not as large as I would have imagined.

There are some CA's but it's not too bothersome and certainly not anything that can't be easily corrected. Vignetting is very low and distortion is imperceptible. Color rendition is a bit cooler than the Pentax lenses, but not objectionably.

Focusing is buttery smooth and fortunately, especially as a macro lens, focus does not shift upon stopping down. The focus ring can also slip over the body when it hits a stop (close or infinity) meaning you won't jar your set-up. The aperture ring is (boarder-line very) flimsy and the lens does not mount as smoothly as Pentax lenses, however A-mode works very well and the body controlled apertures are accurate.
In the field, handling is very good, as I tend to use the body controlled aperture and the very smooth focusing is a great asset.

As for the headline feature, At 1:1, I can guarantee this lens will not disappoint. It's able to capture things (the texture left by chemical etching Titanium as an example) that I didn't believe you could see without a microscope.

Additional note, A mode works nicely with a P-TTL flash.
Site Supporter

Registered: July, 2011
Posts: 43
Lens Review Date: August 6, 2011 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $150.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Very sharp, great contrast, 1:1 Macro, very good price on an auction site
Cons: Wish it could do f2 or 1.7, but 2.8 is good

I absolutely love this lens. The color is on the cool side, but I think the images look great. My copy of this lens is sharp, smooth focus and easy to use in a variety of situations. Great as a close up macro and great for portrait work with what I see as very nice bokeh. Very good resolution.
Senior Member

Registered: August, 2010
Location: United States
Posts: 270
Lens Review Date: October 15, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $135.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Very Sharp, 1:1 macro, good contrast and color, great bokah, excelent build quality, the 'A' setting
Cons: Color is slightly cooler then most Pentax Lenses (I'm being picky here)

Great lens. And more to the point, great 1:1 macro lens.
The color is a little cooler then I prefer. But that is easily corrected in PP. There have been no CA or flair issues that I have seen. Contrast is good. Sharpness is Excellent. My only complaint is that the minimum focus distance puts the lens within a few inches of the subject which can be problematic if that subject has eyes and legs and the ability to move away rapidly. Kinda hampers my ability to take a picture of said subject.
This lens (or at least my copy) has the 'A' setting and it works fine on my camera. Once or twice I noticed it not registering the aperture, but with a little wiggle of the lens it works fine again. Might just be a slight alignment issue with the contacts.
Because of the crop factor on DSLR's with APS-C sensors, this lens is the ideal focal length for portraits and does a stellar job at it. I can't say that I use this lens often, but when I do take it out, I find that for some reason it stays on my camera for a few days. If only it were faster I could sell my 50 F1.7. Don't get me wrong, I love my 50 F1.7, it's small and sexy and has amazing color, but this sigma is a little sharper. I have too many lenses, and if I had to pick one 50mm to keep it would be this one.

Registered: January, 2007
Location: Brooklyn, New York
Posts: 1,070

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: June 16, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $276.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: very sharp, great bokeh, great color. Definitely my best lens. I prefer it over my da40mm ltd lens because the Sigma is a true macro lens
Cons: Can't think of anything. A must have lens.

I couldn't afford any lens that cost more than this one.
It does absolutely anything I want it to do. Beautifully made,
easy to focus, .
I can't imagine being without it.
It has everything I want in color, bokeh, sharpness and dependability.
Highly recommended for macro work , portraits or walk-around .
You can achieve amazing shots with this remarkable lens.

P.S. I think ybabq just had a bad copy and an abused lens, judging by
his comments. I bought mine brand new and it still looks brand new.
Inactive Account

Registered: December, 2009
Posts: 34
Lens Review Date: April 27, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: sharpness, build quality
Cons: stiff aperture ring

So far I have been impressed with my copy of this lens. It takes very sharp pictures and has a nice heavy feel in your hand. My only complaint would be the stiff aperture ring.
Forum Member

Registered: November, 2008
Posts: 99
Lens Review Date: January 12, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 6 

Pros: Cheap, 1:1 Macro
Cons: Poor build, could be sharper

I bought this lens for a very nice price and thought it was a bargain as the lens had 1:1 Macro and an "A". Unfortunately my expectations did not realize.

First, the "A" setting did not work. It probably was my bad luck with that particular copy but I read here on the forum that somebody else had the same problem with an older Sigma lens so it looks like quite a common defect.

Second, the build quality was poor. The focusing ring was covered by cheap rubber which had some strange feel. The previous owner obviously was trying to clean the lens with some solvent, which damaged the rubber and it was increasingly hard to turn. After several shots it almost got stuck.

Finally, I was not satisfied with the image quality. Colors were OK but sharpness was not very impressive at all. Indoor shots were disappointing.

I do not take the liberty to recommend or not to recommend this lens. I would advice to try it before buying. Probably you will have a different experience.
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