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Sigma DG Macro 70-300mm F4-5.6 Review RSS Feed

Sigma DG Macro 70-300mm F4-5.6

Reviews Views Date of last review
31 117,072 Sun June 25, 2023
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
81% of reviewers $125.28 7.00
Sigma DG Macro 70-300mm F4-5.6

Sigma DG Macro 70-300mm F4-5.6
Sigma DG Macro 70-300mm F4-5.6
Sigma DG Macro 70-300mm F4-5.6

The 70-300mm zoom telephoto was made in numerous versions and generations by sigma - 4 versions listed in the legacy zooms section, two in the current zooms section (see here for the current "apo" version.

This is the least expensive of the Sigma 70-300mm autofocus zoom lenses. It has a macro mode offering 0.5x magnification. Its range is useful for portraiture, amateur sports, and trips to the zoo.

Sigma 70-300mm F4-5.6 DG Macro
©, sharable with attribution
Image Format
Full-frame / 35mm film
Lens Mount
Pentax K
Aperture Ring
Yes (A setting)
Automatic, 9 blades
14 elements, 10 groups
Mount Variant
Check camera compatibility
Max. Aperture
Min. Aperture
AF (screwdrive)
Min. Focus
95 cm
Max. Magnification
Filter Size
58 mm
Internal Focus
Field of View (Diag. / Horiz.)

APS-C: 23.1-5.4 ° / 19.4-4.5 °
Full frame: 34.3-8.2 ° / 28.7-6.8 °
Lens Cap
Weather Sealing
Other Features
Diam x Length
76.6x122 mm (3x4.8 in.)
545 g (19.2 oz.)
Production Years
USD current price
User reviews

Buy Lens: Buy the Sigma DG Macro 70-300mm F4-5.6
Price: $169
Mount Type: Pentax KAF2/KAF (screwdrive AF)
Price History:

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Sort Reviews by: Date | Author | Rating | Recommendation | Likes (Descending) Showing Reviews 1-15 of 31
Junior Member

Registered: June, 2023
Posts: 30
Review Date: June 25, 2023 Recommended | Price: $233.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: overall Fantastic lens
Cons: Its a 70-300mm, May be too heavy
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 4    Value: 10    Camera Used: K5 K100D    Autofocus: 9    New Or Used: New   

After using this lens again after 2 years and now able to use it correctly, I can say that it has to be one of my favorite lenses ever. Its not perfect by any means but when you use it for events, wildlife and even portraits it works so well. Images will be at the bottom for reference.

1. Lens Quality/Build. This lens is built exceptionally well, it's plastic but there's a good weight to it, and the zoom functions/focus ring still works with 0 issues 10/10 (was bought new with Pentax K100D)

When at Northern nats you have to use manual focus for everything and its amazing, great fine tuning on the focus and the zoom is just insane, the ergonomics of this lens is amazing. people say "you just get used to it", No when it comes to doing pin point moving targets with constant zooming in and out having the focus at the front is so damn helpful, being able to brace the zoom ring with your palm of your hand while using your fingers to focus is unmatched, want 300mm zoom with crisp photos without any motion blur Hand held? this lens WILL do it, i can use this lens at 1/20th of a second and still have no motion blur (Shake reduction, and coffee).

2. Image Quality and colours. When it comes to image quality its Very good, its not prefect and depending on your aperture and zoom but it won't let you down.

If you want the highest quality stop it down to f10/f11, f8 seems to have a bit softness but wide open f4 its soft but not too bad.

When it comes to zooming the only time it suffers is all the way zoomed out and all the way zoomed in but everything in-between its 10/10. When i say everything in-between, i mean 71mm-299mm, but on the longer end i have found it focus goes weird after 296mm

When it comes to colours it gives a very surreal but natural look, probably the best explanation of its colours are "ultra realism" its not flat but not deep either, its got the nice digital look that we look for in Plasma displays.

3. Functionality/ Use issues. I have found this lens works best in dryer climates, this lens was used in New Zealand just after the earthquakes, It does function in snow and in -14C but i am unaware if its water resistant. It easily keeps out dust and smoke, when i say smoke i mean dense smoke that blocks out the sun.

The lens seems to be coated well, tire rubber from burnouts comes off well without any issues although i recommend using 2 cloths.

This lens has no issues with direct sunlight, i haven't managed to find any photos that have lens flairs from using this lens, and it doesn't hold heat or cause your hands to sweat when holding it. This lens isn't fragile but if you intentionally try to damage it or get careless with it you can damage this lens but general ware will be minimal. My lens is damaged unfortunately, the main lens to the sensor has massive damage to the coating but it doesn't cause any issues, the top most inner lens seems to have either a small crack or fungus growing on it along with a bit of dust but no optical issues are present.

When it comes to using this lens in general, if your camera is too light or you don't have a counterweight by using a metal tripod plate you will struggle to comfortably use this lens, I use a 230g tripod plate to counterweight the body of the camera specifically for heavy lenses like this and it works fantastic. Although if you have a light camera body even with a counterweight you might struggle as when using my K100D nothing helps counter balance the lens and i can only hold the camera for 2 minutes at a time.

Verdict. if you can get a cheap one, go out and get one. you won't be disappointment

Veteran Member

Registered: April, 2013
Posts: 1,237
Review Date: January 13, 2019 Recommended | Price: $166.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: good zoom spread, auto and manual aperture, macro mode
Cons: weight, awkward transition from normal to zoom and vice versa

Bought this one new primarily for the macro mode. A good auto focus lens that gives a very respectable spread of zoom. The macro mode has a longer minimum focus distance than I am used to but gives a good magnification whilst not crowding the subject. Like Sigma lenses f this type, switching from normal to macro and vice versa needs to be within a certain set of parameters, it took me a little while to get used to it but with time it would become easier. Works well with the older body and the new, generally a very useful lens.
Custom User Title

Registered: January, 2016
Location: Alberta
Posts: 6,520
Review Date: July 22, 2018 Recommended | Price: $70.00 | Rating: 7 

Pros: Inexpensive, focal range, relatively sharp for what it is, very nice and usable macro!
Cons: zoom creep, not tack sharp, not the fastest aperture
Sharpness: 7    Aberrations: 6    Bokeh: 6    Handling: 7    Value: 9    Camera Used: Pentax K-S2    Autofocus: 7    New Or Used: Used   

This was one of my first lenses and I was extremely happy with this one for a long time! It was my go-to birding lens forever (I replaced with 50-300 PLM )
These guys are pretty cheap and can get you come excellent results including some nice macro work!
I was really disappointed with the zoom creep, I ended up buying a huge rubber band to put around the lens to stop the creep - pretty annoying.
Still a decent lens regarding optics though!
New Member

Registered: June, 2011
Location: Hawai'i
Posts: 1
Review Date: April 15, 2018 Recommended | Price: $130.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Versatility of this lens is good under good conditions.
Cons: Turns soft under less then optimal conditions
Sharpness: 7    Aberrations: 6    Bokeh: 7    Handling: 8    Value: 9    Camera Used: Pentax K-1 Mark II    Autofocus: 8    New Or Used: New   

I had all but written of this lens that I have had for years, but as I moved to the full-frame Pentax K-1 Mark II body, I decided to give it another shot. It was pleasantly surprising how well quality turned out compared to the low price and large range of this lens. Great value under perfect conditions.
Site Supporter

Registered: December, 2014
Posts: 149
Review Date: May 5, 2016 Recommended | Price: $75.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp, Macro, Good Value
Cons: Need to shoot wide open to maximise light, so very thin DOF. Zoom Creep
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 6    Value: 9    Camera Used: K3ii    Autofocus: 8    New Or Used: Used   

I bought this and started to use it with my K-30. The results were very poor.
I nearly returned it, since it was sold to me as the APO version, but wasn't.

Then my K-30 broke, and I tried it with a new K3ii. The results were on a different planet.

The Macro capability gives great results, being able to close focus on the children for outdoor portrait shots, and on bugs and birds. Quite why it behaved so differently on the two cameras, I have no idea.

I'm just waiting for a dark clear night to attempt an astro shot with it.
New Member

Registered: December, 2013
Posts: 23

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: November 10, 2014 Recommended | Price: $150.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: sharp enough, good walkaround, budget lens
Cons: big and heavy for some users
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 8    Value: 9    Autofocus: 9    New Or Used: Used   

Certainly this lens is not a pro lens, and not suitable for pro quality shootings. On the other hand you will have to pay at least five to six times more to buy a similar focal length pro lens like 70-200 f/2.8.

So, for hobbiests like me it is an ideal budget lens to use for nature photography, shooting birds and other animals. 1/2 macro is another bonus for this lens to shoot butterflies, and you don't have to get too close to them cause they fly away easily.

Conclusion, af zoom lens for this price with acceptable results, you should always keep it in your bag, you may always need it...
Senior Member

Registered: February, 2014
Posts: 241
Review Date: June 9, 2014 Recommended | Price: $60.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Cost Good sharpness
Cons: CA but not as bad others have mentioned
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 8    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-50    Autofocus: 7    New Or Used: Used   

I just got back into the photo game having learned ages ago on a Minolta film camera. I bought this used from the marketplace here and have been having a lot of fun with it. CA can be manages. For example the Cedar Waxwing has pretty high contrast but no CA.

The lens is great when you have a good target such as a perched bird. It can be frustrating when trying to pick up a fast moving object. The macro only works at 300mm but I've gotten some nice shots using it.

It is a little bulky compared to the Pentax 55-300 but not so much that I would consider an issue for me. Best sharpness is a stop or two down from wide open.

I know this is not prime sharp but none the less it is pretty darn good for under $100 lens. At full retail I would likely opt for the Pentax 55-300 but if you are on a budget and can get a good price on a used copy I say go for it.

Cedar Waxwing. © Ted Werth by tw0759, on Flickr

IMGP2879 by tw0759, on Flickr

Maco function:
IMGP2981 by tw0759, on Flickr

IMGP2015 by tw0759, on Flickr

2014-04-12 14.17.23 by tw0759, on Flickr

IMGP1503 by tw0759, on Flickr

IMGP1477 by tw0759, on Flickr

Not a 100% crop but probably 75-80%
IMGP3723 by tw0759, on Flickr

Near 100% crop - Edited to sharpen detail.
2014-04-12 14.28.30 by tw0759, on Flickr
New Member

Registered: September, 2011
Posts: 15
Review Date: April 15, 2014 Recommended | Price: $100.00 | Rating: 7 

Pros: lightweight, wide zoom range, macro
Cons: Chromatic aberration
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 6    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 8    Value: 10    Camera Used: Sony Alpha A700    Autofocus: 7    New Or Used: New   

Cheap lens, good price-performance ratio. Sweet point at F8 and around 200mm, moving to the extremes gets worse but not bad. I'd recommend it.
Forum Member

Registered: November, 2012
Posts: 66
Review Date: May 26, 2013 Recommended | Price: $170.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Cheap, light, sharp, fast AF, 1:2 Macro
Cons: CA , font element rotates, poor macro
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 10    Autofocus: 10    New Or Used: New   

I rate this lens 10 because it is great for its price.

I have used this lens quite a bit on my K5 and I like it. I use it in situation where I need different focal for fast subjects. For example, it is very convenient in amusement parks and animal shows. The AF is very fast and pictures are ok. So, I am very satisfied with the results.

My copy is decent sharp at all focal lengths. I got excellent results, very sharp at 70 mm, not as sharp as my FA77 but enough. It is weaker beyond 200 mm, but it can still give acceptable results even at 300mm in good light.

It shows some CA in situations with high contrast but it is easily corrected in PP.

The front element rotates during focus. This is problematic with filters.

I never got a macro shot that I really like with this lens, so I would not recommend it for that.

It is light, cheap and very efficient in good light, so I recommend it as a very useful zoom.
Veteran Member

Registered: February, 2013
Location: Melbourne
Posts: 2,551

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: May 20, 2013 Recommended | Price: None indicated | Rating: 6 

Pros: Cheap
Cons: Hunts - has problems locking in focus
Sharpness: 7    Aberrations: 6    Bokeh: 7    Handling: 6    Value: 6    Autofocus: 4    New Or Used: Used   

There are two aspects to this lens , normal 70-300 and Macro 200-300 ..

In normal mode this lens works rather well , especially if there is enough light . On a nice sunny day the lens can perform like a champ , take nice sharp pictures , but as the light fails so does the lens ( seems normal for budget lenses ) , and performance suffers with diminishing light .

In macro mode , if everything is right , the lens can work effectively , but you will want a tripod or something as at 200-300 Macro their is a fair bit of movement hand held . Also with more complicated subjects ( last image ) the lens simply refused to lock in the focus , and was stepping in and out of focus constantly ( stuck in a sort of loop ) . With the last picture , I gave up on the auto focus and switched to manual , to be able to take the picture ..

This is a very average lens overall , if you can find it cheap enough it might be worth trying . In good light , and no macro , it might serve your needs well enough , certainly worth a try if your on a budget .

I would recommend this lens with reservation : Macro performance ??? - Low light performance ?? - Used in nice sunlight , it may very well do the job , just expect there to be limitations to what the lens can handle .. Perfect conditions = Good pictures , Bad conditions = not so stellar performance
New Member

Registered: February, 2012
Posts: 17

4 users found this helpful
Review Date: February 17, 2013 Recommended | Price: $100.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Good IQ, natural colours, affordable
Cons: None
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 9    Autofocus: 9    New Or Used: New   

I have enjoyed taking photos for 50 years, and shooting Pentax for 40, but I have never spent much money on my equipment, so although I can compare this lens to many others, I'd be surprised if any of them would be found in a professional arsenal. That said, I bought this new, and a second hand Pentax FA 80-320 (for slightly more than I paid for the new Sigma 70-300), with a view to keeping one for myself and giving one to my daughter. I played with them on holiday for a couple of weeks, and found I liked them both very much. The pictures didn't look the same, but I couldn't say I liked one more than the other. In the end I gave my daughter the Pentax, because I have longer lenses than 300, and she doesn't. Since then she has taken many fantastic shots with the Pentax on Safari in Africa, and I like much of what I have taken with the Sigma. Indoors with a big flash bouncing off the ceiling, outdoors with a Circular Polariser zooming in to landscapes and seascapes, and garden birds or butterflies on buddleias. I find the sensor noise on my Samsung GX-20 very annoying if I have the ISO set higher than 100. So trying to shoot my nephew playing Rugby didn't work. I got better results with the Tair 300, even though it weighs a ton, it wasn't on a tripod, and I was focusing manually. Since then, I have picked up a second-hand Pentax K-x, which I find acceptable at ISO 800, so I have now taken photos at Rugby matches with this lens that I felt were satisfactory.

At 300 mm wide open (f 5.6), the Tair (f 4.5) captures more detail. The Revuenon (Tele-Ennalyt) (f 5.6) gets less. The Sigma 70-300 colours look nicer to my eye; more natural. The Sigma 75-300 APO gets less detail also, but its colours are nicer still (though possibly less natural). The Sigma 75-300 non-APO λ-2 also gets less detail; its colours more resemble the 70-300. With the 70-300, CA is apparent in high contrast OOF areas, this is the only time I notice CA.

At 200 mm, only my Komine Vivitar 200 mm (f 3.5) captures more detail, but the Sigma 70-300 (f 4.5) colours are much nicer; you would think that the tigers at London Zoo are black and white if you'd seen the Komine images straight from the camera. Detail-wise, the Sigma 70-300 matches the Tamron Adaptall-2 70-210 Model 52A and the model 46A (both f 4), exceeds by a small margin the Pentax F 70-210 f4-5.6 and the Sigma 75-300 APO (f 4.5), and a larger margin the Sigma XQ 80-200 f3.5, which in turn is better than the Tokina 70-210 f4-4.5, and the Samyang 70-210 f4-5.6. Apart from the Komine, none of my motley array of 200 f 3.5 prime lenses match the Tamrons wide open. Again, I like the colours of the Sigma 75-300 APO the best.

At 70 mm, my Sigma 70-300 captures more detail than my Pentax FAJ 28-80 f3.5-5.6, Pentax F 35-70 f3.5-4.5, Pentax FA 28-90 f3.5-4.5, Pentax FA 28-70 f4, Pentax F 28-80 f3.5-4.5 and Pentax FA 28-105 f4-5.6 PZ. Though I wouldn't necessarily say I prefer the Sigma to the Pentax images.

I have primes that out-resolve my Sigma 70-300 when the primes are wide open at 300 mm, 200 mm and 135 mm (the CZJ Sonnar 135 f3.5), but I have many more (faster) primes that do not. So good if not matchless IQ, nice colours, and fast and accurate autofocus, make for a pleasing package.

My son has the older version of this lens, the Non-APO 70-300 DL. He also obtains good, sharp, colourful results with it. Based on my experience of the colours from the APO 75-300, and how they differ from my non-APO copy of that lens, I would be interested in trying the APO version of this lens, but I am at a loss to understand why the non-APO lens is rated so poorly by so many others, based on the comparisons I can make with other lenses that are reviewed on this site that are more highly rated; the Pentax F 70-210 f4-5.6 for instance.

I have tried this lens with the Kenko MC4 Pz-AF DG 2x teleconverter. In broad daylight autofocus works from 70-200mm, that is, as long as the wide-open aperture is less than or equal to f4.5. I can discern more detail with the teleconverter than I can without it, but you effectively get a 1.4x teleconverter increase in range (300mm to 400mm) for the cost of the 2x teleconverter 2 f stops brightness. But I'm happy for £20.

UPDATE: I managed to pick up a Sigma 70-300mm f4-5.6 APO for £35, so I can finally comment on the differences. At 70mm on an APS-C D-SLR there is little between them; the APO seems to give slightly brighter colours is all I can see. The difference gets more pronounced as the focal length increases, but not by much. The MTF diagrams for the two lenses would suggest that most of the difference between the two lenses is to be seen outside the APS-C image area. The DG has a more flexible macro facility; the APO just has closer focus at 300mm. The APO doesn't work any better than the DG with the Kenko MC4 Pz-AF DG 2x teleconverter.
New Member

Registered: August, 2012
Location: Uppsala
Posts: 15

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: December 2, 2012 Recommended | Price: $180.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: affordable, nice shots when used properly
Cons: few, given the price tag
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 10    Autofocus: 8    New Or Used: New   

The Bokeh Club-giraffe2.jpg i bought this lens as my first telezoom ever. I was actually quite new with DSLR's when I bought it but had extensive experience with primes from the film era. To my surprise, and contrary to many reviews, I believe that the lens delivered some nice shoots, and even so more, given the price tag. This lens is now with my daughter in Kenya and have taken some very nice shots of rare animals, including cervals.

I The Bokeh Club-imgp0270.jpg can certainly recomend this lens, if the shots are bad. It isn't due to the lens..The Bokeh Club-orphant.jpg
New Member

Registered: April, 2012
Posts: 4
Review Date: April 10, 2012 Recommended | Price: $125.00 | Rating: 7 

Pros: Macro function, good value for money.
Cons: Slow focus
Sharpness: 7    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 7    Handling: 6    Value: 8    Autofocus: 4    New Or Used: New   

Cheap lens, good value. The downside though is that it's AF function is quite slow, so if you're an amateur sports photographer that needs to focus quickly, either use MF or go for a different lens. That's the biggest downfall for this lens.
Veteran Member

Registered: November, 2009
Location: Calgary, Alberta
Posts: 507

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: September 14, 2011 Not Recommended | Price: $90.00 | Rating: 2 

Pros: cheap
Cons: cheap, extremely slow AF, poor IQ
Sharpness: 4    Aberrations: 4    Bokeh: 5    Handling: 6    Value: 6    Autofocus: 1   

This was the first "long" lens I owned and had great hopes for such a great value. Once I opened the box and was able to try the lens out I was very disappointed. No matter how hard I tried I could never get a "tack sharp" photo at any focal length. The auto-focus is extremely slow and often continuously searches with no results. You can get these used for some cheap prices but beware, the price reflects the quality of the lens. I've boxed mine up and put it in the closet. I couldn't morally sell this to someone with hoped of receiving a good lens.
Forum Member

Registered: February, 2010
Location: Tartu, Estonia
Posts: 83
Review Date: September 1, 2011 Recommended | Price: $100.00 | Rating: 7 

Pros: Price, zoom range, macro ability
Cons: Build quality, size
Sharpness: 7    Aberrations: 6    Bokeh: 7    Handling: 7    Value: 8    Autofocus: 6   

I think this is the best you can get if you're on a budget like me. I gets you close to very far and very near objects. Being big, the lens is not easy to carry around, but the looks definetely adds to the cool factor. The greatest downside for me is build quality. Sometimes the lens loses connection with the camera and needs some wobbling to start functioning. The AF is not very fast, perhaps because of the weight of the glass and distance the motor has to move. However, since I don't use tele lenses very often, I'm happy with all the millimeters I get for the price.
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