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Sigma 70-300mm F4-5.6 DG Macro

Reviews Views Date of last review
30 102,575 Sun January 13, 2019
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
80% of reviewers $120.79 6.97
Sigma 70-300mm F4-5.6 DG Macro

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

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
(in production)
USD current price
User reviews

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

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Senior Member

Registered: May, 2010
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 176
Lens Review Date: May 15, 2011 I can recommend this lens: No | Price: $160.00 | Rating: 6 

Pros: cheap, zoom range
Cons: low resolution, not so good color rendition

I bought this lens along with my K-x as a cheaper alternative. I shot almost 3000 shots in 11 months with it and the keepers are very less. One thing that I hate about this lens is - its color rendition made me think that I have to upgrade my body soon to a k-5. I thought that k-x is not capable of producing eye popping colors until I bought that gem of a zoom 16-45mm f4 and 100-300mm f4.7 silver lens.

1. It produces sharper images b/n 100-200 range and b/n f5.6 to f8 apertures. But the catch is, the subject should be nearer.
2. Pseudo macro ability. With filters it would be even more fun. But I feel the kit lens gives good macro shots than this.
3. For longer distance shots the resolution is so low that it makes me feel that a Point-and-Shoot is better than my k-x.

1. The colors are always dull. Many times I wonder why I am not able to atleast match the colors before my eyes with this lens, although I boosted the saturation in the vibrant custom processing mode.
2. Hunts for AF even in moderate light.
3. The macro mode is pain in neck. You should readjust the zoom range to use it (only after 200mm)
4. In low light, its almost useless.

After using this lens for 11 months, I came to a conclusion that compromise in buying lenses may hinder the appetite for photography. It doesn't mean we should get those costliest lenses, but save some money and buy the best possible glass.

Veteran Member

Registered: September, 2010
Location: Northeast Philadelphia
Posts: 1,136
Lens Review Date: January 25, 2011 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $159.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Fast focus, IQ, sharpness, contrast, build quality, value, 1:2 macro
Cons: PF in out of focus areas

After reading the mostly negative reviews here, I felt obliged to offer my perspective, which is a bit different. I received this lens for Christmas, and, based on the price, I expected a flimsy, mediocre-quality lens. But I am very happy with this lens so far. I've actually only had it a week and I've only had the opportunity to do some hand-held shooting, but I am impressed with the results. It's solid and the zoom & focus rings are smooth, though the zoom ring had some tight spots initially that I needed to work out.

A lot of lenses out there claim macro with a 1:4 ratio. That's not really macro; it's hardly even close focus. But this lens does a 1:2 ratio, which still isn't macro, but it's reasonably close. And the sharpness, color and contrast are better than any other near-macro lens I have, including a Vivitar Series 1 28-90mm with 1:2 macro and a Tamron SP 60-300mm with 1:1.55 macro. To get the lens into macro mode, you must be in the 200-300mm range. To get it out of macro mode, you must be focused beyond macro distance. Here are two shots I took the day I got the lens at 300mm in the macro mode:

I did less post-processing of these images than I have any other images I've shot with my K-x. It was basically a little bit of recovery in the highlights, resize and upload to Flickr.

Here are a few more shots for reference, all hand held. You can check the EXIF for details:

I realize these are not pro-level photos, but this lens is under $200. I'd say it's a great consumer lens. The sharpness and IQ are comparable to my 18-55mm DAL kit lens, and the Sigma has better contrast. The only better lenses in my humble collection are my Pentax-M 50mm f1.4 and Pentax-A 28mm f2.8. I can't wait to do some tripod shooting with it, probably in the spring.
Senior Member

Registered: December, 2010
Location: Sydney, Australia
Posts: 125
Lens Review Date: December 31, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 7 

Pros: Cheap, BIG focal range, made in Japan
Cons: Image quality, a bit slow

This lens is reasonable and deserves a solid seven. As others have noted there is a lot of plastic in this lens. Especially when extended at 300mm. The Macro only functions between 200-300mm. Image quality was OK and not outstanding. I like the reversable lens hood and the case. I've had no mechanical problems with mine. Recommended for beginners on a budget.
I prefer the SMC-DA 50-200 to this lens and believe that it produces better IQ then this Sigma lens.......................................
Inactive Account

Registered: October, 2009
Posts: 2
Lens Review Date: November 28, 2010 I can recommend this lens: No | Price: None indicated | Rating: 3 

Cons: size, build quality, build quality, build quality

Lens is very, very long. Attracts a lot of attention whenever used.

It's built from a nasty cheap plastic, much worse than Pentax's plastic lenses. It rattles a lot, and turning the zoom ring is anything but smooth.

I wasn't very impressed with the IQ, although I admit I hardly used it before the aperture mechanism broke and I returned it.
New Member

Registered: April, 2010
Location: Dale City, Virginia
Posts: 5
Lens Review Date: June 27, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $100.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Length of focus
Cons: probelms in auto mode focusing quickly, Soft at full tilt.

Bought this lens from another member here on the forum for a good price. I am actually pleasantly suprised with the images that I got from this lens. Granted I am a novice at the SLR photo imaging, and I need to take more time learning my camera, but I would recommend this lens for a nice all around lens to have.
New Member

Registered: October, 2009
Location: United States
Posts: 23

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: October 29, 2009 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $150.00 | Rating: 7 

Pros: Cost, utility
Cons: Weight, size, softness at 300mm

I bought this lens based on reviews on Amazon and my budget. I was just stepping up to a DSLR and wanted a long reach lens but I didnt have the budget for much. I went back and forth between the Sigma and the Tamron and ended up with the Sigma.

The Good:

This is a great starter lens or budget lens. With a 1.5 crop factor it is a 105mm-450mm lens with true macro from 200-300mm (250-450 converted). Thats a lot of lens for $150. The macro is good but takes some getting used to. First you have to go past 200mm, then flip a switch to go to macro focusing. When you are done, you have to do all of that in reverse or it wont retract. The macro focusing is good but most of the time you will want to switch to manual. The zoom ring has a nice positive feel that lets you stop when you want to and go when you want to. Some zooms are a little too "lose" for my taste. Because of its size, hand held shooting needs daylight and even then if you can use a tripod, do. With a tripod, the sharpness is excellent. This lens has a definite sweet spot between 135mm and 200mm, f/8. Shoot in this range and you will get amazing results.

The Bad
This thing is BIG and HEAVY. At 300mm and the full macro focusing, this lens is HUGE!! Do not try using it on a cheep tripod. I did, its frustrating. Because of the size and weight, it flops around more than some lenses. BE CAREFUL! Focus at either end is not a strong point. There is softness and CA at 300mm and at the low end of the f-stops. IF you can shoot f/8 or better, you will get better results.

This is not a "digital" lens. It is a full frame, 35mm film lens that works great on new Pentax digitals. As long as you understand and accept its limitations, you will get a lot of value from it.

This was taken shortly after I bought the lens - 200mm, f/4.5

Also shortly after I bought it, hand held, 300mm, f/5.6

Lens Review Date: August 21, 2009 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: N/A 


This lens isn't terribly soft at 200mm-300mm... at least mine isn't. I regulary even shoot wide-open and am quite happy with the results.

Registered: December, 2007
Location: Upstate New York
Posts: 8,871
Lens Review Date: August 1, 2009 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 6 

Pros: Inexpensive, light
Cons: A little soft wide open and at full tele, AF hunts

This lens came included in the package deal I got with my K10D and 18-55 kit lens when I bought my camera at Ritz. I have been using it for almost 2 years now in all kinds of conditions. Most of the negatives have been covered by the other reviews but after learning the limitations of this lens I have been getting good shots. For a lens that sells for around $125 new it does a good job. On bright sunny days outdoors it is very good . I use it mostly for sports (Skiing and crew racing). Most of my shooting is done between f8 and f11 with f11 being the sweet spot on my copy when extended to 250-300. It is very sharp at the shorter end and has a decent bokeh. The macro/closeup feature works well and only between 200-300mm. My shots seem to come out much sharper with the macro than fully extended as a tele. Also I have noticed that up to 200mm the tele is very sharp and often, especially in low light, I stop at 200mm and crop. The 200-300 range seems to be optimized for the close ups. I used it at a night game at Fenway shooting from the rt. field bleachers and got good crops shooting wide open and stopping around 200mm. This lens does get slammed quite a bit but if you are on a tight budget and can't afford the APO version or the DA 50-300 and need a cheap AF zoom this lens will do the job.
Veteran Member

Registered: July, 2009
Posts: 1,291
Lens Review Date: July 17, 2009 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 6 

Pros: Very cheap for its range. 1:2 'Macro'. Good range. Decent IQ, even quite good around the middle of the zoom range.
Cons: Image quality above 200mm is poor, which also limits the 'macro' capability as it is only available after 200mm and only 1:2 at 300mm. Above 200mm and esp at 300mm this lens is soft. Front element rotates.

I would recommend this if you were on a budget. I sold my Pentax DA 50-200mm because I wanted to shoot at the 200mm end where the Pentax was really poor. The Sigma is OK up to 200. I have taken some really sharp shots around 150mm. Try and avoid above 200mm, especially 300mm, it's terribly soft. I think this better than the Pentax budget 50-200 zoom, and maybe cheaper. The front elemt is bigger though. I am told the APO version is often (but not always) better than this lens.
Veteran Member

Registered: July, 2007
Location: North West UK
Posts: 382
Lens Review Date: June 24, 2009 I can recommend this lens: No | Price: $150.00 | Rating: 5 

Pros: Good image quality, light weight. cheap, good close-up
Cons: Sigma quality issues, some CA

Hmmm what do I say about this lens?

Well I bought it at a cheap price, to replace my 100-300mm DL F4.5-6.7 sigma, mainly for the improved optics, light weight and "macro" capability (although not "true" macro)

Initially the images were very good, even on my K20D, which we all know is very demending on good optics.

However, recently it is now causing problems. firstly the cameras will not register the lens for the SR function. and now, if you use the Fn button the display keeps going off so you cannot change the WB, ISO etc etc. Other lenses are not a problem.

So, Finally, how can I summerise this lens. Well, intially the IQ is good, and the small size is great, but this is a big but, the sigma quality control issues come to the fore.
If you get a good one, then great, the performance is great, but there may be a time when suddenly the lens will stop working properly. (I said may).
But the price is very tempting.

So I would say yes, a good lens, but, no, if you get a bad one like I have. hence the 5 rating.
Lens Review Date: April 20, 2009 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $162.00 | Rating: 7 

Pros: Cheap for a lens, hefty feel, little zoom creep, MF distance scale, macro scale, DOF scale, 1:2 macro mode
Cons: Non-accurate AF, loose MF ring, scratchy zoom ring, poor at 300mm, green colour cast

I bought this lens at a local camera store for about $200 CAD, it was on sale and I was in need of a tele-zoom with auto-focus.

The lens seems OK. Built quality was higher than expected, a silky felt-like finish. I wouldn't however try to dig my fingernail into it as it would probably peel away.

The zoom ring is stiff and scratchy to turn, becoming stiffest toward 300mm. In contrast, the MF ring is extremely loose to turn, too loose for my personal taste. This does have the advantage of faster manual-focus, though not so much fine-tuning, unlike my SMC PENTAX-A* 300mm F4. The A* has a more rigid MF ring with longer throw which makes for very accurate focus, at the expense of speed.

Front-element rotates, making use of polarizer filters and / or attaching and removing the hood difficult. Switch to MF to avoid stripping the AF gears. Filter threads are plastic (lame).

Image quality wise, better than expected for such a low-budget lens. I was bracing myself for tons of blurry colour-casted shots. The results surprised me considerably.

The lens can be quite sharp on my *ist D, provide you don't crop alot and view on a pixel-by-pixel level. For web use, it is just fine. Photos do need some post-processing to squeeze the quality out of them. There is indeed a greenish colour cast which has been reported by other users. I know it is the lens as my A* with the same WB under the same lighting produces more natural colours.

This colour cast on the 70-300mm isn't unbearable, though. It can be fixed afterward on the computer. Sharpening is almost always needed as well. So, if you aren't particularly handy with image-editing software, either get a more expensive (and heavier) lens, or learn to use the software. In today's world we all need at some point.

Auto-focus is OK, usually. I find focusing errors to happen all-too-frequently. Even though the AF is clearly locked onto a conspicuous subject, it is still OOF. By switching to MF and tweaking the ring the viewfinder image "pops" out. My copy could be defective, though. I heard about poor quality-control with SIGMAS, your copy could be better or could be worse.

Another tip: If the camera body you are using does not have image stabilization ("Shake Reduction" on PENTAX), or it is turned off, shoot with a shutter-speed at least twice the number of the focal length of the lens in use. I'm not talking the actual lens focal length, rather, the 35mm equivalent. For example:

300mm lens =
• 450mm equivalent on PENTAX, NIKON, SONY APS-C (1.5x sensor crop factor)
• 480mm on CANON APS-C (1.6x sensor crop factor)

In the example, that would be a minimum handheld speed of 1/900 second and 1/960 second, respectively. It does make a huge difference in photo sharpness by following this simple rule.

Happy shooting! Feel free to contact me with further questions / advice on this lens, I'm happy to help.


1/400 second at F6.3
300mm focal length
ISO 400

CULLMANN macro-tripod used.


1/1250 second at F8
300mm focal length
ISO 800


Bottom line:

If you can't afford a "pro" lens (like me), and don't mind the inevitable compromises, this lens could be a good choice for you. From 70-200mm, it is sharp on my *ist D. Sharpness should be even better on K100D, K200D, etc.., since the *ist D is known for soft JPGS. Shooting RAW or doing heavy PP is neccesary to get good-enough results from this lens. The more you zoom and crop, the poorer quality, keep this in mind.

F11 at 70mm, progressing to F13 at 300mm, are the peak point for quality.
Site Supporter

Registered: March, 2009
Location: Gladys, Virginia
Posts: 22,564
Lens Review Date: March 23, 2009 I can recommend this lens: No | Price: $75.00 | Rating: 5 

Pros: Cost
Cons: Slow auto focus/ poor contrast

I got this lens to cover my telephoto needs. I guess I could say that it does an adequate job. Unfortunately, the contrast is poor enough that the lens does a lot of hunting. Manual focus is stiff and not particularly usable. The best feature of this lens really is its macro capability. Using a tripod, it is possible to get pretty sharp macro shots with it, however even here, the poor contrast and color don't measure up to other lenses.

The best thing it has going for it is its cost. That being said, I wish I had saved the money I spent on it and applied it to other higher end glass.
Veteran Member

Registered: October, 2007
Location: Denver, CO
Posts: 438
Lens Review Date: January 4, 2009 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $125.00 | Rating: 7 

Pros: Price to value ratio, good contrast and color.
Cons: Soft and slow at the longer end, no IF, no AL elements.

I see this as a "Rodney Dangerfield" of Sigma lenses... It gets "no respect." I bought this lens because I only had $125 to spend on a lens and wanted to replace an old JC Penny 35-200 f3.5 that I used on my K1000. I'm not sure if others have gotten a poor copy of this lens, as Sigma is kind of famous for, but the value of this lens for the initial price is outstanding. I've used this lens in a variety of situations indoors and out, and find that I'm typically pleased with the performance.

The negatives? I do have to keep in mind when shooting that between 250 and 300, the image becomes soft to the point that it has a negative effect on the final image, even after processing. That does effect the "Macro" ability of this lens, as you can only focus in the macro range with the lens set between 200 and 300. No internal focusing mechanism means that using a circular polarizer filter is nearly impossible unless you have lots of time to work with it. In extreme contrast situations, PF is a problem due to the lack of aspherical elements, and the amount if PF can even be more than Corel PSPX2 can handle. AF is certainly noisy and it does struggle to find focus a bit more than the kit lens.

Between 70 and 250, I couldn't ask for a whole lot more. In daylight situations, this lens works like a champ. I typically use the lens hood and have never noticed flare, but by the same token I try not to shoot directly into the sun. I like the colors that this lens produces and find that it makes a nice, contrasty image. I like the bokeh in narrow DOF images and although it could never compare to a FA77 ltd., it works fine for a portrait lens around 70mm.

For what this lens is, it's a great value. Don't expect to buy a $130 lens and get $700 lens performance, but if you have $130 to spend, you will be pleasantly surprised with what you get for the money.

Some samples:
Dead flower Bird In a Pear Tree
Leopard (at 300mm) Light Bulb
Rolly Polly (at 300mm)

Registered: February, 2008
Location: Hawkesbury
Posts: 1,150
Lens Review Date: May 25, 2008 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $100.00 | Rating: 6 

Pros: Light, cheap, usable when stopped down & long range macro
Cons: light, cheap, poor colour, bokeh & CA. Are all copies different?
Sharpness: 7    Aberrations: 6    Bokeh: 6    Autofocus: 7    Handling: 5    Value: 9   

I used this lens while waiting for better 300mm options to become available.
The most notable flaw of this lens is its build quality. Both zoom and focus controls are rough. Optically, it can be made to produce sharp images but any subject more than 8 metres away will show poor colour. High contrast situations usually produce significant colour fringing (on K10D).

That said, in the last 10 months, this has been my most used lens. Why?
The lens is light and compact for its focal length so I could carry it anywhere and be ready for action in seconds. For closer subjects, particularly those within flash range, it could still produce satisfactory results. Shutter speeds as low as 1/8th of a second were giving me about a 50% hit rate with SR turned on. While image quality was less than perfect, the lens was sharp enough to capture a good record of what I was watching.

So while it is hard to recommend this lens, for some uses, particularly hand held and macro where you need a good working distance, it may be good enough. If you do choose this lens:
Avoid backlit situations.
Try and stop it down a bit.
Get closer so as you can zoom out a bit (do as I say, not as I do on this one).
Get acquainted with image editing software.

Ultimately someone else thought it was good enough to relieve me of it and to be honest, I miss it.

Edit: I am editing my recommendation of this lens because I myself went against my previous recommendation of no. I actually went and bought another one in a kit with a K20D.
I almost need to write another review as the failings of this copy are different to those of the previous copy. Here is a list.
Bokeh behind focus is improved.
Bokeh infront of focus is worse (more like my DA18-55).
CA is just as bad.
I think it is sharper in the centre (can't really fault it).
Much softer on the edges (but will have to put it on K10D to be sure).
This copy is tighter and better damped.
Also has a different finish.

I'm hoping I won't be using it much as I can hear the call of the DA*300.

Samples at 300mm both on K20D with newer copy:

Wide open in poor light:
Community Manager

Registered: March, 2007
Location: Toowoomba, Queensland
Posts: 23,622
Lens Review Date: April 28, 2008 I can recommend this lens: No | Price: $150.00 | Rating: 5 

Pros: Cheap, pseudo-macro capability
Cons: Cheap, poor IQ, CA/PF

Probably the most affordable consumer telezoom available.
I was not impressed, however, by the image quality on this lens - a lot of PF and CA, poor contrast and dull colours.

AF is relatively fast, and good captures can be made if lighting conditions are perfect and the lens is stopped down, but these conditions are rare, and the performance really drops from 200-300mm, which is the range where the "macro" part of the lens operates.

If thinking of a telezoom, bypass this one and go right to the APO counterpart or Tamron 70-300. Otherwise wait for the Pentax DA 55-300 to come around...
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