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Sigma AF 70-300mm F4-5.6 DL Macro Super Review RSS Feed

Sigma AF 70-300mm F4-5.6 DL Macro Super

Sharpness 
 8.3
Aberrations 
 7.5
Bokeh 
 8.0
Handling 
 6.3
Value 
 9.4
Autofocus 
 8.5
Reviews Views Date of last review
7 51,741 Sat January 20, 2018
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Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
100% of reviewers $151.71 7.86
Sigma AF 70-300mm F4-5.6 DL Macro Super

Sigma AF 70-300mm F4-5.6 DL Macro Super
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Sigma AF 70-300mm F4-5.6 DL Macro Super
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Description:
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.
58mm threads, has aperture ring, macro switch available at 300mm FL

Both older (left) and newer (right) variants are pictured.

Shutterbug review from 2000 comparing the APO Macro super and the DL Macro Super (film).
Mount Type: Pentax KAF2/KAF (screwdrive AF)
Price History:



Add Review of Sigma AF 70-300mm F4-5.6 DL Macro Super
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New Member

Registered: January, 2017
Posts: 22
Lens Review Date: January 20, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $65.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: versatility, macro function, sharp when stopped down, cheap
Cons: CAs at wide open can make the photos quite soft, low contrast at long end, zoom hangs up a bit
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 6    Bokeh: 7    Handling: 7    Value: 10    Camera Used: K7    Autofocus: 9    New Or Used: 10   

I'm rating this lens highly despite its drawbacks, mainly for its versatility and unbeatable price. Yes, it is not greatly sharp, the CAs make me laugh sometimes, and photos require more processing to bring up contrast and clarity, but this lens has given me photos that no other lens I have could achieve.

The macro function, although not 'true' macro, serves me well and turns the lens into a great walkabout, because I don't have to swap lenses for every photo. The macro at 300mm, while too long for some situations, makes it easier to get photos of insects such as spiders or dragonflies, that are a bit dangerous or elusive. I have actually taken far more photos in its macro function than traditional telephotos.

When stopped down, it is sharp enough that my K7's 14MP seems to become the limiting factor, which is all you really need. CA's can be removed in Lightroom, although if they're bad enough they can sometimes permanently blur the photo (see the tractor in the sample photo). Just make sure the lens is stopped down and its all good.

I may upgrade to the APO version at some point, but not any time soon. This lens is just too damn handy.

   
Otis Memorial Pentaxian
Moderator

Registered: March, 2015
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 7,800

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: April 28, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $115.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Zoom range, " macro,"
Cons: stiff zoom ring, pretty slow
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 7    Handling: 7    Value: 9    Camera Used: K20D    Autofocus: 8   

As the cost of this lens is quite low, it would be an ideal beginners zoom IMO. From 70mm to 300mm is a very good range for the user to see which end of the zoom range they are using most often. This lens I have found to be quite sharp in the center for all focal lengths, and improving towards the edges as the lens is stopped down. The macro is not true macro, but a closer than usual minimum focus distance. As this function is only available from 200mm to 300mm on the lens, the results are pretty good. The front of the lens rotates with focus so care must be taken not to be holding the focus ring when the shutter button is touched. The zoom ring is quite stiff ( on my copy of this lens anyway ) but for the price you must expect some build quality issues. I can recommend this as a beginners zoom.
   
Site Supporter

Registered: February, 2013
Location: Lometa, TX
Posts: 403

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: June 11, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $100.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharpness, Image Quality,Great Macro Ability
Cons: Awkward and Off Balance feel
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 7    Value: 10   

I don't know if I just got lucky but this lens Rocks for Macro Images and Overall Image Quality. I have also a Tamron 70-300mm Macro (the newer model) and this Sigma with the exception of it's off balance, clumsy feel completely blows it away as far as Overall Image Quality. I would highly recommend this lens. As I hope I have stated well the handling does have some issues in my opinion. I'll probably pick another one up for backup because this one is always mounted on one of my DSLR's I like the reach it gives me.
   
Pentaxian

Registered: February, 2011
Location: Maine
Posts: 3,022
Lens Review Date: November 16, 2011 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $25.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Cheap, Sharp, Nice 'Macro' Results
Cons: Seems Fragile, Somewhat Clunky, Macro Switch is odd
Sharpness: 10    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 3   

I've had this lens for about 9 months now, and its proven to be one of the ones I drift back to if I know I'll be wanting both reach and autofocus capabilities. That said, I'll sooner stick one of my (much lighter) manual long lenses on my K-x before reaching for the Sigma, which is a shame because it really is a decent lens for what I paid.

My issue is that its both somewhat heavy, and that I managed to break my copy shortly after I purchased it by twisting the focus in the wrong direction (something snapped inside, and now I need to manually press the lens back into itself to zoom out - otherwise the lens is completely functional).

I have never really had any issues with the quality the lens puts out - in fact I'd say of my collection of cheap budget lenses this lens probably - under the right conditions - outperforms them all.

As far as said conditions, I'm talking light. The lens is big and slow, and you'll quickly realize that on a cloudy day, indoors, or once it gets on towards dark you'll need to swap out to something else.

Here are some samples of shots I took with the lens over the past year - samples really are better than words in a lot of ways to show off the lens' capabilities.

This is the shot I managed to 'break' the lens on. Most others were taken after this point.

Nor'easter by Jody Roberts, on Flickr


Butterfly by Jody Roberts, on Flickr


Day 14 - Chickadee II by Jody Roberts, on Flickr


Moonrise; Unity, Maine by Jody Roberts, on Flickr


Osprey by Jody Roberts, on Flickr


32 by Jody Roberts, on Flickr


95 by Jody Roberts, on Flickr
   
New Member

Registered: June, 2009
Location: adelaide
Posts: 11

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: October 9, 2011 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $215.00 | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: affordable
Cons: For me ,not too many,cheap lens
Sharpness: 6    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 6    Value: 9   

just a cheap lens from E,bay,didn,t hold out much hope,but was happy with what I got
   
Senior Member

Registered: October, 2010
Location: Adelaide, Australia
Posts: 250
Lens Review Date: December 4, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $432.00 | Rating: 5 

 
Pros: long reach on cropped sensor (450mm!), relatively fast at 70mm (105mm cropped)
Cons: didn't retain value, poor build quality.

Ok, i bought this lens brand new back in 2001 for a whopping price, to use on my MZ-50. I used the lens for 3 years quite heavily. It has sat unused for a few years now, and I am about to resurrect it when I buy a K-5, to use until I can afford a better long zoom.

This review deals with my impressions of the lens on the MZ-50 (film) body. I will update when I have tried it on my K-5.

I shot almost exclusively in Fuji Reala 100 and Superia 800 (both aged professional films).

Sharpness:

When I was using this lens I didn't know too much about the effect of using the lens wide open on sharpness. I pretty much used it wide open all the time (as I liked to shoot Reala when possible). I found sharpness quite acceptable (at the time) at 70mm, but at 300mm it was getting a bit soft wide open.

Score: 5 (because of softness at long end)


Aberration/vignetting:

Colour reproduction wasn't quite as good as my Sigma 28-80mm. Vignetting was never an issue (but I didn't shoot brick walls just for the fun of it with film!) Low Dispersion glass (DL) is nice. The lens hood works well.

Score: 7


Bokeh:

It's not a super-fast lens, but it did beat out my 28-80mm from 70-80mm by 1.6 stops! For this reason I preferred to have it on my camera most of the time. This is a great lens for portraits / candids! (on full frame, that is!) The 70mm is a great starting focal length, and you have the reach when you need it. Bokeh is reasonable. 9 blades, but not curved.

Score: 7

Autofocus:

The screwdrive-type autofocus is loud and clunky. But it works. Not particularly fast on the long end, but snappy enough at short focal lengths.

Score: 7


Handling:

The lens hood reverses beautifully. The front element turns with the focus, which is bad for use with a polariser, but is useful for manual mode focus with the hood reversed, because even though the focus ring is covered, you can still just grab the hood and move it!

This lens is not WR. Or dust resistant. The back element of the zoom retracts into the zoom when zooming out (can be seen when not mounted on a camera). I have dust in mine, which is a hassle.

This zoom saw all sorts of conditions, from dust to light rain to sea and sand. I didn't baby it a terrible lot. My philosophy was that if I didn't have my camera out, i would miss shots. After all the use I've given it, it is still in surprisingly good shape. The focus ring still moves freely, though maybe too freely. You could accidentally lose focus in manual mode if not careful.

All the zoom happens in approximately 80 degree rotation of the zoom ring. The feel is quite cheap and "plasticy". Definitely not well-damped! Coupled with the fact that it tends to have a slightly "jerky" movement, it can be slightly difficult to adjust zoom level at the long end.

If this was a Pentax lens I would be disappointed at the build quality.

Score: 4


Value:

Considering I bought this lens for an exorbitant price ($AUD520) and it can be had second-hand for around $160 now, this lens doesn't seem to hold its value. However, if you did get one for a cheaper price it would be a good, cheap long zoom for someone starting out. On a cropped sensor this lens reaches 450mm at f5.6, which isn't bad.

Score: 3 (at my buy price)

My overall score takes into consideration that this lens is not WR and is not a professional lens by any stretch. If compared to its more direct rivals it would probably score much higher.

The bottom line: Go for it if you're just starting out and are in need of a long zoom (as long as you can get it for cheap)
   
Site Supporter

Registered: January, 2009
Location: East Bay Area, CA
Posts: 6,375

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: February 17, 2009 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $110.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: great IQ, inexpensive, includes hood
Cons: heavy, decent sized
Sharpness: 7    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 6    Handling: 8    Value: 9   

I have only had this a couple of weeks so not much to review yet. For the price it covers a wide FL range and is rather sharp through most of the zoom range. The Macro capability is a bit misleading - you cannot get close to the image; rather, it is more for when you want close ups of animals to which you cannot get near (cobras, pirahnas, Charles Manson, etc)

Here are a couple of shots i took with this lens. there is some sharpening and level adjustments applied - sorry i don't have an unprocessed image to show, but it should at least give you an idea.


https://www.pentaxforums.com/gallery/index.php?n=10263


https://www.pentaxforums.com/gallery/index.php?n=11202

EDIT to say that my copy of the lens is not exactly the same as the picture given. In fact, I submitted a photo of this lens which was incorrectly used as the photo for the APO version, so i just caution a potential buyer to not expect the lens to look like this picture. My non-APO version has a red ring around it.

here is my copy:
Add Review of Sigma AF 70-300mm F4-5.6 DL Macro Super



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