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Sigma APO 135-400mm F4.5-5.6 DG Review RSS Feed

Sigma APO 135-400mm F4.5-5.6 DG

Reviews Views Date of last review
15 56,447 Fri July 27, 2018
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
87% of reviewers $430.00 8.13
Sigma APO 135-400mm F4.5-5.6 DG

Weight: 1,245g/43.9 oz
Length: 183.6mm /7.2 in
Filter Diameter: 77mm
Min. Focus: 200-220 cm/78.7-86.6 in
Max. Magnification: 1:5.3
Diagonal FOV:
Horizontal FOV: 18.2-6.2 degrees
Horizontal FOV on Digital: 12.1-4.1 degrees
Min. Aperture: F32
Optical Construction: 13 Elements in 11 Groups
Autofocus: Yes, screwdrive
Mount Type: Pentax KAF2/KAF (screwdrive AF)
Price History:

Add Review of Sigma APO 135-400mm F4.5-5.6 DG
Sort Reviews by: Date | Author | Rating | Recommendation | Likes (Descending) Showing Reviews 1-15 of 15
Site Supporter

Registered: July, 2007
Location: Arnold, Md.
Posts: 762
Lens Review Date: July 27, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $400.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Easy to carry, easy on the wallet,
Cons: I don't have any
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 6    Bokeh: 5    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-1    Autofocus: 7    New Or Used: Used   

I don't have a problem with creep and the zoom is not stiff. Not saying it doesn't exist. On my K-5 focus was iffy but spot on my K-1. Glad I didn't git rid of it, it seems to have a new life.
Senior Member

Registered: September, 2014
Location: Nelson
Posts: 265
Lens Review Date: August 16, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $135.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: A lot of lens for the price
Cons: Based on what I paid -none.
Sharpness: 7    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 5    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-X    Autofocus: 10   

Bought off local on-line auction site. Advertised as 'little-used' lens is as new. Initial testing same for every lens I buy -start with shortest FL wide open, working through focal range, all at max aperture. Repeat stopped down a little and so on -doing it this way means you generally see the worst a lens will do moving to the best :-).

At 135mm wide open: soft and not great, at 200mm much better, 200+-400 much MUCH better. F8 at same focal lengths it's a different beast -sharp, nice contrast and colour. I'm happy, I'll stay with my Pentax DAL 50-200 at the short end of the scale, beyond 200mm this does the job very nicely. At $135 who'd argue?
New Member

Registered: June, 2014
Posts: 1
Lens Review Date: June 26, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $490.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Good quality for the price
Cons: Heavy; zoom creep
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 8    Value: 9    Camera Used: K-3, K-5, K20D, K10D   

When used properly (stopped down to f9-f11 and on a tripod) this lens is remarkably good. I've used it a lot for birding.
New Member

Registered: April, 2013
Posts: 20

3 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: May 30, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $270.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Nice fit and finish, tight build, decent focus, good IQ, not too heavy, tripod mount
Cons: Zoom creep, can hunt sometimes, zoom a little stiff
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 9    Value: 10    Camera Used: Yes   

Bought secondhand in the UK for 190. A great price, approx the same as a secondhand Pentax DA 55-300.

I previously owned the non DG version and was very happy with it. Sold it and regretted it straight away. Took a long time for another to come for the right price.

The DG, while optically the same as the old version, has the newer coatings and a modern Sigma look to its finish. Also feels like a better built lens too. Everything is tight, no wobbles in the barrel or play in the zoom and focus rings. Absolutely no complaints for fit and finish,

I personally like the rear focus. I can support the lens with my fingers while making manual focus adjustments with my thumb. And when AF is enabled i never find myself fouling the focus ring. The AF is snappy and reliable. The focus rarely hunts, basically only when the light levels really drop. It works well for airshows and birds.
While talking about the focus its worth noting that the focusing is done internally. So the front element does not rotate while focusing. Good news for polarising filters. There's no full time manual focusing and neither would you expect it at this price point. The focus ring does rotate during AF, so you have to remember to keep your fingers clear.

The zoom ring is a little stiff and not entirely smooth. My old version was the same. Disappointed to not find a zoom lock as most Sigma zooms with the newer finish have one. And the 135-400 needs one. A friend also has this lens in Canon mount and his creeps too. A little puzzling that the zoom action is stiff yet it still creeps. Hmm?
Someone below mentioned the newer model had a zoom lock. I don't believe that to be the case. Sadly the 135-400, regardless of age, never got the zoom lock.

Optically its brill considering its a value orientated lens. 135-330 its just sharp regardless what aperture you select. You may need to stop down to sharpen up the corners but in the centre its just sharp at all apertures. Things go a little soft beyond 330mm but stopping down to f7.1-f8 brings it back in.
The close focus distance is 3m but you can get some wonderful soft backgrounds on objects at that distance.

I love this lens. I find 135-200mm is just right for motorsport at my local track. While up to 400mm is great for airshows. And its so darn cheap compared to the other options available for Pentax bodies. You could go for the 55-300 which is sharp all the way to 300mm but the AF is truly terrible. It was my stop gap lens while waiting for another 135-400 and it was an incredibly frustrating lens for aircraft and cars. If you can find a 135-400 for a good price, its a no-brainer........
Veteran Member

Registered: November, 2009
Location: Strand
Posts: 1,366
Lens Review Date: March 24, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $450.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Light, 400mm, sharp
Cons: need micro adjustment
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10   

My copy is sharp from wide open, but only after fine focus adjustment.
At 300mm, it gives brighter images, over exposed by ~2/3, less contrast.

I am not expecting much when using it first time, but the results are good to very good, especially at 400mm.
The results need some post processing to bring the best out, typical increase/normalize black level.
Samples follow shortly.
Senior Member

Registered: April, 2011
Location: LODINGEN, Northern Norway
Posts: 275
Lens Review Date: May 26, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $415.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Inexpensive, sharp,light,
Cons: f/5,6 on 400mm, no IF
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 10    Value: 10   

This is my first Sigma. A nice, used 135-400. Its a bit sharper than my wifes Tamron 70-200 f/2,8
I was not expecting it this good. Its possible I got one lucky example.


Registered: October, 2007
Location: Canberra, Australia
Posts: 2,130
Lens Review Date: August 11, 2011 I can recommend this lens: No | Price: $400.00 | Rating: 6 

Pros: Inexpensive
Cons: IQ above 300mm, zoom creep

I bought this lens because I wanted something longer than my Pentax FA 80-320for birds and wildlife but the IQ of this lens at the long end was disapointing. Stopping down did help but in anything other than ideal light I had to push the ISO so high that noise ruined the shots. IQ at the short end was acceptable.

AF was pretty good quick and quiet compared to the older Pentax screw drive lens I have.

In the end I sold the lens because it didn't perform well enough to justify keeping it over the smaller, lighter Pentax FA 80-320.
Junior Member

Registered: February, 2009
Posts: 43
Lens Review Date: April 4, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $450.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Sharp, hand-holdable, realtive size/weight for focal range, price
Cons: Lens creep, soft at 400mm

I bought this used for $500 CAN on the marketplace. I have used it on my K10d and more recently on my K-7.

This lens is quite sharp if stopped down to F8 up to 320 mm. However, as with most telezooms, images are much softer (but still decent quality photos) at 400mm when stopped down to F11-13.

Lens creep is an issue, but hasn't bothered my infield use after I added a rubberband. On my K10d, I frequently found only 25% of my hand-held shots to be sharp which limited my use (I am quite mobile, not a frequent user of tripods in the field).

With the improved high ISO on my K-7, I can push the ISO to 800 and get significantly sharper photos with tolerable noise and has since breathed more life into the use of this lens in my gearbag.

The value of this lens comes in the balance between price (used), focal length (>300mm) and sharpness. At the time, I could not find a better budget focused lens to get into wildlife photography.

Sample Photos:
Veteran Member

Registered: November, 2009
Location: Southern Tablelands NSW
Posts: 406
Lens Review Date: February 26, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $400.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Light & compact, Great focal length, can be nice and sharp.
Cons: Z O O M creep!!!

This is really a very nice lens for the nature lover. It is clear and sharp - though due to its slower speed you will need to think a little in low light. However, it is essentially quite sharp. Check these out - one at 135mm and the other at 400mm wide open.

The 135-400mm focal length is very handy and it is compact and light (and build quality is decent enough) so it makes it the right concept for the field. The only thing that holds it back from being realised as a great field lens is the zoom creep. My preference for wildlife shooting is walkabout (inevitable with my Australian blood ), and the zoom creep really isn't what you want when you're on foot. But mount it on a tripod and take some precautions when you're off the horizontal and you have yourself a great 'little' (relatively speaking) wildlife lens.

As I'm not a lugger of tripods or monopods, the zoom creep saw me trade this lens in for a Sigma 100-300mm f4. It certainly is not as compact but its field-worthiness and sharpness is the stuff of legend...and other reviews. But be prepared with a larger upper body and wallet
Lens Review Date: June 6, 2009 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $400.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Small for the range, build, optical quality.
Cons: zoom creep

I have the older APO non DC version.

I bought this lens of a bloke here a few months ago for $400 US. This lens has some serious size to it and definitely the tripod collar is useful!! The build is good the finish to the lens isn't as nice as newer Sigma lenses such as 17-70 etc. I use this lens for photographing cricket matches mainly (300mm wasn't enough!) and when coupled to my K200D and using Lithium AA's the AF is fairly fast and accurate, albeit loud.

The colours are pretty good and have that typical Sigma warmth tone to them.

The lens is surprisingly sharp throughout the range, especially when shooting at f/8-11 (normal in good light.) and I'm happy with the lens.

The only real negative to the lens is bloody zoom creep! It's going to take some creativity to use it for moon shots! I don't pixel peep much but can say in most of my shots CA and purple fringing etc are minimal, and don't distract me too much.


AF: 7/10

Build Quality : 7/10

Image quality : 8/10

Bokeh : 6/10 (mainly because of the relatively small apeture, Although isn't unattractive.)

Handling: 8/10

Overall: 8/10...probably more like an 7.8 but 8 is a pretty good representation. Since I really only use it for sports and the like, not birding like most prospective buyers, I can say for the money it's a great value performer for the money and a much cheaper alternative to a Bigma or 120-400.
Veteran Member

Registered: January, 2008
Location: Niagara Region, Ontario Canada
Posts: 417
Lens Review Date: July 25, 2008 I can recommend this lens: No | Price: $450.00 | Rating: 6 

Pros: Good Range, Light(ish)
Cons: Soft, Zoom Creep, Slow to Focus

I purchased this lens about 4 months after my K10D. I found the images quite soft and the lens very slow. Heavy for what it is.

I hoped to use this for birds, but found the long end too short and focus too slow. My copy wasn't usable past about 320mm. In the end I sold it for the same as I bought it, especially after playing with a DA* 300mm /4.

NOTE: I only ever had one copy so it may not have been a representative sample.
Site Supporter

Registered: September, 2006
Location: South Australia
Posts: 3,877
Lens Review Date: July 22, 2008 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $600.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Image quality. Size. Price.
Cons: can get a bit soft at long end. Lens creep.
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 7    Handling: 8    Value: 8    Camera Used: K3    Autofocus: 8    New Or Used: New   

For the money this a lens worth having if you don't want to spend the extra on a bigma.

Comes with a very handy carry case.

Performs really well from 135 - 300 (or so) , if lighting is less than perfect, image quality struggles upwards of 300mm.

Lens creep is very annoying.

UPDATE. Feb 2009.
After trying very hard to like this lens I can only advise that above 320-350mm it really lets you down in sharpness, unless you have excellent light and a stationery subject where you can close it down.
Downgrading my original rating because of this.

UPDATE Feb 2018.
Wow...9 years later I take this out of its case and use it on a K3...and I am surprised & impressed by the results across the whole focal range. Wonder how it would go on the K1 ?
Veteran Member

Registered: January, 2007
Location: Buffalo, NY
Posts: 324
Lens Review Date: April 11, 2008 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $450.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharp, light, good focal length range
Cons: wish it was an f4.5 at 400mm

Great buy!!! At 450.00 shipped this was a bargain. I've been using this for a couple weeks for waterfowl and birding. Is perfect for what I've been doing. If your looking for some longer glass without breaking the bank, this is it.
Lens Review Date: March 18, 2008 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $650.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: sharp, reasonable weight, good colour, nice contrast

I really like this lens. It is light enough (for a big lens) to haul around all day, yet is well built. The images are very sharp, nice contrast, decent colour, and pleasant Bokeh. I installed a ghostless Hoya UV filter on it, and have a Pro Hoya CPL filter. I had tried several zoom lenses before purchasing this lens. I would place this lens above the Bigma (have compared this lens to my friends Bigma and we both have found this lens to surpass the Bigma - perhaps the Bigma tried for too big a range 50 - 500 and would have been better to put the resource into a 200-500)
I was very surprised that the Sigma 135-400mm was priced so affordable. It really is a bargain and does delivery. I have shot sports (both indoor and outdoor), and some wildlife with it and I am very happy with it. I have not tried it with a teleconverter as I generally find teleconverters delivery substandard results.
Veteran Member

Registered: January, 2007
Location: Newcastle Australia
Posts: 5,284
Lens Review Date: March 16, 2008 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $490.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Sharp,even if hand held, in most cases. Not TOO large to handle.
Cons: Early models had not Lens Creep Lock. Can be a bother.

For bird shots , and other wildlife etc, this is a good lens. As is much cheaper than the "Bigma" it is a very economical buy.
Find results to be quite acceptably sharp, little Abbherration to speak of.
I have used hand held quite a lot and found to be very practical for that.
As I mentioned, lens creep was a major problem, but I do believe that has been corrected with a lock in more recent model. That is the only reason I score it a 8.
Have used with a Tamron 1.4 conmverter and works brilliantly.
For its price, this is a very recommendable long lens, for the hobby photographer. In fact, I think its a bargain
Add Review of Sigma APO 135-400mm F4.5-5.6 DG

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