Sigma 70-300mm F4-5.6 DG Macro Review

Category: Camera Lens for Canon
Price: P7,000
Bought at: Mayer Photo (Hidalgo Branch)

Next on my lens to-buy list is the Sigma 70-300mm F4-5.6 DG Macro! I acquired it for 7,000 PHP at Mayer Photo right along the famous Hidalgo St. of Quiapo. For a cheapo zoom lens, I’m surprised with the quality it can give over the ironically low cost it’s priced for! Well, I guess your standard 70-300mm F4-5.6s are priced around 6,000-9,000 PHP whether it be Nikon, Canon, Sigma or Tamron, after all. So here’s the review!

Why buy this lens? Contrary to what I do at Perfect Renders where I specialize in shooting and editing videos, I am still venturing and looking for my so-called ‘home’ in photography. That’s why I’m slowly buying and trying out different types of lenses: my first was the portrait 85mm 1.8 (it came with the 2nd hand 550D I bought), then the usual kit lens, another portrait 50mm 1.8, a single-aperture kit Tamron 17-50mm 2.8, and now this.

Note: All photos here are uploaded as they are shot, no post-processing have been done

I really wasn’t convinced to buy one of these until I got to experience it first-hand on the occasion I sometimes borrow my friends’ gears. And well, I’m surprised how far 300mm can get you! I bought this two days before a client event at Sofitel, in which I used the lens in the said event for the first time. Here’s a sample shot:

Where I was standing when I took the shot? This is a 17mm shot from my original location:

Right friggin’ here! I felt like a sniper using this glass

And the sharpness of the photos is good to boot, even at 300mm! Here are other samples I shot at the event:

Hosts Atom Araullo and Dione Estabillo

Mr. Nestor V. Tan, President of BDO

The next day after the event, I got to play with the lens more at the comfort of my own home. Here’s another comparison of the Sigma 70-300mm’s zooming capabilities:

At 17mm (I used the Tamron 17-50mm f2.8 here)

At 70mm of the Sigma 70-300mm

At full zoom 300mm of the Sigma 70-300mm

Another neat feature of this Sigma lens is that you can take macro shots with it once you switch on the ‘macro‘ button when zoomed around 200-300mm. What is macro? I’d love to discuss about it in detail- but let’s save it for another post. For now, let’s define it as extreme close-up photography. Let’s take a look at Maou here:

Normally, a lens without macro capabilities will not be able to focus on a subject once it gets too close, like so:

But once you flip that switch on the lens even while at 300mm, it can focus just as nicely even when too close.

300mm macro

Anyway, I’m just having too much fun showing you how far this baby goes so here’s a final comparison:

17mm

70mm

300mm

The verdict? I love it!

Although the major cons I’ve noticed are the (1) slow and noisy auto-focus mechanism and (2) it’s literally road kill in dark locations with an aperture of F4-5.6. That said, it still performs good on big events where there’s plenty of lighting to go about! Well, like those photos I took in the Sofitel event. But whatever negatives you have, you can always compensate it by being resourceful- so buy some lighting and stabilizing gear as well as practice those magical yet shaky hands of yours!

Like I always say: getting a hands-on experience of both worlds (cheapo and the expensive L) will be the best teacher making you realize how one lens is severely or impractically different than the other in helping you achieve the photos you want. You’d be surprised what a lowbie DSLR and kit lens can do. But if you have the money, knock yourself out- L is the way!

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