Topic: Lens Review: Sigma 300mm f4 APO Tele Macro

With all the long tele shots posted here recently, I got the bug too and decided to purchase one. I went with the Sigma 300mm f4 APO Tele Macro a autofocus lens in Nikon mount. There have been 3 versions of this lens. The first one was a 300mm f4 APO and it's not considered a very good lens. You can easily tell them by a thin focusing collar. The lens was then redesigned and that's the version that I have. The third and final version looks the same as the second version had the same optics with the addition of a faster HSM focusing motor before being discontinued about 1-2 years ago. You can spot the 2nd and 3rd versions easily by their large manual focusing collar.

Sigma also produced this lens in a Canon EOS version but with their 'chiping problem' you can't use these lenses on most modern digital EOS cameras, you get an Error 99 and can only shoot with them wide open. That's why I picked up the Nikon AF version because it has a aperture ring that you can stop down and with a large focusing collar it can be used as a manual focus lens with an appropriate Nikon/EOS adapter ring.

Unlike some of the older M42 300mm's which are quite heavy, the Sigma is relatively light weight at 1335g, a nice built in extendible lens hood so you don't have to carry one around, 77mm filter size, 9 blade aperture, and what's really neat a minimum focus distance of 1.2m that yields a magnification ratio of 1:3 of full frame cameras and even higher magnification on a 1.6x body. It also comes with a tripod collar, but mine is missing this unfortunately.

Here is a lens test that I conducted with my 20D. I've also included a image with my closest tele for comparision, the Leica 180mm f2.8 Elmarit. I've also posted a couple of test images shot with this lens in the Gallery section including the close focusing capabilities of the lens.

Last edited by Sandeep (2009-09-18 18:29:08)

Re: Lens Review: Sigma 300mm f4 APO Tele Macro

Looks nice...

Why does it have an aperture ring? Do older Nikons not support changing aperture via electronics? Did the Canon version of this not have an aperture ring?

Perhaps a lens to look at, although I would prefer something longer...

Canon EOS 350D | Nikon 35 f/2.5, Nikon 50 f/1.8, Nikon 135 f/2.8, Canon 18-junk, Canon 50 f/1.8, Sigma 70-300 APO DG Macro.

Re: Lens Review: Sigma 300mm f4 APO Tele Macro

Most Nikon AF lenses except the newest have an aperture ring to allow them to be used on any Nikon autofocus or manual focus camera.

Canon autofocus lenses do not have an aperture ring so since the electronics in the Sigma 300mm Canon AF mount version do not work with Canon EOS digital bodies they are useless as you cannot control the aperture. Luckily using a Nikon/EOS adapter you can use the Nikon mount AF version of the same lens on your EOS as a manual focus, stop-down metering lens. That's what I am doing here with this lens.

Last edited by Sandeep (2006-07-17 03:21:26)

Re: Lens Review: Sigma 300mm f4 APO Tele Macro

Hello Sandeep

How many degrees do the focusing collar rotate from minimum distance to infinite?
My Pentacon 4/300 rotates more than 270 degrees, but a Canon AF rotates llitle more than 90 degrees.
That is why I have not tried AF lenses for manual focusing but now you make me think on it again.
Thanks in advance


Re: Lens Review: Sigma 300mm f4 APO Tele Macro

It's about 135 degrees from infinity to closest focus, nowhere as fine as your Pentacon but not so bad as most AF lenses.

Re: Lens Review: Sigma 300mm f4 APO Tele Macro

Thanks,  a new lens to consider


Re: Lens Review: Sigma 300mm f4 APO Tele Macro

Nice exhibition Sandeep. F/5.6 looks like the "sweet spot" for this lens. big_smile

I put that adapter in a safe place, never to be seen again.