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  1. #1
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    SIGMA 70-300mm F4-5.6 DG MACRO lens

    This morning I went over to a local camera store, as they had a SIGMA 70-300mm (non-APO) lens advertised on sale. Well, after trying/handling the lens, and using a couple test charts, I "gave in" and spent my hard-earned money...

    Attachment 65615

    After taking my first real shots, I think it isn't TOO bad. Build quality feels "silky", definetely a great difference from the all-metal construction of the A*. Also, I noticed that the zoom ring is somewhat stiff, but fortunately, no zoom-creep! No wobbles either. Another thing, the AF speed/sound is way different that my other AF lens, the 100mm macro. The Siggy is faster and quieter.

    This will (hopefully) be my walk-around lens, lighter than my 300mm F4, and the zoom range/macro mode will be sure to come in handy.

    I don't think I will be taking many more shots for a few days, as rain has resumed. Once I can go out more I'll see if the positive first impressions hold up.

    Anyway, here are a few first shots taken minutes ago in my property, under gloomy weather. Handheld, or leaned against a building. All PP'd to some extent.
    _______________________
    Spotted towhee.
    Attachment 65611
    Camera: PENTAX *ist D
    Lens: SIGMA 70-300mm F4-5.6 lens (non-APO)
    Shutter-speed: 1/500 second
    Aperture: F7.1
    ISO: 1600
    Focal length (lens) 240mm


    _______________________
    Nail on wall covering. (Slanted for real).
    Attachment 65612
    Camera: PENTAX *ist D
    Lens: SIGMA 70-300mm F4-5.6 lens (non-APO)
    Shutter-speed: 1/400 second
    Aperture: F7.1
    ISO: 1600
    Focal length (lens) 285mm

    Focus mode: Manual

    _______________________
    Crocus flower.
    Attachment 65613
    Camera: PENTAX *ist D
    Lens: SIGMA 70-300mm F4-5.6 lens (non-APO)
    Shutter-speed: 1/640 second
    Aperture: F5.6
    ISO: 1600
    Focal length (lens) 300mm


    _______________________
    Tulip (as bokeh sample).
    Attachment 65624
    Camera: PENTAX *ist D
    Lens: SIGMA 70-300mm F4-5.6 lens (non-APO)
    Shutter-speed: 1/200 second
    Aperture: F5.6
    ISO: 1600
    Focal length (lens) 300mm
    Focus mode: Manual

  2. #2
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    Re: SIGMA 70-300mm F4-5.6 DG MACRO lens

    I'm totally digging the nail and the tulip. Thanks for the report!
    Jim R

    Canon 5D mkII - Canon 17-40mm f/4L, Canon 50mm f/1.4, Canon 70-200 f/2.8L, Canon 100mm f/2.8 Macro

  3. #3
    Pentax Fan GrauGeist's Avatar
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    Re: SIGMA 70-300mm F4-5.6 DG MACRO lens

    Out of all of my lenses, my Sigma 70-300 is my absolute favorite! I have gotten everything from phenominal shots of the moon to amazing macros...you just can't beat it!

    My only complaint (if it would be called that), would be how "soft" the focus ring is.

    Great shots, A.M.D.A.!

  4. #4
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    Re: SIGMA 70-300mm F4-5.6 DG MACRO lens

    Thanks for the replies and comments.

    Raining. I took a few macros couple of days ago. (All PP'd to some extent):
    _____________________
    #1.
    Attachment 65855
    Camera: PENTAX *ist D
    Lens: SIGMA 70-300mm F4-5.6 DG MACRO lens
    Other equipment: Supplied lens hood, MACRO tripod
    Shutter-speed: 1/400 second
    Aperture: F6.3
    ISO: 400
    Focal length (lens): 300mm
    Focal length (35mm equivalent): 450mm
    Focus mode: Manual


    _____________________
    #2. (No cropping)
    Attachment 65856
    Camera: PENTAX *ist D
    Lens: SIGMA 70-300mm F4-5.6 DG MACRO lens
    Other equipment: Supplied lens hood, MACRO tripod
    Shutter-speed: 1/640 second
    Aperture: F6.3
    ISO: 800
    Focal length (lens): 210mm
    Focal length (35mm equivalent): 315mm
    Focus mode: Manual


    _____________________
    #3.
    Attachment 65857
    Camera: PENTAX *ist D
    Lens: SIGMA 70-300mm F4-5.6 DG MACRO lens
    Other equipment: Supplied lens hood, MACRO tripod
    Shutter-speed: 1/640 second
    Aperture: F4.5
    ISO: 400
    Focal length (lens): 190mm
    Focal length (35mm equivalent): 285mm
    Focus mode: Manual


    _____________________
    #4. (No cropping)
    Attachment 65858
    Camera: PENTAX *ist D
    Lens: SIGMA 70-300mm F4-5.6 DG MACRO lens
    Other equipment: Supplied lens hood, MACRO tripod
    Shutter-speed: 1/500 second
    Aperture: F4.5
    ISO: 400
    Focal length (lens): 150mm
    Focal length (35mm equivalent): 225mm
    Focus mode: Manual


    ____________________________
    The lens appears to be pretty good, even wide-open, so long as you don't crop heavily and/or zero in on tiny details... because there aren't many. Also, a bit of "zoom-creep" has set in, from about 70mm to 100mm. The focus ring is indeed a bit "soft", but not too much. Falls nicely to hand.

    GrauGeist: Is your lens the non-APO? Feel free to post some of your own shots here, APO or non-APO, to see how the two compare.

    Some unedited samples coming...

  5. #5
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    Re: SIGMA 70-300mm F4-5.6 DG MACRO lens

    Velbon CX-540 tripod and PENTAX AF-330FTZ external flash used. AF-focus point is the eye.

    No noise-reduction. In-camera sharpness/saturation/contrast at default levels. Of course no active "shake-reduction" either, as the *ist D doesn't have this feature.

    Mostly unedited, other than resizing (and/or cropping, brightness, as specified). Full EXIF's should be intact. Minimum amount of JPG compression in order to get the file size to fit here.

    _________________________________________
    70mm at F4:
    Attachment 65859

    70mm at F4 (crop):
    Attachment 65860

    -
    -
    -

    70mm at F8:
    Attachment 65861
    (Slight brightness adjustment too)

    70mm at F8 (crop):
    Attachment 65862
    (Slight brightness adjustment too)

    -
    -
    -

    70mm at F11:
    Attachment 65863
    (Slight brightness adjustment too)

    F11 seems to be the optimum for this lens at wide-angle. F13 at 200mm-300mm. And a little PP sharpening, etc. will certainly improve quality.

  6. #6
    Senior Member danic's Avatar
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    Re: SIGMA 70-300mm F4-5.6 DG MACRO lens

    They are some nice examples Alex I've been looking for a decent zoom lens ($$$), but can't afford it at all. I was thinking of this, but you might have swayed my mind with the shots you have taken!

    Cheers,
    Dan
    danic



    George Zimbel: Digital diahhrea is a disease for which there is a simple cure. Take one frame of a scene. It is exquisite training for your eye and your brain. Try it for a month. Then try it for another month…then try it for another month…..


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  7. #7
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    Re: SIGMA 70-300mm F4-5.6 DG MACRO lens

    More pics...


    Camera: PENTAX *ist D
    Lens: SIGMA 70-300mm DG MACRO lens
    Other equipment: Lens hood
    Shutter-speed:1/1000 second
    Aperture: F5.6 (wide-open)
    ISO: 800
    Focal length (optical): 240mm
    Focal length (35mm equivalent): 360mm
    Focus mode: Manual


    Attachment 66081
    Camera: PENTAX *ist D
    Lens: SIGMA 70-300mm DG MACRO lens
    Other equipment: Lens hood
    Shutter-speed: 1/1600 second
    Aperture: F4.5 (wide-open)
    ISO: 400
    Focal length (optical): 210mm
    Focal length (35mm equivalent): 315mm
    Focus mode: AF-S


    Attachment 66082
    Camera: PENTAX *ist D
    Lens: SIGMA 70-300mm DG MACRO lens
    Other equipment: Lens hood
    Shutter-speed: 1/1250 second
    Aperture: F4.5 (wide-open)
    ISO: 400
    Focal length (optical): 210mm
    Focal length (35mm equivalent): 315mm
    Focus mode: Manual


    (No cropping)

    Camera: PENTAX *ist D
    Lens: SIGMA 70-300mm DG MACRO lens
    Other equipment: Lens hood
    Shutter-speed: 1/500 second
    Aperture: F22
    ISO: 400
    Focal length (optical): 170mm
    Focal length (35mm equivalent): 255mm
    Focus mode: AF-C


    All-in-all, I can say I am pretty happy with this lens. The cons listed aren't really cons, since this lens isn't exactly " * " or "Limited", but for about $200 CAN it is great. :thumbsup:

    Pros:
    + Not wildly expensive.
    + Full-frame (less vignetting, compatibility with future FF camera models, film, etc.)
    + Good image quality at 70-200mm (even wide-open)
    + Better build quality than I was expecting
    + Awesome 1:2 "macro" mode (Smoothly blurred backgrounds, ability to stand farther away from subject)
    + MF distance scale, and depth-of-field scale and magnification-ratio scale (e.g. 1:2 life size, etc.)
    + Very flare resistant (supplied lens hood helps)

    Cons:
    - Image quality noticeably degraded at 200-300mm (see below for tips to boost quality)

    #1. Stay in the 70-200mm range, or 250mm if necessary.
    #2. Best aperture in my experience at 300mm is F13.
    #3. Avoid cropping heavily, unless the subject doesn't have very many details to begin with (e.g. silhouette, landscape, etc.)
    #4. Shoot at a shutter-speed of 1/500 second or more, unless you are using a tripod/support or in-camera IS.
    #5. Try fine-tuning focus manually (AF often likes to front-focus slightly).

    - Zoom ring produces a scratching noise whenever it is turned.
    - Manual-focus ring very easy to turn, perhaps too easy.
    - Maximum aperture of only F4-5.6

    70mm/135mm = F4
    135mm/220mm = F4.5
    220mm/300mm = F5.6

    - Often likes to Front-focus slightly on my *ist D. However, I am loving the MF.
    - AF is a little loud

    If anyone has questions, etc., I am glad to help.

  8. #8
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    Re: SIGMA 70-300mm F4-5.6 DG MACRO lens

    Yesterday was bright and sunny, I tried the TAMRON 2x TC on the Siggy 70-300mm, just a simple test, not really expecting much.

    AF starts making weird noises, at times a whining sound. By 200mm AF completely quits working, no indicator, no selected AF-point illuminator (red-square). At 300mm the whole image is BLURRY, manual-focus is nearly impossible.

    So, if you are planning to use a TC on this lens, don't expect much at all in terms or performace or anything.

  9. #9
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    Re: SIGMA 70-300mm F4-5.6 DG MACRO lens

    Quote Originally Posted by A.M.D.A.
    ... GrauGeist: Is your lens the non-APO? Feel free to post some of your own shots here, APO or non-APO, to see how the two compare.
    Hi A.M.D.A., my lense is the APO DG

    Here's a few examples of my 70-300 in action. The images aren't cropped, but reduced to 800x532 (originals are 3008x2000)...

    A quick note, last summer I was able to capture some great images of Jupiter and four of it's moons. This Sigma excels at photographing objects in the night sky. The K100D's 2-second mirror/shutter delay feature is worth it's weight in gold for capturing the Moon or other night sky objects!

    This first photo I took through the passenger window of my BMW one morning recently while waiting to go into work. It was a very cold morning, and the Robins were huddling under the Oleandar bushes. The Robin was about 40 feet away.


    Shutter: 1/15 Aperture: F5.6 ISO: 200

    This next photo was also taken one morning while I was at work. The racing clouds had parted momentarily to reveal the local mountains through a sort of "frame" and I had to work quick to capture the image because within a few moments, they were gone.


    Shutter: 1/350 Aperture: F5.6 ISO: 200

    I grabbed a shot of some Alyssum with the Macro setting, from a distance of about 4 feet, this afternoon.


    Shutter: 1/1500 Aperture: F5.6 ISO: 400

    You're latest images are great, by the way! And regarding the AF feature on the 70-300...I hardly use it, because it seems to get "confused" half the time and keeps seeking. Not sure why that is, but it's rather un-nerving to hear the focus run out and make that "thumping" noise...then have it run back in and again with the "thump" and then repeats it's cycle until I intervene by shutting AF off.

    So I think my two only complaints about my Sigma 70-300 1:4-5.6 APO DG would be the AF anomoly and the softness of the focus ring. My old Sigma 70-300 had a much firmer feel to the focus ring, so this replacement took a little getting used to.

    Other than those two minor annoyances, this is one my most used lenses in my collection!
    Last edited by GrauGeist; 04-04-2009 at 10:45 PM.

  10. #10
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    Re: SIGMA 70-300mm F4-5.6 DG MACRO lens

    Hi GrauGeist,

    Thanks for sharing your pics and info!

    I tried out my lens with airborne birds, I agree it you about the AF anomaly. It seems that it will never lock on until it has transversed the entire range, then retraced itself to the in-focus point. Can be slightly annoying at times.

  11. #11
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    Re: SIGMA 70-300mm F4-5.6 DG MACRO lens

    Wow...all of these pics look great!!! My financial situation is looking up a little, I may have to start looking seriously at this lens!!!
    Ken


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  12. #12
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    Re: SIGMA 70-300mm F4-5.6 DG MACRO lens

    Quote Originally Posted by ken1953
    Wow...all of these pics look great!!! My financial situation is looking up a little, I may have to start looking seriously at this lens!!!
    Thanks for the comments, Ken.

  13. #13
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    Re: SIGMA 70-300mm F4-5.6 DG MACRO lens

    By the way, there is another great advantage to having the 70-300. It takes awesome Lunar photos!

    I have pretty good success by using a sturdy tripod and an area that is relatively free of light pollution.

    A great feature of the K100D, is that it has the "mirror up, 2 second delay" for the shutter. To do this, access the Fn menu, then arrow up. From that menu, you'll see the "clock" icon with the number 2 on it. Select this mode (it will reset when you turn off the camera) and click OK. You will then be back to the Fn menu, and while you're there, arrow to the right to access the ISO menu. Once in there, you should select either 400 or 200 for your ISO. The "slower" the setting, the less "noise" you'll have in the image. This is important, as the night sky will show alot of "noise" if your ISO is too "fast". Once you've selected your ISO speed, you can Click OK to exit the menu.

    On a full moon, I'll use a shutter speed of 1500 or so. It all depends on the Moon's intensity. During the last two eclipses, I was using a shutter speed of about 500.

    Best thing to do, is take a number of photos at different speeds and find what you like best.

    Here's my latest, taken about a week ago:

  14. #14
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    Re: SIGMA 70-300mm F4-5.6 DG MACRO lens

    Great moon shot and tips, GrauGeist!!

    The 2-second mirror-lockup function is also one of my favourite features on my DSLR.

    However, accessing this on the *istD is a little different than the way you described with the K100D:

    After turning on the camera in any shooting mode, simply twice press the small button on top of the camera, marked with a timer icon. This button is next to the one with the green dot.

    After pressing the shutter button to take a picture there will be a delay. Delay time can be changed to either 12 seconds or 2 seconds, done via any of the 3 custom function setup pages. To go back to normal shooting (no timer delay), press the button a couple more times.

    Here are more recent shots to add to this thread...

    _________________________
    This one is two photos manually stitched together.

    Old barn

    Camera: PENTAX *ist D
    Lens: SIGMA 70-300mm DG MACRO lens
    Other equipment: Supplied lens hood
    Focal length (optical): 70mm
    Focal length (35mm equivalent) 105mm


    _________________________
    Savannah sparrow pair.

    Camera: PENTAX *ist D
    Lens: SIGMA 70-300mm F4-5.6 DG MACRO lens
    Other equipment: Supplied lens hood
    Shutter-speed: 1/1000
    Aperture: F10
    ISO: 800
    Focal length (optical): 300mm
    Focal length (35mm equivalent): 450mm
    Focus mode: Center-point, AF-C


    _________________________
    As you can see, the lens can be somewhat soft -- but only at the extreme telephoto end (long-distance), and with the aperture wide open. In camera sharpening was set to the highest level.

    Tree swallow pair.

    Camera: PENTAX *ist D
    Lens: SIGMA 70-300mm F4-5.6 DG MACRO lens
    Other equipment: Supplied lens hood
    Shutter-speed: 1/1250
    Aperture: F5.6
    ISO: 800
    Focal length (optical): 300mm
    Focal length (35mm equivalent): 450mm
    Focus mode: Center-point, AF-C

  15. #15
    Pentax Fan GrauGeist's Avatar
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    Re: SIGMA 70-300mm F4-5.6 DG MACRO lens

    Your *istD sounds a little more user-friendly than mine, A.M.D.A.!

    I've enjoyed taking Moon photographs since I was a kid. Back then, I used an old telescope and put a Kodak Hawkeye II to the eyepeice and captured some real nice B&W photos...

    Ahh for simpler times!

    Your photos of the Sparrows are great, especially the pair of Savannahs. But your barn photo is just about awesome!

  16. #16
    Senior Member danic's Avatar
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    Re: SIGMA 70-300mm F4-5.6 DG MACRO lens

    Alex,

    Do you use PS at all? I find using a high pass filter, then use a soft or hard light overlay really sharpens up a shot. If you're unsure, let me know and I'll pass on the info.

    Cheers,
    Dan
    danic



    George Zimbel: Digital diahhrea is a disease for which there is a simple cure. Take one frame of a scene. It is exquisite training for your eye and your brain. Try it for a month. Then try it for another month…then try it for another month…..


    RedBubble

  17. #17
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    Re: SIGMA 70-300mm F4-5.6 DG MACRO lens

    Quote Originally Posted by danic
    Alex,

    Do you use PS at all? I find using a high pass filter, then use a soft or hard light overlay really sharpens up a shot. If you're unsure, let me know and I'll pass on the info.

    Cheers,
    Dan
    Hi Dan,

    No I don't use PhotoShop. My main programs are GIMP 2.6, DigiKam and recently, RAWTherapee, which is looking very promising.

    I would indeed be interested to learn about your sharpening technique! Please feel free to PM or post a thread in the post-processing forum. I will be on the lookout. :thumbsup:

  18. #18
    Senior Member danic's Avatar
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    Re: SIGMA 70-300mm F4-5.6 DG MACRO lens

    Checkout the software forum!
    danic



    George Zimbel: Digital diahhrea is a disease for which there is a simple cure. Take one frame of a scene. It is exquisite training for your eye and your brain. Try it for a month. Then try it for another month…then try it for another month…..


    RedBubble

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