The Poor Man's Best Macro Lens.
25 Aug 2008
Earlier this year I was searching for an amazing macro lens at an amazing price. I was just setting myself up for great disappointment. The fast, amazing macro lenses I would have loved to own were in the $500 plus range, which was beyond my budget. Even the older Minolta A-mounts were becoming ever more pricier with the refound popularity due to Sony's adoption of the line.
I decided to set my standards lower than what I could only dream of and did some research. I came upon the cheap Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 DG Macro lens. It's Sigma [which never let me down in image quality], it has SLD [Special Low Dispersion] glass, and a maximum magnification of 1:2, which is pretty nice for $210. So i ordered it expecting a mediocre, okay macro lens. But, it'll get the job done.
So about a week or two later, this lens arrives at my door step. I unpacked this bulky lens, and mounted it on my camera expecting somewhat decent photos at a slow aperture of 4-5.6. Boy, was I surprised.
What I got was a lens that gave me brilliant, sharp images true to the Sigma line. Clear and concise photos of butterflies, bees, lizards, flowers, spiders, anything I pointed it at. Even at a slower aperture, I was getting great pictures of butterflies flying from flower to flower. It has a great minimum focusing range of 37.4 inches [95cm], so I can get closer to my subject.
Not only is it great for macro, but for portraits and sports as well. I've shot ballet recitals and tennis matches with it. I've also used it in studio situations where I wanted close-ups on my subject, and it repeatedly gave me amazing results.
It is one of the most used lenses in my bag. As well as the cheapest. It is a lens dedicated to giving the "photographer on a budget" razor sharp, vivid images. As well as having a great solid build that makes it feel a bit more expensive than it actually is.
If you're a photographer with a strict budget, but want a macro lens that'll give you the quality that's almost as great as a $500 top-of-the-line lens, this is the lens for you. And it will always give you the best images. All for a great price of $210.