Should I buy it?


TPF Noob!
Aug 23, 2010
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I have an option to buy a secondhand Sigma 70-300 DG APO lens for about $180.00

Photography does not take up my entire life - most of the times I just capture the kids growing up, the antics of our animals, the places and sights we see, and occasionally I see something amazing and try to "capture" it. So I keep my camera close by as much as I can, but I do not considder myself too much of a photographer.

However, I am looking at this lens because:

1. I currently have basically only the 18-105 Nikkor lens and I think the extra range might be handy from time to time. But 95% of the time I'm happy with the range I have on the 18-105 lens I have. In fact, I've just sold my 55-200mm Nikkor because it isn't worth the effort.

2. The many macro photos on here makes me jealous - I want to try that too. I don't want to spend a lot of money on a macro lens just to discover that I "get over it" after a month. If, by some miracle, I find the time and patience and my calling to become a macro photographer then of course I'll spend a lot of money on better macro lenses, but for now I just want to not be left out completely!

Now: says the minimum focus distance for this lens is some 59 inches. That must be about 160cm, I think. The many other web sites, including dpreview, says the minimum focus distance is about 95cm... so which is it!? I must say I am concerned that even 95cm is jsut going to frustrate me. ON top of this the Macro is "only" a 1:2 magnification and there is no image stabilization.

The lens is not so expensive that it will break the bank. I suspect I will easily enough be able to sell it again for the same if I find that it just sits in my bag after the novelty wears off, so no big loss...

All in all I am completely at a loss, take it or no? Please help me off the fence either way? Maybe I will find another better lens if I just keep looking, because I do want to try out Macro and I do want a longer lens, but then I want either a fast or a stabilized lens.


Conflicting minimum focus distance:
70-300mm F4-5.6 APO DG Macro(Motorized) - Telephoto Zoom Lenses -
Sigma 70-300mm F4-5.6 APO DG Macro: Digital Photography Review
I don't have experience with that lens but I have had experience with Canons 70-300 lineup. They are more of a jack of all trades and master of none. Im not saying you won't get some good shots but don't get real upset if its only mediocre. As far as macro goes its a pretty broad term, to some macro begins at 1:1 but for others its just larger than life size. That lens would be ok for large flowers and larger insects like butterflies. Hope this helps.
Keep looking....
That lens doesn't really give you anything you say you need or might want.

Thank you ... so ... Any alternative recommendations?

What I did not mention was that a single lens giving both extra zoom (300mm) _AND_ Macro capability.

It isn't extreme telephoto, nor extreme Macro.... but it _IS_ a single lens to carry (in addition to the one on the camera most of the time)

The 55-200mm just wasn't enough of a tele zoom to justify carrying an extra lens... but Maybe 300mm will be...
I liked my 70-300mm sigma macro (the original not the APO which has improved coatings and thus gives a slightly sharper shot - esp at the longer end of its range).

A few things to consider:
1) It is a jack of all master of non lens, but its also fairly capable if you use it correctly. It should give you a longer, lighter lens that will be suitable for those close up shots or longer reach shots should you want them.

2) Macro is 1:1 magnification. Lenses that use it as part of the title when they can't do 1:1 magnification are generally only using it as a marketing move to denote a close focusing setup within the lens, its not true macro. That said for things like flowers or butterflies its more than enough. Certainly enough to give a good taster without breaking the bank and if you find you want more you can then consider a full macro lens.
Further for its low mag stuff such as flowers, the long focal length of the lens (macro is enabled at the 300mm end) means you get a really powerful blur to the background for the flower shots.

To put magnifications in perspective here is around 1:2 on the 70-300mm:

and here is 1:1 on a proper macro lens (focal length unimportant)

In the end its really up to you if you want to try it or not, its a decent lens for its price point and features and I do agree that it gives you a lot to try out with. You will get a good bit more use out of it if you use a tripod (even a cheap $15 will help - you won't leave it free standing oft on that, but it will help)
If it were me in your position I would buy a used macro lens, don't spend a lot. Try it out.
Macro photography is another area where it is easy to be bad at it and a lot of work and frustration to get to the point where your macro's really start to look if it turns out to not be as fun as you thought it might be...sell it for what you paid for it.
I read good things about the APO version of that Sigma some years ago; the price however, seems too high to me. it is I believe, a better lens than the low,low-end Nikkor 70-300 G series (which I own). As I recall, the lens sold new for $169 in 2003, the year my son was born. I saw a copy in a pawn shop this very weekend for $110. So, the $180 price would have to be for a brand new lens to make it competitive. Macro of 1:2 with a 300mm lens is actually pretty decent in the world of zoom lenses...many other zooms go only to 1:4 and that is called "macro".

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