Sigma 50mm f2.8 D Macro EX

I’m beginning to feel like an equipment junkie having purchased a couple new (used) lenses recently. One of these, the Nikkor 10.5mm fisheye I have mentioned a number of times in previous posts (A few more 180’s from the Nikkor 10.5mm Fisheye Lens and Fisheye Views). The other lens I recently purchased was a Sigma 50mm Macro, not the most recent version but still a lens that has some very good reports. This came to me from a photographer back east that it appears had never used it.

This is my fifth Sigma lens (I also own the Sigma 30mm f1.4, Sigma 10-20mm, Sigma 50-150mm f2.8 and the impressive Sigma 150mm f2.8 Macro) which is a good indicator that I find the Sigma lenses to be of pretty decent quality. Are they better than the equivalent Nikkors? I really don’t know. The reason I started buying Sigma in the first place was that Nikon wasn’t producing DX lenses with the focal lengths I was looking for. This has changed somewhat in the past year or so which is a good sign.

This particular Sigma 50mm Macro is the older version and definitely doesn’t feel as robust as the newer EX Sigmas (The EX lenses are the higher end line). The quality is certainly OK but for really heavy use I’m not sure I wouldn’t destroy it within a few years. I’m not sure if the most modern version is slightly better but I would guess that it is. Mechanically and finish wise it is very impressive, maybe just a little light in weight but that can be good. For my purposes this is fine as macros are fairly specialized and I can’t imagine leaving it on the camera often.

Auto focusing is somewhat slow and tends to hunt a little at close distances. Focusing is a little noisy as the lens uses a geared drive instead of an internal motor but most of the time I use my macro lenses on manual focus anyway. Not a big deal for my shooting style.

Toss all this aside and let’s get to the image quality, what really matters. For an inexpensive lens the image quality is quite acceptable if not impressive. I would be very interested in shooting with a Nikon 60mm Macro as a comparison but my bets are the image quality will be the same. The Nikon macro will have the edge in build quality. I’m not sure if the lens is as sharp as the Sigma 150mm macro but the 150 has a reputation for being one of the sharpest lenses ever made. Certainly images made around f8 to f11 look very good with excellent corner sharpness. I don’t shoot brick walls and newspapers so this observation is made from shooting real photos, what a concept!

All of this cost me a whopping $130 including shipping and PayPal fees, not bad if you ask me. The newer version costs around $260 which isn’t a bad deal. For comparison, the Nikon 60mm f2.8 Macro costs around $480. If you want to get into macro photography on a reasonable budget this lens allows you to do that, the only question you need to ask yourself is whether the focal length is going to be long enough. I’ll have to discuss that later.

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3 Responses to “Sigma 50mm f2.8 D Macro EX”

  1. […] at all about doing this type of work. It doesn’t have to be expensive, I bought a wonderful 50mm Sigma Macro lens used for all of $120 (new about $270) and it is tack sharp and produces amazing images. My main […]

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