With the Sigma 105mm f2.8 DG DN Macro Art there is finally a modern alternative to Sony’s FE 90mm f2.8 G OSS Macro and it’s the first autofocus macro lens for L-mount with a focal length beyond 70mm. Sigma’s new macro lens is extremely sharp at any distance and free of color aberrations. Its feature-set is pretty complete: thorough weather sealing, de-clickable aperture ring, focus limiter, focus-lock button. Plus it offers the unique option to get the lens mount swapped (at a cost) between Sony’s E-mount and Leica’s L-mount and you can use teleconverters (at least for the L-mount version) to increase focal length and maximum magnification up to 2x. This all comes at a price which is 20-30% lower than Sony’s.
What’s not to like? The lens shows quite visible focus-breathing which might be distracting when shooting videos. AF operation could produce noise that is audible from the outside and also registers with video recordings. And manually focusing the lens sometimes led to a slight disconnect between the movement of the focus ring and the reaction of the lens – at least on my copy. Finally Adobe’s RAW converter (again) does not recognize the distortion compensation from the lens profile at the time of writing. This may look like a long list of faults but these are only minor quibbles.
The only issue of relevance might be the missing optical image stabilization of the lens. Macro photography is a field where shake can easily ruin a shot as the effect of camera shake increases with magnification. That’s why you should use a tripod whenever you can. But if a tripod is not available every bit of image stabilization helps. In theory Sony’s FE 90mm f2.8 G OSS Macro should offer better stabilization than sensor-based stabilization alone. But this comparison has to wait until I can get my hands on Sony’s macro lens.
Compared to Sony FE 90mm f2.8 Macro G OSS
Sony’s FE 90mm f2.8 Macro G OSS may be a few years old now, but remains a very good macro lens which also doubles up as a light telephoto. It produces very sharp images with very little field-curvature – although for optimal results it should be stopped down to f4.0 when shooting at closer distances. It also produces a pretty soft Bokeh and has almost no colour aberrations. Its feature set is nice – including the option to switch manual focus between linear and non-linear gearing. It may be more expensive than Sigma’s 105mm f2.8 DG DN Macro Art and also a little less sharp but all-in-all the FE 90mm f2.8 Macro G OSS still earns a recommendation. Editor’s note: with Sony producing new G Master versions of some of its older lenses, I wonder if a high-end macro is in the works, albeit perhaps with a different focal length or aperture than the 90mm?
For more details see my Sony FE 90mm f2.8 Macro G OSS review.
Sigma 105mm f2.8 DG DN Macro Art final verdict
The excellent performance of Sigma’s 105mm f2.8 DG DN Macro Art makes it a perfect match for high resolution full-frame mirrorless cameras with E-mount or L-mount. It produces extremely sharp images devoid of color aberrations and has a very good feature set – including the option to use teleconverters. It may be missing the optical image stabilization of Sony’s FE 90mm f2.8 G OSS Macro but then for professional macro work you’d probably put it on a tripod anyway. All-in-all the 105mm f2.8 DG DN Macro Art clearly earns a Highly Recommended! Let’s hope that Sigma soon is able to offer their new lens with Nikon Z-mount and Canon RF-mount too.
- Excellent resolution and contrast at all object distances.
- No longitudinal colour aberrations or purple fringing.
- Only little vignetting and mild distortions – even without lens-profile.
- Can use teleconverters (at least for L-mount) to increase focal length and maximum magnification up to 2x.
- Weather sealing, de-clickable aperture ring, focus-lock button, focus limiter.
- Can swap mounts (at a cost) between Sony E and Leica L-mount.
- Visible focus-breathing.
- No optical image stabilization.
- Audible AF operation.
- Adobe’s RAW converter as of version 13.0 does not recognize distortion compensation from lens profile.