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Sigma 300mm f/4 APO Tele Macro HSM

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
6 101428 Feb 1, 2012
Recommended By Average Price
100% of reviewers $540.00
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
10.00
9.67
9.3
22_03_1_

Specifications:
Discover a new world of possibilities with this ultra telephoto macro. It lets you get as close to your subject as 47.3 inches and its 1:3 macro capability enables you to shoot images so powerful, they'll take your breath away. Two SLD glass lens elements correct chromatic aberration and an inner focusing mechanism keep the 7.8 inch length constant. A rotating tripod collar is included and the durable ZEN finish makes it the ideal lens for even the most rugged photographic applications.


 


          
Kevin Sanders
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Registered: Jun 4, 2010
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 5
Review Date: Feb 1, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp, fast, close-focussing, cheap
Cons:
Hunts in low light

I got this lens on ebay for my Sigma SD15. It is a brilliant lens. Sharp, contrasty, good colours. Excellent. I have a few cameras and lenses and was able to compare this lens on the SD15 with a Canon 40D with the Canon 300mm F4 L IS. Not a scrap of difference. Except that the Canon lens cost four times as much!

Feb 1, 2012
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RRJackson
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Registered: May 30, 2009
Location: United States
Posts: 1
Review Date: Jun 7, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $310.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Very sharp. Amazing bokeh. Easily removable tripod bracket. Inexpensive.
Cons:
Screw-driven.

This is about the nicest 300mm f/4 (for my needs) that I'm aware of. Mine is in Nikon F mount, so it doesn't have the HSM motor of the Canon version. It's a shame Sigma has stopped making this lens. I'd love to see an updated version with their HSM motor, but zooms dominate the market now. I far prefer a prime that does one thing really well over a zoom that does many things passably well.

Sigma are the king of bokeh, IMO. They seem to have a really consistent take on what makes attractive bokeh. I don't know if it's the 9-bladed iris or the optics themselves, but I love the look of "Sigma bokeh" and it keeps drawing me to Sigma lenses. Here's an example of this lens wide open:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/r_jackson/3602225858/

It's always so smooth and creamy. It almost never devolves into something busy. That said, I did manage to grab one test shot with this lens where the bokeh went a little busy, particularly in the top left:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/r_jackson/3601412153/

So they aren't a magic bullet, but overall I really love Sigma bokeh.

This lens has the standard Sigma quick-release tripod bracket. I tend to hand-hold a lot, so this is a big deal to me. The Nikon version of this lens has a removable bracket, but it's very hard to remove.

Overall this lens is everything I expect from Sigma. It's built well, it performs exceptionally well and it has a wonderful look. I couldn't be happier.

Some notable specs:

Length: 195mm / 7.67 inches long

Weight: 1190 grams / 2.62 pounds

Takes a 77mm filter

1.2m / 3.93 feet minimum focus

1:3 reproduction ratio

If this seems like a lens that meets your needs I can't recommend it strongly enough.


Jun 7, 2009
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linux
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Registered: May 3, 2009
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 0
Review Date: May 3, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $950.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: It's a very affordable lens. Focus is really fast even in no hsm version (i think because of its internal mechanism). Close focus distance let me take very suggestive pictures of insects and some kind of flowers. Excellent build quality.
Cons:
Very rare lens. I think Sigma doesn't sell it any more.

It's a very affordable lens. Focus is really fast even in no hsm version (i think because of its internal mechanism). Close focus distance let me take very suggestive pictures of insects and some kind of flowers. Excellent build quality.
The focus limiter is very usefull to fast autofocus operation.
The detachable tripod mount let to lower the weight of the lens.


May 3, 2009
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spartan123
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Registered: Nov 9, 2003
Location: United States
Posts: 3683
Review Date: Jan 16, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Size, price and focusing distance. Very fast focusing.
Cons:
You might have to have it re-chipped, so buy at a decent price. (not that re-chipping cost anything)

Is it equal to the Canon 300 f/4??? No, but it is VERY close. It is easily half the price of the Canon f/4.

Make sure you get the APO / HSM model.

After sending in my copy to get it re-chipped, I can tell you it will stay with me a longggggg time.

Very sharp lens that also makes a wonderful closeup lens.


Jan 16, 2005
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jaapv
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Registered: Jun 9, 2004
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 1362
Review Date: Jun 24, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $500.00 | Rating: 6 

 
Pros: Good quality for a reasonable price
Cons:
Not all versions work on all camera's Canon glass is superior (but far more expensive)

As mentioned before, the older version won't work on a D10, giving error 99 in one shot focus mode. I found, however, that it will function on the D300. The camera doesn't recognize the 1.4 tc, but this doesn't affect exposure.
All in all it is a nice lens to have handy for those shots you wouldn't get otherwise. The results do benifit from post-processing, especially contrast enhancement.


Jun 24, 2004
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wtracyparnell
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Registered: Feb 24, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 106
Review Date: Mar 29, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $400.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Well-built, Very Good Performance for the Money
Cons:
None When Price is Considered

First of all-will this lens beat either Canon counterpart? No, obviously not or Canon wouldn't sell any. But if you can get one of these in great shape on the used market it's a great buy.

First, let me make clear I am talking about the APO HSM macro version of the lens, which is the last before it was discontinued. Don't get the older product as it will need rechiping and Sigma may or may not have the parts on hand (Sigma will rechip for free IF they have the parts). Also, the older version is less sharp and doesn't have the HSM motor.

One category this lens does win is close focusing. It will go to 1.2 meters compared to the Canon IS version at 1.5. This can be an important factor if you want to do closeups or small birds. The older Canon non-IS isn't close to either of these numbers although some feel it is the sharpest of the trio.

Speaking of sharpness, it is excellent at all f-stops except 4 and very good there. Here is an example:

http://www.pbase.com/image/27184713

Quality is good with a TC but a step down from the lens alone. One issue is that since the lens is somewhat soft at f4 you need to stop down to retain the most sharpness and with a TC you are already losing a stop. I would stick with a 1.4 and stay away from the 2x.

All in all, a great lens if you can find it used at a good price. An important factor when one is just putting together a digital kit as I am.


Mar 29, 2004
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Sigma 300mm f/4 APO Tele Macro HSM

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
6 101428 Feb 1, 2012
Recommended By Average Price
100% of reviewers $540.00
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
10.00
9.67
9.3
22_03_1_