Sigma AF 105mm f/2.8 EX HSM DG OS macro (Canon EOS) - Full Format Review
Lens Reviews - Canon EOS (Full Format)

Review by Klaus Schroiff, published June 2012

Kindly provided for testing purposes by Thomas Dres!


Medium tele macro lenses are among the most popular prime lenses - they are long and fast enough for decent portrait photography and offer a sufficient working distance during macro sessions compared to shorter macro lenses. Other than that they tend to offer an outstanding image quality and all that for an decent price tag. The popularity among customers is also a reason why we are seeing faster than average product life-cycles. In this review we will have a look at the Sigma AF 105mm f/2.8 EX DG HSM OS macro. Its predecassor was quite successful already and this new version is offering a couple of innovations such as an optical image stabilizer and especially a constant physical length across the focus range. As such it competes with the very comparable Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 USM L IS. It is about 20% cheaper than its mighty rival but it does not feature a weather sealing like the Canon lens.

The build quality of the Sigma lens is excellent. It is based on a rubberized metal body with high quality plastic parts based on a metal mount. The focus ring is a bit on the stiff side but does not rotate during focus operations. A focus limiter is implemented in order to avoid focus hunting across the focus range. A barrel-shaped lens hood is also part of the package. Interestingly a "dedicated hood adapter" is also supplied to extend the lens hood for an even more efficient use on APS-C DSLRs. Honestly this feels a bit over the top from our perspective. The optical design includes a floating system to optimize the close focus performance.

The Sigma lens features a virtually silent HSM (Hypersonic Motor) similar to Canon USM (Ultrasonic Motor). AF operations are very fast at conventional distances. This is at least partially achieved by implementing a rather short focus path which makes life a little harder in manual focusing mode. Full-time manual focusing (FTM) is supported. The AF accuracy of the tested sample was good.

As mentioned, the Sigma AF 105mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM comes with an optical image stabilizer (OS) with a claimed efficiency of up to 4 f-stops. However, even Sigma admits that the benefits decreases as the shooting distance becomes shorter.

Here's a spec comparison between the Sigma AF 105mm f/2.8 EX DG HSM OS macro and, its direct competitor, the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 USM L IS macro:

Sigma AF
105mm f/2.8 EX DG HSM OS macro
Canon EF
100mm f/2.8 USM L IS macro
Design (elements/groups): 16/11 inc. 2x SLD elements, floating elements 15/12 inc. 1x UD
Aperture blades: 9 (circular) 9 (circular)
min. Focus: 0.312m (1:1 magnification) 0.3m (1:1 magnification)
min. working distance: 0.142m 0.149m
Weather Sealing: no yes
Weight: 725g 625g
Size: 78.3x126.4mm 77.7x123mm
Filter Diameter: 62mm 67mm
IS: yes yes
Price: ~700EUR ~850EUR

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