Any experience on these two lenses : Sigma 150mm f/2.8 macro vs. Nikon 105 mm VR f/2.8 macro ?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by orcama60, Oct 16, 2009.

  1. Hi guys. Thank you so much in advance for all of your help. Does anybody have any experience using / testing and / or comparing these two lenses : Sigma 150 mm f/2.8 macro vs. Nikkor 105 mm VR f/2.8 ? The sigma offers more distance to take photos of insects that could fly away if you get closer with a 100 mm lens. The other, the Nikon, has an excellente review + the VR advantage. Is the Sigma great in color reproduction when comparing with the Nikon ? Which would be your choice if you had the money ? Both are around the same price + / - $100.00 difference, which is not that much. Also, I am considering the Tokina 100 mm f/2.8. Money is not the problem, but the IQ and for macro photography purposes, which one is the best overall. Thank you for all your help.
     
  2. I can only speak of the Nikon lens. It is GREAT, but forget the VR when used on a tripod. I find it long enough, but I'm not a nitpicker. I don't think you would be disappointed with the Nikon at all.
     
  3. I opted for the Sigma 150/2.8 because I wanted the larger working distance. I bought it about a year ago and there was a substantial price difference between it and the 105 VR. I also have the 70-180 Micro Nikkor zoom, and the 105 VR would not have given me any increase in working distance over the zoom. The effects of VR gradually decrease as magnification increases, so for macro there isn't much of a VR advantage. One major difference between the 105 and the 150 is that the latter comes with a very usable tripod collar whereas there is no such option for the Nikon - especially with a ringflash attached, I consider it a major disadvantage.
     
  4. Go to the Wednesday Photos and have a look at Buglady's submission. I think it is taken with the Sigma 150 f2.8 macro. Like Dieter, I opted for it too because of its longer working distance and its tripod collar. I haven't been disappointed in my choice.
     
  5. Do you really need, or want, autofocus for micro/macro images? If your camera can take manual focus lenses you could consider a used Nikon 100mm f4 AIS Micro and PN-11 extension ring and save a lot of money at the same time. Check out Bjorn Rorslett's opinions of all the Nikon micro lenses at: http://www.naturfotograf.com/index2.html
    I hope Bjorn Rorslett does not mind me doing that, it's just that I refer to his opinions myself on a regular basis.
    I do not know if the effective focal length of the Sigma reduces as you get closer like the Nikon 100/2.8 VR or not. In general I only consider myself or recommend to others, third party lenses when there are no other alternatives.
     
  6. SCL

    SCL

    I've used and almost monthly, continue to use the non-VR version of the Nikon for years....it is an excellent macro lens. Even if I had the VR version, for macro work, I probably wouldn't use the VR function. However, my all time favorite macro is the Kiron 105/2.8, IMHO it is just unbeatable. I think you would probably be quite happy with either lens you are currently looking at, they both have the capabilities to produce excellent macro shots. A little less money would also capture the Tamron 90/2.8...another excellent macro lens I keep handy for occasional work.
     
  7. There is no substitute for length when it comes to shooting insects like butterflies or dragonflies. There is a woman using this site whose name I can't remember who does well with a 300mm and a tc. I have a 200mm micro that has just about put my 105mm out of a job. I can set it up on a tripod near an area the insects are using and work them as they come and go. With the 105, the insects just will not approach you in range. Aren't there a couple of nice 180mm macros available?
     
  8. The Tokina 100mm you mention as a "backup option" is a very nice lens, build very solidly and very pleasant to manual focus (which for a macro lens to me is a big plus). For its money, I think it's a steal. I choose it over the Tamron 90mm because of the build quality and because it was €100 cheaper at the time. But I don't think you can go wrong with either one of these 2.
    Given the fact that VR is not all that useful at the macro-focus-distances, I find the Nikon 105VR a bit expensive. I'm sure it's a very good lens, but the Tamron/Tokina are very very close at a substantial saving.
    To me, for the price of the 105VR, I'd indeed be looking at the Sigma 150 or Tamron 180mm f/3.5 Macro. The extra working distance is very convenient for bugs.
     
  9. I use the Sigma 150mm 2.8 and love it. I debated between these two lenses several months ago, and can say I'm very happy with my choice. The extra distance has been a huge help in getting close enough to what I like to shoot. I'm pretty sure I couldn't have gotten close enough with the 105 for quite a few of my shots to get a 1:1 ratio. Both are good lenses, but for me, the 150mm length is just about perfect.
     
  10. OK guys, thank you so much. I do believe the Sigma will be the one to buy.
     
  11. I use the 105VR with a D300 and am considering the Sigma 150 with full frame, though I've never used it. Both are reportedly excellent and it is down to your preference. I only write to counterbalance some of the previous comments. VR is clearly effective with handheld photos in the 1:2 or 1:3 magnification range. I can't say I shoot at 1:1 much; that's about 1/4 of a butterfly and not of much interest to me. Autofocus is also very useful for macro especially when you are working fast or in awkward situations. Bjorn Rorslett gives the 105VR an outstanding review from an optical perspective, but does not use it because the changing focal length interferes with composition on a tripod.
     
  12. I use the 105VR with a D300 and am considering the Sigma 150 with full frame, though I've never used it. Both are reportedly excellent and it is down to your preference. I only write to counterbalance some of the previous comments. VR is clearly effective with handheld photos in the 1:2 or 1:3 magnification range. I can't say I shoot at 1:1 much; that's about 1/4 of a butterfly and not of much interest to me. Autofocus is also very useful for macro especially when you are working fast or in awkward situations. Bjorn Rorslett gives the 105VR an outstanding review from an optical perspective, but does not use it because the changing focal length interferes with composition on a tripod.
     
  13. I use the 105VR with a D300 and am considering the Sigma 150 with full frame, though I've never used it. Both are reportedly excellent and it is down to your preference. I only write to counterbalance some of the previous comments. VR is clearly effective with handheld photos in the 1:2 or 1:3 magnification range. I can't say I shoot at 1:1 much; that's about 1/4 of a butterfly and not of much interest to me. Autofocus is also very useful for macro especially when you are working fast or in awkward situations. Bjorn Rorslett gives the 105VR an outstanding review from an optical perspective, but does not use it because the changing focal length interferes with composition on a tripod.
     
  14. I use the 105VR with a D300 and am considering the Sigma 150 with full frame, though I've never used it. Both are reportedly excellent and it is down to your preference. I only write to counterbalance some of the previous comments. VR is clearly effective with handheld photos in the 1:2 or 1:3 magnification range. I can't say I shoot at 1:1 much; that's about 1/4 of a butterfly and not of much interest to me. Autofocus is also very useful for macro especially when you are working fast or in awkward situations. Bjorn Rorslett gives the 105VR an outstanding review from an optical perspective, but does not use it because the changing focal length interferes with composition on a tripod.
     
  15. sorry for the multiple posts. There was a server problem, apparently.
     
  16. @ Dieter: Did you by chance look for and notice any difference in IQ between the nikon zoom and the Sigma at say F11 or smaller?
    The reason I ask is that I assume the Sigma will be better near optimal aperture but near or beyond diffraction the zoom might be just the same. I like the zoom for shooting small fast moving animals for obvious reasons.
     
  17. Walter, I have not compared the zoom and the Sigma side-by-side. I usually pick the Sigma for insects or whenever the f/2.8 comes in handy (terrariums, aquarium or other dark spaces.) and the zoom for everything else. AF speed on the zoom is glacial and it is quite prone to hunting - a trait the Sigma unfortunately shares (and due to HSM is easier to overcome).
     
  18. "AF speed on the zoom is glacial and it is quite prone to hunting.... " quite true - sorry to hear that the Sigma of more recent design is bad as well. But for macro poor AF it is not a major drawback.
     
  19. Maurice if you get the Sigma get it from a reliable source. Sigma Service here in Germany is quite good (at least what I hear and from only one occasion when I personally used it). It may vary from country to country. Nevertheless quality control is not at its best at least when extreme wide angle zooms in DX format are concerned - so service may eventually be required in bad luck. Excellent IQ however, after service ^^.
    Another topic I referred to above is the fact that resolution in macro images degrades at small apertures. At the DX format I would worry about this at least at f11 if not already at f8. For FX format give or take one step smaller. So if you shoot mainly for very large DOF at smaller apertures than these then the IQ is not much different for most decent macro lenses since limited by diffraction. This is not limited to macro images but here you may be forced to stop down more severely.
     
  20. jti

    jti

    I have experience of Tokina 100mm and Sigma 150mm macro lenses. I prefer Sigma: it has tripod collar, its' physical lenght doesn't change when targetting, it has long working distance and it is quiet. It is great with small apertures. I find it produces neutral, natural colors.
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