Sigma 105mm F2.8 DG DN Macro Art Review
Review Manufacturer: Sigma
Price when reviewed
$799 Check current price
The only disappointment about the Sigma 105mm F2.8 DG DN Macro Art is that it’s not available in more mounts. Nikon Z-series and Canon R-series photographers can’t get the benefit of its excellent credentials. The aperture ring seems like a natural inclusion for a macro lens and the build quality, focusing and weatherproofing all get a thumbs up.
Excellent sharpness across the frame Attractive bokeh Weather sealing
Only available in the L and Sony E mounts Unstabilised
What is the Sigma 105mm F2.8 DG DN Macro Art?
While the Sigma 105mm F2.8 DG DN Macro Art may sound very similar to the popular Sigma 105mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro, the lens has been completely redesigned. Sigma has developed the 105mm F2.8 DG DN Macro Art specifically for use on mirrorless cameras and it’s available with either the L mount or the Sony E-mount.
As a true macro lens, the Sigma 105mm F2.8 DG DN Macro Art enables 1:1 (lifesize) reproduction at its closest focusing distance of 29.5cm from the focal plane.
Product type: Mid-telephoto macro lens Mount: Sony E, L Format: Full-frame Focal length: 105mm Maximum aperture: f/2.8 Minimum aperture: f/22 Construction: 17 elements in 12 groups Focusing system: Hyper Sonic Motor (HSM) Minimum focus distance: 29.5cm Stabilisation: No Number of diaphragm blades: 9 Filter size: 62mm Weight: 715g Diameter x length (extension from lens mount): 74×133.6mm
As part of its optical redesign, Sigma constructed the 105mm F2.8 DG DN Macro Art from 17 elements arranged in 12 groups with one special low dispersion (SLD) element. The older 105mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM, which dates from 2012, has 16 elements in 11 groups.
Sigma has also applied its Super Multi-Layer Coating to some elements to suppress flare and ghosting and the front element has a water- and oil-repellent coating to make it easier to keep clean. In addition, the lens is sealed around any joints, moving parts or controls so that it is splash and dust-proof.
Focusing is handled by Sigma’s Hyper Sonic Motor (HSM) system that uses ultrasonic waves to shift the focusing group. This is an entirely internal focusing system in the 105mm F2.8 DG DN Macro Art, which means the lens doesn’t change length nor does the front element rotate during focusing.
Build and Handling
At 74mm in diameter and 133.6mm in length, the 105mm F2.8 DG DN Macro Art is thinner and longer than the 105mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM (78.3 x126.4mm). And at 715g, it’s 10g lighter.
It feels well made and robust, entirely in keeping with Sigma’s Art range of lenses. Sigma also supplies a good, deep hood with the lens.
Unlike the 105mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro, the 105mm F2.8 DG DN Macro Art has an aperture ring. This has markings running from f/2.8 to f/22 in 1/3EV steps and is a nice addition to a macro lens.
While photographers may like the click stops of the aperture ring, videographers will be pleased to learn that with the flick of a switch the ring can be ‘declicked’ so that rotates smoothly and quietly.
Above the click switch, there’s a focus limiter that can be set to the full range, 0.5m to infinity or the closest focusing point (29.5cm) to 50cm. That latter setting is particularly of interest when shooting close subjects in front of a busy background that might distract the autofocus system.
Naturally, there’s a manual focus ring. This is nice and broad and requires just the right amount of effort to rotate.
Sigma has also included a focus lock button that can be customised via the camera’s menu.
Sigma’s 105mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro lens, which has been around since 2012 and is available in Canon EF, Nikon F, Sony A and Sigma mounts, is a popular optic with a strong reputation. The new Sigma 105mm F2.8 DG DN Macro Art does not disappoint by comparison as it delivers very high-quality images.
Although macro photography traditionally involves using small aperture settings, the Sigma 105mm F2.8 DG DN Macro Art performs extremely well wide-open. In fact, there seems to be little or no benefit to sharpness if you close the aperture down from f/2.8 to f/4 or f/5.6. The detail is also maintained reasonably well into the corners of the frame, and again, I could see no discernable benefit from closing the aperture down from the maximum setting.
By the time the aperture is closed to f/11, there’s a very slight hint of detail-softening impact of diffraction if you examine images at 100% on-screen. Closing down to f/22 makes the softening more apparent at high magnification, but it’s not a major issue. In fact, when comparing images shot on the 61Mp Sony A7R IV at different apertures, it takes a very keen eye to spot a difference in the central sharpness of an f/22 image and an f/4 or f/2.8 image when they are sized to fill a 27-inch screen.
Sigma has created profiles for the 105mm F2.8 DG DN Macro Art which can be applied in-camera using the ‘Lens Compensation’ settings in the camera’s menu or at the raw file processing stage in Adobe Camera Raw or Lightroom. These profiles can be used to correct vignetting, distortion and chromatic aberration. None of these issues is particularly problematic, there’s just mild corner shading at the wider apertures and a mere suggestion of pincushion distortion that you may notice if you photograph a subject with lots of straight lines.
Whether you decide to use the in-camera corrections or not, you can activate and deactivate them, or tweak the values in Adobe Camera Raw and Lightroom to get the result you want.
As promised by Sigma, the 105mm F2.8 DG DN Macro Art’s focusing system is compatible with Sony’s Eye AF, including the new Bird Eye AF that’s available on the Sony A1. It’s also fairly fast and assured. It’s not the fastest lens when it comes to focusing, but it’s not slow either and it’s very competent.
Nevertheless, as usual with very close subjects, it may be preferable to switch to manual focusing, and as mentioned in the build and handling section, this works extremely well with a distance scale popping up promptly in the viewfinder or on the screen to direct the adjustment.
Although quiet, the AF system makes a slight sound that would be picked up by a close mic. There’s also slight focus breathing which means the framing changes a bit with the focus distance. Both of these points could be issues for videographers.
Out of focus areas are handled well and small highlights are rounded with no obvious aberrations such as ‘onion rings’ or fringing.
Sigma 105mm F2.8 DG DN Macro Art sample images
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Sigma 105mm F2.8 DG DN Macro Art Image Gallery
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Sigma’s Art series lenses have gained an excellent reputation and the 105mm F2.8 DG DN Macro Art is a superb addition to the range. It delivers the image quality that we’d expect and has a very practical working distance. There are also handy features like the aperture ring, the focus range limiter and the customisable focus-hold button.
I hope that Sigma introduces the lens in a wider range of mounts so that photographers using Canon R and Nikon Z series cameras have the option to use it. It might also be of interest to Fujifilm and Olympus photographers, but mounting it on a sub-full-frame sensor means it will be subject to focal length magnification taking it to around 158mm or 210mm depending on the format.