Sigma 150mm f/2.8 MACRO on Nikon D3

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by amoroso77, Jul 7, 2008.

  1. I am in search for a macro-lens for the D3. Earlier, when I used a D200, I was also searching intensively for a macrolens. Back then I had two requirements: ability to AF and IF (innerfocus) so the lens don't extend while focusing. During that search I found only to alternatives: Sigma 150mm f2/.8 Macro and Nikon Micro 105mm f2./8 VR. Even though price was not too important I did not like to read that the Nikons IQ seemed to be regarded as worse than the Sigma. The Sigma on the other hand had such a reach that it was much more specialized than the Nikon. Now, when I have the Nikon D3, I figure the Sigma 150mm will act more like the 105mm would behave on a DX-format camera? If that is the case the Sigma would be more practically versatile on the D3 than it ever was on the D200 (e.g. even tough you don't get the reach for bug-work like on the DX-format it will be easier to do copy work with it since the reach is 1.5x less than with the DX-format - just like the VR 105 was on DX)?

    If my thoughts are correct, my only concern with the lens would be the minimum aperture of f/22 and that some reviews say it's more susceptible to diffraction issues than other macro-lenses? I thought diffraction was a physical limit all lenses had and the problem was universally equal? Is this wrong, and some lenses cope better with diffraction at the same f-stop compared with others?

    Are there any other macro-options (minimum 100mm) recomended for the D3 with my two requirements (AF and Inner Focus)? If not, what about manual focus lenses? Are there any that has Inner Focus and can do 1:1 and is recomended?

    Thanks for your help!
  2. You missed the 200/f4 AFD Micro-Nikkor, which meets your requirements (AF and IF). If any macro lens can match or beat the Sigma 150/f2.8, it's the 200/f4 Micro. I've used it on a D3, and it performs excellently.

    For insect work, though, I prefer a longer lens with extension tubes. The 300/f4 AFS is an EXCELLENT candidate for that, and I've used 500mm with tubes for insects such as dragonflies and hummingbird moths. The 200/f4 has pretty good working distance for a macro lens, but with 500 or 600mm you can stand off 4-6 feet and still fill the frame.
  3. There are also the 180's from Sigma and tamron. The Sigma has HSM, and both are AF/IF...
  4. Messiah Khan

    Messiah Khan Guest

    Ive started toying with using my 300mm f2.8 (Normally use my Sigma 150mm f2.8) for butterflies and dragonflies etc. Ive not got an extension tube set yet, but its something I might end up getting. How do you stabilise the lens for macro use? Gimbal head? Are there any tricks or tips to using a long lens for insect work?
  5. Thanks to all that replied. The reason I was hesitating buying the Sigma 150mm when I was using the DX D200 was that the reach seemed to be too much for general macro use. I want to just buy one lens for macro use and even though I'm sure I want to take a picture or two of a bug (and therefore don't want to scare them away by having too little reach) I don't want to buy a lens specialized for that. Therefore, a macro lens with more reach than 150 mm is not in my interest.

    How much thruth is it in the statement that the Sigma 150mm is more susceptible to diffraction issues than other macro-lenses? If I for instance would like to photograph a coin at an angle and I want great DOF to have the whole coin in focus at approx. 1:1, would the Sigma manage this? Or would I need a lens with even less focal length (105mm or less) and/or even less minimum aperture (for instance f/32) for this work? I understand one can't get the best of all worlds in one lens, but I just want the most versatile lens for general macro work. As far as I know 105mm seems to be regarded as the most versatile, but it seems that every source based that statement in regards to the DX-format so I figured the 150mm would be considered very nice on the D3 which is FX.

    Once again thank you for your help and comments.
  6. Where did you hear or read this? No review I ever read discussed diffraction as a problem with this lens. It has no performance flaws I'm aware of.

    When shooting macro at a 1:1 ratio, it doesn't matter how you get there, the DOF will be the same. What separates macro lenses from each other primarily are the focal length, image size (1:1, 1:2, etc.), and feature set. If perfect focus at 1:1 is a must then I'd recommend shooting the coin vertically with whatever macro lens you choose and then adjusting the viewing angle in your software.

    For versatility, I think the Sigma 150 is still hard to beat. The feature set, which includes a tripod collar (very very useful) makes this lens a top choice. Not only is it a great macro lens but it's one of the very best telephoto lenses in it's range (135-180mm), even with a Sigma 1.4 TC.
  7. Link to my source
  8. Thanks - first mention of this I've seen. It isn't clear if the author means he sees diffraction in macro mode or generally with this lens. Whichever is the case, I can't honestly tell you I've had similar experiences. OTOH, I don't often shoot below f8 because the performance is so stunning from f4 to f8.
  9. moffo


    Oct 20, 2005
    Central TX
    I can confirm that I got degradation of the image at apertures of f/11 or smaller on the D200, at least. (Went from 'stellar' to simply 'pretty darn sharp'. )
  10. Just bought the lens

    Sigma 150mm is soon on its way to Norway :)