Sigma’s popular tele-macro lens sees the addition of optical stabilisation and new lens coatings. Mat Gallagher discovers just how good this new version really is
The longer than average focal length and a weight of over 1.1kg make the Sigma 150mm f/2.8 difficult to use handheld, so the stabilisation is much needed – despite the fact that this seems to have helped increase the weight from the 895g of the previous model.
With full stabilisation active I was able to produce sharp images at shutter speeds as low as 1/15sec, although keeping above 1/60sec is advisable. I also found that removing the collar for handheld work reduced the weight and made steadying the lens easier.
Focusing is relatively rapid and near silent thanks to the HSM system, but the lens sometimes hunts forward and back briefly when making larger changes to the focal distance, although the focus distance limiter switch will reduce this. Manual focusing is accurate and quick to use, especially in combination with the AF to fine-tune your focus point.
As with all macro lenses, the Sigma 150mm f/2.8 is best mounted on a tripod to give it a steady platform and attempt to quell the minute movements that appear so severe at large magnification. The reduction in effective aperture for close-up work really limits the amount of light reaching the sensor, so unless you have bright studio conditions or are working with a fully open aperture, shutter speeds can be quite slow.