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Old Mar 15, 2009, 12:20 AM   #1
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I've been a good boy recently and I've got the opportunity to add another toy to my collection.

I have been enjoying the close-up capabilities of my 12-60, but don't like getting so close to the subject. I also tried my 50-200 but found I had to stay too far from the subject. My guess is that a close-focus lens of about 100mm to 150mm would be nice, and at that length, I should be able to use my flash.

So, I'm tossing up a few options to take me to true macro: ZD 50mm, Sigma 105mm or Sigma 150mm, with particular interest in the last one. My existing gear: E3, 12-60, 50-200, 18-180, EC-20, Sigma 30mm, FL-36R.

ZD 50:
pro: awesomely sharp, weather sealed, f/2.0, small and light (300g)
con: slow focus, must be close to subject, might have to use EC-20 too to get the focal length (extra 225g, loses 2 stops)

Sigma 105mm:
pro: modest weight (460g), good subject distance, good focal length, focus limiter
con: dubious AF/MF clutch thing, allegedly slow focus (but how slow?)

Sigma 150mm:
pro: fast focus, fancy 3-setting focus limiter
con: heavy (900g), big (14cm long), expensive (1.5x the cost of the others), alleged focus problems on E3 bodies

Any comments anyone? Particularly from anyone using a Sigma 150mm on 4/3rds since I think that's rare.

Does a 1kg macro lens build up your arm muscles? :-) This matters since I do all my photography hand-held, even when the light is awful. :G
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Old Mar 15, 2009, 1:33 AM   #2
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You should go search the Olympus DSLR pages at DPReview. There are images there if you search by the name of the lens. Here's one such find:


I also consider the word "tripod" a four-letter word, even though it's really 6. I have one, but rarely use it and never carry it around. I alsorefuse to pay the goingprice of a macro lens and then have itwait in the bag for those times I would actually use it.

My solution is the much more economicalEX25 tube used with either the 50-200 or 70-300 Zuiko zooms. Much more versatile, both also give a very good working distance at maximum zoom and both get youvery close....no doubt they are not as well corrected for closeupsas a lens such as the 150mm f2.8, but neither are either zooms as narrowly slotted in terms of usefulness for anyone other than an ultimate macro shooter.

These were all recently shot with the 50-200 f2.8-3.5 and the EX25 tube at various focal lengths. It is a very versatile close-up lens.

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Old Mar 15, 2009, 8:16 PM   #3
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I don't have the 150 Sigma, so take everything I say with a grain of salt.

The 150 seems to have more sample variation than normal. The good ones are stunning. Others may need a trip to the service center to get things right.

From what I've seen, the 105 is generally a good lens. It might not be as good as a good copy of the 150, but from what I've seen, a very decent macro lens with a good working distance and does 1 to1 out of the box.

I have the 50 macro, and usually use it with the EC-14. Working distance is a bit more than 4 inches, both with and without the teleconverter. I enjoy the lens, and even the popup flash does well as long as the hood isn't installed. Its a very high quality lens.

None of the macro lenses are quick to focus. I've heard as many complaints about the 150 as the rest, in spite of its ring motor.

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Old Mar 18, 2009, 7:15 AM   #4
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I've done a bit more research, and, yes, I may have been optimistic to mark the Sigma 150 as "fast focus". It may be fairly fast on some systems, but is, apparently, considerably slower to focus than the Oly 50mm macro on four-thirds. Sigh.

So, I'm sort of down to the 50mm vs the 105mm vs the new idea of an EX-25 + my existing 50-200mm SWD (thanks for pointing this out, Greg).

It turns out my local camera store has the 50mm and EX-25 in stock, so I'm hoping I can go try out the various combinations next week. Sadly, they don't have the Sigma 105mm (none in the city to the best of my knowledge).

Of course, if the EX-25 + 50-200 wins, then the combo will be even heavier than the proposed Sigma 150mm! I guess I'll just have to "man up" and get used to swinging a few kilos of camera gear after every butterfly and bee I see.
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Old Mar 19, 2009, 3:30 AM   #5
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I;ve seen some stunning macros with the Simga 150/105 but as everyone's pointed out that QC isn;t Sigma's strong point but I didn;t know that the 150 was slower to focus than the 50mm macro.



:O :?
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