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View Full Version : Any hints on using the Sigma 150 macro lens


Ross the fiddler
20th September 2010, 11:35 AM
I was silly enough to order a Sigma 150 Macro lens today. On some past reviews there have been issues with AF on the E3 but most macro photos manual focus would be necessary anyhow. I would be using it on my E30. Is it true that lens may need to be rechipped, because I bought it from a parrallel (grey) importer that said they will warrant it themselves? Have I done a stupid thing?

Please help!

Nick Temple-Fry
20th September 2010, 12:17 PM
I was silly enough to order a Sigma 150 Macro lens today. On some past reviews there have been issues with AF on the E3 but most macro photos manual focus would be necessary anyhow. I would be using it on my E30. Is it true that lens may need to be rechipped, because I bought it from a parrallel (grey) importer that said they will warrant it themselves? Have I done a stupid thing?

Please help!

I thought Sigma offered a 1 year worldwide guarantee.

There was talk on the forums of front focus issues, personally I do not know (nor do I want to find out) if my lens suffers from this, but I suspect it is more of a test bench issue than a real problem when using hand held. There are several members happily using the lens on the forum and I do not recall any having to be re-chipped.

Because it is a powerful macro lens, with at f2.8 a very shallow dof (which is what you get through the v-f, I find it easiest to use mf to find the item then track it against my movement with c-af. You can happily mf at any time - the focus ring is permanently engaged and providing the shutter button is not half depressed no problems will occur.

Other than the trustworthiness of your 'grey importer I don't think that buying a Sigma 150 can ever be a mistake, provided you intend to use it as a macro lens. The slow af will be frustrating for more general use.

Nick

Ross the fiddler
20th September 2010, 01:07 PM
I thought Sigma offered a 1 year worldwide guarantee.

There was talk on the forums of front focus issues, personally I do not know (nor do I want to find out) if my lens suffers from this, but I suspect it is more of a test bench issue than a real problem when using hand held. There are several members happily using the lens on the forum and I do not recall any having to be re-chipped.

Because it is a powerful macro lens, with at f2.8 a very shallow dof (which is what you get through the v-f, I find it easiest to use mf to find the item then track it against my movement with c-af. You can happily mf at any time - the focus ring is permanently engaged and providing the shutter button is not half depressed no problems will occur.

Other than the trustworthiness of your 'grey importer I don't think that buying a Sigma 150 can ever be a mistake, provided you intend to use it as a macro lens. The slow af will be frustrating for more general use.

Nick

Thanks Nick.
You have pretty much described it as I expected it to be & will be (hopefully) fantastic for my macro adventures into the garden (more like wild scrub in our yard). I don't expect to use AF much (or not at all) for the close macro shots but was hoping it would help with some telephoto applications (static) I might use it for undestanding its slow operation.

The review I read (by Matthew Robertson) mentioned Sigma's recomendation to only use manual focus with both body & lens selected for it, but you have helped with your explanation nicely.

In Australia we only have a distributor agent for Sigma (plus Pentax & Hoya etc) & if I have a problem with my lens that I bought from another importer who got it from the cheapest international wholesaler, he is going to tell to take a hike. Olympus Australia won't honour any Interrnational Warranty from similar grey importers either. An approved reseller had this lens listed for a good price but didn't have it in stock, so I checked with the agent (C R Kennedy) who later replied that they were in stock now. Meanwhile I went to this other site (located in Queensland) & since they had 2 in stock, I thought I should grab one while it was there (which was about $125 cheaper). Hopefully there won't be any issues. I wonder if it will be useful enough at my sons end of school (yr 12) graduation or maybe stick to the 70-300 lens to catch the obligitory hand shake with the principle.

Kenz
20th September 2010, 04:32 PM
I have a Sigma 150mm macro lens and the results are great, you will love it.

As it weighs in at 995grams with tripod collar, takes bit getting used to.

I used mine on a E3, E510 and E420, I used AF most of the time and never had any problems.

It is a typical macro lens in the fact that they are never really fast at focusing in AF anyway.

Good shooting

Ken

PeterD
20th September 2010, 06:33 PM
Ross,
What Nick says is what I would have recommended too

I have used my Sigma 150 Macro on both the E500 and E3 bodies. In both cases I have been really pleased with the results.

If you ask most people how they shoot macro, they will tell you 'MF of course'. When I tell them I use C-AF, they are horrified and tell me it will not work. The MF pre-focus that Nick has mentioned is important for two reasons:-
1. It helps to overcome the slow AF times particular to a macro lens.
2. You use the narrow dof to eliminate as much of the high contrast items surrounding the image allowing rapid, accurate, lock-on on the wanted subject.
This makes AF work well.
C-AF allows for camera shake, subject movement etc.

I do not often have to discard frames for poor focus. This goes to show how well tuned the Olympus E system cameras for AF performance. Both my E500 and E3 respond well to this method.

Sorry if there have been other posts since I started this one but the evening mea preparation and eating was sandwiched (oops) in between.

Wee man
20th September 2010, 08:12 PM
I will echo all that has been said already, I use mine with a E30 without any problems.

Ross the fiddler
21st September 2010, 12:33 PM
Ross,
What Nick says is what I would have recommended too

I have used my Sigma 150 Macro on both the E500 and E3 bodies. In both cases I have been really pleased with the results.

If you ask most people how they shoot macro, they will tell you 'MF of course'. When I tell them I use C-AF, they are horrified and tell me it will not work. The MF pre-focus that Nick has mentioned is important for two reasons:-
1. It helps to overcome the slow AF times particular to a macro lens.
2. You use the narrow dof to eliminate as much of the high contrast items surrounding the image allowing rapid, accurate, lock-on on the wanted subject.
This makes AF work well.
C-AF allows for camera shake, subject movement etc.

I do not often have to discard frames for poor focus. This goes to show how well tuned the Olympus E system cameras for AF performance. Both my E500 and E3 respond well to this method.

Sorry if there have been other posts since I started this one but the evening mea preparation and eating was sandwiched (oops) in between.

Thanks for all the hints & recommendations from everyone & especially the manual pre-adjustment with C-AF. It's really helpful as it came today & I LOVE IT! I can see the benefit of using C-AF as I wobble around (happens more as I get nearer to retirement age) in & out of focus & basically it worked. I will post some photos as soon as I have something decent to post & time to take them.

Cheers to you all *chr

Greytop
21st September 2010, 12:46 PM
It's a superb lens Ross, I'm really glad I got mine. I tend to use S-AF with mine and prefer to shoot in natural light.
Other than playing around with the depth of field and the occasional manual pre-focus I wouldn't know what else to suggest.
I'm sure you will be churning out impressive close ups in no time :)

PeterD
21st September 2010, 12:49 PM
Thanks for all the hints & recommendations from everyone & especially the manual pre-adjustment with C-AF. It's really helpful as it came today & I LOVE IT! I can see the benefit of using C-AF as I wobble around (happens more as I get nearer to retirement age) in & out of focus & basically it worked. I will post some photos as soon as I have something decent to post & time to take them.

Cheers to you all *chr

Now I for one shall look forward to your macro shots. I have a son living in Melbourne - seen lots of scenery and wildlife shots but he is not into macro.
Good luck and take care

Jim Ford
21st September 2010, 02:28 PM
Thanks for all the hints & recommendations from everyone & especially the manual pre-adjustment with C-AF. It's really helpful as it came today & I LOVE IT! I can see the benefit of using C-AF as I wobble around (happens more as I get nearer to retirement age) in & out of focus & basically it worked. I will post some photos as soon as I have something decent to post & time to take them.


It'll come in handy for close-ups of Funnel Web Spiders without getting too close!
;^)

Jim

Ross the fiddler
24th September 2010, 12:46 PM
It'll come in handy for close-ups of Funnel Web Spiders without getting too close!
;^)

Jim

I couldn't find any funnel web spiders today but this little spider put on a good display for me instead here http://e-group.uk.net/forum/showthread.php?p=85364#post85364 .

My new lens, on closer inspection, might be a "second's" as it has a couple of scratches in the coating inside the last lens (I think) but considering I got it $124 dollars less than the cheapest authorised reseller & it doesn't have any effect on the image, I don't think I'll lose any sleep over it, especially as the parallel (grey) importer only had one more in stock in Brisbane (no knowing if it would be any better). I'm also very grateful to my wife for allowing me the luxury of getting this lens. A bird in the hand's worth two in the bush.
I love its ability to AF (after manually focusing) as I was using S-AF today it fired the shutter perfectly as it came into focus (with my movement & the flower it was on did too) & also being able to focus with an open aperture is also a luxury after using reversed, extended lenses etc. with closed aperture.

Now for the other lenses on my wish list......