To capture the smallest of subject matter and detail, a macro lens is the most likely option for us photographers. This type of lens generally doubles up as a regular high-end prime or zoom, which also features a macro mode. Macro lenses are generally, but not always, linked to certain focal lengths. This means, when considering the best Sigma macro lenses under $1000, the options are more limited than if we were looking at the full gamut of traditional lens types.
However, with Sigma being known for excellent optics at affordable prices and often the best value overall, we have a few examples which fit the macro criteria and can also double up as regular lenses that offer high-end performance.
There will always be the scenario when you’re looking for good lenses where you need the most versatility possible with the focal range, along with macro facilities. A good lens under $1000 in this camp is the 18-300mm f/3.5-6.3 DC Macro OS HSM Contemporary. Sigma’s Contemporary range is aimed at those who want a high-quality lens at a mid-range price point, while also offering a good range of features.
The 18-300mm zoom covers the wide to long telephoto range in a reasonably-weighed package of 585g. This makes the lens a very good all-around solution for anything from landscapes to wildlife shots and, of course, the small side of things. Although the lens doesn’t offer a full-sized 1:1 magnification, it does offer a 1:3 reproduction ratio, which is still respectable for a general-purpose zoom.
As the lens has to cover such a long focal range, it contains one SLD, three aspherical, and four FLD elements to maintain image quality. A super multilayer coating has been applied to each element to minimize the likes of ghosting and lens flare, while also increasing color and contrast.
Helping out at the longer focal lengths and in macro mode, an image stabilization system provides more keeper images than ever before. The Sigma 18-300mm f/3.5-6.3 DC Macro OS HSM also has some nice added extras such as a zoom lock switch to prevent unwanted zoom adjustments.
Although the lens doesn’t provide a full-size macro representation of a subject, it still provides plenty of definition for tiny items when the aperture is stopped down. Essentially, this lens will benefit those who want a more rounded solution, covering a lot of focal lengths, with the added extra of a macro mode.
3. Sigma 70mm f/2.8 DG MACRO Art (Budget Winner)
This Sigma lens under $1000 should please fans of the Art series, as it not only provides a full-sized 1:1 magnification but operates as a very adept 70mm prime lens. The Sigma 70mm f/2.8 DG MACRO Art is also available for the Canon, Sigma, and Sony camera mounts, which should please everyone apart from the Nikon camp who have been left out of the equation.
To slot this lens into the Art series providing the same optical qualities, a few features have been omitted. There is no image stabilization with this lens and the usual hypersonic motor as found on the rest of the Art series has been replaced with a DC motor. This version of autofocus motor is still quick and reliable, just not as fast off the mark as the HSM version. The internal lens barrel also extends quite a long way, which is not always ideal for macro work, especially with the lens having a close focusing distance of 25.8cm.
Where the lens counts is in offering a 1:1 reproduction ratio, with very little signs of lens anomalies such as blue and purple fringing at the widest aperture. In terms of overall sharpness, the Sigma 70mm f/2.8 DG MACRO Art produces its best results across the frame from f/4-f/11. But as the lens doesn’t feature any image stabilization, a high-quality tripod will be needed for very close-up work.
This lens works extremely well as a macro prime, providing very sharp images in the center of the frame even at f/2.8. It’s a shame there is no built-in image stabilization, but as with other high-quality Sigma Art lenses such as the 85mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art, you are really paying for the quality of glass above everything else.
The focal length of 70mm is also one of those in-between areas. It’s not as wide as the standard view found on a 50mm prime lens and it doesn’t have the length of the 105mm f/2.8 lens above. But if your sole purpose is macro photography, this lens provides very high-quality images for the price.
Going Third Party with the Best Sigma Macro Lenses Under $1000
When choosing an ideal macro lens, a 1:1 reproduction ratio is the main criteria to look for, as well as the option of image stabilization. Otherwise, a tripod will be needed for the majority of your work.
If the macro side of things is only part of your interest area, then a lens with more generic workings may be more up your alley. This is where the 18-300mm comes into play, having an extremely rounded feature set at a very cost-effective price.