I have a EOS 650D camera and 50mm prime lens for it. At the moment I am thinking about upgrade and looking for a not too much expensive zoom lens.

I read that Sigma 17-70mm F/2.8-4 DC Macro OS HSM has an acceptable quality, but I am aware of Macro. It seems to be not bad lens for general purpose shooting, but I think there is still something that I missing with it.

What am I missing?

  • \$\begingroup\$ possible duplicate of Is a macro lens suitable for distant subjects - wildlife, sports, portraiture? \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Jun 9, 2013 at 15:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ So you know, when Sigma use the term "macro", it doesn't mean the same thing as when Canon use the term "macro", which in turn doesn't mean the same thing as when Nikon use the term "macro"! \$\endgroup\$
    – Matt Grum
    Jun 12, 2013 at 8:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MattGrum Well, as macro is not a purpose itself, it suppose it acceptable. \$\endgroup\$
    – Alex
    Jun 12, 2013 at 11:09

2 Answers 2


It took me a while to realize what I think you're asking... If I might, I believe that you want to know if the macro designation is going to effect the lens for general purpose shooting and the answer to that is no.

A macro lens, as Sigma is using it with this one, allows for closer focussing (rather than magnification). For example, that Sigma lens allows you to focus at something as close as 22cm (8.6 inches) away, while the Sigma 17-50mm can focus as close as 28cm (11 inches) and the Sigma 28-70mm can focus as close as 38cm (15 inches). Might not seem like much, but can matter, nevertheless, it only means something when the subject is close, it will behave no different when the subject is further away.

The comparable Canon lens, by the way, is the Canon EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6. Slightly longer zoom, smaller aperture throughout, and a minimum focussing distance of only 35cm (13.8 inches).

As you can see, the Sigma gives up a little bit longer a zoom, but gains a wider aperture at both ends of the zoom for lower light and has a closer focusing distance. So, if you don't need the extra 10mm of focal length, then I would probably go with the Sigma option, especially given the price drop.

Beyond that, the only additional detail that could be given would be highly dependent on what you want to photograph.

  • \$\begingroup\$ @Alex - Cheers, happy to help. :) \$\endgroup\$
    – Joanne C
    Jun 9, 2013 at 13:58

You have some clear points of what you need for your new lens:

  1. Not so expensive
  2. General purpose shooting
  3. Macro
  4. Acceptable quality

It's good as you can clear out your need before buying a lens, I just want to help with a few more things:

  1. The Sigma 17-70mm has .37x maximum magnification, as reviewed as best-in-class for macro. (with other similar zoom range from Canon, Tamron...., can check it out here: The Digital Picture), but it's still .37x, so it's not really a macro lens, with perfect 1:1 life size manification, but you sure can call it a good close-up lens. For reference, the value of your 500 prime is: .15x, so if you really want do macro, I suggest to buy a tube, or extension accessories, much cheaper that a new lens.

  2. Image quality: Even you said that the quality is acceptable is OK, if you've shot with your 50mm prime (both f1.8 or f1.4 of canon also have the superb image quality), the quality of this 17-70 could be no more.

  3. Buying lens is not only "read & pick". You need to go, get 1 from store and put it in your camera, trying it first. Because even the most expensive lens also need to be hand on before buying, so, just go to store and get one for checking. I thought no one will charge you for trying a lens, unless you're checking its water proof feature.

The most important is the third suggestion. If you think you can go for it or live with it, then go ahead and take one. I wish you can get and happy with your new lens :)

  • \$\begingroup\$ Macro is not a main purpose. I just read that these lens are quite good and wanted to be sure that I can make not only macro, but landscape (e.g.) photos with it. As for trying lens, unfortunately in my country it is impossible to try them before buying. The only way is to find someone to borrow lens. \$\endgroup\$
    – Alex
    Jun 12, 2013 at 7:36

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