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Will the Sigma 70-300mm F4.5-5.6 DG Macro for Nikon work on a D3400, and does the APO lens make much of a difference to the normal Sigma Lens.

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From the FAQ page at Sigma's website:

Apochromatic lenses are telephoto and telezoom type lenses which use special optical designs and optical materials (SLD or ELD glass) to improve their performance. The result is images which have greater contrast, sharpness and color definition than a comparable non-APO type lens . All Sigma apochromatic lenses are identified by the APO designation in their descriptions.

For the current market price difference of only about $30 USD I'd definitely choose the APO over the non-APO version of the 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 Macro. A telephoto in this focal length range with these relatively slow maximum apertures is best used in bright daylight. Bright daylight is where you're most likely to encounter noticeable chromatic aberration at edges between bright and dark areas. The apochromatic elements in the APO lenses reduce chromatic aberration.

But I'm not sure I would choose either of these lenses over something like the Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR which can be found for only $20-30 more than the Sigma APO. It has better image quality and gives you Vibration Reduction. It does give up maximum reproduction ratio from 1:2 for the Sigma (1:1 is considered "true macro") to 1:4 for the Nikon.

Back in the late 1990s I owned the Canon version of the Sigma 70-300mm F4-5.6 DG Macro APO. In fact, I still own it. I just never use it. It was a decent enough lens for the price at the time (I think I paid about $350 for it - mail ordered from B&H). The reason I don't use it is because:

  • While using it to shoot a full lunar eclipse back in May 2003 on a very muggy evening the AF motor quit working after the temperature dropped to the dew point and condensation began forming on the outer surfaces of the lens. The lens was carefully dried for several days before being put away, but the AF has not worked since. The lens otherwise still works fine on my single remaining EOS film camera, an EOS Rebel II purchased in 1997. But the reason for using an EOS camera in the 1990s was for the benefit of autofocus.
  • The firmware is not fully compatible with my EOS digital cameras. I can use it as a manual focus only lens as long as the camera is manually set to the lens' maximum aperture. If the camera is set to any other aperture when the camera attempts to stop down the lens it locks up. The camera must be powered down and the battery removed to unlock the camera.

The Sigma lenses you are looking at are old designs that were pretty good for the price in their time. But the optics have not been updated since they were introduced in the 1990s. More recent lenses, particularly zoom lenses, have benefitted from many advances in lens design since then. Today's consumer grade zoom lenses are better than their counterparts from 20+ years ago.

The current versions of these lenses have had their firmware updated to enable them to work with current models from the major manufacturers such as Nikon. But that is no guarantee that they will work with new models introduced by Nikon in the future. Even if Sigma were to offer a firmware update for an existing lens, which is something they have done in the past, you would have to send it to an authorized Sigma service center to have the update performed.

Sigma's new upper tier lenses, called the Global Vision series consisting of the Sports, Art, and Contemporary series are somewhere between better (Contemporary) to much better (Sports and Art) lenses than what they introduced in the 1990s. The Global Vision lenses can also use the Sigma USB Dock to allow the end user to update the lens' firmware when needed. But the lenses you are looking at are not compatible with the USB Dock.

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