Sigma 135-400mm 1: 4.5-5.6 D APO Review

According provided by Sigma 135-400mm 1: 4.5-5.6 D APO lens (for Nikon cameras) is huge thanks to the store you can find a huge number of different used photographic equipment, including similar lenses.

Sigma 135-400mm 1: 4.5-5.6 D APO

Sigma 135-400mm 1: 4.5-5.6 D APO Tripod Ring


  1. Browse Navigation
  2. In short
  3. History and similar lenses
  4. Main Specifications
  5. Assembly
  6. Focusing
  7. Image Quality / Sample Photos
  8. My personal experience with the lens
  9. Results
  10. Short video review
  11. User Comments
  12. Add your review or question on the lens

In the Sigma 135-400mm 1: 4.5-5.6 D APO review, I will abbreviate it as 'Sigma 135-400 / 4.5-5.6'.

Sigma 135-400 / 4.5-5.6

Sigma 135-400 / 4.5-5.6

In short

The Sigma 135-400mm 1: 4.5-5.6 D APO is an old super telephoto lens. Super budget lens that breaks the 300mm focal length barrier. It does not shine with special functionality and image quality, but it is not so bad as to pass it by. Functionally identical to other similar old lenses from Sigma, for example - Sigma 170-500mm 1: 5-6.3 APO.

Sigma 135-400 / 4.5-5.6

Sigma 135-400 / 4.5-5.6

History and similar lenses

Sigma produces and produces a huge number of telephoto lenses. The family of similar Sigma super telephoto lenses with a focal length of more than 300 mm, automatic focusing and the ability to zoom consists of the following models:

In fact, the number of versions and subversions can be much wider. When I am preparing a review of another old lens from Sigma, I always come across the fact that it takes a very long and painful search for at least some useful information about the lens. There is practically no information on major versions. For example, who can tell me what is the difference between the Sigma 135-400mm 1: 4.5-5.6 D APO models (from this review) and the Sigma 135-400mm 1: 4.5-5.6 APO Aspherical?

Sigma 135-400 / 4.5-5.6

Sigma 135-400 / 4.5-5.6, front lens enlightenment

Main technical characteristics of Sigma 135-400mm 1: 4.5-5.6 D APO:

Review Instance Name Sigma 135-400mm 1: 4.5-5.6 D APO 1001716, version with Nikon F mount
Basic properties
  • The lens is designed for full-format cameras (similar to Nikon FX)
  • Automatic focusing due to the camera motor (Nikon AF analogue)
  • Presence of aperture control ring (Nikon analog NON-G)
  • Internal focus'RF'-type (focusing using the rear lens group)
  • D (distance?) - transmission of the focusing distance to the camera (Nikon D analog)
  • APO (Apochromatic) - apochromatic lens
  • ASP (ASPHERICAL) - the use of aspherical elements in the optical design
  • SLD (Special Low Dispersion) - using super low dispersion elements
  • multi-illuminated optics
  • Tripod foot
Front Filter Diameter 77 mm
Focal length 135-400 mm EGF for Nikon DX cameras is 202.5-600 mm
Zoom ratio 2.96 X (usually rounded to 3 X)
Designed by for Nikon film cameras (at the same time, this model was also available for Sigma, Canon, Pentax, Konica Minolta / Sony cameras)
Number of aperture blades 9 petals
Tags focusing distance in meters and feet, focal length values ​​for 135, 200, 300, 400 mm. DOF scale for f / 22 and f / 11 for 135 mm focal length (denoted by the letter 'w' - 'wide' - 'wide angle'). There are also 3 marks for quickly setting the tripod foot in a vertical or horizontal position. Red dot-mark on the side of the mount for attaching the lens to the camera.
  • 135 mm: F / 4.5-F / 32
  • 200 mm: F / 5-F / 36
  • 300 mm: F / 5.6-F / 40
  • 400 mm: F / 5.6-F / 40

The lens has an aperture ring (Non-G - lens type) There are marks on the ring for aperture values ​​of F / 4.5, 8, 11, 16, 22, 32.

MDF (minimum focusing distance) 2 m per 135 mm focal length and 2.2 m per 400 mm focal length, maximum magnification ratio is 1: 5.3
The weight 1245 g
Optical design 13 elements in 11 groups. The circuit includes 3 low dispersion element SIGMA SLD (shown in blue on the optical diagram), as well as 1 aspherical element SIGMA ASP (shown in pink on the optical diagram). Most likely the optical design is the same as Sigma 135-400mm 1: 4.5-5.6 DG APO.

Optical design Sigma 135-400mm 1: 4.5-5.6 DG APO

Clickable circuit diagram.

Lens hood Plastic, bayonet type
Manufacturer country LENS MADE IN JAPAN (Japan)
Period From 1995 (approximately) to November 2005, it was subsequently replaced by a version Sigma 135-400mm 1: 4.5-5.6 DG APO
Prices See

Please note that this version exists in several housing options. The options are easy to distinguish by the streaks on the zoom ring.

Sigma 135-400 / 4.5-5.6

Sigma 135-400 / 4.5-5.6 with tripod foot


The Sigma 135-400 / 4.5-5.6 came to my review in a slightly shabby state, nevertheless, its assembly is not bad. The lens barrel is made of metal and durable plastic. Of course, the lens has a metal mount. In the hands it feels like a solid thing, it is pleasant to work with the lens.

On the bayonet side there is a red bayonet mount mark. The zoom and focus rings are rubberized. The zoom ring (zoom) rotates very tight in certain positions. In certain positions, the lens suffers spontaneous extension of the frame. Under its own weight, the 'trunk' of the lens protrudes or folds. I want to note that if you set the extreme position of the focal length (135 or 400 mm), then spontaneous movements of the lens trunk do not occur.

Sigma 135-400 / 4.5-5.6 can use a tripod foot, the clamp of which is installed closer to the camera mount. The foot model is unknown. The tripod ring is fixed with a special clamp. To remove the presser foot, combine the two white points of the clamp and the ring and pull the clamp (clamp screw) towards you. There are two additional marks on the lens body for quick orientation of the lens in strict vertical or horizontal directions. On the inside, the tripod ring (collar) is covered with a special fabric that counteracts sliding and seals the contact between the tripod ring and the lens collar. The tripod ring can rotate 360 ​​degrees freely around the lens barrel.

The lens uses a plastic lens hood, which is fixed in special grooves located near the front lens. The hood can be installed in the opposite direction for transportation. In this position, access to the zoom ring is severely restricted. When you change the focal length, the lens hood moves with the front of the lens. The lens hood perfectly protects the huge front lens (filter 77 mm in diameter) from mechanical damage and sticking.

When changing the focal length, the rear lens moves in the middle of the lens body like a pump - it draws in and pushes out air. This behavior of the rear lens is called 'vacuum cleaner effect', which can increase the amount of dust that accumulates in the camera.

Visually, the lens looks very large, but its weight does not cause severe discomfort. For comparison, native Nikon ED AF Nikkor 80-200mm 1: 2.8D MKIII weighs 50 grams more. I used Sigma 135-400 / 4.5-5.6 on light cameras without any problems Nikon D70 и Nikon D90 and did not worry about the possibility of damaging the camera mount.

Sigma 135-400 / 4.5-5.6

Maximum length Sigma 135-400 / 4.5-5.6 (lens shown with a hood)


Sigma 135-400 / 4.5-5.6 focuses slow. Camera Nikon D90 with unpretentious Multi-CAM 1000 focusing system rarely refocuses again. I had no complaints about the accuracy of focusing.

Lens uses internal focusor rather, focusing of the 'RF'-type, during which only the back group of lenses moves. The rear group of lenses (from the bayonet side) rotates and moves forward during focusing.

The focus ring rotates 90 degrees. The focus ring can jerk. In general, manual focusing is inconvenient.

When changing the focal length, the front lens does not rotate. The minimum focusing distance is 2 meters (by 135 mm). But the maximum magnification factor of 1: 5.3 is achieved at 400 mm of the focal length and when focusing on MDF, which in this range is 2.2 m.

The lens has a focus distance scale in meters and feet, as well as a depth of field scale for 135 mm focal length (indicated by the letter 'w') for F / 11 and F / 22. The distance scale is plotted on the focus ring, and not made using a special window.

Feature 1: Sigma 135-400 / 4.5-5.6 does not have a focus mode switch. To translate the lens into manual focus on cameras with motor For focusing, use the focus mode switching lever located near the camera mount. For cameras without motor Only manual focus mode will always be available for focusing.

It's important: auto focus with this lens is available only when using him on cameras with built-in motor focusing.

Exact list Nikon DSLR cameras with a built-in focus motor, on which this lens will focus automatically:

Exact list Nikon DSLR cameras without a built-in focus motor, on which this lens will not focus automatically:

Only auto focus and sound confirmation of focus will not work with these cameras, all other important functions, such as automatic exposure metering and automatic iris control, will work well.

You will find a lot of useful information on the types of cameras and lenses Nikon here.

Feature 2: there is the effect of 'Focus Breathing' (changes in viewing angle during focusing).

Feature 3: during focusing, the lens and camera are quite noisy. The noise is clearly audible in my video review of this lens.

Feature 4: During auto focus, the focus ring rotates and cannot be touched.

Feature 5: the lens has a manual aperture ring. To be able to control the value aperture from camera or for automatic installation aperture on modern central control valves, you need to turn the control ring to F / 32 and fix it with a special switch, which is located to the right of the marks aperture. The value of F / 32 and the latch mark are specially highlighted in red to align them. If this is not done, then on a number of cameras, the display will display an error - 'fEE' (ring is not installed aperture) Some cameras having diaphragm rheostatallow you to control the aperture using the ring aperturebut only in metering modes exposure 'M' and 'A'. You can read more about this issue in the section on Non-G Lenses. Ring aperture rotates with clicks, the values ​​F / 4.6, 8, 11, 16, 22 are plotted on it. Intermediate values ​​can only be set using the camera menu. The diaphragm ring is sandwiched between the mount and the tripod foot, inconvenient to use.

Feature 6: the lens does not have a focusing distance limiter common to many super telephoto lenses.

Feature 7: Sigma 135-400 / 4.5-5.6 is a third-party lens. It may happen that it will not work correctly with some Nikon cameras. Details on this issue are considered by me. here.

Feature 8: when using a tele-converter with a magnification of 1.4x, the lens turns into '189-560 / 6.3-7.8', which allows for automatic focusing using phase focus sensors of some Nikon digital-mirror cameras. Cameras with phase focus sensors designed to work with a maximum aperture of F / 8 can work with such a set, they can be found here. This restriction may not affect focus in Live View.

Feature 0: compatibility with converters is unknown. Most likely, there should not be any problems. Anyone who has experience working with this lens in conjunction with teleconverters, please unsubscribe in the comments.

Feature 10: Sigma 135-400 / 4.5-5.6 has no focusing issues in Live View (tested on Nikon D90) There are times when third-party lenses refuse to focus in this mode.

Feature 11: while changing the focal length, focusing is a bit confused. The lens is not parfocal even approximately.

Feature 12: the focus ring is too close to the tripod foot, which interferes with comfortable manual focus.

Sigma 135-400 / 4.5-5.6

Sigma 135-400 / 4.5-5.6

Image quality and sample photos

In the center of the frame, the lens is quite good at open apertures in the range of 135-300 mm, in the range of 300-400 mm there is a noticeable subsidence of sharpness. If you cover the aperture to F / 8, then the sharpness comes back to normal even at 400 mm. Sigma 135-400 / 4.5-5.6 significantly suffers from chromatic aberrations. But it shows a slight distortion. Vignetting on the cropped cameras of the Nikon DX series has virtually no effect on the picture.

The weakest side of image quality can be considered poor performance in backlight, as well as a blockage of color in a yellowish tint. The hood allows you to properly fix the situation with flare, and with the right white balance, a yellowish tint can disappear completely.

400 mm focal length allows you to blur the far and foregrounds, the bokeh quality is pretty good.

In general: Sigma 135-400 / 4.5-5.6 does not shine with quality, but it is impossible to say that the picture is bad either.

Pictures are shown from the camera. Nikon D90. Pictures in the gallery below are shown without processing. You can download the source files at this link.

Sizes Sigma 135-400 / 4.5-5.6 and Tokina VCM-S AT-X PRO SD 70-200 F4 (IF) FX

Sigma sizes 135-400 / 4.5-5.6 and Tokina VCM-S AT-X PRO SD 70-200 F4 (IF) FX

My experience

Sigma 135-400 / 4.5-5.6 - large, heavy, slow. Super telephoto lenses have their own special characteristics. One familiar photographer suggested that in the range above 300 mm, it is better to set the shutter speed no longer than 1/1000 second. I recommend using 400mm focal length when shooting handheld at excerpt no longer than 1/1250 second. With super telephoto lenses Golden Rule works as amended.

Unfortunately, Nikon does not have such lenses. The cheapest auto focus zoom with 400mm focal length - Nikon 80-400 / 4.5-5.6D.

For rare attacks on nature, I would prefer some modern telephoto lens with a range of 70-300 mm and a built-in image stabilizer. I usually recommend inexpensive Sigma OS 70-300 / 4-5.6 or Tamron VC 70-300 / 4-5.6.

Catalog of modern Sigma lenses can look at this link.

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Sigma 135-400 / 4.5-5.6. The lens is shown on a film SLR camera.

Sigma 135-400 / 4.5-5.6. The lens is shown in film slr camera


The Sigma 135-400mm 1: 4.5-5.6 D APO is an interesting lens from a bygone era. This is a very cheap opportunity to get a 400mm focal length.

Material prepared Arkady Shapoval. Training/Consultations | Youtube | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Telegram.

Add a comment:



Comments: 28, on the topic: Sigma 135-400mm 1 review: 4.5-5.6 D APO

  • Cat pirate

    Arkady, thanks for the review. I have been watching the TV set for a long time. Reread the last and penultimate paragraph of THIS:

    … ..I usually recommend the inexpensive Sigma OS 70-300 / 4-5.6 or Tamron VC 70-300 / 4-5.6.

    (ABPASE) Unfortunately, Nikon does not have such lenses….

    It turns out that Nikon does not have 70-300 lenses. May write "Unfortunately, NIkon does not have lenses like the Sigma 135-400 ..."

    No complaints, IMHO

    • Arkady Shapoval


  • Jury

    Thanks for the review, Arkady! I really liked the idea of ​​using a tripod foot :)

  • Vlador

    I think that there is no difference between “Sigma 135-400mm 1: 4.5-5.6 D APO (from this review) and Sigma 135-400mm 1: 4.5-5.6 APO Aspherical”, and the letter “D” in the name of the Nikon version is actually refers to distance transmission and in some cases is simply not mentioned in reviews.

  • zengarden

    The title photo is hinting - you are all captured by Sigma :)

  • Simon

    I really liked the drawing and sharpness and this joy is only 20 tyrov for bird lovers. I think this is a cool choice for photo hunters for little money. To the site author +++

  • anonym

    In principle, the most attractive in it is a tripod foot. And it’s cheaper to buy separately: D

  • Oleg

    Arkady, what happened to your equipment? Where is seven hundred, ghoul, D3200? Are you going to leave the ranks of the Nikonists?

    • Arkady Shapoval

      than d90 is not nikon?

      • anonym

        D90 is very good, but a very dubious replacement for the above devices

  • Lynx

    Photo - ok!

  • Rodion

    On Tair-3A, such a tripod foot made of metal is already brutal medieval shackles ...)

    • zengarden

      Arkady should add this photo to his photo book;)

      • Denis


  • Maksim

    The previous comment does not seem to have gone. Arkady, you can contact me about Sigma lenses - I know almost everything about them. Which ones when they were released, how they differ, with what they are compatible.

    • ANDREI

      Sumerzum Sigma 135 - 400mm on Nikon will work with Nikon D90

      • B. R. P.

        What’s the review?

  • Yuri Muller

    Amateur photographer 48 years Sigma 135-400mm 1: 4.5-5.6 D APO is a really interesting lens of the past era, but I have to say that with Nikon D7100 it gives good pictures that are not much different from Sigma 50-500mm 1: 4.5-5.6 D APO shot a lot on D600 pritenzy in principle, if you do not rush everything turns out fine maybe I was lucky because two absolutely identical lenses does not happen it is like a fingerprint.

  • elvelta

    I will not say for the previous versions - I have the latest modification, under the designation DG (canon, velvet body), but the lens is really good for its money (10-15t Russian rubles in the secondary market). If you have problems with “soapiness”, check if the lens is in focus and, if necessary, enter a correction in the camera.

  • Oleg

    Thanks for the review, Arkady! I did not use such a lens, but I have a Sigma 100-300 / 4 paired with a teleconverter x1.4. The lens is heavy (1.5 kg). He does not have a trunk, all the movement of the lens block is internal. There is no stabilizer, I use a tripod. Of course, the glass is outdated, but would not change it to the same Nikkor 70-300. Despite its weight, I would prefer it to any modern flimsy-plastic sample like the above Nikkor for rare wildlife shots. With the 1.4 converter on the crop camera (Nikon D90), a decent approximation is obtained and autofocus is maintained. The picture is juicy, sharp.
    If possible, take a look at this glass.

  • Mikee

    “… Feature 0:…” instead of Feature 9:

  • К

    1. Thanks to Arkady for the review
    2. I wanted something more authentic for birds for little money, after reading this review I found it on Avito for 7tyr. Only positive impressions. Without grease from the hands, the shutter speed was raised to 1/320, I do not need longer. Since I screwed this lens to the Nikon d3100, there is no autofocus, but it is easy to manually aim. Arkady wrote that it is not very convenient to focus. I’m fine, with a certain grip, the thumb just hits the focus ring. The ring is smooth and moves easily. Link to photo, distance ~ 40-50m, 1/640, aperture 8,0, 400mm, BB automatic, camera jeepeg of maximum quality, landscape adjustment, sharpness maximized, 7.7mb
    Old but not worthless!

  • Vladimir

    “Super budget option for a lens that breaks the 300mm focal length barrier. ” – what class should the Cosina 100-400mm f/4.5-6.7 with clones be assigned to in this case?

    • Arkady Shapoval

      yes, you can

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