by Jack Howard
Everyone knows that Sigma makes great lenses at amazing prices, and everyone knows about the cool lineup of Foveon-chipped cameras from Sigma, but did you Sigma also makes a line of dedicated TTL flashes for most of the major camera lineups?
The pop-up strobe on a camera will do in a pinch, but these are very limited and limiting for all but enhancing snapshots. A dedicated shoe-mount strobe with a swiveling head offers much more versatility and creativity for lighting effects under a much wider range of shooting situations. And Sigma’s shoe-mount strobes offer all this at prices that are pretty much flat-out amazing.
And it’s not just us saying this. Popular Photography magazine recently called the Sigma EF-610 DG Super Flash a “serious value” for 2011, stating that “it has many of the features–wireless TTL, auto, high-speed sync, flash exposure lock as well as power equal to top Canon and Nikon hot-shoe units–but it is priced at almost half.”
Adding a good flash (or two) to your camera kit can make a huge difference between making a blah snapshot and really bringing your subjects to life with creative lighting. Which Sigma flash (or flashes) are right for you depends on how and what you shoot, but all are packed with amazing features set for the value.
For the serious strobist on a budget: The Sigma EF-610 DG Super Flash
(And let’s be honest: who isn’t on a tight budget these days?)
Over the past few years, the “small strobe style” of creative photography has really exploded in popularity–especially involving syncing several strobes wireless, with or without any of the tons of aftermarket small strobe mounters/modifiers/diffusers available. And the EF-610 offers the ability to build or expand your small strobe arsenal with a lot more bang for your buck. For the hardcore strobist on a tight budget a pair EF-610 Supers is a great way to jump into multi-strobe techniques for studio and locations shoots without the bulk or cost of big monolights. If all this makes perfect sense to you, but you’ve been sitting on the sidelines of the small strobe school of shooting because of the prohibitive costs for a couple of top-end OEM units, you will likely fall instantly in love with the Sigma EF-610 DG Super Flash. We’re talking hi-speed Focal Plane sync up to your camera’s maximum shutter speed for shallow depth of field plus fill-flash in even the brightest conditions. We’re talking multi-pop strobing for stopping fast action several times in a single frame. We’re talking wirelessly syncing several strobes for maximum creativity.
We’ll explore the hands-on creative possibilities of the EF-610 Super Flash more fully in future blog posts. But if the only thing holding you back from buying that top of the line dedicated strobe for your camera is the big price tag, you’ve got to check out the Sigma EF-610 Super Flash. Check out the full list of compatible cameras.
For the Budget Minded Beginner: The Sigma EF-610 DG ST Flash
The Sigma EF-610 DG ST Flash features fully automatic integration with tons of cameras from many of the most popular lineups. It skips some of the real high-end features of the Super, but doesn’t skimp on overall power–it’s got the same powerful 61 Guide Number, and the head swivels for maximum versatility and creativity. A built-in bounce card and 17mm diffuser panel help soften and direct the light for different shooting conditions. For photographers who want pop-up flash simplicity, but much more control over the light direction, bounce, and angle, the Sigma EF-610 DC ST Flash is a fantastic creativity expander at a really amazing price.
For everyone with the macro photography bug: EM-140 DG Macro Flash
Macro photography is one of those great photographic rabbit holes: it is really easy to get started and get hooked on the thrill of capturing the details of tiny worlds, and from there, the journey continues. If you’ve already got a touch of the macro bug, the addition of a dedicated macro ring flash such as the Sigma EM-140 DG Macro Flash is a great idea. The overall ease of use in totally controlling the light– with E-TTL and soft-to-hard directional lighting options, composition assist lamp, and compact design is a fantastic way to really kick it up a notch in macro shooting. I’ve been shooting macro for a long time, and I am flat-out crazy about the results the Sigma EM-140 DG Macro Flash helps me make. Check out this recent Photoworld blog article featuring lots of shots lit by the EM-140 DG Macro Flash to get a more visual feel of just how capable this creative macro lighting tool is.
Note: Sigma Flashes are compatible with many cameras from popular manufacturers. Be sure to check out the compatibility tables to ensure operation with your specific camera.
Have any more questions about Sigma Flashes? Leave a comment below or drop Jack a line at Photoworld@sigmaphoto.com. And if you’ve made cool photos with Sigma flashes, share a link below, post to Flickr with the #Sigma50th tag, or share on our Facebook wall!