A few weeks ago while presenting a seminar in Southern California, I was lucky enough to get my hands on Sigma’s brand new art lens, the 50mm F1.4 DG HSM| A and all I can say is WOW—what an amazing lens! For someone like me who prefers to photograph in low light, this is the perfect camera lens.
As you can see from this image of Jennie, which was photographed inside my hotel room using only window light and hand held at f 2.0 s1/125 ISO 400 in manual mode, the image is beautifully sharp and the fabric, which is a hand painted silk, has been accurately recorded both in color and texture. This kind of clarity is stunning especially shooting from this distance. I chose to overexpose my image by one stop to soften the detail in Jennie’s skin tone to make it look almost painterly. Very little processing was necessary.
This next image of Jennie was taken outside in the late afternoon. Since I wanted to see how just how sharp the lens was, I purposely photographed at f 1.4 and adjusted the shutter speed to 1/500 and my ISO 100 to make up the difference in the light coming into the camera. That beautiful reflective light you see in her face is coming from what was left of the afternoon sunlight bouncing off the cement under her feet.
If you look closely into her eyes, you will see my reflection and the building across the way. The sharpness of the lens also makes it easy to count her eyelashes if you can get past her gorgeous blue eyes and the crystals in them. The fall off of sharpness around her face, hair, shoulders and background, due to this open aperture, brings the viewers eye right into her face. This creates a leading line into her eyes, the whole story of the image itself. Plain and simple, yet very powerful.
Next, we took Sigma’s 50mm F1.4 DG HSM | A inside with an amazing lighting set up by Mark Mather, Director of Sales and Marketing for Chimera Imaging Solutions. Once again, shooting at F1.4 s 1/250 ISO 50 we were able to create a lighting scenario for this wide open aperture and still make it look like window light, which was at my request. With smooth and accurate autofocus, this lens once again performed extremely well. Jennie created a new pose each time the lights flashed and I was always ready to capture her with this lens without the worry of performance.
After testing this lens wide open at the aperture of 1.4, we then decided to try other settings. Again, under the direction of Mark Mather, my request for the look of window light was accomplished and Jennie was asked to kick it up a notch with a little more energy. We added more color and the sunglasses just for fun. Once again, the lens performed beautifully with a very smooth transition between settings and the images needed very little processing after capture.
This last image was created using three different lights’ as were most of the images in this article. My preference for a “window light look” is because it’s a kind and soft light, a style I’m known for and still prefer after all these years. With Mark’s 30 year experience lighting models and Sigma’s new prime 50mm F1.4 DG HSM| A lens, how could you possibly go wrong? Tack sharp and beautifully lit, Jennie completed the session with her pretty face and wonderful expressions.