The Blog: See what
Sigma is saying.

03.01.2016

Thanks for tuning into Jen Rozenbaum’s Boudoir Photography series! Check out her entire series below!

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02.23.2016

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Photographer’s Forum Magazine and SIGMA present the 36th Annual Spring Photography Contest open to all amateur photographers worldwide.

Over $6,950 in cash and equipment awarded!

1st Place: $2,000 & Sigma 24-35mm F2 DG HSM | Art lens.

2nd Place: $1,500 & Sigma 24mm 1.4 DG HSM | Art lens. 3rd Place: $1,000. $125 goes to each of five 4th Place winners.

All Finalists, Honorable Mentions, and Winners will be PUBLISHED in the hardcover book Best of Photography 2016. Winners will also be PUBLISHED in the November 2016 issue of Photographer’s Forum Magazine and EXHIBITED at Brooks Institute!

ENTER ONLINE, or send in prints or slides with the manual entry form (PDF Download.) Early deadline: April 15, 2016. Final deadline: May 20, 2016.

For further details and entry forms, see the contest website.

02.22.2016

This winter the El Nino weather phenomenon is creating ideal conditions for big wave surfing photography. By pure luck I was offered space on a charter boat that was going to be out in the lineup during a big wave surfing tournament being held the next day. I jumped at the opportunity but this would put me on the 405 freeway by 1 AM to make it to the boat dock in Mexico at 5 AM. The schedule worked but unfortunately it didn’t  include any time for sleep until sometime the next evening. Sleep is overrated anyway right?

The surfing tournament was held to coincide with the arrival of a large pacific swell formed thousands of miles out in the pacific, its track and intensity influenced by El Nino. The swells travel unimpeded and slam into the reefs forming waves that can reach 20, 30, even 40 feet on the face.

© 2016 Robert OToole | Professional big wave surfers and their equipment. Sigma 24-105 Art lens, 1/1000 s. f/8 at 68mm, ISO 320, manual mode, Nikon D810. 
 Professional big wave surfers use waverunners not only to access the surf breaks but also for pickups to take surfers back into the lineup. My Sigma 24-105 Art lens gave me a perfect perspective I was looking for. In the foreground are backup big wave boards attached to a buoy while a wave peels off in the distance.

© 2016 Robert OToole | Professional big wave surfers and their equipment. Sigma 24-105 Art lens, 1/1000 s. f/8 at 68mm, ISO 320, manual mode, Nikon D810. 

Professional big wave surfers use waverunners not only to access the surf breaks but also for pickups to take surfers back into the lineup. My Sigma 24-105 Art lens gave me a perfect perspective I was looking for. In the foreground are backup big wave boards attached to a buoy while a wave peels off in the distance.

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02.05.2016

Sigma Pro Jennifer Rozenbaum loves the versatility of the Sigma 105mm Macro lens. This is her go-to lens for sharp, close-up images and the perfect portrait focal length. Watch this video to learn more about the 105mm lens and posing with a mirror.

Check out the images after the jump!

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02.02.2016
© 2016 Roman Kurywczak | Sigma 24mm f/1.4 Art and Canon 1Dx body @ f/1.4 for 1/100 sec. and ISO 3200 hand-held.

© 2016 Roman Kurywczak | Sigma 24mm f/1.4 Art and Canon 1Dx body @ f/1.4 for 1/100 sec. and ISO 3200 hand-held.

 

Absolutely! Hawaii has always been a favorite vacation location of mine. I first visited the islands of Hawaii over 26 years ago with my wife on our honeymoon and then again 5 years later when she was 3 months pregnant with our second son.  I was just seriously getting into photography but knew that photographing the lava flows at Volcano National Park, whales breaching, and surfers catching the huge waves was something that I always dreamed of photographing. Hawaii is very expensive and the economics of life, two children, job, family commitments, etc.… made revisiting unrealistic so I had to put those ideas on my bucket list of photography.

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02.01.2016

The impressive Mantis portrait is being featured on our site this month was captured by photographer Robert Lopshire of Frenchtown, NJ with his Sigma 180mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro lens. We asked Rob for some details of how he wrangled this eye-catching close-up of this insect.

Mantis © Robert Lopshire. Captured with the Sigma 180mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro paired with a Nikon D4. 1/100 F22 ISO 100.

Mantis © Robert Lopshire. Captured with the Sigma 180mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro paired with a Nikon D4. 1/100 F22 ISO 100.

I was heading out to my truck to leave and do some errands, I opened the door to climb in and I felt something hit my arm. She landed on me and crawled around for a bit, I gently escorted her to the tailgate of my truck then ran inside to and grab my gear including my Nikon D4, Sigma 180mm, Nikon SB910, and Rogue Flash Bender (hand held , no support).

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01.29.2016
1/1250 F8 ISO 1250 @ 389mm on a Canon 1DX  © Liam Doran

1/1250 F8 ISO 1250 @ 389mm on a Canon 1DX © Liam Doran

My friend Jeff Westcott runs the local bike race series here in Breckenridge and he was organizing a new event.  A new lineage of bikes has taken hold in the snowy regions around the US and elsewhere.  Known as Fat Bikes, they are not dissimilar to regular mountain bikes with the exception of huge, oversized tires with low air pressure, which are great for increased flotation and traction in soft surfaces like sand, snow, and mud.  With the new bikes in mind Jeff put together his first fat bike race, and I was there to capture the winter sports action.

1/1250 F8 ISO 800 at 570mm on the 1DX. © Liam Doran

1/1250 F8 ISO 800 at 570mm on the 1DX. © Liam Doran

I was eager to really test out the new Sigma 150-600 F5-6.3 DG OS HSM | Sports lens in extreme conditions and a bike race during a snowstorm seemed the perfect place. Wrapped in a few layers of down and Gore-tex, I headed out the door shoot the action.

1/1250 F8 ISO 800 at 570mm on the 1DX. © Liam Doran

1/1250 F8 ISO 800 at 570mm on the 1DX. © Liam Doran

First off, the 150-600 Sports is a lot of lens.  Weighing in at over six pounds, and with a big 105mm front element, the front of the lens can feel heavy in the hand for extended periods of time, especially when pulled all the way to 600mm. You may need the support of a monopod or tripod for extended periods of use.  I used a Manfrotto carbon fiber tripod with fluid head. This was a great combo to steady the camera and lens yet be able to easily track the action.

1/1250 F8 ISO 800 at 570mm on the 1DX. © Liam Doran

1/1250 F8 ISO 800 at 570mm on the 1DX. © Liam Doran

The 150-600 is incredibly fast to pick up focus and track the subject, even through falling snow! I also found the 150-600 incredibly crisp and colorful with good contrast. This lens is super-sharp.

1/1250 F5.6 ISO 1000 at 150mm. © Liam Doran

1/1250 F5.6 ISO 1000 at 150mm. © Liam Doran

And the winner is…all of us!  A sharp, fast, weather sealed lens with reach up to 600mm for under $2,000. Incredible!

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01.26.2016

18-35mm-sm

Introduction: Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM | Art

The Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM Art lens is revolutionary. Never before has a zoom of this range been produced with a continuous, super-bright f/1.8 aperture. What’s even more amazing is that this groundbreaking optic exudes luxury in its build and performance and produces absolutely spectacular, tack-sharp images, even at f/1.8.

A wide-aperture APS-C zoom allows for all kinds of creative possibilities. Fresh tomatoes and other produce become works of art. Sosio’s Fruit and Produce, Pike’s Place Market, Seattle. Nikon D800E (APS-C crop mode), Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM | A at 18mm, f/1.8, 1/400 second, ISO 800. Hand-held. Photo © 2015 David FitzSimmons. All rights reserved.

A wide-aperture APS-C zoom allows for all kinds of creative possibilities. Fresh tomatoes and other produce become works of art. Sosio’s Fruit and Produce, Pike’s Place Market, Seattle. Nikon D800E (APS-C crop mode), Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM | A at 18mm, f/1.8, 1/400 second, ISO 800. Hand-held. Photo © 2015 David FitzSimmons. All rights reserved.

From landscapes to portraits, from product shots to architecture, from still lifes to close-up photographs, the Sigma 18-35mm Art lens is a great choice. It’s fast-focusing, reasonably sized, and optically stellar. Colors are reproduced accurately. Contrast is exceptional. And, as far as bokeh, well, it is smooth!

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01.25.2016

Imagine one of finest places in the world for photography, filled with a vast system of mountains, lakes, and hundreds of miles of wild and untamed rivers and streams. A home for brown bear, eagles, fox, and wolves. Thankfully Katmai is visited by only a small number of people each year. Maybe the fact that this place is not reachable by car has something to do with it, but about only twenty to thirty thousand people visit this area of over four million plus acres each year.

© 2015 Robert O'Toole | Tour participant on the lookout for fox with a glacier and fireweed blooming in the background. Sigma 150-600 Sports lens at 230mm and Nikon D810, 1/250s, f/8, ISO 64, EV + .3, Manual mode with Auto-ISO, UniqBall UBH 45 head and Jobu Algonquin Carbon Tripod.

© 2015 Robert O’Toole | Tour participant on the lookout for fox with a glacier and fireweed blooming in the background. Sigma 150-600 Sports lens at 230mm and Nikon D810, 1/250s, f/8, ISO 64, EV + .3, Manual mode with Auto-ISO, UniqBall UBH 45 head and Jobu Algonquin Carbon Tripod.

© 2015 Robert O'Toole | Crossfox checking out our group. Sigma 150-600 Sports lens at 320mm and Nikon D810, 1/500s, f/16, ISO 560, EV + .3, Manual mode with Auto-ISO, UniqBall UBH 45 head and Jobu Algonquin Carbon Tripod.

© 2015 Robert O’Toole | Crossfox checking out our group. Sigma 150-600 Sports lens at 320mm and Nikon D810, 1/500s, f/16, ISO 560, EV + .3, Manual mode with Auto-ISO, UniqBall UBH 45 head and Jobu Algonquin Carbon Tripod.

Out of all the locations here, the Pacific coast of Katmai is without doubt one of my favorite places on the planet. One of the best places to shoot on the coast is a bay, about 10 or 11 miles wide, surrounded by mountains and glaciers, and filled with miles of sandy beach and flat sedge meadows strewn with countless driftwood logs. In summer the cool sea breezes fill the warm green meadows where eagles and peregrine falcons soar, and mother brown bear use it as a safe place to eat sedge grass and nurse cubs. Its here that you find one of the most interesting characters you can photograph anywhere, the red fox.

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01.22.2016

I was invited to shoot the annual NAS Pensacola Blue Angels Homecoming Air Show couple of months ago. I normally specialize in Landscape and Wildlife photography; but Aviation has always been a fascination and the opportunity to get up close and personal with a variety of military and civilian Aircraft including the Blue Angels got my blood moving!

Vapor Trail captured by the Sigma 150-600mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM | Sports at 1/2500 F6.3 ISO 160 at 600mm on a Nikon D750 DSLR.

Vapor Trail captured by the Sigma 150-600mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM | Sports at 1/2500 F6.3 ISO 160 at 600mm on a Nikon D750 DSLR.

I have been a big fan of Sigma lenses since getting my first DSLR in 2012. I normally use my trusty Sigma 150-500 for my Wildlife, Sunsets and Aviation but knowing I would have some unique access to this show I got my hands on the new Sigma 150-600 Sport for this special occasion.

Before I left I got a chance to get acquainted with the lens and paired it with a Nikon D750 full frame. First things first: this is a serious lens and is built like a tank. This lens is built to be weather and dustproof and it looks the part. On the way home that night I stopped by a local duck pond to give it a run and noticed a Cooper’s hawk soaring well above the trees. Autofocus and was fast and locked on the bird with ease. The difference between 500 and 600mm doesn’t sound like much but it made a huge difference looking through the camera. Once I got home to look at the images another thing stood out. The originally uncropped image looked nice but I was shocked how sharp and detailed the cropped image was! I see a lot of parallels between wildlife and aviation so I knew I would have a blast shooting a world class air show with the Sigma 150-600 Sport.

A couple of other features also stood out. The lens hood is made of metal and has a stout locking mechanism to clamp it either extended or reversed for travel. The tripod collar is also stout and easily adjustable. I planned on testing the Optical Stabilizer but got caught up in the high-speed action and simply left it on the entire weekend. I didn’t notice any noise or lens adjustments with it on so I assume it works as advertised!

 

Fat Albert: 1/160 F13 ISO 100

Fat Albert: 1/160 F13 ISO 100

Upon arrival in Pensacola I headed right through airbase security and onto the Airfield. The typical weather for the panhandle in November is clear without the normal excessive heat and humidity usually associated with Florida. Unfortunately, the forecast was for low clouds, high humidity and record setting temperatures, not really ideal for getting sharp images at a distance.

I didn’t have to wait long for action as the Blue Angels were ready for practice. Knowing that this is their home base and final show weekend of the year, I knew they wouldn’t hold anything back. Since I was a guest of another air team, my shooting location was near their area near the hangars, about a mile from show center. This was not a problem as I was closest to where a lot of the performers would be taxiing out. The Blue Angels utilize a huge C -130 for support and logistics and starts every show with a demonstration of max-effort climb, simulating a hostile environment takeoff.

Fat Albert in flight: 1/22 F22 ISO 100

Fat Albert in flight: 1/22 F22 ISO 100

The main challenge with propeller powered aircraft is finding the balance between a sharp image while using a slow enough shutter to capture prop blur. The key is to get the shutter speed slow enough to get some decent prop blur but fast enough to keep the image itself on the sharp side.

1/200 F22 ISO 100

1/200 F22 ISO 100

After the Fat Albert demonstration it was time for the Blue Angels. Here my strategy was to get the shutter speed as fast as possible while panning to freeze the action. I relied mostly on either Aperture or Shutter priority when the planes were in formation. Since we had a low cloud deck over parts of the airfield with patches of blue sky I chose to use Auto ISO with an upper threshold of 500.

The Blue Angels take off. 1/3200 F5.6 ISO 320 at 300mm

The Blue Angels take off. 1/3200 F5.6 ISO 320 at 300mm

Low altitude fly by 1/3200 F6.3ISO 320 600mm

Low altitude fly by 1/3200 F6.3ISO 320 600mm

High G-Force Turn creating Vapor.  1/2500 F 6.3 ISO 160 600mm

High G-Force Turn creating Vapor. 1/2500 F 6.3 ISO 160 600mm

About halfway through the practice I was really getting used to the lens and honestly blown away by the ability to lock on and stay focused on jets moving at speeds up to 700 mph. This next series is an example. These three shots were taken within one second. You can clearly see the flaps moving down and the instant reaction of the plane. The lens was locked on target and stayed locked as long as I panned with the aircraft and held down the back button focus. I had very few shots that were tossed due to lost focus. I had several sequences where I filled the buffer and every single shot was focused.

Flaps Down Combo 1 1200

Flaps Down 1/640 F6.3 ISO 100 600mm

Flaps Down 1/640 F6.3 ISO 100 600mm

Flaps Down 1/640 F6.3 ISO 100 600mm

Flaps down combo 3 1200

Flaps Down 1/640 F6.3 ISO 100 600mm

1/3200 F6.3 ISO 320 600mm

1/3200 F6.3 ISO 320 600mm

untitled--13 1200

Formation flight 1/3200 F 6.3 ISO 320 600mm

untitled--12 1200

Formation flight 1/3200 F 6.3 ISO 320 600mm

Formation flight 1/3200 F 6.3 ISO 320 600mm

Formation flight 1/3200 F 6.3 ISO 320 600mm

On the second day, we ended up with much clearer skies, allowing the Blue Angels to do more High altitude flight. Normally this is a time to rest and wait for a closer opportunity but since I was able to still lock focus and see the aircraft clearly in my viewfinder I kept shooting. These were some of my favorite shots of the weekend and shots and I wouldn’t have bothered to take with a lesser lens.

Raining Blue Angels 1200

High altitude trails. 1/2000 ISO 160 wide-open aperture.

untitled-8318 1200

High altitude trails. 1/2000 ISO 160 wide-open aperture.

untitled-8320 1200

High altitude trails. 1/2000 ISO 160 wide-open aperture.

untitled-8353 1200

High altitude trails. 1/2000 ISO 160 wide-open aperture.

untitled-8356 1200

High altitude trails. 1/2000 ISO 160 wide-open aperture.

High altitude trails. 1/2000 ISO 160 wide-open aperture.

High altitude trails. 1/2000 ISO 160 wide-open aperture.

The final day started out with a very thick fog and the weather called for a front to move through with heavy rain by early afternoon. We ended up with a very small window to get the show in and the decision was made to move the show up several hours to make sure no one went home disappointed. The fog gradually burned off but we were still left with a fairly low overcast as the Blue Angels started up the engines once again. Not having a lot of experience shooting Air shows I wasn’t encouraged and expected to have a tough time getting sharp shots with the poor light. With the low cloud deck, the Blue Angels changed up the show and kept things much closer to ground and gave me the opportunity to get some close up high speed passes.

1/2000 F6.3 ISO 110 at 600mm.

1/2000 F6.3 ISO 110 at 600mm.

High G-Force Turn creating Vapor.  1/2500 F 6.3 ISO 160 600mm

High G-Force Turn creating Vapor. 1/2500 F 6.3 ISO 160 600mm

vapor 3 1200

1/1600 F6.3 ISO 500 at 600mm.

Lt. Matt Suyderhoud checking out the Sigma 150-600 Sport 1/2000 F6.3 ISO360 600mm

Lt. Matt Suyderhoud checking out the Sigma 150-600 Sport
1/2000 F6.3 ISO360 600mm

untitled-2044 1200

1/1600 F6.3 ISO 500

untitled-2494 1200

1/1600 F6.3 ISO 500

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1/3200 F6.3 ISO 320

untitled-6538 1200

1/3200 F6.3 ISO 320 at 600mm.

In summary, I was thrilled with the performance of the Sigma 150-600 Sport. Everything from build quality, autofocus, and image quality exceeded my expectations. I have always been happy with my 150-500mm but after returning the 150-600mm Sport I realize they are really in different categories. The only downside that might be a problem for some would be the weight of the lens. I was able to hand hold it for three days straight for hours at a time but I definitely felt it at the end of the day. Perhaps since my style of photography needs the freedom to hand hold for long periods of time I should take a serious look at the lighter-weight 150-600mm Contemporary version and see if that is a better fit for me. Regardless, one of the two new amazing lenses will be added permanently to my kit shortly!

See more of Mike Busch’s work here!

And do you want to see just how tough Sigma’s new Ceramic Protector filters are? This video demonstrates the incredible impact resistance of these exclusive filters for DSLR camera lenses in thread sizes from 67mm up to 105mm. These are the new go-to protectors for photographers in the most demanding conditions!

Learn more about Sigma’s new WR Clear Glass Ceramic Protector Filters!