The Blog: See what
Sigma is saying.

03.24.2014
© Judy Host 2013 | Lens: APO 70-200mm F2.8mm EX DG OS HSM | Aperture: F 7.1 | Shutter speed: 1/200sec |  ISO 800 | Exposure mode: Manual mode | Focal length: 157mm

© Judy Host 2013 | Lens: APO 70-200mm F2.8mm EX DG OS HSM | Aperture: F 7.1 | Shutter speed: 1/200sec | ISO 800 | Exposure mode: Manual mode | Focal length: 157mm

There are many challenges to photographing in natural light. Because I photograph children, I don’t always have a choice in what time of day we can photograph. Most of the time it is in the  middle of the day, the most difficult time of day to photograph. When that happens there are a few techniques that can help to make this actually work pretty well.

Pockets of Light

With the APO 70-200mm F2.8mm EX DG OS HSM I set off to create some nice portraits in the middle of summer in Nashville in the heat of the day.  The session was about photographing the three boys together and then separately.  My location was the home of the family and the park that surrounded it.  In this first image, I found these two wonderful bridges that created what I refer to as a “pocket of light”. This pocket of light was located in between the two bridges giving me a section of sunlight to work with.  I positioned the boys with their backs to the light using the sunlight on the cement as a natural reflector to light up those gorgeous faces.  My settings were used to create the depth of field that I needed to get all three boys in focus. I then adjusted the shutter speed and ISO to get the best exposure.  With that much light bouncing in their faces from the cement, I wasn’t concerned with getting enough light or detail in their faces.

Read More >>

03.05.2014
© 2014 Roman Kurywczak | Lens: Sigma 180mm f/3.5 EX DG HSM APO macro lens | Aperture: f/22 | Shutter speed: 1/300 sec | ISO 640 hand held with Canon MT 24EX twin flash at -1

© 2014 Roman Kurywczak | Lens: Sigma 180mm f/3.5 EX DG HSM APO macro lens | Aperture: f/22 | Shutter speed: 1/300 sec | ISO 640 hand held with Canon MT 24EX twin flash at -1

Unlike other genres of photography, macro photography allows you the most control.  I find that backgrounds are just as critical to the success of a macro image as the subject itself.  My first tip on getting closer was for circumstances where you couldn’t control the background.  My second tip is to show you that in most cases, you can control the background and it is relatively easy!  The butterfly image above was taken in Butterfly World in Coconut Creek Florida. There are thousands of live butterflies in the aviary with a great variety but many times the backgrounds are less than appealing.  What to do in that situation? I will walk though the aviary looking for a location with a nice background and ignore almost everything else going on!  Once I find a bloom that is isolated from the background I will patiently wait for a butterfly to land on it and fire away.  Using this technique in the field will always make for stronger compositions, as cluttered background will often distract from the beauty of the main subject.

Read More >>

03.03.2014

What is a zoom lens?

A zoom lens is a type of camera lens that is offers the photographer a useful range of different focal lengths in a single lens. This is in comparison to a prime lens, which only offers a single focal length. A zoom lens allows for quick and easy re-framing of a scene while staying in the same physical position. Sigma offers a line of over 20 zoom lenses for DSLR photographers, ranging from wide angle zoom lenses, supertelephoto zoom lenses, and high-zoom ratio all-in-one lenses for both full-frame (DG) and APS-C (DC) digital cameras.

Sigma offers a great variety of zoom lenses. (Lenses are not shown to scale in this display.)

Sigma offers a great variety of zoom lenses. (Lenses are not shown to scale in this display.)

Which Sigma zoom lenses are right for you depends on your photographic intentions, budgets, and overall size constraints. In this article, we are going to explore many facets of zoom lenses for digital photography and explain the terminology, key features and benefits of the different types of zoom lens. We’re also going to showcase images made with a variety of Sigma zoom lenses to illustrate key concepts.

Read More >>

03.03.2014

This month I was invited by Sigma to test out their brand new Sigma 24-105mm F4 lens and to shoot a series of bridal images to demonstrate the versatility of the lens. I decided to put together a fashion-influenced bridal shoot in a stunning location and with the help of my incredible talented creative team. Once I had put together striking visual elements, I would then test all features of the lens that would be important to me as a working photographer.

For several years I photographed weddings, and all the challenges that come with them.  I realized very quickly that the last thing I wanted to worry about was my gear. I had to focus on the posing, the lighting, keeping everyone happy, my extremely long shot-list, and much more. I needed to know my gear was reliable and would help me get those must-have moments. When I started I didn’t have a second shooter or assistant; I was the one-woman band expected to make every shot count.

One challenge I frequently came up against was having the right focal length for any given moment. For example, when shooting a reception, at one moment I would want a close up of the couple dancing but then in the next instance I wanted a wide shot of the scene. These close then wide combinations were exactly what I needed to give me dynamic album design and to also capture the entire essence of the moment. What this meant for me, typically, is that I would have two cameras tangled around my neck. One one camera I would have the Sigma 24-70mm f2.8 lens and Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 lens. I would switch between them rapidly to ensure I got the shots.

Often I get the question, “What do I buy if I can only afford 1 lens and 1 camera for shooting weddings?” After testing out the Sigma 24-105mm F4, I feel confident to recommend it as an EXCELLENT one-lens solution. I had heard about the 24-105mm f4, but would f/4.0 give me the look I wanted and would this be enough range to capture all of the shots? During this shoot I tried to push the limits of the lens, always shooting wide-open at 4.0, testing all focal length, and also experimenting with minimum focus distance (how close can I focus).

First, I went through and shot some of my MUST have images to see what the lens could and couldn’t do on my essential check list. For example, one of my favorite shots that I always get at a wedding is a close up of the bride’s ring (in focus) with the bride and groom out of focus in the background. I usually shoot this with a Sigma 85mm f1.4, so would a 4.0 cut it?

Here you can see the image I was able to create. At f4.0 I LOVE it. The ring is tack sharp, and the bokeh in the background is perfect.

 © 2014 Lindsay Adler | Lens: Sigma 24-105mm 4.0 at 105mm | Camera: Canon 5D Mark III | Aperture: f/4.0 | Shutter speed: 1/200sec | ISO 400

© 2014 Lindsay Adler | Lens: Sigma 24-105mm 4.0 at 105mm | Camera: Canon 5D Mark III | Aperture: f/4.0 | Shutter speed: 1/200sec | ISO 400

Also, for detail shots of the flowers and shoes, I typically use my Sigma 70-200mm 2.8 at 200mm, so how would this lens fare at 105mm?

Read More >>

02.25.2014

Over the last few months I have been testing the newest version of the Sigma’s 120-300 f/2.8. I have nothing but good experiences with the older version of this lens so I have been looking forward to working with this lens over the winter and spring at home in Southern California. So far my experiences  have changed my view of this lens, the newest version of the 120-300 f/2.8. The previous version was good. I found that this latest version has quick and accurate autofocus; the image quality is superb and the focal range excellent for nature photography.

120-300mm F2.8 DG OS HSM | S, 1.4X Teleconverter EX APO, Nikon  D4, manual mode, 1/1250th s at f/5.6, ISO 160, Auto-ISO, -0.3 EV, handheld.

120-300mm F2.8 DG OS HSM | S, 1.4X Teleconverter EX APO, Nikon D4, manual mode, 1/1250th s at f/5.6, ISO 160, Auto-ISO, -0.3 EV, handheld.

This kind of turn in surfing jargon is called a cutback where the surfer turns on the shoulder of the wave back into the main part of the wave. This is a classic and basic part of a surfer’s repertoire.

Read More >>

02.20.2014

The Sigma 105mm F2.8 Macro EX DG OS HSM  lens has become one of my favorite lenses for macro photography in the field. So what makes me reach for this lens when Sigma offers five macro lenses when I own all of them? The answer is balance- the 105mm lens is really good at everything and one of the best in terms image quality. This lens can give you the sharpest results possible with an excellent balance of size, weight, working distance at a very high value per dollar price.

© 2014 Robert O'Toole | Sigma 105mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro, Nikon D800E, manual mode, 1/200th s at f/16, ISO 400, Single SB-R200 wireless flash at 1:4 power manual mode, handheld.

© 2014 Robert O’Toole | Sigma 105mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro, Nikon D800E, manual mode, 1/200th s at f/16, ISO 400, Single SB-R200 wireless flash at 1:4 power manual mode, handheld.

© 2014 Robert O'Toole |

© 2014 Robert O’Toole |

Read More >>

02.18.2014
© 2014 Roman Kurywczak | Sigma 180mm f/3.5 EX DG HSM APO macro lens, f/32 for 1/100 sec. and ISO 800 hand held with Canon MT 24EX twin flash at -3 and large flashlight to backlight Gerbera Daisy.

© 2014 Roman Kurywczak | Sigma 180mm f/3.5 EX DG HSM APO macro lens, f/32 for 1/100 sec. and ISO 800 hand held with Canon MT 24EX twin flash at -3 and large flashlight to backlight Gerbera Daisy.

When photographing flowers, people often make the common mistake of trying to capture the entire flower even when there are distracting or unwanted elements in the frame.  In many cases an arboretum or flower show do not allow tripods either…so what is the solution?  The simple answer is to get closer!  You don’t need to see the entire bloom and foliage to get your point across and macro lenses are especially well suited for this task.  The image above of the Gerber Daisy is a great example of this philosophy.

Read More >>

02.14.2014

The love of photography is something that is oftentimes shared and passed down through the generations of a family. Ask a photographer where they first caught the photo bug, and there’s a good chance that  a father, uncle, aunt or mother originally sparked that interest.

Bailey Bryant, age nine, makes a photo with one of the two Sigma 150-500mm F5-6.3 lenses his family owns near their home in Florida.

Bailey Bryant, age nine, makes a photo with one of the two Sigma 150-500mm F5-6.3 lenses his family owns near their home in Florida. Photo © Cindy Bryant.

For nine year old Bailey Bryant of Orlando, Florida, he can look to both his parents, Matt and Cindy, as his source of inspiration. In fact, Matt and Cindy Bryant are, to date, the only husband and wife pair to both be featured as Sigma’s Fan of the Week. And even cooler, both made their winning shots with their pair of Sigma 150-500mm F5-6.3 APO DG OS HSM lenses. And these days, they are having to share their favorite supertelephoto zoom lens with their son more and more!

Central Florida, where the Bryant family lives, is a great base for bird photography, and the reach and range of the 150-500mm F5-6.3 helps Matt, Cindy, and their two sons capture great photos. All photos © Matt and Cindy Bryant

Central Florida, where the Bryant family lives, is a great base for bird photography, and the reach and range of the 150-500mm F5-6.3 helps Matt, Cindy, and their two sons capture great photos. All photos © Matt and Cindy Bryant

Cindy bought her first DSLR camera nearly three years ago.  Her goal was to take wonderful photos of the Bryant family adventures and her two boys growing up.

Read More >>

02.13.2014

A bottle of red. No it’s not a Billy Joel song. This is the real thing… not Coke; wine. Red, red wine.

© 2013 Kevin Ames | Photographing a red wine bottle presents a few lighting challenges. The first is to define the shape of the bottle itself. It is really a very shiny almost black mirror. Lighting dark, reflective objects is simply adding the highlights that will define its shape.

© 2013 Kevin Ames | Photographing a red wine bottle presents a few lighting challenges. The first is to define the shape of the bottle itself. It is really a very shiny almost black mirror. Lighting dark, reflective objects is simply adding the highlights that will define its shape.

 

Read More >>

02.10.2014

Ok. I admit to being somewhat of a snob when it comes to the speed of the lenses I use. The list of my f/2.8’s includes the 120-300mm, 70-200mm, 24-70mm, 150mm Macro & 105mm Macro and a 15mm fisheye. For f/1.4 the list is all primes with the  85mm, the 50mm and the new 35mm Art lens. All of these speed demons are from Sigma of course.

So along comes the latest member of their new Global Vision lenses; the 24-105mm at what I thought was a not-so-speedy f/4.0…

I really need to have a talk with myself about it. Here’s a transcript of that conversation:

Speedball Me: “Hey, hey! Look at this! A 24 to 105 Art lens from Sigma, sweet! Wait a minute… It’s only an f/4.0? Really?!? What’s up with that?”

Photo Me: “Ah, come on Speedball, it’s only one stop slower. That’s no big deal to get the extra reach. I’ll take 105mm at f/4.0 over 70mm and f/2.8 any day. Really!”

Speedball Me: “Well…”

Photo Me: “Speed. Schmeed. Double the ISO and you’ve covered the one stop difference.”

Speedball Me: “Hmmm…”

Photo Me: “By the way, optically stabilized too. Shoot it. Look at the results then decide.”

Speedball Me: “What? It’s a longer telephoto with stabilization too?”

Photo Me: “Yes sir!”

So of course the photographic part of me shot the lens a lot and…Wow. Yep. Wow.

The proof is in the photos. One of the first shoots was with model Amy Patterson as part of my Red Dress series where different ladies rock the same gown.

The proof is in the photos. One of the first shoots was with model Amy Patterson as part of my Red Dress series where different ladies rock the same gown.

Read More >>