One of our key missions here with the No Fear Photography blog postings is to teach photographers to take more creative control of their cameras in order to make stronger photos because taking the camera off full-auto-everything puts the power of shutter speeds, ISO and F-stops firmly in your hands. There’s many more variables, too, such as white balance, single/continuous Autofocus or manual focus, and so on to be tweaked and tuned. And the more controls you adjust, the more chance there is, that at some point in your photography, you are going to miss a shot due to operator error.
When Sigma offered me the chance to shoot with the flagship SD1 Merrill DSLR, I jumped on the opportunity to extensively explore the abilities of the Foveon X3 censor at the heart of the camera. Knowing that my plans involved photographing the natural beauty of the mountainous American West allowed for the selection of several lenses from Sigma’s fine catalog most suited for that purpose – the 8-16mm F4.5-5.6 DC HSM wide angle, the 24-70mm F2.8 IF EX DG HSM mid range zoom and the 120-300mm F2.8 EX DG OS APO HSM telephoto.
When I set out to do wildlife photography, I always have my Sigma 300-800mm lens with me mounted on one camera body and the newest addition to my arsenal; the Sigma 120-300mm mounted on another. I absolutely love the versatility and reach of that combination. It is unmatched by any combination on the market today. I have always used both lenses for a while with great results, but I wanted to see how the budget friendly Sigma 150-500mm worked in the field because sometimes, it is nice to travel light! Another big factor is that many people simply can’t afford the higher end lenses and I would love to give them another option, but I did have a few questions myself that needed to be answered. Was the lens sharp…..even all the way out to 500mm? I set out one morning a few weeks ago and started testing the lens out on simple portraits like the one below. I patiently waited for the bird to walk into some nice sand.
I have been looking for an intermediate telephoto zoom lens to add to my lens arsenal. I have owned the Canon 100-400mm lens for a while now but I have never been happy with its sharpness or overall performance and the push pull mechanism for zooming was not very smooth and made tracking while zooming difficult. I was looking at 70-200mm f/2.8 lenses but I felt that I wanted a bit more reach for an intermediate telephoto zoom lens. Someone suggested that I try out the Sigma 120-300 f/2.8 and it looked to be a great idea as it fit nicely in my lens lineup between my wide angle lenses that ranged up to 128mm and my super telephoto Sigma 300-800mm f/5.6 lens.
There’s so much to love about the new Sigma 120-300mm F2.8 DG OS HSM | Sports lens, the third iteration of this unique fast-aperture telephoto zoom lens that pairs the performance of a 300mm F2.8 with the versatility of a constant-aperture zoom for quickly adjusting the composition.
I never imagined that choosing the “right” ISO for wildlife photography would be the most controversial subject that I would teach. If you ask many pros about which ISO you should use, the most frequent response you will get is: “Choose an ISO based on what you are shooting”. If you are shooting a portrait of a bird or animal, choose a low ISO and when shooting action, select a higher ISO.
The Sigma USB Dock paired with Sigma Optimization Pro software brings lens customization to an entirely new level. Photographers can now personally update the firmware of Sigma’s new Global Vision lenses and make performance enhancements including multi-zone microfocus adjustments of +/-20 from the factory default settings.
Brazil’s Pantanal is one of earth’s most biologically rich areas and truly spectacular photography destination. Last month I took a scouting trip to the Pantanal for wildlife with with special emphasis on the jaguar. It was my first trip here and I have to say the photographic opportunities in the Pantanal were even better than I expected. Jaguar was the main target of the trip and I would have been happy just to see a single one but as it turns out we had the chance to photograph them each day and every day I was there. This is one of the best locations if not the best location on earth to photograph jaguar.