For this year’s gift guide, we asked our Sigma Pros to recommend some of their favorite gear. This crew of amazingly talented and hard-working photographers each focuses on a different specialty and has their own individual style, and they’ve all got their favorite Sigma gear. Check out these great reasons why our pros choose to use Sigma lenses and cameras.
Kevin Ames’ Favorite: Sigma DP3 Merrill Compact Digital Camera
Sigma’s DP3 Merrill, the 46 megapixel true color fidelity professional medium format quality camera, is ideal for family photos, macro close ups, travel pictures or any situation where a “portrait” look fits. The 50mm f/2.8 lens is perfect for capturing photographs of people and their places then making huge blow ups. Best of all this pocket sized wonder fits easily in a purse or messenger bag. It’s always ready to make great photos. I keep my DP3 Merrill hand in the studio or on location to capture truly high resolution photographs like this one. -Kevin Ames
Judy Host’s Favorite: Sigma 18-250mm and 17-70mm lenses
Sigma’s 18-250mm F3.5-6.3 DC Macro OS HSM Macro is fast becoming one of my all time favorite lenses. It’s a three for one. A macro, a telephoto and a wide-angle lens all wrapped up in one very sharp and very fast lens. It’s so light and so easy to use. I’m constantly amazed at the quality of the imagery. Whether I’m photographing scenery or creating once in a lifetime individual or family portraits, I find that I never leave home without it. -Judy Host
I’m also discovering that Sigma’s 17-70mm F2.8-4 DC Macro HSM OS is also a favorite of mine. Having just completed a session with a two year using only available light, this lens responded immediately to all the changes I needed to make. With its fast autofocusing, and macro capability, I was able to capture the moment from several different vantage points without ever moving. I can pretty much accomplish what I need to for my clients with either lens.
Lindsay Adler’s Favorites: 85mm F1.4 and 70-200mm F2.8 lenses
I’ve been in love with the Sigma 85mm 1.4 since it first hit the market as an indispensable lens for portrait and beauty photography. The combination of its bokeh and compression help me to eliminate backgrounds and create stunning portraits with a narrow depth of field. The lens focuses quickly, allowing me to better capture the action and those perfect moments. As a fashion photographer, many of my favorite beauty images were created with this lens as they help me add a dreaminess to my images.
When I want a flexible lens for headshot, beauty and fashion photography, the Sigma 70-200mm 2.8 is a must have. This is a lens that most wedding and portrait photographers add to their kit early on to give them flexibility in focal lengths, narrow depth of field, and a stabilized image.
By having flexible focal lengths, I can choose the compression best suited for my subject’s headshot. Some subjects (perhaps with more pronounced features) appear more attractive when shooting at 120mm-200mm, and this lens gives me those options. For full-length shots I use the Sigma 70-200mm 2.8 to help compress the subject to the background.
Jennifer Rozenbaum’s Favorites: 50mm F1.4 and 24-70mm F2.8
As a boudoir photographer I often shoot in very small spaces. Client’s homes, hotel room, even my studio is very small (I am in NYC afterall!). Because of this I most often shoot with the 50mm F1.4 lens. It not only is a great overall portrait lens, it is also the perfect size as not to intimidate my clients, and perfect to throw in your camera bag and go.
The 24-70mm F2.8 is a workhorse for boudoir. I especially love to use it when I am limited on time with a client. It allows me to get a variety of different shots without having to move around too much. I can get a ¾ body shot and a close up detail shot without having to change anything but my focal length. This allows me to get more shots in the same amount of time. Bonus for me and my clients!
David FitzSimmons’ Favorites: 105mm F2.8 DG OS HSM Macro and 17-50mm F2.8 DC OS HSM
The Sigma 105mm macro is an exceptional stable mate to my other favorite macro lens, the Sigma 150mm. Both are fast-focusing, take you down to 1:1 without extension tubes, are built extremely well, and produce images that are super sharp. As much as I love shooting with both lenses, across the many years of my career I find that the 105mm length is what I turn to most, ranging from portraiture to close-ups of nature.
While shooting my Curious Critters series, I grab the 105mm macro repeatedly. With the added benefit of Optical Stabilization, my handheld studio shots are tack sharp. And the ample lens hood, which reverses on the lens during storage, provides great protection and shade (although the coatings and excellent contrast of this lens would probably let me get by without it!).
When shooting my Sigma SD1 and other APS-C cameras, I turn time and time again to the Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 lens. It not only provides an ideal range for a large portion of my landscape photos but also does so with aplomb: contrast is excellent; color renditions are gorgeous; and images are tack sharp. When I started my career, I insisted on shooting everything with prime lenses. “They are shaper!” I insisted. These days I test lenses like the 17-50mm against primes and find top-level zooms like this one match and often out-perform their fixed counterparts. To boot, this handy lens is nicely compact. It’s a great all-around lens providing fabulous results.
I am not a filter person. I never have been. That being said, I am never caught without one type of filter: the polarizer. If you shoot landscapes, nature close-ups, or any other subject outside, a PZ filter is a must. From turning a light blue sky brilliant blue to increasing color saturation of fall foliage, the effects of the polarizer are crucial to producing the best possible images of nature. I carry several Sigma polarizers in different sizes, using step-down rings to fit them to all my lenses. To see more effects of polarizers, read this blog posting.
Roman Kurywczak’s Favorites: 300-800mm F5.6 DG HSM and 12-24mm F4.5-5.6 DG HSM
The Sigma 300-800mm f/5.6 is unmatched in its versatility and reach by any manufacturer and at a price that cant be beat! Many people talk about the weight of the lens but if you try to match the range of the lens by any other lens manufacturer you will have to pay a lot more and have to carry even more weight and not get the versatility that you get in one package. Some people claim to have the “ultimate wildlife lenses”…..I’m here to tell you that no one can match the versatility and price or the Sigma 300-800. Look at my images for yourself and compare…..you will be glad you did!
The Sigma 12-24mm lens is fast becoming my favorite wide angel lens! I have had it for only a few months but find the sharpness and view to be unmatched in the industry. I like to get very wide-angle view of scenes with strong compositional elements in the foreground and this lens allows me to do just that! For those of you with full frame cameras looking for that extra bit of reach….this is the perfect choice for you! Go check out my Sigma a blog on Iceland to see just how good this lens can be!
Robert O’Toole’s Favorites: 120-300mm F2.8 DG OS HSM and 50-500mm F4.5-6.3 DG OS HSM
Sigma has taken the traditional high speed 300mm prime telephoto lens which is a cornerstone of a wildlife photographers arsenal and created something even better. The Sigma 120-300mm F2.8 DG OS HSM | S is a unique lens in the world today. The advantage of having the ability to zoom with a constant F/2.8 aperture is a huge advantage over a prime 300mm f/2.8 lens.
This lens gives me the sharp professional quality files I require even with the Sigma 1.4x DG EX APO Teleconverter on both my full frame and crop sensor format DSLR bodies. This is accomplished with the special FLD (2) and SLD (1) elements glass elements used in the optical design.
The newest and latest version of this lens the 120-300mm F2.8 DG OS HSM | S is the first lens introduced into the Sports category for Sigma’s Global Vision. What this means for photographers is that the lens has new upgraded cosmetics all around with a new super sturdy bayonet lens hood and tripod mounting collar. Another major upgrade with this lens is the ability to work with the new USB Dock and special Sigma software called SIGMA Optimization Pro that can update the lens firmware and adjust parameters such as focus, AF speed, focus limiter and OS function. These settings work with Custom Mode Switch on the side of the lens.
The special and unique features of the Sigma 120-300mm F2.8 DG OS HSM | S make it a highly recommended lens that any photographer.
Over the last few years using the Sigma 50-500mm I have made lots of images, when I say a lot I mean Gigabytes of professional level images in all kinds of weather and extreme temperatures. My 50-500 has always been 100% reliable and delivered the sharp high quality files I need without a single failure.
This lens is perfect for handholding, my favorite way to use the lens. I use the 50-500 as a secondary lens to a longer zoom or prime. The lens is also small enough to keep on my belt holster so it’s always within reach when I am shooting. This is important and a huge advantage over larger faster zooms that cost almost 10X the price of Sigma 50-500.
This lens is unique in the photo industry and for me will always have a place in my gear bad especially when I am traveling. Having the power of a 10X zoom with both my full frame and crop sensor bodies is something you have to experience to appreciate. Once you use it, the 50-500 is addicting.
I can’t recommend the 50-500 enough, it offers a professional level performance and an unheard of zoom range at a value for dollar price that can’t be touched by any manufacturer.
If you have any questions or comments be sure to share ’em in the comments section below.