Philip Wen, of Redondo Beach, California, is our #SigmaSuperFan for August! A hobbyist who originally picked up a DSLR upon learning he’d be a father, he owns a number of Sigma lenses including the 10-20mm, 30mm F1.4 EX DG HSM and the 35mm F1.4 DG HSM | Art lens, which he uses to capture special moments in his family’s life. We spent a few minutes talking to the newest member of the SuperFan Winner’s Circle.
Tell us about yourself
I am a consultant by trade, but a photography enthusiast by heart. I picked up my first DSLR in 2008 when I started my beautiful family and wanted to document it, and fell in love with photography ever since.
Is photography a passion or a career?
It is a passion for me, and the skills of which I get to occasionally utilize in my work related activities.
What was your first Sigma lens?
A sigma 10-20mm F4-5.6 in Canon EF-S mount was the second lens-only purchase I have ever made. I still own and use it with a Canon EOS M with adapter.
After learning how to operate a DSLR with a Canon XSi and catching the photography bug, one of the first subjects I wanted to explore was Landscape Photography. I had barely started my career at the time so money was tighter then, and the bills associated with being recently married didn’t help matters. After a few weeks of reading about the topic and the available options to me at the time, I decided to buy a Sigma 10-20mm. I learned to shoot landscapes with it, and have fond memories of great places I’ve visited when I use it. After that purchase, the next lens I purchased was a Sigma 30mm F1.4, which became my go to lens for shooting my growing family. I bought a Nikon D600 about 18 months ago, and the Sigma 35mm F1.4 Art was one my first additions to the system.
Was it a discovery or a research project or a recommendation?
The purchases were made after extensive research online, as Sigma lenses almost always come highly recommended from almost all online sources, including reviews from other customers.
When was the moment you realized that Sigma products were special to you?
One day while organizing my pictures, I came to the realization that more of my favorite pictures were taken with Sigma lenses than my Canon or Nikon ones. I may have changed systems, but the lenses that go in front of the bodies haven’t really changed!
What differentiates Sigma from other manufacturers that you’ve used/worked with?
I believe Sigma brings a lot of high value products to the market. Since I do not make money from my photography purchases, value for money is an important factor in my purchasing decisions. The fact that friends and family all think that I had spent unfathomable sums of money on professional photography gear is a great testament to the value that Sigma provides. The Sigma 30mm F1.4 has made taking fantastic portraits of the family a cinch, and now with the Nikon, the Sigma 35mm F1.4 Art does not come off of the camera body often.
What is your most memorable day as a photographer?
My family is the most important thing to me, and every moment that I bring out my camera is a moment that I want to make memorable. The great thing about living in our day and age is that almost everyone has the capability to make beautiful images of the Every Day, and picking up my camera gear to document my life makes so many of its moments forever memorable.
Tell us about your dream shoot?
I hope to one day be able to take my family to visit all the great state parks in the U.S., and hopefully I will have a Nikon D810 and a bag full of Sigma Art lenses with me.
One atypical thing in your camera bag?
I don’t usually carry flashes in my bag, but I do always carry a small but powerful LED flashlight and a piece of blank paper. I find the flash light useful not just for photography, and when I need a bit of light in darker situations, bouncing the flash light off of the ceiling, wall, or the piece of paper can create some interesting effects.
Who is your photo inspiration? Why?
I don’t have a particular person that I draw inspiration from, but I do visit 500px occasionally to learn from so many fellow photographers out there making great images every day.
What inspires you?
Compliments and praises from family and friends about all the special moments of my life looking “Oh! So Precious!” Life is fleeting, and the great images that I capture will allow me to one day be the Grandpa with so many pictures and stories to tell.
What do you know for sure about Sigma?
To me, Sigma has always represented quality and value. Despite consistently excelling at the technical aspects of lens making, it wasn’t always just the hard specs that kept drawing me back to Sigma. I seldomly shoot RAW, so all of the Sigma lenses that I own exceeds my quality requirements, but the fact that Sigma is able to provide this level of quality at their always reasonable prices make me a life-long convert.
Being a critical shopper who always conducts extensive research over major purchases, and one that considers himself quite brand agnostic, the fact that Sigma has been able to convince me to purchase their products over and again tells me that perhaps I am not as brand agnostic as I thought I was, and perhaps I have been a Super Fan for the past 8 years without wanting to admit to it.
Now that I think about it, I’ve made numerous recommendations to friends and family of different Sigma lenses over the years. Just last week, I recommended a Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 Art. A couple of weeks before that, the Sigma Trio for the Sony E mount. Gasp! I am a Sigma Super Fan!
What is your prize lens choice?
The Sigma 18-300mm F3.5-F6.3 in Nikon mount will allow me to carry my recently acquired Nikon D7100 with one lens to walk around all day without carrying a bag. I’ll get to carry less and still come home with a full day’s worth of Sigma quality images. I couldn’t help but read up on its glowing reviews online already. Great build quality, great image quality and great convenience to boot! How exciting!