I just received a Sigma’s new prime lens, the 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM | Art lens, so I thought I’d take it for a spin. What better way to test a fast prime than on a fast dog?
We loaded Rowan in the Suby and headed down to Pleasant Hill Lake, which was swelling higher and higher with spring rain. A lakeside campground had become partially inundated with water—a great place to let our pooch swim.
I dialed up my D800E to ISO 1600, which, in the late day sun, allowed me to shoot at f/8 at 1/2000 second. This gave me moderately strong depth-of-field and a shutter speed fast enough to stop Rowan running, splashing, and swimming as she retrieved sticks.
While eight month-old Rowan sprang and splashed in every direction, the new Sigma 50mm f/1.4 was up to the task—it produced sharp images, focused extremely fast, and provided pleasing, contrasty images.
Even though I was shooting at ISO 1600, which on the D800E produces a bit of graininess, the images are nice and sharp. Whiskers, eyelashes, and texture on her collar have excellent detail. Drops of water frozen mid-air sparkle with crystal-like quality.
One of my biggest frustrations in animal action photography is slow focusing lenses. The Sigma 50mm f/1.4 kept me quite happy. As Rowan ran left and right, splashed in and out of the water, and sticks flew everywhere through the air, the 50mm f/1.4 followed the action with aplomb. I appreciated the immediate response of this fast glass to our oh-so-fast-moving subject. I was able to fire off shot after shot in high speed mode and get sharp image after sharp image.
Finally, the resulting photographs are quite pleasing in other ways. Colors are rendered true-to-life. The shots are contrasty but not too much so. And the clean and smooth bokeh, as seen in the trees and other background elements in the images above, seals the deal. The Sigma 50mm f/1.4 just found a sweet spot in my camera bag.
Next time you want to capture images of your fast dog, grab a fast prime.
To learn more about the lens David used for this shoot, visit the 50mm F1.4 DG HSM | Art lens page!
Check out David’s other dog blogs:
- How to Photograph your Dog: 1 – Transitions
- How to Photograph Your Dog: 2 – The ALMOST Perfect Picture
- How to Photograph Your Dog: 3 – Puppy Play
- How to Photograph Your Dog: 4 – First Bath
- How to Photograph Your Dog: 5 – Collar Color Theory
- How to Photograph Your Dog: 6 – New Year’s Resolution
- How to Photograph Your Dog: 7 – Exposure: Photographing Your Beau in the Snow
- How to Photograph Your Dog: 8 – A Matter of Perspective
- How to Photograph Your Dog: 9 – Polarizers for Perfect Pet Portraits
- How to Photograph Your Dog: 10 – Symmetry and Asymmetry in Action
- How to Photograph Your Dog: 11 – Wiener Dogs