Sigma’s brand new 24-70 f2.8 A lens arrived at my doorstep, the morning before my departure to Portillo, Chile, to shoot southern hemisphere skiing for a variety of editorial and commercial clients at one of the premiere winter sports destinations in the Andes. For the past few years my go to “all around” lens had been the Sigma 24-105 F4 A. I was intrigued by the new 24-70 f2.8 A for its increased maximum aperture speed and also its weather sealing and wondered how it would compare.
There is a strong possibility that this is the first ski action photo ever captured by a Sigma 24-70 f2.8 lens. While I don’t think that could actually be verified it is the first image I made with the new lens! This is a lock-off shot where the athlete, Sven Brunso, and I agreed on an exact spot where the turn would be and then I prefocused, composed and he skied through the frame. 1/1250 sec. f/10 ISO 250 on Canon 7DMKII
© Liam Doran | 2017
It felt great in my hand with similar look and style to all of Sigma’s Global Vision line zooms. I was happy to see a rubber weather sealing gasket where the lens connects with the camera. The price is right and crushes the competition being nearly 1,100 LESS than Nikon’s version. That’s enough savings to fund a few weeks of trekking in Nepal, or even another Art lens!
When I get a new lens, and am testing it out I put it through the paces in real world shooting situations. No cat photos here, no shooting test charts and no pixel peeping for tetchy nuances mostly visible only when chasing tiny zebra striping on an ISO chart. What I care about is its ability to lock on focus and to track focus in servo mode. I care if it is sharp shooting wide open and I care about how it handles backlit situations. Can it handle a snowy wet ski slope one minute and shoot portraits indoors the next? The bottom line is will this perform flawlessly in a professional situation where quality is paramount and my reputation is on the line? Let’s see….
One aspect I did not capture last time I visited Portillo was the party. Every night there is a live band in the bar and missing it is really not an option. I shot this handheld with the 24-70 f2.8 lens using its powerful OS system and wide f 2.8 aperture. 1/50 sec. f.2.8 ISO 6400 on Canon 5DMKIII. © Liam Doran | 2017
In this image I put the Hyper-Sonic Motor(HSM) to the test. I had pro skier Amie Engerbretson skiing very fast and close to me and the lens locked on and held focus throughout the series. 1/1600 sec. f/9 ISO 200 © Liam Doran | 2017
Juan has been the Maître d’ of the Portillo dining room for many years. Allegedly he retired in 2014 but he was there greeting guests and popping corks the entire time we were there. I used the 24-70 for this shot because I did not want a straight head shot but rather a portrait that showed him in his work habitat with him up front and center while the guests enjoy lunch in the background. Handheld at 1/320 sec. f/4 ISO 1600 on Canon 5DMKIII © Liam Doran | 2017
Here is another example of the 24-70’s tracking ability. The skier pictured here, Hadley Hammer, is incredibly fast and with the backlit lighting and lots of moving snow it would be easy for a kit lens to lose focus. Luckily The 24-70 f2.8 A OS is a professional workhorse lens and nailed the shot. © Liam Doran | 2017
The 24-70 f2.8 A OS lens was great to use in all situations. It is sharp and fast and captured all angles of our shoot including this one of Hadley and Amie enjoying some post powder Prosecco. 1/800 sec. f/9 ISO 250 on Canon 5DMKIII. © Liam Doran | 2017
I was shooting a bit of commercial work and wanted to highlight the travel aspect. I shot a very slow shutter speed and used the 24-70’s OS feature to steady the camera on the red roller pack so that it would be sharp while the rest of the image went to motion blur due to the panning. 1/30 sec. f11 ISO 160 on Canon 5DMKIII. © Liam Doran | 2017
It was our last night and we were celebrating with some wine in the hotel room when this sunset happened totally unexpectedly. Quickly I reached for my 24-70 and fired off a few frames handheld. The OS worked very well and I got a great closing landscape image.
© Liam Doran | 2017
On the night before our final day we got a surprise snowstorm that dumped about ten inches of snow…maybe more in places. I shot the 24-70 so that I could combine the elements of place and of action. Here Sven gets the last powder turns of the summer on Portillo’s Roca Jack lift. 1/1250 sec. f/8 ISO 200. © Liam Doran | 2017
During our shoot, the Sigma 24-70 f2.8 A OS HSM was called upon to shoot a huge variety of subjects from action and landscape to travel and portraits and lifestyle. The images were sharp and clean and the HSM motor kept up with speeding athletes moving through deep snow with excellent accuracy. This is a true workhorse lens that any pro photographer would do well to have in his or her bag for any shoot for the most demanding commercial and editorial clients.
Last shot, last day for Amie Engerbrteson. The 24-70 is great at melding action and place. 1/1250 sec. f/9 ISO 200 © Liam Doran | 2017