Trade Shows and Dealer Events are a great resource for photographers. Not only do they get a chance to demo gear from multiple manufacturers under one roof, but they get to pick the brains of factory representatives. There are three common questions that I get asked at every trade show I work:
So what is the deal with Art lenses, everybody seems to be talking about Art lenses?
Sigma describes the Art line of lenses as being “designed for the most demanding artists”. The Art lenses have been designed to not only be some of the sharpest lenses on the market, but also have virtually no distortion, little to no chromatic aberration, and minimal ghosting or flaring. There are lenses from other manufacturers that can accomplish some of these, but very few, if any, can do this at wide open apertures like Sigma’s Art lenses. Most Art lenses also have the ability to shoot at very close distances, with the fixed focal length lenses focusing just inches from the front of the lens. And almost the Art lenses do all of this at a lower price point than similar lenses from other manufacturers.
Tell me, why should I buy a Sigma lens?
When a photographer chooses to buy a Sigma lens it is for one of three reasons:
Sigma makes lenses that are out performing the same lens from other manufacturers, and at a lower price point: All of the Art prime lenses, 24-105mm f4 Art, 150-600mm f5-6.3 Contemporary… just to name a few.
Sigma makes lenses that are performing just as well as the same lenses from other manufacturers, but at a lower price point: 10-20mm f3.5 EX, 105mm f2.8 Macro EX, 17-50mm f2.8 EX, 500mm f4 Sports… and others.
100% Image Quality testing for all lenses in the Art, Sports, and Contemporary lines. Every lens is tested for peak optical performance before leaving our Aizu, Japan, factory.
What is the deal with the USB Dock? Do I need that when I buy a Sigma lens?
The short answer is, not necessarily. First, the USB Dock is an accessory that only works with Sigma’s Global Vision lenses: Art, Contemporary, and Sports. Any lens that has been released after Sep. 2012 would be in one if these categories. The USB Dock allows the user to do a number of things:
You can micro-auto focus adjust your fixed lenses at 4 different points throughout the focusing distance, and 16 different points on a zoom lens. (See how to use the USB Dock.)
Update firmware in the lens (yes, lenses have firmware).
Sigma lenses that feature a Custom Mode switch can allow you to customize your lens in two different profiles. Within these profiles you can: 1. Speed up or slow down your Auto Focus speed, 2. Limit your focus distance area to any specific parameter that you choose, and 3. Adjust the reactivity of your Optical Stabilizer.
Of course this would be extremely helpful to any photographer, especially for only $59, but I said it is not completely necessary to purchase one because Sigma will do any of this as a courtesy if you send it back to Sigma’s Factory Service in New York.
Got a question for us to tackle in an upcoming Tech Tips piece? Leave a comment!