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The Sigma 50mm F1.4 DG HSM Art lens Revolutionized My Work

A single Sigma 50mm F1.4 DG HSM Art lens started an unplanned chain reaction that revolutionized my photography and style of image forever. I have been a professional photographer all my life, now passing on my photography and post-processing knowledge on digital photography workshops all over the world. I had heard the reputation of the Sigma Art series lenses, but it was not until a workshop in Germany that I saw the reality for the first time – my workshop client was using the Sigma Art series lenses.


The Astronomical Clock, Old Town Hall, Prague, Czech Republic. 30 images stitched.

My jaw dropped at the quality and sharpness of image I was looking at. The sharpness was mind blowing. I was looking at edge to edge sharpness with no color aberrations; quality and clarity I had dreamed of all my life. Quality, I thought could only be achieved using expensive medium format equipment. On my return to the UK, I bought a single Sigma 50mm F1.4 DG HSM Art lens literally the next day; it changed my work forever.

Detail of the Astronomical Clock

Now the dilemma that changed everything. I then had a workshop in Paris, France. I took my usual range of lenses and the Sigma 50mm F1.4 DG HSM Art. I was in love with the quality of the Sigma 50mm F1.4 DG HSM Art lens, but I could not shoot everything, buildings etc. with only a 50mm lens – BUT, I did not want to sacrifice the sharpness and detail I knew it gave by using my wider, non-Sigma lens. I decided my only solution was to put image quality first – shoot multiple images, crudely hand-held and then worry about the stitching issue on my return home. The results were incredible. I sat down and really thought about the possibilities of this new combination – sharpness and stitching. I am getting as sharp, possibly sharper images than shooting on medium format digital backs, getting larger files – all without the enormous cost of medium format digital backs. This was the perfect combination!

The Old Town Hall, Prague, Czech Republic. 30 images stitched.

However, two problems remained. Correcting perspective distortion on architecture; I love architecture, old and new but want the verticals, to be vertical. Secondly, stitching took a seriously long time, often over an hour. Then I tested PTGui software for stitching. PTGui takes seconds to do what other software takes minutes, even hours – BUT more importantly, PTGui’s projections could also correct the perspective with very minimal change in image quality. Refining the whole process to perfection, I invested in a panoramic head to shoot multiple line panoramic images and a Sigma 85mm F1.4 DG HSM Art lens for when I needed a longer lens – or wanted an even larger file. I now had the equipment to create the images I dreamed of for many years – large yet ultra-sharp images with perfect perspective correction, all overlaid with my artistic painterly style of post-processing.

City of Arts and Sciences, Valencia, Spain. 50 images stitched together.

My current work shown here, all evolved thanks to that single purchase and incredible quality of the Sigma 50mm F1.4 DG HSM Art lens. I designed my photography workflow around the quality of that one lens, now hooting multiple frames from 15 to 50 images stitched together. I now create files up to 60inch x 80inch print resolution or larger, yet with incredible quality; full of rich tone, light, mood and drama. I love the contrast of the sharpness of a photograph against the artistic feel of a painting or the clean graphic lines of black and white architecture. The Sigma Art series of lenses transformed the quality of my photography and the architectural subjects I could now shoot in a way that I wanted; it created new opportunities that revolutionized my whole approach to taking pictures.

City of Arts and Sciences, Valencia, Spain. 20 images stitched together.

All the images shown here were taken on two workshops I taught in Prague and Valencia. Please visit my website for workshop information and tutorials if you wish to learn more about my process and post-production techniques. The website also shows many before and after Photoshop editing images.

David Osborn. Professional Photographer. London.

Learn more about David on his website.

Comments (1)
  1. Hi a pro teaching pjotography did not know about 50mm sigma lens. Please don’t let him know about zeiss might be to much for him.

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