When photographer and filmmaker Alexis Cuarezma was looking for a simple, lightweight rig for a recent project with minimal crew (just himself and cinematographer Sean D. Johnson) and a reasonable price tag, he eventually opted for the SIGMA F1.4 DC DN Mirrorless Trio of lenses mounted on a Canon EOS M6 Mark II camera body. This ultra-portable combination, plus some creative lighting, gave Alexis the look he wanted without weighing him down, and he was able to capture both video and stills with the same flexible combination of gear.
In the early days of 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, Alexis shot “God Gifted Talent” — a short narative about an up-and-coming basketball player (which you can watch below) — with the SIGMA 16mm F1.4 DC DN, SIGMA 30mm F1.4 DC DN and SIGMA 56mm F1.4 DC DN Contemporary lenses. We caught up with Alexis via email to discuss his overall experience with the trio…
SIGMA: Alexis, there’s plenty of gear out there, and many filmmakers feel the need to grab the biggest, baddest equipment on the market. What made you decide to shoot your project with a relatively inexpensive camera body and our affordable series of F1.4 primes?
ALEXIS: I love the portability of smaller mirrorless cameras. The M6 Mark II from Canon is not only portable, but it has amazing capabilities. When I saw a trio of prime lenses with an F-stop of F1.4 available from Sigma for the EF-M mount, I knew this could be an amazing match. I quickly put all three lenses and the M6 Mark II to use, and I shot a series of products, lifestyle portraits, time lapse/ landscapes, action photos, and I also directed an entire short narrative film exclusively using this set of lenses.
SIGMA: You usually shoot with full-frame cameras and lenses. What did you think about the performance of the lenses, and how did they work for the film?
ALEXIS: I found the performance was excellent and equal from all three focal lengths (16mm, 30mm & 56mm). For “God Gifted Talent” we used all three lenses wide open at F1.4 which we needed as we chose to film at night, and I also wanted to isolate our subject. I was surprised how well this set of lenses color matched when grading the film, and no adjustments were required to make them match.
When it came time to take the action photos, the fast aperture allowed me to have a shutter speed fast enough to freeze the movement, while keeping the ISO relatively low as we were using film lights. I found each focal length to be extremely useful. On the APS-C sensor of the M6 Mark II, the approximate full-frame equivalent focal lengths are 24mm, 50mm and 85mm which provide a great range with a fast F-stop. Each lens was sharp wide open and also produced amazing contrast.
SIGMA: It sounds like you treated the camera and SIGMA F1.4 Mirrorless Trio as a complete hybrid solution, even though one might consider them “still” lenses.
ALEXIS: Exactly. The versatility of the lenses and a small mirrorless camera provides many creative opportunities for the user, from video work to everyday photography. I also noticed that these smaller lenses give you the flexibility to use smaller, more affordable filters. For “God Gifted Talent” we stacked a Pro-Mist & Vector Star filter while using the lenses wide open, and were able to use them as if they were cinema lenses. For time lapse & landscapes, I stopped down to F10 and the sharpness increased throughout the image.
SIGMA: So overall, would you recommend the SIGMA F1.4 Mirrorless Trio? It seems like you enjoyed using them for your recent projects.
ALEXIS: Absolutely. With this trio of lenses, aspiring photographers and filmmakers now have access to produce extremely high-quality content for a fraction of the cost. The lightweight construction, the portability, and the fast aperture are all big positives that help immensely with autofocus, and I should also mention that eye detection works great with these lenses. These are an absolute joy to shoot with, and they will give you stunning results.
The SIGMA F1.4 DC DN Mirrorless Trio is available for Canon EF-M, Sony E-Mount, and now L-Mount! From everyday shooters and vloggers, to experienced photographers and filmmakers like Alexis, the 16mm, 30mm and 56mm F1.4 DC DN lenses provide incredible value, quality and portability.
Alexis Cuarezma is a Nicaraguan born portrait photographer and director based in the San Francisco Bay Area. He has been commissioned for assignments by Nike, Sports Illustrated, the LA Times, the New York Times, HBO and numerous international publications, and his images have graced the cover of Sports Illustrated six times. His vibrant aesthetic is often sought out for editorial, commercial and private commissions.