Once upon a time, in a fairytale land of endless sunflowers, located in the remote countryside of southeastern Michigan, I took my new SIGMA 28mm F1.4 DG HSM | Art lens out for a spin and invited Chicago dancer Alyssa Fenolio to join me. Alyssa’s mother drove her four long hours to meet me and assist in making my vision come to life. Russian Pointe Brand sent over a couple of leotards for Alyssa to model. Add all of these components together: Alyssa + SIGMA + Russian Pointe + Sunflowers = magic was created.
What makes the 28mm F1.4 DG HSM | Art unique?
I chose the 28mm F1.4 | Art for this project because it’s a classic wide-angle lens with minimal distortion that still allows for subject sharpness and background separation. Working as I was in a field of sunflowers, I wanted the background to be softer yet still somewhat beautifully distinguishable. Remember that bokeh and depth of field are dependent on focal length, focal distance and distance to subject, so the 28mm, with nice wide-open sharpness allows the dancers to pop from the lightly blurred background. If I’d switched to a 50mm or 85mm lens, the background would be gorgeously blurred and fairly unrecognizable when shooting wide open. A nice look, for sure, but not what I was going for with this particular setting.
The SIGMA 28mm F1.4 DG HSM | Art was actually designed and introduced by SIGMA as a cine lens first, so it has a spectacular sharp focus and gorgeous optical characteristics in terms of both sharpness and blur. The overall color rendering and this attention to key image details makes for simply lovely visuals.
First impressions and comparisons
My first impression of the 28mm F1.4 | Art was the solid feel of the lens. The 28mm has a big, chunky, solid presence, and as a full-frame DSLR lens it does have some size and heft. If you are expecting a compact optic, please adjust your expectations. Personally, I like the feel of a substantial lens. I’m used to shooting with the 105mm F1.4 DG HSM | Art, which is itself a bit of a beast. I’ve developed that muscle, so to speak, therefore I felt right at home with the 28mm.
My next impression was, Holy SHARPNESS, this lens blew me away! In comparison with my other SIGMA wide-angle lens, the 24-35mm F2 DG HSM | Art — which gives me some on-the-fly versatility — the 28mm F1.4 DG HSM | Art wins for tack sharp focus and next-level imaging. Flare and ghosting is handled incredibly well, even when the sun is actually in the frame as it is in several of my images, there’s little to no optical artifacts to worry about.
Everyone can appreciate the magic of the 28mm F1.4
My client was thrilled with the images from this session, and I have had the SIGMA 28mm F1.4 DG HSM | Art in my camera bag ever since. I’ve been using it to photograph high school seniors in various interesting situations where a wide angle would come in handy.
From my experience with the SIGMA 28mm F1.4 DG HSM | Art, I can say that this is a lens that delivers images that make me as a photographer happy, and even more importantly, makes my clients happy.