Since October, my visual world has been one of unlimited shades of white, grey and blue. Which is to be expected living at a high elevation in a place that receives over 300 inches of snow every year. But every April, the desire to get out and see some fresh new vibrant colors hits me hard in the gut. There is only one way to cure this chromatic malady, and that’s hitting the open road with my camera.
The Perfect Photography Combo for a Scenic Desert Drive
As I’ve done time and again, I load up my camera pack with a variety of SIGMA lenses, but this time I add a few new pieces of gear. First is the brand new 61-megapixel SIGMA fp L camera. This new camera is light, small and very powerful. It’s also perfect for this kind of trip where spring travelscapes are what I’m after.
The other new item is the SIGMA 28-70mm F2.8 DG DN | Contemporary lens. It too is very light and compact, and pairs perfectly with the fp L. I also brought along the L-mount version of one of my very favorite telephoto zoom lenses, the SIGMA 100-400mm DG DN | Contemporary.
SIGMA fp L + 100-400mm DG DN OS | Contemporary – 193mm, 1/60s, F20, ISO 160
I look over my maps and put together a loose plan. This time of year, the desert cottonwoods explode with a vibrant lime green color that is nothing short of eye candy. And after a long, gray winter, it’s exactly what this photographer needs.
My trip will be short but sweet. From my home in Colorado, I will begin by heading west on I-70 crossing into Utah, and then to the northern part of the San Rafael Swell. After that, I will head south to Capitol Reef National Park, and possibly Cathedral Valley if the weather cooperates. Next, I’ll head to Hanksville and down 95 on the Trail of The Ancients Scenic Byway. And for my last day, I will check out one of my favorite ancient Puebloan sites in the Bears Ears area.
SIGMA fp L + 28-70mm F2.8 DG DN | Contemporary – 28mm, 1/10s, F16, ISO 160
Using the SIGMA fp L for Landscape Photography
The SIGMA fp L camera is an absolute joy to shoot with. It is also a modular system (meaning it can be physically configured to your liking for stills or video) and I used both the HG-21 hand grip and the new EVF-11 electronic viewfinder. I believe most still shooters will benefit from both of these attachments. As for controls, the two main dials are big and easy to use, even while wearing gloves, and the menu system was intuitive and easy to navigate.
SIGMA fp L + 100-400mm DG DN OS | Contemporary – 331mm, 1/80s, F13, ISO 160
SIGMA fp L + 100-400mm DG DN OS | Contemporary – 179mm, 1/100s, F13, ISO 160
SIGMA fp L + 100-400mm DG DN OS | Contemporary – 321mm, 1/320s, F10, ISO 160
Having the incredible resolution of the new 61MP BSI CMOS sensor was just fantastic. The detail rendered in the 14-bit lossless DNG files is magnificent, and the tonal transitions in places like blue skies are silky smooth. For those looking to crop heavily or make big prints, this is going to be a huge bonus.
When paired with 28-70mm and 100-400mm lenses, the whole package is surprisingly small and light. So much so that I could have easily used one of my smaller Think Tank camera packs. Next time I will. And of course, there are plenty more SIGMA lenses available in L-mount that will pair beautifully on the fp L.
SIGMA fp L + 28-70mm F2.8 DG DN | Contemporary – 37mm, 1/10s, F16, ISO 160
SIGMA fp L + 100-400mm DG DN OS | Contemporary – 130mm, 1/320s, F11, ISO 160
SIGMA fp L + 100-400mm DG DN OS | Contemporary – 116mm, 1/40s, F10, ISO 160
While I did not get the chance to push the fp L’s autofocus capabilities or low-light performance, for the purposes of my “travelscape” excursion, the AF system performed perfectly, and when I did push the ISO to 2500 while shooting a moonset, it looked great. I’m sure some of my night-shooting cohorts will push it even further.
SIGMA fp L + 100-400mm DG DN OS | Contemporary – 400mm, 2s, F6.3, ISO 2500
The bottom line is that any photographer looking for a very compact, lightweight, full-frame camera system with a powerful 61-megapixel sensor is really going to love the SIGMA fp L. Paired with some super-portable SIGMA lenses like the 28-70 and 100-400, the landscape photographer just can’t lose!