For decades, many professional photographers, myself included, have relied upon what’s often known as the “trinity” — a collection of three fast zoom lenses that cover a wide range of focal lengths and handle most jobs. While the exact lenses might differ between systems, they will consist of a wide zoom, a standard zoom (like a 24-70mm), and a trusty 70-200mm, all with a maximum aperture of F2.8.
Everyone from photojournalists, wedding photographers, adventure photographers and more have relied on some version of this three-lens kit. Why? Simple… they were usually very sharp and fast, and reduced the number of prime lenses you would need to carry for a day of photography. These lenses typically had a very high build quality and were often the very best zooms available. However, the drawback to this sort of lens kit is that they could be fairly big and quite heavy.
Fast forward a decade or two, and I am still using a version of the classic lens trifecta. In fact, I often shoot SIGMA’s 14-24mm F2.8 DG DN | Art, 24-70mm F2.8 DG DN | Art and 70-200mm DG OS HSM | Sports lenses. I love the bomber build quality and class-leading image quality that they deliver. While some of these lenses are smaller and lighter than their film or DSLR equivalents, they can still be heavy for long shooting days or big adventures.
There’s a new kit in town!
But now there is a new trinity that is fast and sharp, as well as light and compact. I like to call it my “Adventure Trifecta”. It consists of the SIGMA 16-28mm F2.8 DG DN | Contemporary, 28-70mm F2.8 DG DN | Contemporary, and 100-400mm DG DN OS | Contemporary lenses. When an assignment has me far off trail and deep in the backcountry, this is the kit that I will reach for.
These three lenses are significantly smaller and lighter than their Art line counterparts. In fact, my Art and Sport lens kit weighs a total of 121.2 ounces (7.6 pounds / 3.4kg) while my Contemporary kit weighs only 72.7 ounces (4.5 pounds / 2.1kg). That’s a weight savings of 48.5 ounces, or a little over three pounds (1.4kg). This is a big deal when you’re climbing peaks over 14,000 feet high, or even if you just have your pack on all day! And in addition to lighter weight, they are also much smaller and easier to pack. While my Art and Sports lenses have big 82mm front elements, these Contemporary lenses feature front element sizes of 72mm (16-28mm lens) and 67mm (28-70mm and 100-400mm lenses).
16-28mm F2.8 DG DN | Contemporary
Lets start with the 16-28mm F2.8 DG DN | Contemporary lens. This is my go-to lens when I need to set the scene and tell the story of where we are in a single shot. I have used this lens for numerous big adventures including backcountry skiing, fly fishing, landscapes, mountain biking, travel and more! The 16-28mm fits nicely into my smaller pack, and when traveling internationally I can even bring it as a backup to the 14-24mm F2.8 DG DN | Art. It is incredibly sharp and handles flare very well, which is great as I love shooting into the sun for dramatic sunstars.
28-70mm F2.8 DG DN | Contemporary
The 28-70mm F2.8 DG DN | Contemporary lens is a standard zoom that I use for a variety of situations. This is my latest addition to the trio so I have not pushed it quite as hard as the other two, but so far it has proven itself fully capable in demanding situations. Its diminutive size and weight make it ideal when you need to be light and fast. Image quality is truly professional level, and I would not hesitate to bring the lens with me on any editorial or commercial shoot.
100-400mm F5-6.3 DG DN OS | Contemporary
I have been using the SIGMA 100-400mm DG DN OS | Contemporary lens since it was released in the summer of 2020. I absolutely love this lens and have used it for professional applications on numerous assignments around the world. In addition to adventure sports and landscapes, I use this lens for backcountry wildlife. It’s light and powerful, and has never let me down even under the worst of conditions.
Summing up the “Adventure Trifecta”
So there it is… my “Adventure Trifecta”. These lenses are so light and easy to pack that I never hesitate to bring them on long backcountry adventures. They’re also great for photographers on the go, as they won’t tip the scales at your airline check-in.
And while size and weight are important, they are moot points if the image quality is not there. And that is what’s so amazing about the adventure kit. The image quality is pure professional and I have published covers, two page spreads, full stories and more for top editorial outlets and outdoor brands.
The proof is before your eyes: this Contemporary zoom lens trio is a pro-level imaging kit that’s easy on your wallet, won’t slow you down, and delivers the highest quality images.