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12.23.2017

Sigma 100-400mm Contemporary at 330mm and f/22 for 1/250th of a sec. and ISO 250 with the Sigma EM- 140 Macro flash at plus 3 © Roman Kurywczak | 2017

I have been using the Sigma 100-400mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary all summer long for macro and close-up work and I would like to share with you my findings.  First impression is that it is light, which means I can handhold the lens out in the field.  At 2.5 pounds, it is the same weight as my Sigma 150mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM APO Macro lens but gives me the extra reach I often need to fill the frame with my flower images especially when working the water lily pools at either Longwood Gardens or the NY Botanical Gardens.  In the images above and below, I was about 20 feet away from the water lilies with the lens mounted on my Canon 7Dv2 camera body.  This gave me over 7 inches of depth of field at f/22. For close-up work, I almost never go below that, as I want edge-to-edge sharpness and maximum depth of field.  All images, except for last one of penny were hand held.

Sigma 100-400mm Contemporary at 361mm and f/22 for 1/400th of a sec. and ISO 400 with speedlight flash at plus 2 © Roman Kurywczak | 2017

Sigma 100-400mm Contemporary at 361mm and f/22 for 1/250th of a sec. and ISO 100 with the Sigma EM- 140 Macro flash at plus 1 © Roman Kurywczak | 2017

In all of these images, I am using some sort of external flash.  Most of the time it is my Sigma EM-140 DG Macro Flash but I do occasionally use the pop up flash or a larger flash when working distances are over 15 feet.  In bright overcast conditions, I power the flash down to minus 1&2/3 or more in ETTL (through the lens).  Manual mode, 1/16 or less works the same.  This allows me to use slower shutter speeds with the flash freezing my motion as well as that of the subject.  Make sure you keep you ISO at 800 or higher as this will reduce the duration of the flash output ensuring it freezes all motion by allowing more natural light on the subject.  Dropping your ISO below 400 in these conditions will probably give you ghosting from motion even with rear curtain sync enabled on the camera.

Sigma 100-400mm Contemporary at 315mm and f/22 for 1/250th of a sec. and ISO 500 with the Sigma EM- 140 Macro flash at minus 2 © Roman Kurywczak | 2017

Sigma 100-400mm Contemporary at 291mm and f/22 for 1/160th of a sec. and ISO 800 with the Sigma EM- 140 Macro flash at minus 3 © Roman Kurywczak | 2017

Conversely, when the sun is out, I drop my ISO to 250 or even down to 50, raise my shutter speed to 1/200 – 250th of a second (this is where most flashes will sync) and power the flash up!  In ETTL mode, this effectively makes my flash the main light source and the sun just becomes fill even on whites!

Sigma 100-400mm Contemporary at 400mm and f/22 for 1/250th of a sec. and ISO 100 with the Sigma EM- 140 Macro flash at plus 2 © Roman Kurywczak | 2017

Sigma 100-400mm Contemporary at 330mm and f/22 for 1/250th of a sec. and ISO 250 with the Sigma EM- 140 Macro flash at plus 3 © Roman Kurywczak | 2017

Sigma 100-400mm Contemporary at 330mm and f/22 for 1/250th of a sec. and ISO 100 with the Sigma EM- 140 Macro flash at plus 2 © Roman Kurywczak | 2017

Combining the Sigma 100-400mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary with the EM-140 DG Macro Flash mounted on the front allows me to work in even backlit conditions.  I simply power the flash up or down, mostly depending on the color of the bloom, giving just a hint of light to the blooms and keeping distant backgrounds nice and dark all while handholding.

Sigma 100-400mm Contemporary at 400mm and f/22 for 1/200th of a sec. and ISO 500 with the Sigma EM- 140 Macro flash at minus 2 © Roman Kurywczak | 2017

This lens also has a great minimum focusing distance of only 63 inches but beware, getting closer is not your friend for your depth of field.  At that MFD, I have less than ½ and inch of DOF.  I find this online depth of field calculator great for determining just how much DOF you have with your lens and camera combination.  As usual, I wanted to see just how far I could push the close-up capabilities of this lens.  Why?  It has become a permanent fixture in my landscape kit so I can isolate subjects and its great close-up capabilities.

I often go to locations where my bag is just too heavy to add my Sigma 150mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM APO Macro and EM-140 DG Macro Flash so pushing the limits of the lens to see just how small of an object I could photograph would be useful when wildflowers are blooming in the desert southwest or I want to photograph insects here at home or in Costa Rica.  I pulled out all the stops.  First I attached the Sigma TC-1401 teleconverter.  Next I attached 56mm’s of extension tubes.  I combined all that with a speedlight powered down to 1/32 power in manual and mounted it on a tripod.  Below is the full frame image of that combination.

Sigma 100-400mm Contemporary at 400mm and TC-1401 teleconverter with 56mm’s of extension tubes and f/25 for 1/125th of a sec. and ISO 800 with speedlight flash in manual at 1/32 power © Roman Kurywczak | 2017

Do realize that at that magnification and working distance of around 48 inches, I only had about a ¼ inch of depth of field and it would be nearly impossible to handhold, but I find that truly remarkable!  The Sigma 100-400mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary has made a believer out of me and will now be used more often for macro/close-up work when out in the field.

 

12.13.2017

Sigma 14mm f/1.8 Art on a Canon 1Dx at f/1.8 for 15 seconds and ISO 1600 mounted on Induro CLT404L Stealth Carbon Fiber Tripod and BHL3S ballhead © Roman Kurywczak | 2017

I have been using the Sigma 14mm f/1.8 Art for about four months now and want to share my thoughts on its performance, possible uses, and image quality.  The obvious choice is for landscape astrophotography.  With the fast aperture and wide view, this lens would allow me to capture more of the Milky Way especially when shooting vertically.  The image at top is from this summer shortly after getting the lens and the first Milky Way image I have been able to capture in New Jersey because of excessive light pollution. I had to travel two hours south of my house along the NJ shore to even remotely attempt it and still got the glow of distant cities along the horizon to the right of the shack. The images below were from my photo workshops to Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons a few months after.

Sigma 14mm f/1.8 Art on a Canon 1Dx at f/1.8 for 20 seconds and ISO 1600 mounted on Induro CLT404L Stealth Carbon Fiber Tripod and BHL3S ballhead © Roman Kurywczak | 2017

Sigma 14mm f/1.8 Art on a Canon 1Dx at f/1.8 for 25 seconds and ISO 2500 mounted on Induro CLT404L Stealth Carbon Fiber Tripod and BHL3S ballhead © Roman Kurywczak | 2017

If you are just getting into astrophotography, you will find a formula called the rule of 500.  Simply put, you start with 500, divide your focal length, and that yields your maximum shutter speed.  Using my 14mm lens in the equation I would get; 500 ÷ 14 = about 35 seconds.  I never go over 30 seconds on my shutter speeds for my Milky Way images and find the wider angle of the lens, I prefer to be closer to 400 as my base to prevent the outer edge stars from elongating.  Using this formula, I would get; 400 ÷ 14mm = 28 seconds so I just use 25 seconds.  I also bracket an additional 1/3 of a stop faster to compare the images on my computer later. With outstanding edge-to-edge sharpness, even at f/1.8, this lens is sure to be on everyone’s list for astrophotography.

Sigma 14mm f/1.8 Art on a Canon 1Dx at f/1.8 for 20 seconds and ISO 1600 mounted on Induro CLT404L Stealth Carbon Fiber Tripod and BHL3S ballhead © Roman Kurywczak | 2017

The highlight of my night shoots with the Sigma 14mm f/1.8 Art happened just a few weeks ago when I had my fourth workshop at the Very Large Array at the Festival of Cranes.  This very exclusive workshop allowed the group access to a site very few get to photograph especially at night.  The lights from the visitor center lit the radio telescope.

Sigma 14mm f/1.8 Art on a Canon 1Dx at f/1.8 for 15 seconds and ISO 1600 mounted on Induro CLT404L Stealth Carbon Fiber Tripod and BHL3S ballhead © Roman Kurywczak | 2017

The super fast aperture of the lens also allows me to keep my ISO’s lower than an f/4 lens which is great for minimizing noise but what other uses did I find for this lens?  The obvious answer is daytime landscapes but with the 114.2 wide degree field of view you have to be careful to not minimize your subject.  The solution is to get closer to your subject and in both of the images below I was about 6 feet to the nearest point of the scene.  Stopping down to f/16 allowed me to render the entire scene, from foreground to distant sky sharp.

Sigma 14mm f/1.8 Art on a Canon 1Dx at f/16 for 0.3 seconds and ISO 50
mounted on Induro CLT404L Stealth Carbon Fiber Tripod and BHL3S ballhead © Roman Kurywczak | 2017

Sigma 14mm f/1.8 Art on a Canon 1Dx at f/16 for 1/4 seconds and ISO 400
mounted on Induro CLT404L Stealth Carbon Fiber Tripod and BHL3S ballhead © Roman Kurywczak | 2017

Another great use for this lens is for architectural photography.  The lens has a minimum focusing distance of 10.6 inches allowing me to get really close to my subject and in tight spaces, allows me to capture the entire scene. In the image below of the inside of a trolley car, I was approximately 2 feet away from the nearest point of the ceiling and by stopping down and focusing about 4 feet away, I had everything from 1 foot to infinity in focus.  I find this online depth of field calculator useful for determining what will be in focus in your particular situation.

Sigma 14mm f/1.8 Art on a Canon 1Dx at f/16 for 3.2 seconds and ISO 640
mounted on Induro CLT404L Stealth Carbon Fiber Tripod and BHL3S ballhead © Roman Kurywczak | 2017

I had the opportunity this year to visit the Chihuly night exhibit at the NY Botanical Gardens. In all of the situations above, my camera and lens were mounted on a tripod but in some cases, the facilities don’t allow you to use a tripod, so what do you do? Open up the aperture to make sure you have a fast enough shutter speed!  In the image below, I was able to keep my ISO at a manageable 1600 and opened up to f/6.3.  I was about 5 feet away from the sculpture and with the wide view, I was able to hand hold the setup at 1/50th of a second.  Using the online calculator, you will see that everything from 2 feet to infinity is in focus.

Sigma 14mm f/1.8 Art on a Canon 1Dx at f/6.3 for 1/50th of a second
and ISO 1600 handheld
© Roman Kurywczak | 2017

The super fast aperture allows me to photograph handheld when tripods aren’t allowed even in dimly lit situations. In the image of the Yale library below, I opened up all the way to f/1.8 and still captured all the detail while maintaining a fast shutter speed to eliminate any possible camera shake from me.

Sigma 14mm f/1.8 Art on a Canon 1Dx at f/1.8 for 1/400th of a second
and ISO 1600 handheld © Roman Kurywczak | 2017

This lens is an awesome addition to the Art lens lineup.  With the outstanding build quality like the rest of the Art lineup, extra wide field of view, and edge-to-edge sharpness, this lens it is perfect for those looking to add a top performer for their astro, landscape, and architectural photography.

Roman Kurywczak is a full time nature photographer and proud Sigma Pro team member who conducts lectures and workshops across the globe.  His boutique tour company, Roamin’ with Roman Photo Tours, caters to very small groups (only 4) to provide the ultimate learning experience for participants. His down to earth and easy to follow teaching style make him a highly sought after lecturer. The author of several instructional eBook’s on nature photography, Roman strives to share his passion for photography as others have shared with him.  He is married for over 28 years with two sons and lives in NJ. You can learn more about Roman’s workshops, lectures, eBook’s, galleries, and more at: www.roaminwithroman.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

09.29.2017

Sigma 12-24mm f/4 Art at 12mm and f/22 for 1/50th of a sec. and ISO 800 mounted on Induro Carbon fiber tripod and BHL3S ballhead © Roman Kurywczak | 2017

Traveling with photography gear has always been challenging but it is even more difficult when flying internationally.  Why?  Most international air carriers have much stricter carry on policies than the US airlines do as I found out recently heading to my workshop in Iceland. Icelandair weighed my carry on rolling case,  and they have a 22-pound (10 kilo) weight limit.  My fully loaded Tenba Roadie Air Case Roller 21 bag weighed in at about 26 pounds. So I had a problem to solve.  Fortunately, my wife was traveling with me and I was able to take out a camera body and lens that she could carry onto the plane and make it under the weight restriction.

When I returned home I started doing some research so I would never have to face that dilemma again especially when traveling solo and this is what I found.

Sigma 12-24mm f/4 Art at 12mm and f/22 for 0.4sec. and ISO 100 mounted on Induro Carbon fiber tripod and BHL3S ballhead © Roman Kurywczak | 2017

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06.27.2017

Sigma Pro Roman Kurywczak shares his secrets on capturing tack sharp macro images using Sigma lenses.

06.27.2017

Sigma Pro Roman Kurywczak discusses his incredible and inspiring journey capturing landscapes near and fear. See some of the beautiful shots he has taken, while getting tips on capturing the perfect image. Roman gives insight as to what lenses he uses when taking these photos; highlighting the 12-24mm F4 Art lens, the 24-105mm F4 Art lens, the 24mm F1.4 Art lens and the 100-400mm F5-6.3 Contemporary lens as some of his favorites.

06.20.2017

©2017 Roman Kurywczak | Sigma 100-400mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary lens at 196mm and f/8 for 1/1000th of a sec. and ISO 800 hand held

I have been using the Sigma 100-400mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary lens for about a month now and I wanted to give you my first impressions of the lens and what its ideal uses  are, out in the field. The very first thing that struck me about this lens when I pulled it out of the box was how extremely lightweight it was! At approximately 2.5 pounds (1.16 Kilograms)and  a very versatile focal length this lens is a perfect fit for people who photograph field sports, larger wildlife, and surprisingly enough. landscapes, all in a hand-holdable package.

Although I used it on my Canon 1Dx body, I feel the ideal fit for this lens would be on a lighter weight APS-C body saving you another addition pound and a half ,  making it an ultra lightweight package with maximum reach.  Because of the focal length multiplication factor,  this lens would work as a 150-600mm on the smaller body.

©Roman Kurywczak 2017 | Sigma 100-400mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary lens at 330mm and f/8 for 1/400th of a sec. and ISO 800 hand held OS position 1

My first test with the lens was in St. Augustine Florida at the Florida Birding and Photo Festival photographing horses on the beach at sunrise.  As you can see in the two images above, we were standing in the ocean as the riders came galloping towards us. In the first image above, I started tracking the rider down the beach at about 330mm and the image below was at 100mm when he was almost on top of me!  I have to admit; it is a bit scary when you have that large of an animal barreling towards you! Unless I have a very fast shutter speed over 1/800th of a second when hand holding, I keep OS (Optical Stabilization) turned on to position 1 to minimize my shake,  especially this day as I was standing knee deep in the surf.

© Roman Kurywczak 2017 | Sigma 100-400mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary lens at 100mm and f/8 for 1/400th of a sec. and ISO 800 hand held OS position 1

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03.15.2017
© Roman Kurywczak 2016 | Sigma 24mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art at 24mm at f/1.4 for 15 sec. and ISO 3200 all mounted on Induro CT304 tripod and BHL3 head, moonlit and light painted

© Roman Kurywczak 2016 | Sigma 24mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art at 24mm at f/1.4 for 15 sec. and ISO 3200 all mounted on Induro CT304 tripod and BHL3 head, moonlit and light painted

Many of you ask me what’s in my bag when I go on one of my photo workshops. My reply is always the same: depends on where I’m going! I take commercial flights to every one of my workshop locations. Each photographic location requires different gear so in part one I will start with the location that is the most difficult to pack for: Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons. Why is this the most difficult location? Because you will need lenses for landscape and wildlife photography and with current airline carry on restrictions it makes packing everything into one bag very difficult but I will show you that it can be done.

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03.02.2017
© Roman Kurywczak 2016 | Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG (OS) HSM Art set to105mm at f/11 for 1/50 sec. and ISO 640 mounted on Induro tripod and ballhead with the Vü circular polarizer.

© Roman Kurywczak 2016 | Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art set to105mm at f/11 for 1/50 sec. and ISO 640 mounted on Induro tripod and ballhead with the Vü circular polarizer.

When I think about the lenses I travel with the most, the one constant in my bag is the Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art.  Why?  It is the often under appreciated workhorse for my landscape photography because of its versatility and incredible sharpness throughout the frame. Its zoom range allows me to compose and recompose the scene without having to physically move my tripod.

© Roman Kurywczak 2016 | Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG (OS) HSM Art set to 62mm at f/22 for 15 sec. and ISO 50 mounted on Induro tripod and ballhead with the Vü circular polarizer.

© Roman Kurywczak 2016 | Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art set to 62mm at f/22 for 15 sec. and ISO 50 mounted on Induro tripod and ballhead with the Vü circular polarizer.

I find this versatility especially important when I am photographing waterfalls and physically can’t get to a different location to reposition myself.  The long end of the zoom range allows me to tighten up my composition and give the viewer a much cleaner composition.

 © Roman Kurywczak 2016 | Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG (OS) HSM Art set to28mm at f/16 for 1/400 sec. and ISO 640 hand held with the Vü circular polarizer.

© Roman Kurywczak 2016 | Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG (OS) HSM Art set to28mm at f/16 for 1/400 sec. and ISO 640 hand held with the Vü circular polarizer.

It is also the lens I keep on my camera when I am driving around, so I can quickly jump out of the truck and compose the scene hand holding as shown in the image of the grain elevator above.  I crouched down to hide the main road behind the golden grasses.  In the image below, I was able to quickly run down to the waters edge in the Grand Tetons as the morning fog was lifting.

 © Roman Kurywczak 2016 | Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG (OS) HSM Art set to51mm at f/11 for 1/400 sec. and ISO 250 hand held with the Vü circular polarizer.

© Roman Kurywczak 2016 | Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG (OS) HSM Art set to51mm at f/11 for 1/400 sec. and ISO 250 hand held with the Vü circular polarizer.

Now, while I don’t mind getting wet for a shot, it is nice to have the 105mm focal length to keep me from getting wet by the frigid north Atlantic as I am in Iceland trying to capture the icebergs on the black sand beaches of Jökulsárlón.

© Roman Kurywczak 2016 | Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG (OS) HSM Art set to105mm at f/11 for 0.5 sec. and ISO 160 mounted on Induro tripod and ballhead with the Vü circular polarizer.

© Roman Kurywczak 2016 | Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG (OS) HSM Art set to105mm at f/11 for 0.5 sec. and ISO 160 mounted on Induro tripod and ballhead with the Vü circular polarizer.

Like the rest of the Art lineup it’s solid build and edge-to-edge sharpness is perfect for most situations you will encounter out in the field.  The optimum zoom range should make this your go to lens on all of your landscape shoots. Learn more about the Sigma 24-105mm F4 DG OS HSM Art lens.

© Roman Kurywczak 2016 | Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG (OS) HSM Art set to35mm at f/10 for 1/20 sec. and ISO 400 mounted on Induro tripod and ballhead with the Vü circular polarizer.

© Roman Kurywczak 2016 | Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG (OS) HSM Art set to35mm at f/10 for 1/20 sec. and ISO 400 mounted on Induro tripod and ballhead with the Vü circular polarizer.

Roman Kurywczak is a full time nature photographer and proud Sigma Pro team member who conducts lectures and workshops across the globe. His boutique tour company, Roamin’ with Roman Photo Tours, caters to very small groups (only 4) to provide the ultimate learning experience for participants. His down to earth and easy to follow teaching style make him a highly sought after lecturer. The author of several instructional eBook’s on nature photography, Roman strives to share his passion for photography as others have shared with him. He is married for over 26 years with two sons and lives in NJ. You can learn more about Roman’s workshops, lectures, eBook’s, galleries, and more at: www.roaminwithroman.com

12.22.2016
© Roman Kurywczak 2016 | Sigma 12-24mm f/4 DG HSM Art set to 12mm at f/22 for 1.6 sec. and ISO 100 mounted on Induro tripod and ballhead

© Roman Kurywczak 2016 | Sigma 12-24mm f/4 DG HSM Art set to 12mm at f/22 for 1.6 sec. and ISO 100 mounted on Induro tripod and ballhead

I love wide-angle lenses especially the super wide angles like the Sigma 12-24mm F4 DG HSM Art.  I had the older version of this lens so I was really excited about getting mine in time for my workshop to Iceland and fortunately it arrived a few days before I left.  As usual, the build quality of the lens was equal to that of the entire Art lens lineup and the first thing I noticed was how little distortion it had. In the image of the waterfalls of Mt. Kirkjufell above, I used it at 12mm to show the entire perspective of the bank.

© Roman Kurywczak 2016 | Sigma 12-24mm f/4 DG HSM Art set to 13mm at f/22 for 0.6 sec. and ISO 50 mounted on Induro tripod and ballhead

© Roman Kurywczak 2016 | Sigma 12-24mm f/4 DG HSM Art set to 13mm at f/22 for 0.6 sec. and ISO 50 mounted on Induro tripod and ballhead

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12.14.2016
©Roman M. Kurywczak | Sigma 500mm f/4 DG OS HSM Sport @f/8 for 1/1000 sec. and ISO 800 hand held

©Roman M. Kurywczak | Sigma 500mm f/4 DG OS HSM Sport @f/8 for 1/1000 sec. and ISO 800 hand held

I was finally able to get my hands on the new Sigma 500mm f/4 lens last month for one day out in Yellowstone and quickly fell in love with its performance but I really wanted to see how well it executed with capturing flying birds. I got my chance at the just concluded Festival of the Cranes out at the Bosque del Apache National wildlife refuge and here are my first impressions of the lens overall.

Sigma500mmf4

The first thing I noticed was the beautiful build quality of the lens from the carbon fiber hood all the way through the stunning finish of the Sport seal. The lens weighs in at about 7.29 pounds but as soon as I picked it up, I was pleasantly surprised, and found the weight to be extremely well balanced which made hand holding very comfortable. I know most of you will not hand hold this lens but I did want to show my nature photography friends that it was doable. All of the images in this post were hand held and taken with the lens straight out of the box with no other USB dock adjustments.

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