LENSES BY SIGMA!

Photo courtesy of blog.sigmaphoto.com – shot with the 85mm 1.4 ART lens

In the world of 3rd party lenses, I think everyone has heard of SIGMA LENSES. This is a company that has been around for a long time, making incredible lenses for all kinds of cameras.

HISTORY OF SIGMA (as per Wikipedia):

SIGMA CORPORATION

is a Japanese company, manufacturing cameras, lenses and flashes and other photographic accessories. All Sigma products are produced in the company’s own Aizu factory in Bandai, Fukushima, Japan. Although Sigma produces several camera models, the company is best known for producing high-quality lenses and other accessories that are compatible with the cameras produced by other companies.

The company was founded in 1961 by Michihiro Yamaki, who was Sigma’s CEO until his death at age 78 in 2012.

Sigma products work with cameras from Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Olympus, and Panasonic as well as their own cameras.

Sigma has also made lenses under the Quantaray name, which have been sold exclusively by Ritz Camera. Similarly, Sigma lenses were sold exclusively by the former Wolf Camera, but following the merger of Wolf and Ritz, both brands can be purchased.

LENSES MADE TODAY (2022):

When I went to their website, I wanted to see their list or catalogue of lenses available. And I was really shocked. To me, it seems that the lenses they made covered every type of lens you would ever need, including “standard” lenses. I was most surprised that they made “standard” lenses for the different camera manufactures.

aurora borealis and sun visible in sky of northern norway
Photo by Tobias Bjørkli on Pexels.com

Take a look at the amount of different lenses they make for your camera:

WIDE ANGLE LENSES

silhouettes of cowboy and herd of horses galloping in dust at sunset
Photo by yavuz pancareken on Pexels.com

(18 Lenses)

Wide-angle camera lenses capture the larger side of life with a broader angle of view. Photographers rely on these essential lenses, including the 14mm, 20mm, 24mm, 28mm, 12-24mm and 14-24mm.

STANDARD LENSES:

photo of woman looking through camera
Photo by Artem Podrez on Pexels.com

(12 Lenses)

Explore the Sigma lineup of standard camera lenses with a field of view similar to the human eye. This popular category includes lenses such as the 50mm 1.4, 35mm 1.4, and 24-70mm 2.8. Standard by definition, exceptional by performance.

TELEPHOTO LENSES:

brown owl on tree branch
Photo by Erik Karits on Pexels.com

(19 Lenses)

Bring the world closer with a telephoto camera lens. A tool countless photographers rely on for added reach, this category includes such lenses as the 70-200mm 2.8, 100-400mm and 150-600mm.

MULTI-PURPOSE LENSES:

action athletes base baseball
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

(5 Lenses)

Wide-angle to telephoto zoom and everything in between, multi-purpose lenses are designed to be light, versatile and highly efficient. Sigma manufacturers several multi-puirpose lenses, including the 18-300mm, 18-250mm and 18-200mm.

MACRO LENSES:

close up photo of ladybug on leaf during daytime
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

(6 Lenses)

Macro camera lenses allow a photographer to bring to life the small but lively world around them. Explore every detail with such lenses as the 70mm and 105mm.

FISHEYE LENSES:

people in brown traditional wear under blue sky
Photo by Denniz Futalan on Pexels.com

(2 Lenses)

Fisheye lenses bring a whole new perspective to your vision. From Diagonal to Circular, Sigma offers a variety of premium lenses for APS-C and Full Frame cameras.

OS LENSES:

person riding bike making trek on thin air
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

(16 Lenses)

Sigma Optical Stabilization (OS) helps compensate for camera shake by reducing vibration in the DSLR camera system while taking a photograph. Some lenses with Sigma image stabilization include the 24-105mm F4,150-600mm and 70-200mm 2.8.

SIGMA “ART” LENSES

One thing that has always intrigued me with Sigma, is they make a line of lenses they call “Art Lenses”! Without even checking the details of this lens, I assumed that this series of lenses was made sharper, more colorful (yes, lenses can enhance the color with their special coatings), more detailed than their regular lenses. Their lenses in their standard lineup are nothing short of AMAZING, so how do the ART lenses compare, and are they worth that extra money?

JUST WHAT ARE SIGMA ART LENSES?

So many names and words are thrown at you in the photography world- L lenses, Prime lenses, and… ART? ART as a term in photography equipment has become so big that most don’t even know the brand that produced the legendary ART: Sigma. Sigma’s ART lens line is a high-end, exquisite quality optic product that is very sought after by professional photographers. 

So what makes the ART lens have such a life of its own in the industry? Well, a mix between brilliant performance, excellent engineering, and an attractive price tag all lend a hand at the lens line’s brilliant reputation. 

Characteristics of the ART Lens Line

For starters, every lens company has a high-end line and more consumer-friendly line. The ART series is the high end, luxury line for camera and lens brand Sigma Corporation of America. Originally started in Japan, Sigma has gained exceptional notoriety for the quality of their ART line. 

Sigma’s ART line is divided into the following expected categories: Wide-angle lenses, large-aperture fixed lenses, telephoto lenses, standard lenses, macro lenses, ultra-wide angle lenses, and fish-eye lenses. Something for everyone. 

The ART line is engineered specifically for sharpness and optic performance. They are lenses created for images that give the sharpest details a photographer can possibly aim for. Even with the widest openings, Sigma ART lenses exhibit exceptional focal plane sharpness. This is because the focusing mechanism is quite unique to the brand itself, and cannot be found in other models. 

The ART line also tends to have wider apertures, from f/1.2 to f/2.8. The bokeh blades create a more natural and creamy shallow depth of field than most lenses, and are nicely designed to avoid chromatic aberration at wide apertures. For those unfamiliar, chromatic aberration is a common optical problem that causes a purple or green outline to appear around your subject.

ART lenses also characteristically produce more vibrant and poppy colors. Although a lot of color has to do with the camera body itself, the lens does play a role nowadays (especially in mirrorless systems). 

Finally, ART lenses are created in all notable mounts, such as Canon, Nikon, Sony, and even Leica. Sigma ART lenses are even able to have their mounts converted through the conversion service offered by the company. 

To get this kind of “extra” quality in a lens, you can plan on spending more than the standard lens in the same style. They are also a bit bigger lenses, but, to get that kind of quality, who cares?

A new blog site to check out:

What I thought was also really cool, is that Sigma has their own blogs right on their own website. You want to check out some pretty cool blogs, go to: SIGMA BLOG

Ready to try Sigma Lenses? They are one of several worth checking out. I am going to give you some more options to choose from, because this Wednesday, in 2 days, I will be reviewing

TAMRON LENSES!

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For Landscapes: wide angle or telephoto lens? How about both!!

An easy assumption to make, when shooting landscapes, is to use a wide-angle lens. After all, most landscape photographers favor wide-angle lenses for a reason: They naturally give you the widest view and allow you to get the full landscape into the frame, from the foreground to the horizon.

Wide-angle lenses also have the widest depth of field, so you get the whole landscape in focus. And their distortion enlarges objects in the foreground, letting you show off close-up details. The same distortion also emphasizes leading lines, enhancing your compositions and giving your image a more dynamic feel. But when you default to wide-angle glass, you miss many hidden opportunities offered by telephoto lenses.

Field of view: The whole and its parts

This is the most basic difference between the two lens types:

Wide lenses give you a wide view; telephoto lenses give you a narrow view.

And while landscapes look great in their entirety, it’s a good habit to take a moment and look for details. These details are beautiful elements of the landscape that might get shrunken or ignored in the expanse of a wide-angle image. This is where your telephoto lens comes in. Its narrow field of view is perfect for trimming the extra elements and for focusing on small, beautiful scenes like the curve of a mountain, a reflection in a far-off pond, or the silhouette of a tree.

WILLCK 2 YOSEMITE

In the two images above, you can see this in action. They were both taken from Olmstead point in Yosemite National Park, one with a wide-angle lens and the other with a telephoto.

In the first image, the wide-angle lens shows off the total landscape. It includes both sides of the valley, the up-close textures of the rocks, and the far-off peak of Half Dome. In the second image, the telephoto lens brings the eye right up to the mountains, showing off their shapes and the details of the geology.

Another pair of images (below) shows this effect even more dramatically. The first image is not just a wide-angle image, but an aerial shot as well, taken from a small airplane over the Okavango Delta in Botswana. From this vantage point, all of the individual elements of the landscape become incredibly small and your eyes pay more attention to their arrangement than their individual shapes. In the second image, also from the Okavango area but this time on the ground, a telephoto lens is used to draw attention to the beautiful curves of a single Acacia tree.

WILLCK 3 OKAVANGO wide
WILLCK 4 OKAVANGO tele

Depth of field: Focusing the eye

The second major difference between wide-angle and telephoto lenses is the innate size of their depth of field.

Put succinctly, the higher the focal length, the narrower the area of focus. In practice, this means that when shooting wide, it’s much easier for you to get everything in focus, from the grass at your feet to the ridge on the horizon. This is especially true when you’re trying to use your lens’s sharpest apertures (the so-called sweet spot).

However, a narrower depth of field is much better for isolating your subject from the background, and this is where your telephoto lens comes into play. Try shooting a close-up detail at a wide aperture, using the landscape as a nice, creamy bokeh backdrop.

WILLCK 5 FLATTOPS
WILLCK 6 DENVER

The two images above are perfect examples of this effect. In the first image, the wide-angle lens brings the whole landscape into focus, from the close-up sunflowers to the far-off mountains.

In the second image, shooting with a telephoto blurs out the flowers and mountains in the background, turning them into a nice soft background for the main sunflower.

Depth compression: Playing with size

It’s no secret that wide-angle lenses expand the sense of depth in an image by enlarging elements in the foreground and shrinking those in the back. This is great for creating images that make you feel like you could step right into the frame.

On the flip side, you run the risk of making towering, awesome mountains in the distance look like puny hills. Telephoto lenses, on the other hand, compress depth, causing objects near and far to appear more similar in size. A compressed sense of depth is great for abstracting a scene and bringing out its graphical qualities. Colorful forest canopies, layered mountain ridges, and curving sand dunes are all great subjects for this kind of shooting.

WILLCK 7 MICA

In the left image above, notice how the wide-angle lens exaggerates the size of the flowers in the foreground at the expense of the mountains in the background. The mountains are so tall that they’re shrouded in clouds, but the lens keeps them from looking quite as grand.

Pull out a telephoto lens, and you can zoom straight in on the mountain, showing off the contrast between the rugged outline of the peak and the soft wispy form of the cloud (right).

WILLCK 8 BIGBEND wide
WILLCK 9 BIGBEND tele

Here are two more images, both taken at the same location in Big Bend National Park, that show off this effect. In the first image, you can see that the wide-angle lens increases the size of the plants and rocks in the foreground while shrinking the large desert mountains in the background. In the second image, a telephoto lens flattens out the depth of the many desert ridges, calling attention to their graphic patterns and outlines.

Summary: Space versus object

Have a hard time remembering all these details? Here’s an easy way to summarize it with a simple idea:

Wide-angle lenses show off space, telephotos show off objects.

The wide-angle lens’s big field of view, ease of uniform focus, and depth-distorting abilities are great at showing off big, expansive landscapes. However, they take focus away from individual elements within the landscape in favor of showing the whole. Telephoto lenses are naturally the opposite: they’re great at showing off the size, shape, and intricacy, of detail of individual elements within the landscape. But their narrow field of view, small depth of field, and depth-compressing qualities make it hard to capture the landscape as a whole.

WILLCK 10 WILLOW wide

You can analyze this pair of images to see exactly how all of these techniques work together. Starting with the photo above, you can see how the wide-angle lens fits the whole landscape into the frame, from close-up rocks to far off peaks and sky. Because of the lens’s large depth of field, the whole landscape is in acceptable focus as well. The lens’s depth distortion is readily apparent, as well: the foreground rocks look very large, creating a pleasing sense of depth, and emphasizing the leading lines that draw the eye from the edges of the frame to the center. Overall, you get a very good sense of the space and the expansiveness of the valley.

WILLCK 11 WILLOW tele

This image was taken in the same place, but the use of a telephoto lens captures it in a very different way. The photo brings out a single element of the landscape; look closely and you can see this peak in the previous image on the top right. It allows the viewer to appreciate its subtle details.

Because of the telephoto lens’s narrow depth of field, the sky is slightly out-of-focus while leaving the details of the peak itself perfectly sharp. And most of all, the compressed sense of depth flattens the image, showing off the rocky mass of the mountain, and calling attention to the beautiful curve of the ridgeline. Overall, you get a great sense of the mountain as a solid object, rather than a bounded space.

When to shoot what?

The best way to know which lens to use is to get out there, look, and think. What part of the landscape are you most drawn to? Does the landscape’s expansiveness give it its character? Are there stunning details surrounded by less photogenic elements? Are you shooting spaces or objects?

WILLCK 12 ZODIAC

That said, my personal strategy is to just shoot both, because almost any landscape has enough beauty that just one type of lens isn’t enough to get to all of it.

The post Wide Angle Versus Telephoto Lenses for Beautiful Landscape Photography appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Will Crites-Krumm.