Sigma Tag

I have been trying to bring the normal Uncle Dick cynicism to bear on the products of the Sigma Corporation of Japan. You understand it is not just native meanness on my part - though there is a great deal of that - but a cocked eyebrow and sidewise squint often helps me to see further into a design than wide-eyed acceptance.I think this would have been more successful with their lenses ten years ago. The earlier devices from Sigma were aimed at a different market, and you could tell by looking.  Oh, the optical performance of the glass was good, and the value for money was there, but the appearance and design of the barrels and the firmaments was a bit problematical.The external finish in those days was a sort of a plastic crackle coating - I'm not sure if it was a paint or a texture pressed into the components. It did have a certain charm, but if you started to use the lenses extensively and were not careful how you packed them you could find it wearing...

I rarely need to use a really long lens. Studio work for the most part is short/standard work with a few turns of the zoom lens for head and shoulders portraits. But I am sorely tempted when I see the new lens lines from Sigma.Of course right now their lenses only fit my camera via a third-party adapter, but the world turns and I cannot say when the licensing and legal side of it will change - and I'll see a Sigma lens for my camera mount. Until then I can use an adapter to do my test shooting. I miss out on AF and automated aperture, but I can still take good shots.The camera in the Little Studio today was the Sigma 150mm - 600mm f: 5-6.3 DG Sports lens. It's been with us for a few months but is a thoroughly modern design. Starting from the outside in, here's what you get from Sigma:Sturdy box full of sturdy packaging.Sigma's rectangular padded lens case.With attached shoulder strap. You'll need it.A padded wrap-around lens hood cover.A lens hood that rides...

Well what the heck. We have talked about 50mm focal length lenses as "The Nifty Fifty" for years. Why not push the linguistic boat out, eh?Why not indeed. And there are good mathematical reasons why you should consider this focal length. As mathematics are the food of the photographer let us begin the feast.The standard focal length of a lens for a 35mm camera used to be stated as 50mm. It also used to be stated that the standard focal length was the diagonal length of the gate in the film plane. Here's where the two statements differed: the diagonal of the 35mm frame is about 43.4 mm. Thus if you were shooting with a 50 mm, 52 mm, or 55 mm said to be standard you were really shooting with a very mild telephoto...

Every single time some expert writes an internet article to tell me that I shouldn't do that, I can't do that, or I didn't do that, I go out and make the mistake of doing it. And in 73% of cases I should, can, and did succeed. The victories can be very small, of no interest to anyone but myself, and sweet as summer sunshine - based solely upon the fact that I defied the expert.The other 27% of the time I scrape the residue off the ceiling and air out the studio. Don't ask.Case in point is the fan-boy-forum advice that you can't take successful action pictures with a mirror-less camera - particularly if you use an adapted lens and try to work in poor light. Telling me this was like Nolan telling Cardigan where the guns were...

There have been a number of photographic equipment manufacturers in the past who have made what are termed "fisheye" lenses. I can recall seeing examples from Olympus, Nikon, Canon, Tokina, and Rokinon in my time at the shop. Doubtless there have many others - even down to Saga or Spiratone who made a fisheye adapter that we all bought in the 35mm era.Did I include Sigma in that list? I should have, because they have made a number of these...

In the theatre and in the dark - that's where I see this new lens from Sigma. And believe me, here in Perth we have dark theatres. The operating theatres in the hospitals are all pretty well lit, but after that it all gets pretty dim...

We've all seen those books in the stands - the yellow and black ones refer to us as dummies and the orange and blue ones are aimed at idiots. In some cases they say they are for complete idiots - a degree of excellence that seems a little disturbing to aim for.I must take a second to say that these books are adopting such a disdainful attitude with the view of correcting our faults. They may sneer at us but they try to teach us - by the end of the book we are probably going to be familiar with the basics of hydraulic engineering or Sanskrit or whatever was printed on the cover. We can even get dummy and idiot books that deal with photography...

I see there is a new rack of pre-recorded DVD's in the shop. The DVD's have some useful home training courses that may well assist newer digital users - as well as confirm the suspicions of more experienced shooters.There's quite a bundle of them - I'm not sure if they are all going to be applicable to everyone but there should be something there for most tastes. You'll find them behind the counter near the Cokin filter wall. Check out these:1. Learn How Yo Use Your Compact Camera - simple step by step videos.2. Learn How To Use Your SLR Camera - settings and exposure explained.3. Learn Photoshop Elements Quickly and Easily - my favourite program. You're soaking in it now.4. The Ultimate Compact Camera Course - 2-disc set - concentrates on people, travel, and landscape.5. Photoshop Techniques For SLR Photographers -3-disc set - things you really need to know about the king of editing programs.6. The Ultimate Real Estate Photography Course - 3-disc set - things you really need to know about real estate photography. Meet the emotional needs...