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The Sigma 70mm F2.8 DG Art Macro is the first prime macro lens to sport Sigma’s “ART” badge. Can Sigma's new lens live up to the "Art" name? Read on to find out!
When Tamron announced the new FE 28-75mm f/2.8 Di III RXD, it sent a wave of excitement throughout the Sony user base. When Tamron announced that the lens would only be $799, most of those Sony users were shocked. Can Tamron’s $799 lens compete against the $1,198 (Currently $898 after rebate) Sony/Zeiss 24-70mm f/4? Can it hold its own against the $2,198 FE 24-70 f/2.8 GM? How would Tamron’s first FE lens work on Sony bodies? The Pixel Connection was lucky enough to get an early copy for a few days to try out – read on to see what we thought.
Can Sigma set the new benchmark for fast, ultrawide zooms with its new 14-24mm f/2.8 Art?
For Canon and Nikon shooters looking to get a fast ultrawide, the choices in the past have been the Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8, Canon 16-35mm f/2.8, and Tamron 15-30mm f/2.8 VC. Sigma has now joined the mix with its own 14-24mm f/2.8, and we got a chance to use it for a few days to see how it performed.
Fujifilm has finally filled the 1:1 macro void in their lens lineup, but how well does it stack up? We were lucky enough to get a pre-release version of the new lens to test out for a few days - just enough to get some real world use out of it.
Does Sigma have another hit on its hands with their all new "light bazooka"?
Is Sigma's 135mm f/1.8 Art the ultimate medium telephoto fast prime?
Can Tamron's $1,300 lens keep up with the offerings from Nikon and Canon?
Note: The thoughts and views of this article are that of the author and not necessarily the views of Pixel Connection.
My name is TJ Houston and I am a wedding and portrait photographer from Nova, Ohio. I have been a professional photographer for a little over 6 years and I shoot exclusively with Sony Mirrorless cameras. Today I want to share with you how I made the switch and also my 5 favorite features of the Sony mirrorless system.
Setting the stage:
I want to start by setting the stage for you. First and foremost it was 2014 and I was doing about 25 weddings that year. Towards the end of the year I was tired. Mostly because I was overweight but also due to a self diagnosed ailment known as DSL-ARM. I would shoot all day and I did not even want to get out of bed the next day. The weddings were taking a toll on my body and I knew I had to make a change.
Where it started:
I was trying to kill some time and I stopped by Best Buy and started looking at their open box deals and I noticed there was a Sony a6000 which I had been reading about the last few weeks. With full intentions on not liking the camera and returning it, I decided to give the system a try.
A few days later I decided to try it out on an engagement shoot. Note: At the time I was shooting 2 5d3’s and I used all expensive L glass and I was walking into this shoot with what looked like a toy camera with a kit lens. I can tell you that engagement shoot went amazing! I was able to see exactly what I was shooting right in the viewfinder so I didn’t have to keep looking at the back of my camera. This is something that they don’t put on the box or in the instruction manual. The camera totally vanished from the equation and I found myself much more connected to the couple which meant I was able to get more realistic photos of them interacting with me and one another. After that I wasn’t totally sold until I took it to my first wedding.
The final test:
The first wedding was the true test to see if this little camera could hack it. I’m not going to lie and say everything was totally flawless because with any system there was a bit of a learning curve. But honestly, it didn’t go half bad either. Another crazy thing happened, the number of images I captured was about half! Why? Because I could wait for that exact moment when the groom saw his lovely bride for the first time and fire off a shot or when the mother of the groom wiped that first tear. I was literally watching these moments like it was a TV show and firing off well planned shots like I was a sniper!
After that wedding I was hooked. I also knew that I would not fully make the change until I didn’t have a choice so that week I sold EVERY PIECE of Canon gear that I had and purchased an entire Sony system which included:
- Sony a7
- Sony 28-70mm
- Sony 70-200mm F4
- Sony 30mm Macro
- Sony 50mm 1.8
I also had money left over to purchase an entire new speedlight setup to replace the Canon 600RT’s I had loved so much.
I have not looked back since. These cameras have performed for me in every situation I have put them in. From Ferrari's racing around the track to a couple saying their wedding vows, these cameras are 100% reliable and the quality of imagery is second to none.
Here are the 5 reasons I absolutely love the Sony system and why they have changed me as a photographer.
★ Electronic Viewfinder
○ As there is no mirror or pentaprism on mirrorless cameras, you look through the eyepiece into what is called an EVF or electronic viewfinder. Up until this point there has been some lag but I can tell you it has gotten much faster. This is by far my favorite feature because what you see is what you get. Anytime you change your settings it is reflected right in the eye piece.
○ Like I stated above I used to hurt the next day after a wedding. Now with the cameras being so small, I can honestly say my body feels so much better on a Sunday morning. Also as I mentioned above the size makes the camera less intrusive for the subject so they naturally feel more comfortable.
○ Ouch. The glass is so sharp it hurts :) all kidding aside Sony has some amazing glass as does Zeiss. I would put it right up there with my L glass and on some lenses even better.
○ Many of the flagship cameras now have Wifi but their apps truly suck. Sony has invested time into creating a great experience for their customers. The app has always worked great and it allows me to post sneak peeks the day of the wedding and also during my portrait sessions.
★ Firmware Updates
○ I swear it feels like I get a new camera every time there is a firmware update. Unlike Canon which puts out new cameras to unveil their enhancements, Sony and other mirrorless manufacturers add functionality to their cameras via software which keeps your camera current and doesn’t force you into buying the newest camera to get a small feature.
First off let’s say curiosity got my interest with mirrorless bodies. How could such a small body deliver a big punch? I’m a Canon shooter and people ask me why do I shoot Canon. My reply is because when I bought my first DSLR Canon it was the one that was on sale between them and Nikon. If Nikon would have had the best sale price that day, I’d probably be a Nikon shooter. That being said, I do enjoy my Canon and love what I have been able to produce with it.
I’m a person that likes change and trying different things. Sony first peaked my interest at the Cleveland air show this summer where The Pixel Connection of Avon had a booth set up. Both Sigma and Sony reps were on site for the air show. I was amazed when they could put a Sony mirrorless body on a Sigma 150-600 lens, and I could not believe how light it was in my hand. I didn’t shoot it that day but the interest was put in the back of my head. I ran across a pro Sony shooter on Youtube and watched what he was able to produce on these small body cameras. I decided to do a weekend of test shooting to put the Sony a6500 through different types of shots that interest me.
My biggest passion of photography is sports photography. I get so excited capturing a great action shot at a sporting event. In portrait photography, you can reproduce the same shot over and over but you only get one chance to get that great shot in the end zone. I decided to put the Sony a6500 to the test at a boy’s basketball game using my Sigma 70-200 with the MC-11 Sigma mount adaptor. That is also the biggest thing that peaked my interest is because Sony allows me to use all my glass with their camera using a mount adaptor. Whenever you use an adaptor or converter of any sort your always scared that you will lose quality and precision. It seemed at first it took a little time for the converter to speak to the camera to recognize my Sigma lens. Once it acknowledged the lens it started tracking nicely. I made sure to shoot in RAW to see how it buffered with its 11fps. It was very comparable to my Canon 7DMII if not better. I pushed the ISO to 10000 at 1/1000 to see how it handled the noise, and again, very similar to my Canon 7DMII. The live view was cool when the action was close to me under the basket to track the movement of the ball. Being a crop sensor APS-C making my 70-200 more like a 105-300 made it very tight in the eye piece. It allowed me to put the camera on the floor and shoot looking through the live view to try and capture a different perspective without laying on the floor. Just something fun to try and be creative. As photographers, I think we all try to be a little different as to make shots our own. Next I took my Sigma 150-600 out to do some bird photography and shoot the lighthouse in Lorain, OH. Putting the MC-11 Sigma convertor to the test would be with bird photography. When birds are flying overhead without much contrast in the sky it gets hard sometimes to track them in your camera. Again, with the convertor it did very well tracking the Broad-winged Hawk I was shooting. Did it miss at times? Yes, it did, but so does my DSLR with the same lens. I was able to capture the lighthouse and being along the lines of landscape photography it was flawless in tracking and allowed my lens to be tack sharp. I put the Sigma 85mm on which is my favorite lens and again it worked flawless which was very exciting to finalize my decision to add this camera to my bag. For my sports photography, this gives me a nice small body camera as a second body that gives me big body production. Mind you I have my Canon 1DX which I will never part with for my sports photography but again excited to add something else to learn with and expand my knowledge in photography. I think change is good - it doesn’t allow you to be complacent but to give you another understanding how things work from a different perspective.
Review and images courtesy of Joe Colón. To see more of Joe's work, head on over to his website Eyes of Joe Photography!