Archive for portrait photography

Inspirations – The Victorian Printer by Phil Morgan

Posted in Inspirations with tags , , on November 13, 2011 by sabrina

© Phil Morgan

Canon 5D II with a 17-40 L lens @ 26mm.  1/50 sec @ f/4. ISO 400

This image was taken at Blists Hill Victorian village, in Ironbridge (Shropshire UK) It’s an amazing place, recreated exactly as it would have been in the Victorian Era. I chose a slightly unconventional lens for portraiture here, due to the tight confines of the shop. I do however like the effect the wide angle lens has had on the foreground printing plate, and his hands in particular. Shot wide open at F4, in attempt to make the printer ‘pop’ from the background. The shot was composed to have the printer fairly dominant in the scene, while still allowing the viewer to see the ‘tools of the trade’ in the background. I am fairly pleased with the way that the final image turned out. The image was initially processed from the raw file in Adobe camera raw, and finished off in Photoshop. The mono conversion was carried out with Nik Silver Efex, which I find a superb piece of software. ~ Phil Morgan

Inspirations – Porcelain Beauty by Ellie Ericson

Posted in Inspirations with tags , , , , , on July 6, 2011 by sabrina

© Ellie Ericson

Canon 5D Mark II, 70-200mm EF-L F2.8 IS Lens @ 70.0 mm, F2.8 1/125sec, ISO 100

I had been envisioning the look of this image for quite some time before I actually photographed it.  The vision I held was to create an image that had a very soft, almost angelic and rim lit feel to it – in B&W.  I wanted it to be an elegant figure study that wasn’t a blatant nude. I went to great lengths in making sure I had the right model chosen that was in line with my vision and that my lighting concept was sound – and tested it with stand-in models before bringing Kaitlin into the studio to work with me.

Three lights were used in total: two 3‘ long, slim softboxes at lowest power on either side of the model and one small 2’ x 3’ softbox as far back in the studio as possible also on low power to give the slightest fill. There had to be separation, however slight, between the unlit background and the model by having her softly rim lit all over.

I learned a great deal from the creative play, experimentation of possibilities, and the vision driven process I went through in creating this image.  The finished product expresses everything and more of what I wanted it to say. ~ Ellie Ericson

Inspirations – Soft Nude by Graham Lowe

Posted in Inspirations with tags , , , , , on June 8, 2011 by sabrina

© Graham Lowe

This model in question is a friend of mine of about 20 years’ standing, and she had just been diagnosed with breast cancer, so was due to have an operation which would disfigure her, although not a full mastectomy. As you can see from the shot, she is very trim, albeit in her 50s, so wanted me to take shots that she could remember herself by, and there was hardly any time between biopsy and operation, so we had to move fast. They were shot in December, in an unheated building (!!) that was being converted from a bank to an art gallery, and which I am involved in. It was the only space available in a hurry, both for the atmosphere of the place and the privacy. It was shot on film, on an original 60s plastic Diana camera. ~ Graham Lowe

The Sigma 85mm f1.4 as a macro lens?

Posted in Art of Photography, Articles about Photography, Good News, Lens Review, Photography Gear, TCBlog, Techniques, VWBlog with tags , , , , , , , , on May 24, 2011 by Darwin

Almost anyone who has been photography for awhile knows that an 85mm focal length lens is considered perfect for portraits. The lens is flattering to the human face and an 85mm lens is relatively small and unobtrusive. With a fast aperture of f1.4 you can get micro-thin slice of focus that makes your subject pop off the screen in a sea of blur. No wonder wedding photographers, journalists and fine-art photographers love a fast 85mm lens (see this review of the Sigma 85mm lens for portrait shooting).

I had planned to use my Sigma 85mm lens to do pet portraits and kid photos but have not yet set up any shoots of these subjects. This weekend for grins I went out with just the 85mm to see what I could do with nature subjects. Right away I found out that the Sigma focuses really close and at f1.4 I got a really lovely wash of blur that looked painterly (see below).

Closest focus with the Sigma 85mm lens at f1.4

I loved the look of the shallow depth-of-field but wanted the lens to focus even closer. The easy answer of course is too add an extension tube which is simply a hollow tube that pushes the lens away from the camera and allows the lens to focus closer. To learn more about extension tubes see this link.

I grabbed my set of Kenko extension tubes and slapped the 36mm tube between the camera and the Sigma 85mm lens. Suddenly the Sigma portrait lens focused super close and I could make frame-filling photos of all sorts of wee things in nature. I loved the soft painterly look I was getting using the lens wide open at f1.4. And the best thing, at such wide apertures, is that shutter speeds were lightning fast so I could just hand hold the camera and get tiny pricks of sharp focus in a wash of blur. The Sigma 85mm f1.4 is now going with me in my nature photography photo bag  as my ‘artistic ‘macro’ lens. I am looking forward to taking it with me on my upcoming spring photo tour. Watch out Monet!

©Darwin Wiggett

©Darwin Wiggett

©Darwin Wiggett

Inspirations – Tracey Tomtene

Posted in Inspirations with tags , , , , on May 18, 2011 by sabrina

© Tracey Tomtene

Canon EOS 50D Canon f2.8L 16-35mm at 16mm 1/50 second f/2.8

I was at a friend’s house taking pictures of her new twins, Megan and Victoria, and she mentioned that their dog, Marley, had looked really cute in a swaddle. Since she was going to swaddle the twins for a picture anyway, we all agreed that perhaps she should be swaddled too! I think the twins enjoyed it a little more than Marley did but she was a good sport! ~ Tracey Tomtene

Sigma 17-50mm f2.8 vs Canon 17-55mm f2.8 and Tamron 17-50mm f2.8

Posted in Lens Review, Photography Gear, TCBlog with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 9, 2011 by Darwin

On full frame cameras the 24-70mm f2.8 lens is the go-to lens for travel, sports, wedding, street, and landscape photography. On cropped sensor cameras the equivalent focal length to a 24-70mm is roughly 17-50mm. This latter focal length gives you wide, normal and telephoto lens perspectives in a relatively small package that fits on cropped sensor cameras. If you are looking for a fast all-purpose lens for your Canon camera whether a Rebel, 20D, 30D 40D, 50D, 60D or the 7D, then you have four choices:

Note: To see all future reviews please note this blog is no longer active, please visit me over at oopoomoo.com

Canon EF-S 17-55 f2.8 IS USM

  • Image Stabilized
  • Ultrasonic lens (no focus noise)
  • UD glass
  • internal focus
  • close focus 0.35m
  • filter size 77mm
  • weight 645g
  • cost $1200 CAN

Sigma 17-50mm f2.8 EX DC HSM OS

  • optical stabilized
  • hypersonic motor motor (HSM) – no focus noise
  • internal focus
  • two low dispersion FLD glass elements
  • close-focus 0.28m
  • filter size 77mm
  • weight 565g
  • cost $775 CAN

Tamron 17-50mm f2.8 XR Di II VC

  • vibration compensation
  • LD (low dispersion) glass
  • internal focus
  • close-focus 0.29m
  • filter size 72mm
  • weight 570g
  • cost $579 CAN for the VC version and $450 CAN for the non VC version

There is also the Tokina 16-50mm AT-X 165 Pro Dx but I did not have an opportunity to test this lens.

A Bit of History

When I picked up my first cropped sensor Canon camera (a Rebel Xsi) I wanted a light, fast lens for hiking and backpacking. I tested out the Tamron 17-50mm lens (the f2.8 XR di II LD versionwithout the vibration compensation feature). I found it to be surprisingly sharp and I picked up a new one for a sale price of $350 CAN! It was perfect for landscape photography especially for me because I almost always use live view and manual focus on the Rebel to make landscape images. I owned the lens for a year or so and took many landscape photos with it in all sorts of conditions. It was a super performer for the price! But… be aware that the Tamron  lens is really lacking as an auto-focus lens. It was painfully slow to focus and was noisy when focusing. I tried using it with dogs and sports and it was not really suited for action photography.

©Darwin Wiggett - Tamron 17-50 f2.8 lens

©Darwin Wiggett - Tamron 17-50mm f2.8 lens

And Then…

Sigma sent me their 17-50mm f2.8 lens to try it. I was incredibly happy with the Tamron in terms of sharpness and so my first tests were to see if my budget priced Tamron was as sharp as the more expensive Sigma lens. I did the standard tests in the studio using a lens chart to check sharpness at all apertures and at various focal lengths. And then I took the lenses out in the field and photographed the typical kinds of subjects that I shoot to see how the lenses performed in terms of contrast (snap) and colour rendition and also things like flare control and distortion. Rather than bombard you the reader with tons of detailed comparison shots the conclusion of all these tests was the same. Both lenses performed the same optically but with the nod going to the Tamron in the 17-35mm range at f2.8 (better edge sharpness).

©Darwin Wiggett - Sigma 17-50mm lens at f14

But… the Tamron was terrible auto-focus performer! I’ve found that using live view at 5x magnification and manually focusing lenses gives me much sharper images than using auto-focus even in bright contrasty light. This result is consistent across cameras I have tried from the Canon 1ds Mark III, Canon Rebel Xsi and Rebel T2i, Canon 60D, Canon 7D and the Nikon D300s. On workshops and tours I often illustrate this to participants using their own cameras. To try it yourself, simply set your camera to aperture priority and use the smallest number on your aperture dial like f2.8. Use the center focus point on your camera and let the camera focus on a contrasty part of the subject. Now go into live view and magnify the area (e.g. 5x) where the camera auto-focused.  Switch your lens to manual focus and adjust the focus to see if you can get the image sharper than the auto-focus. Often you can easily improve on the sharpness. Check out the scene below. I had the Canon Rebel Xsi mounted on a tripod and the auto-focus was set to ‘one shot’ with the center focus point selected. I had the aperture set to f2.8 and let the camera auto-focus. Then I rephotographed the same scene using manual focus in live view.

The auto-focus test scene

Below are the results of the test using the Sigma 17-50mm lens at f2.8. The image is magnified to 100% view. The top photo is auto-focus, the bottom is manual focus in live view.

Sigma 17-50 at f2.8: top=auto-focus, bottom=manual focus in live view

The auto-focus on the Sigma/Rebel combo locked in really well. The manual focus is a tad sharper but not by much. Below are the results of the Tamron lens on the Rebel Xsi:

Tamron 17-50 f2.8: top=auto-focus, bottom=manual focus in live view

What can you say? The auto-focus on the Tamron lens is terrible! It is slow, it searches, it hunts, it creeps, it’s noisy. I have tested and tried several Tamron lenses (from their 70-200 f2.8 to their 10-24mm lens) and the problem is the same. If, like me, you mostly use manual focus and a tripod, then the Tamron is easily the best buy of the group (especially the non VC version of the lens) and optical performance is really fine. But if you want a sports, travel, portrait lens where you can rely on auto-focus, then I would pass on the Tamron. Also note I did not test the vibration compensation (VC version) of this lens, other reports on the web suggest that sharpness of the VC version is lower than the non VC version. Test before buying!

And so, after testing the Sigma 17-50 f2.8 against the Tamron lens, I decided to sell the Tamron and keep the Sigma. The Sigma was just as good optically (except at f2.8 where edge sharpness was lower) but it had fast and accurate auto-focus and it had optical stabilization for hand-held shots.

And So What About the Canon 17-55mm f2.8?

This is Canon’s flagship lens for cropped sensor cameras and numerous reports state that this lens is super sharp and an all around great performer but it comes at a high price ($1200 CAN). Is the overall quality and performance of the Canon worth the extra cost (more than $400) over the Sigma?

I took the two lenses out over a weekend and ran them through a few tests such as:

  1. Optical performance (sharpness, vignetting, flare etc.)
  2. Auto-focus tests
  3. Image stabilization tests
  4. Close-focus capabilities

Here is what I found:

Optical Performance

I compared the sharpness of both the Sigma and the Canon lenses using manual focus in Live View. When precisely focused I really could not give the nod to one lens over the other when it came to center sharpness at all focal lengths and apertures. But at f2.8 in the focal range of 17 to 35mm the Canon had significantly better edge sharpness than the Sigma.

Edge sharpness at 17mm at f2.8 (Sigma top, Canon bottom)

It’s easy to see here that the Canon lens is really good wide open even at the edges. The Sigma lens does not match the edge performance of the Canon until stopped down to f8! After f8 the two lenses perform equally well.

Another weakness of the Sigma Lens are fringing artifacts at the edges of the frame when the lens is shot from 17- 35mm in high contrast light. The Canon also suffers these effects but to a lesser extent.

Edge fringing at f2.8 at 17mm - Canon top, Sigma bottom

The fringing on both lenses is more controlled and equal once the lenses are zoomed out to 35mm or higher.

The Canon lens appears to be optimized for best performance in the aperture range from f2.8 to f8. Images at f11 are decent but less sharp overall and images at f16 or higher are terrible!

Canon 17-55 at f5.6 (top) and f22 (bottom)

I found that although center sharpness on the Sigma is as good as the Canon at f2.8 and f4 that overall image sharpness from edge to edge is best with the Sigma in the f5.6 to f11 range with good performance up to f16. The Sigma is better than the Canon in the f11 to f16 range and therefore is a better choice for landscape work requiring large depth-of-field.

Sigma lens at f16 top photo, Canon lens at f16 bottom photo

The Sigma lens also records images with more contrast and ‘pop’ and with a more accurate colour cast than the Canon lens which tends to record scenes flat and washed out and cool in colour tone.

Sigma lens top photo, Canon lens bottom photo

Sigma lens top photo, Canon lens bottom photo

In numerous tests I found this same difference in contrast and colour between the two lenses. All comparisons were shot at the same exposures, white balance etc. The Sigma lens simply had a more pleasing rendition of scenes for my tastes.

As far as flare is concerned it depends. Sometimes the Sigma gave more flare (e.g. at 17mm) sometimes the Canon was more prone to flare (e.g. at 28mm).

Auto Focus Tests

I tested both the Sigma and the Canon lens for accuracy of auto-focus vs manual focus in live view and both lenses returned similar results. Live view gave slightly better results for both lenses. Only in dim light did the auto-focus capabilities start to falter.

With action sequences of people running, cars on the highway and moving dogs, I saw absolutely no difference in the ability of the Sigma and Canon lenses to track focus. As well, with static subjects both lens were zippy and fast to auto-focus and for me they seemed matched in their abilities.

Image Stabilization Tests

Handheld images using auto-focus and image stabilization (Canon) and optical stabilization (Sigma) returned fairly similar results but I got a slightly higher percentage of sharp shots in the 1/15th to 1/30s range with the Canon lens. So nods in this department to Canon.

Close-focus Capabilities

The clear winner in this category is the Sigma lens. Not only does it focus closer (see images below) but when photographing close subjects (e.g. head and shoulders or closer, the Sigma is significantly sharper at all apertures than the Canon lens. The Canon does not seem to like close subjects and optical performance really suffers. This is not a good lens to use for close-up work!

sigma at closest focus at 50mm

Canon closest focus at 55mm

Sigma close detail sharpness at f8

Canon close detail sharpness at f8

Conclusion

Which lens you choose all depends on your budget and on your needs. If want the best overall optical performance for your dollar then the  Tamron SP AF17-50 f2.8 Xr Di II is a fantastic buy! Although I did not this test the lens directly against the Canon lens, I think it is just as sharp at all apertures but it costs almost 1/3rd the price of the Canon lens! But the Tamron is not a lens to buy if you rely on auto-focus. This is a good landscape lens when used on a tripod and focused manually in live view. But do not try action photos with this lens or you’ll be disappointed.

If you want a lens with good all around performance at the a reasonable price, then the Sigma 17-50mm f2.8 lens might be the lens for you. The Sigma is as good as the Canon lens in terms of auto-focus, it’s a sharp as the Canon lens when stopped down to at least f5.6 and it is a much, much better lens for close-up subjects. As well the contrast on the Sigma lens is snappy and the colour rendition is accurate. The Sigma is a better landscape lens than the Canon because it has better performance in the f11-f16 range which are apertures often needed for depth-of-field. Also the lens is the lightest of the bunch. I would recommend this lens for nature and generic photography.

If you want to photograph people, sports, or action or hand-held street photography where  wide apertures like f2.8 or f4 are regularly used then the Canon 17-55 f2.8 lens lens is the best choice. It’s sharp edge-to-edge when wide open (with little fringing), has great image stabilization and zippy auto-focus. The drawbacks are its heavier weight, poor close-focus performance, flat contrast and cool colour rendition and large price tag.

In short, none of these lenses are perfect but some work better for some purposes than others. As always try before you buy but hopefully this review will help narrow your choices.


©Darwin Wiggett - Sigma 17-50mm lens at f11


Sigma 85mm f1.4 vs Canon 85mm f1.2L II

Posted in Camera Review, Event Photography, Good News, Lens Review, Photography Gear, TCBlog, Techniques with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 12, 2011 by Darwin

Note: To see all future reviews please note this blog is no longer active, please visit me over at oopoomoo.com

Sigma Canada gave me their new 85mm f1.4 lens to review. I thought it would be a cool lens to use on my dog portraits and maybe for street photography but I have been so busy with landscape shooting that I have not had time to give the lens a serious spin nor a detailed review.  So… to solve the problem I am letting someone more qualified to do the review for me (smart eh?) and share his findings here.

My good friend Wayne Simpson is a full-time portrait, wedding and landscape photographer who owns and uses the coveted Canon 85mm f1.2L lens daily in his work. I thought Wayne was the perfect guy to give the Sigma a test run and see how it performed for a working photographer. Both the Sigma and the Canon 85mm lenses are designed for portrait, sports, event and wedding photographers where prime lens performance (a fast wide aperture) is needed either for low light shooting or for an ultra-thin slice of focus. Wayne was interested in just how well the Sigma could stand up to his much lauded Canon 85mm. So I gave the lens to Wayne and he played… here is his report and results:

Note, neither I, nor Sigma Canada have sponsored, paid nor bribed Wayne… not even with beer! I simply wanted Wayne’s honest impressions as a working photographer. Wayne receives no cut, no commissions on sales, and not even a ball cap for his review (not too smart eh?). Wayne just wanted to see how both lenses performed so that he had the best choice for his own work. Plus like any guy, he likes to play with toys – can you blame him?!


Sigma 85mm f1.4 EX DG HSMprice $969 US at B+H Photo

image from Sigma Canada – available in Canada at The Camera Store

Canon EF 85mm F1.2L II – price $2149 US at B+H Photo

image from The-Digital-Picture.com

available in Canada at The Camera Store

Wayne Simpson reviews the Sigma 85mm f1.4 vs the Canon 85mm f1.2L II

Okay, first the disclaimer:

This is a practical comparison, and by no means scientific in any way. The following is simply my opinion as a working wedding and portrait photographer.

All shots are done with a Canon 1D Mark IV. The only adjustment done to the images is the odd exposure adjustment to the  RAW image, however, any images being compared will have had the exact same adjustments. White balance was either set to daylight or cloudy and was not changed after capture.

Here we go…

When I heard about the new Sigma 85 1.4 I must admit that I was curious, but  never really considered it as an option over my Canon 85 1.2 II. Even when the opportunity came to take the lens for a test drive I was not overly excited, but decided to give it a whirl. Well, once I had the lens in my hands I could immediately tell that this lens is for real!

Lets have a look at the build quality…

While I love the build quality of my beloved Canon 85 1.2 II, the Sigma appears just as good… just different. The actual diameter of the Canon (especially the lens hood) is much larger than the Sigma. I have always found it annoying that my Canon 85mm is big lens and it never seems to fit comfortably into any of the bags I have tried. This always  slows me down when changing lenses. The awkward size of the Canon prevents me from carrying as many lenses as I would like since this beast seems to take up the space of one and a half  “normal sized” lenses. This would not be an issue with the Sigma which is significantly more compact.

I tend not to use manual focus very often with my Canon because I don’t feel confident with its incredibly loose and touchy focus ring. The Sigma focus ring is more snug and less touchy which inspires confidence especially to use manual focus. However, the AF/M switch on the Sigma seems a little too exposed and prone to being bumped out of place; however it never happened to me while using it.

When shooting in bright light and using flash, I often like to use screw-on neutral density filters to cut down the light and maintain my sync speed while shooting at wide apertures. As a Canon shooter with other L series lenses, I have come to expect the filter diameter to be 77 mm.  However the Canon 85 1.2 II uses a 72mm filter size. I was happy to find that the Sigma uses the popular 77 mm size, which may save you money on filters especially if you already own other Canon L-series lenses!

If you have ever used the Canon 85 1.2 II you know how careful one needs to be when changing lenses. The rear element is basically level with the lens mount, which is a little scary. As if that wasn’t scary enough, Canon has hidden the red dot to align the lens and mount so that it’s not easily visible when changing lenses. Again, these issues don’t exist with the Sigma.

So it’s built well, but how well does it autofocus?…

Very well actually! I would guess that the Sigma is about twice as fast as the Canon in decent light. After using my Canon 85 1.2 II for a few years now, I have come to accept the fact that it is very slow to focus. In fact, if I’m photographing kids, or anything moving I will reach for my Canon 70-200 f2.8L lens instead. I missed many, many shots due to slow auto-focus before I learned the limits of the lens. While I did not test the Sigma on any moving subjects, I can confidently say that it would beat the Canon hands down when tracking a moving subject.

In backlit situations, the auto-focus of both lenses go a little crazy. At first it seemed that the Sigma reacted worse, however I think it just seems that way because the auto-focus bounces around faster!

Next, I tried the two lenses in a dark room shooting at f1.4, ISO 6400 at 100/sec (very dark). In this situation (without focus assist or flash) the lenses seem to focus almost the same speed on my 1D Mark IV, with a slight edge going to the Sigma. The Sigma seems to lock focus a little faster and with a bit more authority than the Canon. The one thing that the Canon has over the Sigma in this situation is that it can open up to f 1.2 allowing you faster shutter speeds for hand held shooting. This can potentially save your bacon as long as you can lock focus in the first place!

So, can the Sigma compete with the image quality of the legendary Canon 85 1.2 II?…

In short, yup! As you will see in the images below, it’s pretty much impossible to tell which lens is which when looking at image sharpness and bokeh. You don’t really see much of a difference until you look at the colour and brightness. Originally I thought that the difference in colour might be due to using an automated white balance (daylight or cloudy) and that the camera might be compensating somehow because of one lens having a larger maximum aperture than the other. Keeping this in mind I quickly set a manual white balance and re-shot, but found the same shift in colour.

©Wayne Simpson - The sharpness test subject

©Wayne Simpson - Sigma 85mm f1.4 at f4

©Wayne Simpson - Canon 85mm f1.2L II at f4

©Wayne Simpson - Sigma 85mm f1.4 at f1.4 - Bokeh test

©Wayne Simpson - Canon 85mm f1.2L II at f1.4 - Bokeh Test

©Wayne Simpson - Sigma 85mm f1.4 - Colour

©Wayne Simpson - Canon 85mm f1.2L II - Colour

One thing that is pretty much inevitable when shooting at very wide apertures is some amount of chromatic aberration or fringing. Now I’m no scientist, so I can’t explain exactly what causes it, but I do know that I don’t like it and it can be difficult to fix in post production (for me anyways!). In scenes with little contrast I found that both lenses where acceptable by my standards – even at f 1.4. Once you enter a high contrast scene however, the story changes. I found that the Sigma needed to be stopped down to about f 2.8 to eliminate the fringing, while the Canon still had a tiny bit of fringing still visible at f 2.8, although very minor. At f2.8 the sharpness is absolutely incredible with both lenses! I honestly can’t say which one is sharper, which is amazing considering there is something like a $1000 dollar difference in price!

©Wayne Simpson - fringing in low contrast light, Sigma 85mm at f1.4

©Wayne Simpson - the high contrast test for fringing

©Wayne Simpson - Sigma 85mm f1.4 at f1.4 showing fringing

©Wayne Simpson - Canon 85mm f1.2L at f1.4 showing fringing

So, lets sum up the pluses and the minuses for the Sigma…

The pluses:

–          faster auto-focus

–          77mm filter diameter

–          rear element is not dangerously exposed

–          slightly better focusing in low light

–          much less expensive

–          lighter and more compact

The minuses:

–          does not open to f 1.2

–          slightly warm colour cast which means extra work in post to match the colours of othere Canon lenses

–          darker exposure and a little less ‘pop’ than the Canon lens

–          Exposed AF/M switch can be dislodged accidentally

So, would I sell my Canon 85 1.2 II and buy the Sigma 85 1.4?…

Heck, it’s not out of the question! I guess the real question is do I really need to shoot at f 1.2, and do I need the faster autofocus offered by the Sigma? I have had the odd occasion where shooting at f 1.2 has saved me, but they are very few and far between–-I’m guessing I could live without it. The faster auto-focus though would be a very, very welcome change from my slower  Canon 85mm f1.2.

The major problem for me however, is the warm colour cast (visible in the comparisons)the  and slightly darker images  produced with the Sigma lens. I realize that these can both be fixed in post production, however it would mean that I would have one lens that produces a different colour than all of my other lenses. which means lost time in image correction. The images from my Canon just seem to have that tiny bit more pop to them… I don’t know how else to explain it! Maybe it’s something to do with the amount of money I spent on the  Canon lens, or maybe I’m still having a hard time accepting the fact that the Sigma is almost identical for about half the price!

If you are looking to buy one of these two lenses, my official advice is … go for the Sigma. For the difference in price, it is definitely the best bang for your buck. I will likely end up holding on to my Canon. However if I could do it again I would likely choose the Sigma especially for its zippy auto-focus. Unless you shot the two side-by-side, you likely would never notice a difference in the images. Who would have thought that this lens could hold it’s own against the legendary Canon 85 1.2 II!

Other reviews of these lenses:

Sigma 85mm f1.4L – dslrphoto.com summarizes numerous reviews here

Canon 85mm f1.2L II – Photo Zone review, The Digital Picture Review

See also the latest issue of Popular Photography for further comparisons

©Wayne Simpson - Sigma 85mm f1.4 at f1.6


Inspirations – Maureen Murphy

Posted in Inspirations with tags , , , , , on April 3, 2011 by sabrina

© Maureen Murphy

The topic chosen by my photography group Dante Was Here for a show was “New Realities ” and my new reality was a fear of getting Alzheimer’s. Here is the artist statement:

The subject “New Realities” has a very significant meaning for me.  My reality involves the aging process and how my parents’ history will affect my life.  My mother died of Alzheimer’s and my father (93) has dementia.  My course seems to be pre-ordained – or is it?  These photographs explore the parallels between me and my parents and how they relate to my fears for the future. What can I do to postpone or avoid dementia?  How can I live with the probability that I will experience a loss of my cognitive functioning?  These are questions underlying my everyday life as I move towards my mid sixties – the age my mother was first officially diagnosed. The intention was to display part of my parents’ history and the stage my father was experiencing at the time – living with memories.  The words are a mix of possible thoughts he was thinking and questions I had. Once I wrote the words, I did not edit them.

I took the photo of my father in front of a window camera (D300 1/200 @ 4.8 55mm ISO 1000). I scanned a photo of my mother in her wedding dress and in Photoshop,  combined the two photographs. Then I wrote the text in MSWord and pasted it in as a layer. ~ Maureen Murphy

Fabulous Film Fridays – February 11, 2011

Posted in Art of Photography, Fabulous Film Fridays, Humor, Inspirations, Photography Gear with tags , , , , , , on February 11, 2011 by Darwin

This week Fabulous Film Fridays is over at Sam’s Rant – who knows what she will be ranting about this week 😉

I am not worried though, I haven’t bought any new camera gear for quite awhile!

©Darwin Wiggett

Samantha photographed with the ailing Polaroid SX-70 camera using Impossible instant film

The Many Faces of Samantha

Posted in Humor, Photography Gear, Techniques, VWBlog with tags , , , , , , on December 20, 2010 by Darwin

Back in March Samantha and I went into the studio with Scott Dimond to play with Scott’s ring flash. Samantha provided the entertainment. Face number 5 is the face I see whenever I leave the toilet seat up!

©Darwin Wiggett