Oct 032008

Cliché? You bet, but what would you do with no images made in the morning (somehow I always manage to get into a hurry on Fridays) and a short way of only 500 meters above ground to find one?

I guess I’ll find better uses for my new Sigma 50/1.4, but here we are, the first image taken with it 🙂

Did I really need this lens? Sure enough I did not. There is nothing wrong with my Nikon 50/1.8, to the contrary, it is small, light and cheap (all that is the Sigma not), and its quality is excellent as well. If I really want something faster, then I always have the manual Nikon 50/1.2, so what the hell did I think???

Uhhh, this is not a rational thing, you know? I always lusted for a 50/1.4 with autofocus. Autofocus is such an elementary thing and such a necessity with today’s viewfinders (admittedly less so on FX), that I rarely use manual focus at all. For macro yes, but otherwise? Not really.

The current Nikon 50/1.4 is not an option because it is to be replaced in November by a new design, and the Sigma was there. Both have about the same price and all reviews of the Sigma so far have found it to be the best 50/1.4 on the market, regardless of brand.

My impressions? Focus was off like with most of my Sigmas. Dialling in an AF compensation of -15 did the trick. This could well be the fault of my camera, because half of my lenses, although most of them Sigma, need exactly -15. The same lenses that need compensation now, did fine on my old D200. Anyway. This was a matter of 10 seconds, but it could be an issue on a camera without AF compensation. In doubt try before you buy.

And after compensation? Sharp as a razor, even wide open. Autofocus seems reliable even in low light, at least as long as you stay above the minimum focusing distance. Failing to do so, I had one of two false positives.

Speed is OK, I found no hunting or pumping. I have not loked into bokeh systematically, and I doubt that I’ll ever do, but the reviews on the net have all pointed out that this is a major strength of this lens, and so far I have no reason to disagree.

Just one more thing that I should mention: I did not use a polarizer in this shot although I suppose I should have had so. As a result there was a lot of glare on the ground. A saturation layer in Multiply blending mode, and blended into the light tones, then selectively painted in with a mask, did wonders here.

The Song of the Day is “Autumn Leaves” by Nat King Cole. The anthology that I have is not available any more, thus I recommend the 2000 collection “Unforgettable“. Hear the Song on YouTube.

  4 Responses to “721 – Autumn Leaves”

  1. My own take is that desire of camera equipment seldom follows the path of logic. I’ve reached the point in my life where I fight those desires less and enjoy the results more! 😉

    I look forward to viewing other output from your new Sigma 50mm/1.4.

  2. Autumn leaves may very well be a cliche, but they are also very photogenic. I really like this shot. The lack DoF is what makes this shot better than a similar shot with wider DoF.

    I can’t wait for more results with the lens. It’s one that I’m planning on getting myself, although the Tokina 11-16 just jumped to the top of my list…

  3. I like this shot much more then a bunch of trees that most take.

  4. I love clichés – well at least some of them. This is one.

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