CHANG­ING S PACES

New to the wide-an­gle scene is the Sigma 14–24mm f/2.8 DG HSM Art lens. Leon Rose takes it in­doors and tries it out on some arty in­te­ri­ors

New Zealand D-Photo - - GEARDUCATED | LEON ROSE -

Just when I thought I had re­viewed ev­ery wide-an­gle lens Sigma had to of­fer in its Art range, up pops the 14–24mm DG HSM Art ul­tra-wide zoom lens. You could be for­given for con­fus­ing it with the Sigma 12–24mm f/4.5–5.6 DG II HSM Lens, as it looks al­most iden­ti­cal. How­ever, it has much more to of­fer: to be­gin with, it’s a stop brighter and fea­tures a splash-proof de­sign. To test it out, I de­cided to shoot some in­te­ri­ors. My stylist, Me­gan, or­ga­nized a morn­ing at artist Nicky Fore­man’s house. Nicky’s works are made by us­ing every­day mun­dane ob­jects and plac­ing them in a set­ting where they can be viewed as pre­cious and beau­ti­ful (you can see Nicky’s work at ar­tis­gallery.co.nz). This means that her mod­est home is filled with not only in­ter­est­ing fur­ni­ture from years gone by but also her beau­ti­ful art. This, along with the fact that it is a rel­a­tively tight space, made it a great place to test the Sigma 12–24mm f/4.5–5.6. When first un­pack­ing the lens, I no­ticed that it is yet another well-crafted ex­am­ple from this range, with the trade­mark black coat­ing and but­ter­fly-shaped hood. It weighs in at 1150 grams, which is a pretty heavy lens to carry around, but it feels right at home on my Canon EOS 5D Mk III with grip. On the APSC sys­tem, this lens equates to 21–36mm com­pared to full-frame 35mm sen­sors, but it leaves you won­der­ing how bal­anced it would feel on those smaller bod­ies. This lens has a min­i­mum fo­cus­ing dis­tance of 26cm, which is use­ful when shoot­ing in­te­ri­ors in very tight spa­ces. It also fea­tures silent high-speed aut­o­fo­cus per­for­mance and full-time man­ual fo­cus­ing. You can over­ride the aut­o­fo­cus at any time with the ring or by us­ing the AF/MF switch on the lens bar­rel. The lens is made up of 17 el­e­ments in 11 groups and fea­tures a rounded nine-blade di­aphragm, which cre­ates a nice bokeh ef­fect. Hav­ing the abil­ity to open up to f/2.8 helps to keep your back­ground soft, and al­lows for bet­ter use of avail­able light in those darker ar­eas, as shown in the still life on Nicky’s ta­ble.

This lens would be a great ad­di­tion to the land­scape pho­tog­ra­pher’s kit, but it re­ally comes into its own when shoot­ing in­te­ri­ors and ar­chi­tec­ture. Hav­ing a lens with this range can re­ally make a smaller space look big­ger. Al­though, what you will find with lenses of this wide an an­gle is that bar­rel dis­tor­tion and con­verg­ing ver­ti­cals will be your main con­cern. The trick is to set up your cam­era to be as level as pos­si­ble, get­ting your ver­ti­cal lines straight. If you do this first, you con­sid­er­ably re­duce your re­touch­ing time. How­ever, some­times you just have to point your lens down a lit­tle to avoid half your frame be­ing filled with white ceil­ing. There re­ally is no way around it when us­ing ul­tra-wide lenses, but you can cor­rect a lot of this dis­tor­tion us­ing Pho­to­shop ‘Trans­form’ tools. As an ex­am­ple, here I used Trans­form in per­spec­tive mode with a slight nudge in skew mode. As you can see, the green couch on the right is still look­ing dis­torted, but that can only be re­paired by zoom­ing in tighter. The next ex­am­ples show the same set­ting from a lower an­gle on three points through the range. No­tice that the edge dis­tor­tion seen on the couch is much im­proved at 18mm, and gone at 22mm.

Shot from a sec­ond an­gle with a larger piece of fur­ni­ture at the right edge of frame, the edge dis­tor­tion is less ob­vi­ous but still present. It does al­low for the whole room, in­clud­ing the large piece of flo­ral art, to be high­lighted, giv­ing you a bet­ter idea of the liv­ing space.

The fo­cus and zoom rings were a big pos­i­tive for me; they’re very sure, and turn firmly and pre­cisely. The most ex­cit­ing new fea­ture of this lens is the en­hanced weather-proof con­struc­tion, with spe­cial seal­ing at the mount con­nec­tion, man­ual fo­cus ring, zoom ring, and cover con­nec­tion. This is the only thing miss­ing from the other less ex­pen­sive lenses in the range. It also uses Sigma’s ‘Su­per Multi-Layer Coat­ing’ to re­duce flare, which has im­pressed me through­out the Art range. Other fac­tors worth men­tion­ing are that vi­gnetting is min­i­mal at f/2.8 and non-ex­is­tent past f/5.6. The aut­o­fo­cus is very quiet and quick to re­spond; if video is part of your skill set, then this would be a good op­tion. The one neg­a­tive for me is the lack of IS (image sta­bi­liza­tion) but this is a heavy lens, and would be easy to hold still — oth­er­wise, a tri­pod would be a must. I’m not sure that I would be com­fort­able putting some­thing of this weight on an APSC or mir­ror­less body, es­pe­cially on an adap­tor if you are run­ning two sys­tems (I run both Canon and Sony sys­tems in my daily kit). At ap­prox­i­mately $2000, this lens is good value, con­sid­er­ing the ex­cep­tional build qual­ity and added weather seal­ing. The lens is com­pa­ra­ble to the Canon 16–35 f2.8 III USM and the Nikon AF-S 14–24mm f/2.8G ED at around $3000 and $2300 re­spec­tively, so if you are look­ing for a lens in this range, it is a great op­tion.

CANON EOS 5D MK III, SIGMA 14–24MM F/2.8 DG HSM ART LENS, 14MM, 1/60S, F/2.8, ISO 800 CANON EOS 5D MK III, SIGMA 14–24MM F/2.8 DG HSM ART LENS, 14MM, 1/60S, F/11, ISO 800

CANON EOS 5D MK III, SIGMA 14–24MM F/2.8 DG HSM ART LENS, 14MM, 1/50S, F/11, ISO 800 CANON EOS 5D MK III, SIGMA 14–24MM F/2.8 DG HSM ART LENS, 18MM, 1/50S, F/11, ISO 800 CANON EOS 5D MK III, SIGMA 14–24MM F/2.8 DG HSM ART LENS, 22MM, 1/50S, F/11, ISO 800

CANON EOS 5D MK III, SIGMA 14–24MM F/2.8 DG HSM ART LENS, 14MM, 1/30S, F/11, ISO 800 (BE­FORE)CANON EOS 5D MK III, SIGMA 14–24MM F/2.8 DG HSM ART LENS, 14MM, 1/30S, F/11, ISO 800 (AF­TER)

CANON EOS 5D MK III, SIGMA 14–24MM F/2.8 DG HSM ART LENS, 24MM, 1/50S, F/11, ISO 800 CANON EOS 5D MK III, SIGMA 14–24MM F/2.8 DG HSM ART LENS, 18MM, 1/50S, F/11, ISO 800 CANON EOS 5D MK III, SIGMA 14–24MM F/2.8 DG HSM ART LENS, 14MM, 1/40S, F/11, ISO 800

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