Sunday, August 24, 2014

Women's College Soccer

One of the reasons that I decided to sell my Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II lens is that I was no longer expecting to be shooting a lot of outdoor field sports. And while that is still the case, yesterday afternoon I did shoot a scrimmage between Hartwick College women's soccer and Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York.

As I was not directly on the field as I was used to when shooting high school soccer, I needed something longer than the Sigma 50-150mm lens with which I replaced the Canon zoom. Since it was an afternoon match I was able to get away with an f/4 lens so used my Canon 1.4XII extender with the Sigma lens. This now 70-210mm f/4 lens was long enough to capture action on my side of the field and the lighting was good enough that I could shoot at ISO 400 and f/4 or f/5.6 and still have shutter speeds of 1/2000 a second and faster. I have no complaints about the image quality of the Sigma zoom with the Canon extender.

If I were on the sidelines, I think the 150mm length would be fine with the 1.6x crop factor of my Canon 7D bodies. And the 50mm wide end would let me shoot closer action than I could with the 70-200mm lens. It's possible that at some point over the course of the season I could get that opportunity.

Here are five shots from yesterday's scrimmage. I did some cropping from 3:2 to 4:3 format to unclutter the sides of the images.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 EX DC OS HSM Lens

Completing my migration from Canon lenses to Sigma EX DC lenses is the Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8mm f/2.8 EX DC OS HSM lens. So, my lens lineup now consists of the two Sigma zooms which give me focal lengths from 17mm to 150mm and the 10mm fisheye, all with a fixed maximum aperture of f/2.8 together with the 30mm f/1.4 lens.

Because of the change to third party lenses I will have to learn how to use Lightroom as the lens correction tools in Canon's DPP software only works with Canon lenses. I have dabbled a bit and have successfully fixed some purple fringing with Lightroom so it'll just be an adjustment period while I learn all the controls.

Here are two shots illustrating the focal length range of the 17-50mm zoom which has the field of view of a 27-80mm lens on a full frame camera These were made from Lock 4 looking toward Lock 5 on the Champlain Canal in Waterford, NY.



Here are a couple of shots along the trails on Peebles Island:

30mm, f/4, 1/60 sec., ISO 800

17mm, f/4, 1/45 sec., ISO 800

Finally, here are a couple of three file HDR images made from Peebles Island.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

More Sigma 50-150mm f/2.8 EX DC OS HSM Lens

Here are some shots examining the close focusing capabilities of my new-to-me Sigma 50-150mm lens. The subject is a Bee Balm blossom nearing the end of it's life span.

This first shot is manually focused at the lens' closest focusing distance:

Canon 7D, Sigma 50-150mm f/2.8 EX DC OS HSM at 150mm, f/8, 1/250 sec., ISO 200

The second shot is identical with the addition of the Canon 500D screw-on closeup lens which allows the lens to focus closer:

Canon 7D, Sigma 50-150mm f/2.8 EX DC OS HSM at 150mm, f/8, 1/250 sec., ISO 200

This is a different blossom at a different angle but also at minimum focusing distance with the 500D closeup lens:

Canon 7D, Sigma 50-150mm f/2.8 EX DC OS HSM at 150mm, f/8, 1/180 sec., ISO 200

A Hummingbird Moth was flitting around at this point but it wouldn't let me get as close as I needed to be in order for the lens with closeup lens to focus. So I removed the closeup lens and used the lens alone. This isn't really all that close, although you can see that it's not really at the lens' closest focusing distance.

Canon 7D, Sigma 50-150mm f/2.8 EX DC OS HSM at 150mm, f/8, 1/250 sec., ISO 200

To achieve greater magnification for shots like this I'd have to add the Canon 1.4X extender which lets the lens retain its minimum focusing distance but extends the focal length from 150mm to 210mm. For even greater magnification I could combine the extender and close up lens.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Sigma 50-150mm f/2.8 EX DC OS HSM Lens

Yesterday I received the penultimate acquisition in my migration from Canon to Sigma lenses. As I've stated, a main reason for the change is the fact that Sigma makes some lenses designed for crop sensor cameras that Canon simply doesn't. This makes the Sigma lenses smaller, lighter and less costly than the Canon counterparts designed to cover full frame sensors.

The focal lengths of the Sigma lenses also make more sense for use with my bodies. The 30mm lens is an example as it acts like a 48mm lens. Accordingly, I've sold my wonderful Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens and replaced it with the Sigma 50-150mm f/2.8 EX DC OS HSM lens at half the price. This Sigma lens has the field of view of an 80-240mm lens on a 35mm camera, a much more useful range than a range which doesn't start until 112mm.

Image quality is comparable. In fact, when paired with the Canon EOS 7D, the Sigma zoom scores higher at than the Canon flagship zoom. When combined with a good 1.4X teleconverter, the Sigma zoom becomes a 70-210mm f/4 image stabilized zoom with an effective field of view of 112-336mm.

All this leaves just one more lens to complete what will be my four lens Sigma EX DC kit. That lens should arrive early next week. While I haven't yet tested the zoom with my Canon 500D closeup filter/lens, it's possible that I will also be able to sell my Canon 60mm macro lens in favor of that method of getting up close.

Here are some samples, all shot wide open to test image sharpness. All were processed with Canon's DPP software. The only adjustment to the default settings was to increase sharpness from 3 to 4 as is usually advisable with 7D files.

Canon 7D, Sigma 50-150mm f/2.8 EX DC OS at 50mm, f/2.8, 1/2000 sec., ISO 100

Canon 7D, Sigma 50-150mm f/2.8 EX DC OS at 150mm, f/2.8, 1/2000 sec., ISO 100

Yes, I know the shot at 150mm is not quite correctly oriented. But to correct it would also result in some cropping and I want to show the field of view at each end of the zoom. The following shot, similarly tilted, was made with the addition of my Canon Extender EF 1.4X II.

Canon 7D, Sigma 50-150mm f/2.8 EX DC OS at 210mm, f/4, 1/1000 sec., ISO 100