I don’t know about other photographers, but I am constantly adding to my wishlist of camera must-haves, which often involves me looking at the latest lenses, flashes and other accessories. As we all know, really great lenses can cost an awful lot money, and sometimes you can often be left feeling like ‘was it worth it?’. I ‘upgraded’ from my Canon 80D to a full-frame 5D MkIV which was way, way more expensive. There were times when I had wondered if the jump in sensor size was really worth all that expense and, admittedly, the jury is out on this one. Yes, it has been heaven sent when shooting in more difficult, low light situations, and the fast focus does help with the work that I do so on balance it probably has been. I think might decision to upgrade was probably a little premature – I just wanted the latest.
It caused me to rethink my photography objectives. I genuinely believed that having the best and most well known brands would automatically lead to be better images. Deep down I knew it wasn’t true, but something kept tugging at me saying ‘go on, upgrade, go full frame, get red ring only and you’ll look so cool’ and I nearly always yielded.
That was until I decided I had, had enough – no more indiscriminate spending!
At the time I had an f4.0 35mm lens and the Canon f1.2 50mm, and was on the look out for the f1.2 85mm. Naturally I was looking at the red ring, and thinking, ‘well obviously this is what I need’, and there it was again – that tug. I decided this time I might actually do some research, partly off the back that, despite all the hype around the f1.2 aperture, I was always secretly disappointed by the 50mm’s slightly soft focus and middling performance. Is this the best 50mm money can buy? Really?
As I started shopping around, a name kept reappearing in reviews and it was Sigma. I thought…nah….I mean, good…but…nah. But the more I researched into the Art lenses the more I was convinced that I was onto something. Nearly every comparison rated them as a much better lens choice, especially for 50mm and especially for the price.
The Canon 35mm I had was okay, and for the money it did what it was meant to do, but I never ‘got into it’. I hoped it might work as a stepping stone to a better, more complete 35mm lens, but I wasn’t feeling it, so I took a left turn. I ordered a Sigma Art 35mm lens instead, and oh my god! Okay yeah it was more pricey, but it was still less than Canon and I could not believe how good the images were on this. I loved nearly everything about how it rendered colour, the deep rich and warm feel I was getting, I absolutely loved it.
So I took another stab and got the Sigma Art 50mm. Instantly I could tell I was onto something (and so was Sigma). Within a day I decided to sell my Canon f1.2 50mm, because not only was the Sigma faster, it was also much sharper. Perfect for the kind of work I do. At this point I’ve gone all in, and got the Sigma Art 85mm too and I could not be happier. I have, of course, kept the Canon f2.8 70-200 lens, because this tank of a lens has never let me down.
The moral of the story here is that you must keep an open mind. Don’t upgrade to something assuming it will make you produce better images, because it won’t. And don’t just dive head first into the highest price lenses assuming they will produce the best image, because they don’t always.
Keep an open mind folks.
All images in this article were taken on Sigma lenses.
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