Showing posts with label Sigma Lenses. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sigma Lenses. Show all posts

Thursday, May 31, 2012

First Look: Canon 24-105 L F/4 IS

Took the plunge.  Canon did not hand this to me in return for a favorable review.   Got the Canon 24-105 L F/4 IS as a replacement for the workhorse Sigma 18-200  3.5/5.6.   There were many reasons to do this.  Image quality was the least.  Sigma is a fine manufacturer and makes some good stuff. But for top of the line results, I needed something better.

Rick Sammon has enthusiastically recommended this Canon lens for portraits which is my intended use (see book below).  This new lens affords the following advantages.

1. No lens sag.  The Sigma lens when hanging around your neck, changes focal length due to gravity.  It gets longer until you hit 200mm.  The Canon does not.  The Sigma offers a lock but only works at 18mm.  Not effective when working with a client and shooting at 70mm.

2. Image Stabilization (IS).  I can now handhold at 1/15th shutter speed at 105mm and produce sharp results.  This is compensation for the lack of an F/2.8 L offering in this focal length range.  I had been debating over the 24 to 70 F/2.8 L for quite a while.

3. Consistent F/ 4.0.  The Sigma goes from a slightly faster 3.5 to full stop less at 5.6 at far end of 200mm.  I know that with the Canon, I am dealing with F/ 4.0 the entire time.

4.  Better Macro.  You can get down to 1.5 feet from the subject but at 105 can get a nice view of a model, a praying mantis or glass of Sam Adams.  Truth is that the 1.5' is from the focal plane.  Actual distance is 9" from the front of the lens hood.

5. Compatibility.  My Sigma concked out the camera last year giving me another ERROR 99 message.  Error 99 effectively shuts down the camera.  Fortunately, I was not on assignment at the time.  Never got this bad chip message with a Canon lens.  Could be difficult and embarrassing in front of a client.  Sigma did replace a chip on a prior lens for $100, but tsk-tsk, should NEVER be needed.  Sorry.  A slap in the face to charge to fix a clear defect even if several years down the line.  SORRY, WE MARRY THE LENSES AND DATE THE CAMERA BODIES!

Anticipated benefits:
6. Contrast / Sharpness / Less flare.  To be tested in the coming weeks.  Stay Tuned.  No disappointment in the first card or the Sam Adams.  Now to use under challenging conditions.


Thursday, July 28, 2011

More SIGMA Lens Problems on Canon DSLRs

Error 99 is a well known issue with SIGMA lenses on Canon cameras.  Cost me about $100 to fix that one from disabling my Rebel using the Sigma 35 - 200 due to a bad lens chip.

I was out shooting Manhattan recently with my 50D and Sigma 18-200mm and found that it was "HIJACKED."  By that I mean, uable to change the shutter speed in Tv mode, unable to change the shutter speed in M mode, unable to see shutter speed in Av mode.

Thinking I was having to send the camera back for repair, the Error 99 experience made me suspect the lenses.  I put on the Sigma 50 1.4 and no change.  I then put on my Canon 70-200 EF IS and VOILA - the problem was FIXED!  Each time I turned off the camera and turned it back on again to "Reboot."

So I am suspect of the combination and reliability of Sigmas lenses with Canon cameras.  After the Canon lens fix, I tried my Sigma 18-200mm and it worked again, but for how long.  We will see how Sigma responds.

 Here is my Midtown view from my Night Gallery using my Canon 70-200mm.

I am serously considering either of the following:
Canon 24-70mm EF L f 2.8  or the Canon EF L f/4 24 - 105.  Neither is ideal for APS-C size Sensor as has been outlined in previous posts by this author.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


Long Lenses are critical if you are a bird or wildlife photographer.  There is no using a point and shoot with a 140 mm equivalent zoom lens.  A minimum 400-500 mm is required.  OK.  However, a picture is worth a thousand words.  Check out the current lineup of Focal length by manufacturer and their prices.  What is wrong with this picture?

The prices are from B&H today but the exact pricing is not important.  The BIG RED HOLE above is the gap that is the elephant in the room and NO ONE IS TALKING ABOUT IT.

What this says, is that if you want a 600 or 800 mm 5.6 lens, you must spend over $8000!

I am using a Canon 70-200 2.8 L with a 2x extender.  The resulting 400mm 5.6 beats my 170-500 Sigma hands down, never mind the image stabilization.  I pushed the extremes and equipped the Sigma 5.6 with a Sigma 2X converter and have a rarely used 1000mm f/11 manual focus dreadful, unsharp compromise.  Autofocus requires f/5.6 or better.

Now, why must we spend $8000 for a decent 600 mm?  Do market forces dictate so little demand for the lenses and the expense of manufacturing so high, dictate that nothing decent can be had for say $2500?

Here is a challenge for long lens manufacturers, Canon, Nikon, Sigma, and Tamron to come up with a single focal length 600 mm  IS 5.6 lens that does not break the bank.

Here is my T-Shirt design shot with my Canon telephoto from a safe distance.

See my bear gallery shot with various long lenses.


Funny you should post on this. Just yesterday, I noted with some dismay that the Canon 500/4 now costs more than $9k. Not so long ago, the previous version (the $9k is for a "II" model) was less than $5k.

The dollar has depreciated against the yen. Many costs are up. But few of us who actually try to make a living with such glass have been flourishing.

After years of limping with a Canon 300/4 IS and Canon teleconverters, I found a great, open-box deal last year on one of the few well-built, off-brand 300/2.8s remaining on the market. It's surprisingly good, even with the Canon 1.4x. And the 2X combo is fairly practical.

Certainly, I would like to have the white 500/4, 400/2.8 or even the 400/4 DO. But I simply don't see a business plan to support owning any of them - let alone a 600/4. I guess Canon figures safari-addicted doctors and lawyers will pay for the arm candy. Perhaps they figure that if the price is higher it will draw more conspicuous consumers.

Certainly there's more profit in such folks than in pros struggling to make more for less in the digital age.

-- greg smith;


I don't think any manufacturer is going make a fixed f5.6 400mm, 500mm, etc. at a lower than $3K price.

Reason being they don't NEED to......

Between SI (Sports Illustrated) type photogs and the remaining news services (plus the well heeled customer "Hobbyist" shooters) they will sell whatever limited numbers they produce. At a decent profit I'm sure, too.

Lens rental places will buy them and make oodles of money for the "one safari of a lifetime" folks who need that lens on a once in a lifetime type trip.

I haven't bought a lens over 300mm EVER.........Especially only owning 1.6X crop type dSLR bodies.

It's similar to the tiny world of UW shooter lamenting about new EVIL cameras with APS-C sensors and interchangeable lenses in smaller bodies. It would be GREAT if these took off meaning a lighter smaller housing to travel with.

But a conversation I had with a photo industry friend the other day spells it out...........

I cried "Why isn't my beloved Canon announced one yet?"  

If you read the rumors sites neither Canon nor Nikon are rushing to bring one out and compete with Sony NEX-5 or other models like the Olympus E-PL2, a few other Panasonic and the like...

The MAIN reason, they don't HAVE to.

They're already tooled up to produce a few hundred thousand (close to a million?) each of lower end dSLR cameras (such as the newest Canon Rebel T3i) the Nikon D3100 and other various priced models. They also can then sell you lenses, flashes, accessory grips, etc.

Right now look how cheap a dSLR is that take astounding pics at higher ISOs than1-2 generations ago. So "fast" lenses aren't needed as much for 99% of dSLR owners.

YES, for isolation you need to vary your technique but it isn't that hard with even a moderate zoom variable aperture lens like a f4-5.6.

I routinely shoot my Canon 60D at ISO 400 - 800 and higher.

Awhile ago I thought the low priced dSLR would die soon.

Now I'm not so sure.....

    David Haas


DATA POINT:  Unfortunately,  major lens rental places IN NYC don't seem to have 600mm or above for rent AT ALL last time I looked Anyone please prove me wrong, there may be a business opportunity here to rent 600mms in NYC.


Monday, November 29, 2010

CANON Error 99

Error 99 is a common error with Canon D-SLR cameras that reminds me of the "Check Engine" light on your car's dashboard.  Its meaning is cryptic and literally could have MULTIPLE causes.

We got hit with it while traveling in Greece.  Cameras never fail in the closet you know.  Turns out the culprit was a Sigma 35-200mm lens whose electronics had given up the ghost.

The error appears intermittently which is maddening since it make diagnosis difficult.  Sometimes it was "cured" for a moment by shutting off the camera and turning it back on.  Other times this was a fools errand and didn't work.

I tried the lens on another body and sure enough, it produced the error, so back to Sigma went the lens.  It cost around $100 to fix, so be prepared for that.  Other web posts had said that the repairs were pro-bono, but that was not my case.

Check out this site for additional causes.

Shot with my Sigma 18-200mm in Santorini Greece. Shot in Fira looking toward Oia.  I was literally sick as a dog but had to get the shot.  Click here to see more of Greece.

Saturday, November 13, 2010


This is a follow up to a previous post on the same subject.  I love Canon Products.  I am a part of Canon Professional Services (CPS).  They don't favor their APS-C shooters.  I think much of the lens line is redundant and the third party manufacturers like SIGMA are taking a similar stance.  We need innovation beyond the 18-200mm do-it-all & nothing f/5.6 travel lens.

Here is the case.  I shoot a variety of subjects.  Some on land, some underwater.  Some WIDE and some needing TELEPHOTO and MACRO.  On land, I find it easy to carry two cameras to cover a wide range of subjects but the current Canon lineup of lenses isn't wide enough to fill the bill.  I was weaned with a Vivitar 20mm lens in my hand on my old screw-mount Pentax Spotmatic.  That is about a 90 degree field of view.

90 degree wide allows an extra measure of perspectivie and creativity without fisheye distortion.  For APS-C, taking into account the 1.5 magnification factor, that means lenses in the 12- 13 mm range.  1.5 x 13 = 19.5mm which is about 20mm.  EVERY MILIMETER COUNTS. However, for APS-C, Canon only has the 10-22 EF-S.  ALL THE REST start are woefully inadequate like the closest Canon 15-85 3.5-5.6 IS USM.  15mm =  22.5 in APS-C terms.  But it isn't enough.

I want L (Flourite) glass that Canon produces for full frame sensors.  I want a 2.8 Lens, not 5.6. The popular 24-70 mm 2.8 L USM is the laughable equivalent of a 36mm in APS-C terms. The widest L Zoom is 16 - 35.  16mm full frame = 24mm for an APS-C or about 70 degrees at the widest.  Not good enough.  Subjects occur between 35mm and 70mm.  THREE milimeters of Focal length cuts off 20 degrees of capability / creativity for APS-C users.  Nobody has noticed.  If you have, you need get vocal to Canon.

A lens from 13mm - 70mm EF-S 2.8 L would be the perfect solution to accompany a 70 - 200 EF 2.8 L.  Subjects occur between 35mm and 70mm.  Encourage the rumor.  I invite your comments.  Part 3 will talk about the huge gap in Canon telephoto lenses.

Shot with my really sharp Tokina 10-18 Fisheye.  Stock photo available for sale at ALAMY.

Saturday, July 10, 2010


Back in April, posted a poll asking readers to vote for one of eight lenses they listed.  I disagreed with the candidates listed at:

I followed up with the comment below.  What are your thoughts?  SIGMA - How do you see the market?

I think the poll is wrong. I like to shoot with two APS-C bodies. My long lens is the 70-200 2.8 IS L. I have been campaigning for Canon to make a COMPLEMENT that starts at 95degrees. This would be about the equivalent of a 15-70 2.8 L Lens. Does any one agree? The current "L"stable is all designed for full frame.

The spider below was shot at night on Staten Island with my Canon 70-200 2.8 L with a 2X extender at effectively 310mm using flash.  Click here to see more of my INSECTS & SPIDERS Gallery.