Andrew Morgan shares his experience with the Sigma 24-35mm F2 DG HSM | Art

This is my first real blog post and I thought a good place to start would be the end of 2015. It was a pretty exciting time, I got nominated into the top 10 wedding photographers in the “Admired in Africa” awards at the Photo film expo in Joburg and although I didn’t get any direct prizes from the competition, I was given the new Sigma 24 – 35mm F2 DG HSM | Art from Sigma to take back to Zanzibar and put through its paces.

Sigma 24-35mm f2 ArtSigma 24-35mm F2 DG HSM | Art

 

© Andrew Morgan Photography© Andrew Morgan Photography

After having fallen in love with the Sigma 18-35 f1.8 when I was first made an ambassador, I was super excited to try this beauty out. When it came out, the 18-35 was the fastest zoom lens ever made and I believe the best standard zoom lens for a crop frame camera. This lens is still on my crop camera at all weddings I shoot! There are a few reasons I love this lens, firstly and maybe this isn’t that important to most people, but it’s the way it feels. This lens feels like quality. It’s solid, you know it’s going to be able to handle a heavy workflow and for wedding, street, documentary and travel photographers, that’s what you want, something you know isn’t going to let you down. A big thing for me, spending a lot of my time on a humid island and shooting around water and on powder soft sand beaches, is weather sealing! I have had lenses from all sorts of brands and they all inevitably start to get fungus. After 2 years with the 18-35Art lens and the weather sealing has held up against the elements. No lens has ever lasted this long without getting fungus inside.

© Andrew Morgan Photography© Andrew Morgan Photography

The other great benefit on the physical aspect of this lens is the zoom and focus rings, super smooth nice big rings that are comfortable to use. With a lot of people dabbling in shooting video these days, the 18-35 is a solid choice because of its epic low light capability, the silky smooth manual focusing capability with the nice big focus ring and stunning bokeh you get with that fast aperture. What keeps it on my camera at weddings though, is its versatility. At 18mm on a crop body that’s roughly the equivalent of a full frame at 27/28mm depending on your camera brand. So although that’s not very wide, it’s certainly wide enough for most needs. But zooming it in to 35mm and you’ve got yourself pretty much the standard 50mm full frame aspect… A great focal length for standard portraits and those nice full body shots of a bride and groom at the altar. I shoot the majority of my work on this lens at f3.5 and it is consistently sharp and in focus, again, if you’re looking for reliability, you just can’t go wrong. What makes this lens even greater though, is that it’s got a really close focusing distance, so although it’s not macro, I can do all my detail shots like the rings and jewelry with this lens. In fact I love this lens so much that it is the reason I still keep a crop sensor camera in my bag for wedding shoots…

With all that said, you can imagine my excitement at getting the new Sigma 24-35mm f2 Art. Following the trend set by the 18-35, the 24-35 is released as the fastest ever full frame zoom lens at just f2. There was so much I was looking forward to with this lens. I wanted something to take me a little wider, as I’m shooting a lot of hotels and lodges at the moment and it’s quite nice to go a bit wider for some interior shots (too wide and you start to get those horrible converging verticals where the walls start bending in towards each other). At weddings and events, I also wanted something a little wider for shooting the party bits as I tend to shoot those quite loosely and having the wider angle can give a fun feeling to the shots! Another reason for being excited about going for something a little wider was that I’d also just picked up an underwater housing and wanted to have something wide enough for that. I’ve been shooting with the 24-35mm f2 on my full frame for over 2 months now and it is quickly becoming my favourite lens! Shooting landscapes, parties, environmental wedding portraits, underwater and interiors, there’s really no lens I’d rather be using. Like the 18-35, it’s got those beautiful big zoom and focus rings and is so nicely weighted and feels like pure class in your hands. You know this lens means business and it gives you confidence to have it on your camera! I can shoot this lens at f2 and be confident in getting sharp results and that’s pretty awesome!

When I shoot a wedding I’m still stuck in my ways because of a combination I trust, I wear a camera harness with two cameras, my crop camera with 18-35mm f1.8 Art and my full frame with the 70-200mm f2.8. I know with these two lenses, there is no way I’m going to miss a moment during the ceremony and important parts and I don’t need to be fumbling around trying to change lenses and miss the first kiss, because I’ve got everything covered in those two lenses, from wide to nice tight close-ups… But when the ceremony ends and the stressful bit is over, it’s the 24-35 f2 that finds itself on my full frame for those beautiful big environmental portraits and fun party shots!

 © Andrew Morgan Photography© Andrew Morgan Photography

Shooting hotels and lodges, the 24-35 f2 has an almost permanent place in my hands except when I want to get a bit closer and I’ll go for the 50mm f1.4 Art. I find the 24-35 the perfect lens for interiors, it’s not too wide that it creates a problem with converging with verticals which although they can be fixed in post, it’s really nice not to have to! The colour, clarity and sharpness you get from this beautiful piece of glass is second to none and having that big aperture means you can open the lens right up letting lots of light in and creating some great artistic shots with creamy blurred backgrounds at a nice wide angle!

With each new release, Sigma’s Global vision range sets new benchmarks and the 24-35mm f2 is certainly no exception!

 © Andrew Morgan Photography© Andrew Morgan Photography

© Andrew Morgan Photography© Andrew Morgan Photography

© Andrew Morgan Photography© Andrew Morgan Photography

© Andrew Morgan Photography© Andrew Morgan Photography

© Andrew Morgan Photography© Andrew Morgan Photography

© Andrew Morgan Photography© Andrew Morgan Photography