Is your Blinkered Mindset Limiting your Photographic Expansion?

By Sigma ambassador Rudi Hulshof
As camera enthusiasts, we are bombarded by reviews and spend hours on the internet scrolling through specifications and sample images taken with the lens that we are interested in buying.

The “lens haze” descends, and we are sold on the most expensive, out of this world lens, that eventually becomes, just a dream. We promote the incredible capabilities of this lens, rattling off specifications to all those that are willing to listen to our “knowledge”. We defend certain brands, and highlight their advantages, while convincing ourselves and others not to choose x over y because of its obvious shortcomings.

I agree that there are many factors to take into consideration when making the choice of which lens to buy, but as we say, “Horses for Courses”. So take your needs into consideration, and do not be blinded by what I refer to above as a “Blinkered Mindset”

I was prompted to write this blog post by what I would like to respectfully call, un-informed comments and opinions that I have read over a period of time on Social Media posts that I have placed online, highlighting the incredible image quality consistantly delivered by my Sigma Global Vision 150-600mm DG OS HSM Sports lens. These opinions are, in my opinion, short sighted. Let me tell you why I think so:

Comments such as
“It is a slow lens and not as fast as a f2.8”
“It needs good light”
“Cannot be used in low light”

These opinions lack lateral thinking, and bear with me as I explain:

Many of the camera enthusiast or amateurs tend to misunderstand terms often used when reading about lens capabilities. They take the lens specifications into consideration, without factoring in the total package, ie: Camera Body, Memory Card speed, Subject and Activity.

When we speak of a fast or a slow lens, those unfamiliar with these terms will take the statement at face value and believe it is in reference to the speed at which the lens focuses. This is a total misunderstanding.

A fast lens is called fast when it has a Large maximum aperture, one of say f2.8. A Slow lens is one that has a Small maximum aperture, say f11. The results are that with a fast lens, one can still take images at a faster shutter speed at lower light readings than with a slow lens.

An example would be taking the same photograph with a similar focal length. At f2.8, the shutter speed may be 1/500s, with a slower lens, set at f4, the shutter speed will drop to 1/250. This results in the chance of lens blur or motion blur being more of a possibility with the slower lens.

With this in mind, the comments I mentioned earlier may have a semblance of truth, but as already mentioned, lack an understanding of the total sum of the package at your disposal.

20 years ago, before the advent of the DSLR camera, we only had film cameras at our disposal. To enter competitions, or to have images published, was really only possible by using the fastest film available which did not produce Film Grain. The various brands were rated by an ASA measurement, similar to todays ISO. Taking a photo with anything more than a roll of 400 ASA film made succesful smooth toned images virtually impossible. A fast lens was thus invaluable, allowing photographs to be taken at lower light, while still having a roll of ASA 50/100/200 loaded in the camera.

Along came the Digital era, and suddenly we had the ability to change the values of the ISO whilst shooting. This meant as the light started dropping, we could dial in a new ISO setting, to ensure that our shutter speeds remained fast enough to capture a sharp image.

As with all tech, improvements are constantly being made, and the first Pro-Grade DSLR bodies (let’s use Canon as an example) had what we NOW see as limitations.

Launched in 2001 the Canon EOS 1D was the first Pro Grade Camera Body, it came with a “huge” 4MP sensor. The ISO ranged from 200-1600 but was expandable to 3200. A negative effect of using higher ISO values was what we refer to as NOISE (grain / colour spots on the image), similar to grain in film cameras.

Over time, the ISO values have been increased, and so has the ability to take photos at higher ISO without the visible effect of Noise. The most recent Canon Pro Body to be released, the Canon 1Dx Mk II, has an ISO range of 100-51200 with an expandable range up to 409600.

With that all being said, when I hear somebody question the slower lenses, like the 150-600mm Sigma Global Vison range at f6.3, I just shake my head and wonder why people do not think laterally, and get out of the rut where the false belief is that anything over 400 ISO will lead to a unusable image. You are missing out on a phenomenal lens, simply by forgetting that technology has allowed you the benefit of being able to increase your ISO without sacrificing image quality, when needing faster shutter speeds.

Camera technology is making the Sigma Global Vision 150-600mm f6.3 DG OS HSM lenses the go to lens for thousands of amateurs, enthusiasts and professionals alike. It is one of the most versatile zoom lenses available on the market, and perfectly suited for Sports, Action and Wildlife photography. By simply setting your camera correctly, you will enjoy years of incredible images and not be limited by having no zoom, as is the case with the 600mm f4 prime lenses available at more than 9 TIMES the price of the Sigma.

Below is a selection of images I have taken with the Sigma Global Vision 150-600mm f6.3 DG OS HSM Sports lens, and as can be seen, giving up on the Large aperture, certainly does not lead to a loss of quality or that dreamy Depth of Field either. All images were taken at varying ISO levels, all at full 600mm, and either at f6.3 or f7.1, and chosen to show that a smooth Depth of Field is possible with a small aperture of f6.3 and f7.1.

Make the move and get the ultimate lens now.