It’s all about the lens – Greg McCall-Peat

When it comes to photography, there has always been the debate as to what the most important piece of equipment actually is. Is it the camera or the lens? Can one have the best top of the range camera body and a mediocre lens and still take breath taking, award winning images, the answer is more than likely yes. Would you need to do a lot more post process editing on your images? once again the answer will be yes.

You see the lens is where the magic happens, where image sharpness, clarity and colours are either made or lost when taking a photo. For many years I personally used lenses that were by no means top of the range and always thought my images were good enough. They were sharp and in my mind that was all I needed. That was until I got the opportunity to use the new Sigma 150-600mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM Sport lens.

It was with this lens that I really saw a huge difference in my photos. Suddenly I had pin sharp images, with vibrant colours and a clarity I had never seen before. I had always thought if anything was failing me with my photography it was my slightly outdated camera body, but this lens proved me wrong. Comparing my photos from my previous lens to my current photos I get with the 150-600mm, the older photos almost look hazy, this was something I didn’t notice until I used the new lens.

Greg-mcall-peat-03-05-2016-0579Sigma 50-500mm, shot at F/5, ISO 320 1/500s- note the haze.

Greg-mcall-peat-03-05-2016-0566Sigma 150-600mm, shot at F/5 ISO 320 1/320s

There is no comparison between the two lenses, sure with a bit of editing the older lens will produce an image equal to that of the newer one, but when it comes to photography you don’t want to have to edit photos too much. The photo you take should be good enough that minimal editing is required and that is what you get with a higher quality lens.

A lot too can be said about the focal range, there is a huge difference between being limited to 300, 400 or even 500mm. When out on a safari like I often am, there are many times where you wish to be just that little bit closer and that is another benefit of the incredible reach of the 150-600mm, it allows you to get close up to your subject without actually being that close, too often it happens that you want to get a photo of a Lilac breasted roller and you move closer and it flies away before you get your shot off. To use a lens that that has a lot of different options when it comes to focal range is always a benefit, you don’t want to have to be changing lenses in the moment potentially missing an opportunity.

What really astounded me was that even at 600mm the sharpness of my images was mind blowing, with many of my photos you can almost count individual hairs of the animal I have photographed. It is not often where you come across a lens that gives you this kind of quality at the upper reaches of the focal range that isn’t a fixed focal length lens, making the 150-600mm just that much more impressive.

Greg-mcall-peat-03-05-2016-0321How many hairs does a leopard coat have? Shot at 600mm F6.3 1/320s ISO 800 

Greg-mcall-peat-03-05-2016-1078The crispness of the photo accentuates the intensity of this male lions stare. Shot at 600mm F6.3 1/160s ISO 500

 The lens is also extremely fast when focusing, this is also all important when wanting to capture that potential once in a lifetime photograph. You can have a camera that takes 10 frames per second but that means nothing when you can’t focus. There is nothing worse than struggling to focus on a subject and missing a moment, however with the Sigma 150-600mm you just don’t have that worry and you can literally focus on getting the shots you want.

 

Here is a selection of images I have taken with the Sigma Global vision 150-600mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM sports lens:

Greg-mcall-peat-03-05-2016-

Greg-mcall-peat-03-05-2016-1180

Greg-mcall-peat-03-05-2016-1380

Greg-mcall-peat-03-05-2016-1385

Greg-mcall-peat-03-05-2016-1400

Greg-mcall-peat-03-05-2016-2168

So in conclusion, my perspective on the great debate of camera bodies vs lenses I would have to say that the most valuable piece of photographic equipment is indeed the lens, and you cant go wrong with the new range of Sigma global vision lenses. With my substandard camera body equipped with the 150-600mm I find my photography coming on in leaps and bounds and so will yours.