Six Months with the Sigma 105mm 1.4 Art Lens
I switched from Canon to Sony on February 16 2019, and with it I swapped my Sigma 135mm 1.8 Art for the Sigma 105mm 1.4 Art. You can read the comparison article right here if you want. But now, 6 months on.. how do I feel about my choice? Am I still happy with the heavy beast of a lens? Is it just as sharp as I wanted it? What am I using it for? How often do I shoot with it? Is it worth carting around?
In a short answer, yes, yes, everything, all the time, and yes! Hahahaha. So, I still love it just as much, if not more than I did when I bought it. It's absolutely nothing short of magical. It pretty much lives on my camera when I'm not doing ballerina photos downtown (and for that I use the equally lovely Sigma 20mm 1.4 Art). I use it for family sessions, for my fairy sessions, for kids and babies. I've even used it for shots of not-humans! It's not called the 'bokeh master' for nothing!
Part of who I am as a photographer is a soft feeling and a very shallow depth of field. I really love to have the feeling of looking through a haze or storybook. I've definitely gotten used to the weight now, though it's still pretty rough by the end of a shoot if I've been hauling it around for hours. Being in Georgia, we have a lot of scrubby undergrowth in the woods here. I can't back up very far from my subjects without getting something in between me and them. It's a bush or sticks or random trees.. something. So the 105mm keeps making me love it more because I don't have to back up as far, keeping my images cleaner.
Let's take a look at what I have used it for.
I used it to shoot page background images for my peach orchard fairy session albums. I used these to put behind a few images in the albums I designed for these shoots, which worked out really well to add a magical feeling.
I also shot a few nature images with it, though I still prefer my 70mm 2.8 Art Macro lens for most of them because I can't get as close with the 105mm. It doesn't bother me though, because it's really not meant for that.
I took pictures of a really nice sunset and a friendly garden rat. We don't get a lot of really amazing sunsets here in Georgia, and the ones we do are usually hidden by trees.
I also used it to take photos for my current blind foster kitties to help get them adopted!
Those are all great, but what about what I actually get hired and paid for.. actual portraits? Well, let's see.
Here I was standing on the same bench that the baby is sitting on, using the 105mm to shoot downward. Tack sharp eyes, but I didn't need to see the whole bench in focus.
I wanted to include this new family's backyard on their wedding day, but I didn't want it to look like a cluttered mess. Good job on f1.4! I can see the flowers ands trees without them being the focal point.
I also used it for my most in-demand limited edition sessions every year in May.. unicorns! They were even more magical this year thanks to this perfect lens! I sat 10-15 feet away from the girls for these, and I just loved all the soft shrubbery in the background. Last year I used the 135mm 1.8 for these and I had to back up a lot more (and scream to be heard) to get the same feeling.
And I think I've gotten two of the best backlit images I've gotten in the last few years. The 105mm almost picks up the hue of the light itself. Maybe it's just the humidity in Georgia, but no other lens I've shot with does this so well. No fake overlays here! The golden feel makes these images, and yet the details are still all there.
Each one of the images I've shown here (the human ones at least) was shot for my actual clients, shown to those clients, and purchased by those clients. Each of these images is either on their walls or in their albums. The soft skin, soft background, and yet sharp focus combine to make this lens utterly stunning no matter what you use it on!
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