It’s not difficult to notice the return to film and film cameras if you have been following the photography world. Digital cameras lack the tactile experience of analog film cameras due to their electronic shutters and digital viewfinders. Sigma decided to give their Contemporary lenses a more analog feel in order to recreate that feeling. Two of those lenses were available for me to try this week:24mm f2.0And a90mm f2.8.
Let’s first discuss the specs of each lens before we dive into the vintage-like characteristics they share. The 24mm f2 lens weighs just 12.9 ounces. It is composed of 13 elements and 11 groups. It includes one FLD, two SLD lens elements and two aspherical lenses. It is a compact, but strong lens that produces sharp images from every edge. There are some aspects to consider when a 24-mm lens is handling distortion and vignetting. This lens did exceptionally well in both categories, even wide open. It is difficult to achieve shallow depth of field due to the lack of optical compression, and wide angle lenses generally have slower apertures. This 24mm lens’ large f2 aperture allows for great separation from background, without having to be very close to your subject.
The 90mm lens is the best choice if you want to separate your subject from the background. The 90 f2.8 lens produces beautiful bokeh when it’s wide open. Fast primes can be heavy and bulky so it was surprising to see how small this lens is. The lens packs 11 elements in ten groups, with five SLD elements and one aspherical element. It weighs only 10.4 ounces and is so much lighter than my 70-200 f2.8 lens. This lens is so small that you can carry it around with you all day. This focal length is great for portraits. It creates great separation from the background and flatters portrait photography. A longer lens has more optical compression than a wider lens and creates a more flatter, attractive face.
Sigma took great care to make their lenses feel as if they were from film, as I mentioned previously. Sigma has provided a manual aperture rings, which is the most important part of all this. A manual aperture ring is something I love because it makes taking photos that much more enjoyable. A great lens with a manually aperture ring can be compared to a great car with manual transmission, as I am an automotive geek as I am a photographer. It’s not the most technologically advanced or fastest option. It makes driving the car or camera more enjoyable and tactile.
Sigma clearly spent a lot time perfecting the feel of their manual focus rings. These Sigma lenses have great focus rings with long throws. I have never found myself searching for focus.
The entire lens body, hoods and mounts are entirely made of metal to complete the vintage look. All lenses in Sigmas Contemporary are much more durable than some of the plastic-like ones. These lenses feel like gear you can rely on for many years.
These lenses are part Sigma’s Contemporary collection, so they aren’t necessarily targeted at consumers looking for the best optical performance. These lenses are great for anyone who is more concerned about the art of taking photos than just the specs.