50-100mm F1.8 DC HSM | Art Impression
"For something that has never been created before"
The high-performance F1.8 constant zoom lens symbolizes SIGMA's frontier spirit.
Since SIGMA had released the 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM | Art, I had a feeling that they would release a lens with the focal length around the one of this lens. Even though they can use a smaller image circle of APS-C format, it must have been quite difficult to achieve the constant maximum F-number of 1.8 and the ratio of 2X tells the difficulty. With the angle of view roughly equivalent to a 75mm-150mm (multiplied by 1.5) lens on a full frame camera, this lens takes the position of the 70-200mm F2.8 which is also known as a “portrait zoom lens.” Perhaps, only the 85mm F1.4 has a diameter larger than this lens does. The ratio is just 2X, but it gives a freedom of angle of view. And, I believe that the value of this lens is not just the “F1.8 constant” because I knew I would realize many other essential values once I used it in the field.
Captivating prime-lens-level rendition throughout the focal length range stimulates the creative mind.
Even non-professionals can imagine that it’s harder to design a zoom lens than it is to design a fixed-focal lens. As digital cameras require higher basic lens performance, there exist some zoom lenses that perform almost as good as fixed-focal lenses. Yet, I feel they are “somewhat” different from each other. I may sound ideological, but I believe fixed-focal lenses can express richness in texture, or something like charms. But, I found the images taken with this zoom lens have the charms. It gives “the thrill” that we feel every time we see the output. In this article, I’d like to talk about it along with some sample images taken in different situations.
The thin depth of field at F1.8 maximum aperture completely changes everyday shots.
The aperture is F1.8 throughout the focal length range and the minimum focus distance is shorter than 1m. So if you simply get close up to the minimum focus distance opening up the lens, you can take shots that you had never taken before. And of course it’s possible because of the high performance that bears with it.
Instead of making a big deal with using a reflector board, I took a simple and straightforward approach by shooting it wide open using the available light. Then, I broke into a smile looking at the monitor.
When I was younger, I couldn’t afford the 70-200mm F2.8 lens and all I could do was looking at it through the show window reproachfully. Instead, I got a 50mm F1.4 because I just wanted to try all kinds of lens and it became my first prime lens. It was cheap (which is important) and had the maximum F-number that I hadn’t experienced before. Of course, I was moved by the large bokeh. But, I was most shocked by the clarity of another dimension. This F1.8 constant zoom lens reminds me of the rendition I had experienced with my first prime lens. It’s just like several F1.8 primes are coupled. It is free from issues wide open and shoots things just as they are. In other words, it improves the purity level of taking photography. What do I mean by a lens that shoots things as they are? It renders the clear light clearly just as it is. And, it captures the stagnation of air if there is. Just like an old lens, a lens can be interesting because of “haphazard rendition” realized by residual aberration. Just like this lens, on the other hand, a lens can satisfy the users’ expectations by honing the fundamental performance.
The maximum F-number is a performance and a choice by itself. There’s a world only F1.8 can draw and it has a power to change photography completely.
I shot with an intension of shooting the spirit of the lady holding a cup of coffee under the chilly sky, instead of her self in a physical sense. If there’s a noticeable residual aberration wide open, rendition becomes unpredictable particularly when the light delivery is poor. This is why I took this shot and the result proved that this lens does more than “capturing.”
Shooting cars wide open
to check how the sharpness at wide open works to capture their aura
Rendition is never hard, but sharp wide open and completely free from ambiguity. I shot it wide open to see how the lens character works for car shots. Although it’s theoretically wrong to shoot cars wide open, I wanted to capture the peripheral of their edge lines in order to visualize their image coming back to the owners’ brain after seeing them, instead of tracing their shapes by stopping it down. The rendition of the shining pane, press lines, and edges is wonderful.
The half portion of the car is out of the frame. When I use such a composition, I’d shoot wide open in order to emphasize its presence and to create the mood as if it were about to move. I focused on the door mirror. If the rendition were ambiguous, I don’t think I could shoot this way. If you’re a car enthusiast, you may want to shoot it like this.
Using thin depth of field in a real situation
to study how sharply it isolates mid-distance subjects when it’s set to wide open
I’d like you to click each image to display them at original size. Even though the subjects are far away from the minimum focus distance, they look extremely sharp. And of course you can get large bokeh if you zoom in completely, open it to the largest aperture, and focus to around the minimum focus distance. But, I’m addicted to shoot mid-distance subjects because the sharp focal plane lets me take full advantage of the large diameter of F1.8.
Rendition is so clear just like the one shot with the 300mm F2.8. I have an impression that we can get such a superb result only from the very best lenses. Meanwhile, SIGMA makes cameras featuring the Foveon sensor that challenges the competence of lens developers and even their MTF measuring instruments have it. This means that the lens was developed and improved under the toughest environment. As a result, users can get a lens with a guaranteed outstanding performance.
F1.8 broadens your horizon and improves image quality in every way.
Thanks to the F1.8 speed, you can not only take a whole new approach but also use short-telephoto focal length in any situation. Some people may assimilate this extremely high-performance lens to an honor student who is tasteless and boring. But, I believe they are a little presumptuous because the performance of SIMGA’s new product line lenses is not just high, but exceptionally high and above the dimension of other lenses. As I mentioned in the beginning, this lens is best described as a lens that shoots things just as they are. And, it’s the lens that the developers had earnestly desired to make it come true. This lens is like a courser. It’s a racehorse that runs (generate outputs) the way the equestrian wants (input). Don’t get me wrong but I even think it captures the passion of the photographer as intended. And, I know the very best tools always have such nature. I stopped it down to shoot the last image. The camera I used for this test was the SD1 Merrill. I also look forward to shooting it with the newborn sd Quattro/sd Quattro H just announced.