Archive for January 20th, 2005

Two new lenses

I have recently ordered three Sigma EX Pro zoom lenses. The zooms are as follows. The mm size are given without brackets, and the figures within brackets are the sizes they become having been fitted to my digital SLR.

A wide Ange f4.5-f5.6 zoom, 12mm-24mm (18mm-36mm); a standard f2.8 zoom, 24mm-70mm (36mm-105mm) and a telephoto f2.8 APO zoom, 70mm-200mm (105mm-300mm). This will give me an uninterrupted range of 18mm-300mm with three excellent professional quality lenses. Two of them at very wide aperatures indeed.

The wide angle and the telephoto zooms arrived this morning and I immediately took them out to have a play… err I mean, test them. The standard zoom won’t be available with the Minolta fitting until mid February but I am not too unhappy about that. I would have been if it was one of the other two though.

I have to thank Steve, and the Bristol Camera Centre. The former for his helpfulness and the latter for extremely competitive prices!

Chez Nous- East Finchley – 18mm with flash but cropped. – photo by Andrew Taylor

I tested the wide angle zoom first. A friend had asked me to photograph his no smoking area in his restaurant as he wants to put a picture on his menu. (It’s rather hidden away and he feels he loses customers because of this.)

The above photograph was taken with flash, and then tightly cropped so as to appear large on the menu. I had taken about twenty and this was the one that would look best when reduced to about 1″ x 1.5″.

This lens was heavy, as far as wide-angle zooms go – 14 ounces just for the lens! But with the anti-shake on the D7 I should be able to hand-hold it easily at 1.30th of a second.

I then played around with the telephoto zoom – well, tested it really! This really was a beast – 44 ounces. That is two pounds 12 ounces or, for our foreign friends, 1.23 kilos. There is no way I could hand-hold this unless on a sunny day. I didn’t want to hike a tripod around so it was off to Jessops for a monopod. And it had to be a good sturdy one to take that weight. I chose a Manfrotto as I have their tripod and like it.

I had been asked to photograph Lord Pearson at City Hall this week. He as giving a speech which was anti-EU so I said I’d take the photographs without charge. Well, you know what I feel about this undemocratic, British hating rabble! 😉

Chris Pratt UKIP Activist – 300mm with flash – photo by Andrew Taylor

In the end, I decided to take and use a tripod as, indoors, the lens, at 44 ozs, is a little prone for camera shake, even using an antishake camera and I felt a monopod may have been awkward and not as effective. If I were closer I could have used the flash on HSS and increased the speed to about a 500th of a second. As it was I had to use a slower speed.

I can’t wait for Sigma to fit up their 24mm-70mm (36mm-105mm) f2.8 EX lens with a Minolta fitting. This is due out mid Feb so at least another three weeks with a gaping hole inb my coverage!

How come I managed to get flashlight to go so far? The Dynax D7 has ISO switching between 100 and 3200. I had set the ISO for 1600 for this evening as, up to that speed, the Minolta firmware seems to cope admirably.


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