Saturday, May 24, 2008

New Lens - Sigma 30mm 1.4

Ahhhh... depth of field. So I picked up a new lens for my Nikon D40, a Sigma 30mm 1.4 prime. This is the only fast prime lens that has auto focus that works on the D40. I really love the type of shots that this lens can produce... but it's a challenge. If you shoot something up close, at 1.4, only a few cm of stuff is going to be in focus. This can be great if you manage to get something that is really important in focus. On the other hand, things with a lot of detail won't look to good. Please give me any constructive criticism on using a fast prime lens (directed at Aaron and Todd, apparently the only people with SLR cameras who read my blog).

On the right, the origami rat's hand is in focus, but nothing else really is. Somtimes just some creative cropping can help.

This one didn't look good full size, since only the dragon's wing was in focus. But if I crop it so that the wing takes up a large amount of space, it becomes a good one.

As you can see, not a lot in focus. I know the shot is too busy on the left, but I like the look of the paper cranes.

Because no one has ever taken a depth of field shot of books before.

Graffiti on a tree in English looks like vandalism, but if it's written in Kanji characters, somehow it looks mystical.

I'm loving the 1.4!

My favorite types of shots, and what I'd like to improve, with this lens, are wide-ish portrait shots and "everyday" life shots, like the picture above. The challenge with portrait shots, I think, is to get the eyes in focus. Doesn't matter on the rest, usually it looks good with the neck down blurry. With everyday shots, it's about capturing the moment.

--Note about Origami--

I had been wanting to go to the Origami House Gallery for the past 2 years. Check it out if you are really into origami. The buzz of my visit was kind of killed though, when I asked about a piece I saw. It was a crane with human looking arms and legs, totally something that should be fighting against Power Rangers. The guy working there told me they were sold out of the book that referenced it. I asked if he knew how to make it. He said yes. I asked if he could teach me. He said no. But the way he said it was kind of cocky like. Reminded me of the way comic book shop owners are. Why is my comic book collection from only couple of months in 1990? Cause homey at the local shop yelled at 12 year old me when I couldn't find an issue of Ghost Rider I wanted. True story.

For the record, I gots mad skills at the origami.


David said...

You might find the best results with the prime lens are shooting in the f/2.0-2.5 range. Like you have noted it is often difficult to get a good focus at f/1.4. Slightly increasing the aperture still gives you background blur and a reasonable shutter speed in low light.

Aaron said...

Awesome shots man. You can really see the great effects from this lens. I'm itching to buy one now.

I'm not familiar with the prime lenses myself. Have you tried using manual focus to maybe adjust the detail of the subject at close range? Is there a lot of flexibility in that?

Ramen Adventures said...

You can nudge the manual dial on this lens without being in manual mode, so it's really easy to fine tune. But sometimes that tiny little viewfinders is hard to deal with...

Martin J Frid said...

I like the photos, but the food you are having looks even better!

Great site.

thegypsie said...

Thanks for sharing the origami link. I am so-so at it, I really like modular pieces. People say I am good but I have seen so much better.