I’ve been fortunate enough to visit and stay on Skomer Island many times, from filming with the BBC Natural History Unit to guiding with Wildlife Worldwide – visiting the island is always exciting and never ceases to amaze me. This summer I was able to visit three times and on one of the visits, I focused on photography while also guiding. Armed with the latest SIGMA 60-600mm F4.5-6.3 DG OS HSM | Sports, SIGMA 14-24mm F2.8 DG HSM | Art, SIGMA 24-70mm F2.8 DG OS HSM | Art and the SIGMA 70-200mm F2.8 DG OS HSM | Sports, I had a pretty complete set up to help get a variety of shots.
The SIGMA 60-600mm | Sports is so versatile and offers a surprising level of image quality for a ten times zoom, even when used on a Canon 5DSR with a 50mp sensor, the detail retained with this lens was excellent. This was the only thing I wanted to check before moving on my SIGMA 150-600mm | Sports to replace it with this wider offering. For both my stills and film work, that extra 90mm on the wide end makes a huge difference when covering a scene quickly. Combine that with the very good optical stabiliser and nice balance with an SLR for handholding and you have a fantastic walking around combo for many nature scenarios.
A nice surprise was the close focusing distance when shooting at 200mm, the joy of working with puffins on Skomer is that generally, distance is a problem which means you can get some nice detailed portraits.
SIGMA F2.8 Pro Trio
The weather for this particular trip wasn’t very good and I was very thankful to have these faster zooms with me. The SIGMA 70-200mm | Sports got a lot of use, offering a near-perfect focal range for Skomer. The autofocus tracked these very nippy birds in flight as they landed to feed their chicks. The resolution and build quality of this lens were really impressive and made me forget about my beloved SIGMA 120-300mm F2.8 DG OS HSM | Sports lens which I opted to leave at home. Being significantly lighter meant that I could follow more birds in flight handheld for a longer period.
Although the SIGMA 24-70mm | Art and SIGMA 14-24mm | Art didn’t get as much use because of the overcast conditions, making the otherwise grand scenics look a little bland. They are assets to the kit bag, allowing for any scenario to be covered fully. I like placing animals within their environments which these lenses, in particular, we’re able to do.
If I had to travel super light with just one camera and two lenses for a wildlife story it would be the SIGMA 24-70mm | Art and the SIGMA 60-600mm | Sports, giving me enormous range and flexibility.
All of the lenses offer great image quality, weather sealing (which is pretty important for me), very fast tracking autofocus, true manual focus for filming work and except the SIGMA 14-24mm | Art, optical stabilisation. Making them fantastic lenses for hybrid shooters like me that ideally want lenses suitable for both film and photography work.
I’m very much looking forward to taking these on many assignments in the future.