A single SIGMA 50mm F1.4 DG HSM | Art lens started an unplanned chain reaction that revolutionized my photography and style of image forever. I have been a professional photographer all my life, now passing on my photography and post-processing knowledge on digital photography workshops all over the world. I had heard of the reputation of the SIGMA | Art series lenses, but it was not until a workshop in Germany that I saw the reality for the first time when my workshop client was using one.
My jaw dropped at the quality and sharpness of the image I was looking at. The sharpness was mind-blowing. I was looking at the edge to edge sharpness with no colour aberrations; quality and clarity I had dreamed of all my life. Quality, I thought could only be achieved using expensive medium format equipment. On my return to the UK, I bought the SIGMA 50mm F1.4 DG HSM | Art lens literally the next day; it changed my work forever.
Now the dilemma that changed everything for me was when I had to plan for my workshop in Paris, France. I decided to take my usual range of lenses along with my new SIGMA 50mm F1.4 DG HSM | Art. I was in love with the quality of the SIGMA 50mm | Art lens but didn’t feel I could shoot everything I needed, such as buildings, with only this lens. I also didn’t want to sacrifice the sharpness and detail that I knew it delivered by using my wider, non-SIGMA lens instead. So I decided my only solution was to put image quality first! I would shoot multiple images crudely hand-held and then stitch the images and not worry about it until my return home. When that time came I was impressed as the results were incredible. I then really thought about the possibilities of this new combination of capturing images for sharpness and stitching them together as a long time solution. I realized I was getting as sharp, possibly even sharper images than I would if I was shooting with a medium format digital back. Plus I was getting larger files and it was all done without the enormous cost involved with the use of medium format digital backs. This new method proved to be the perfect combination!
However, two problems remained. First was correcting perspective distortion on architecture; I love architecture, old and new but want the verticals, to be vertical. Secondly, stitching took a seriously long time, often over an hour. Then I tested PTGui software for stitching and it took seconds to do what other software takes minutes, even hours to complete. Most importantly the projections proved it could also correct the perspective with very minimal change in image quality. Refining the whole process to perfection, I then invested in a panoramic head to shoot multiple line panoramic images and added a SIGMA 85mm F1.4 DG HSM | Art lens to my collection to use when I needed the longer focal length or wanted to create an even larger file. Adding this lens to my collection provided me with everything I needed to create the images I have always dreamed of for many years; large yet ultra-sharp images with perfect perspective correction, all overlaid with my artistic painterly style of post-processing.
My work has evolved thanks to that single purchase and incredible quality of the SIGMA 50mm F1.4 DG HSM | Art lens. The quality of this lens helped me to design my photography workflow which now includes shooting multiple frames of 15 to 50 images that are stitched together to create files up to 60inch x 80inch print resolution or larger with incredible quality. This method produces images that are full of rich tone, light, mood and drama which this lens helps to create. I love the contrast of the sharpness of a photograph against the artistic feel of a painting or the clean graphic lines of black and white architecture. The SIGMA | Art series of lenses have transformed the quality of my photography and have enabled me to shoot architectural subjects in a way that I have always wanted. They have created new opportunities that revolutionized my whole approach to taking pictures.
All the images shown here were taken on two workshops taught by David in Prague and Valencia. Visit David’s website below to learn more about the workshop or if you wish to learn more about his process and post-production techniques. The website also shows many before and after Photoshop editing images.