7.11.2014

Love letter to a lens? (Chapter one).


I didn't need you. I hadn't planned on bringing you home. It just seemed to happen. Oh sure, I was messing around with micro four thirds cameras when it happened. I just spent too much money on a trio of promising, fast zoom lenses and I guess they really are nice, and have good personalities, but they lack the romance you bring to our relationship. There's just something about you single focal length types that takes me right back to my early days as a photographer.

Those were the days when zooms were the trailer trash of the camera world. Brazen thugs who could shift around into different lengths but they were mostly no good. Not the kind of lens you'd depend on when things got tough. The kind of optical system you just knew was going to leave you in the lurch the minute the smallest dollop of direct light hit his front element...

Hanging around in the camera bags they were always like, "Hey, I'm so cool. I can go from a wide shot to a tight shot and back again standing in one spot. And you," they would taunt the 50's and 105's, "all you can do is your one trick pony act."  But they always seemed to drop the ball. They'd make excuses: "what the hell do you mean 'wide open'?? I wasn't designed for wide open. Set me at f8 or don't bother taking me out of the bag!" Then there were all those embarrassing episodes with flare. And again the rationales: "Dude! I saw it in Life Magazine. Flare is cool. Flare is artistic. And watch this! I can make iris rings show up right in the middle of your photograph. I swear, I saw Ernst Haas do it...."

But those zooms mean nothing to me now.

I still remember the day I sat, bored and at the same time busy, in front of my mighty computer. I was half listening to a client on the phone and half cruising through Amazon.com's website when I came across your profile. It might have been your photo that caught my attention. Was it a selfie? At any rate it looked....enchanting. Then I read your profile and I was really interested. But the thing that made me initially fall head over heels was your price. Only $209.  I'm sure I've paid more than that for a Leica lens hood.

It was an impulsive decision. You had to be mine. I hesitated when I saw your twin sister in the silver finish but for some reason I can't explain your smooth, black exterior was too alluring.

I remember the afternoon the guy in the truck pulled up and let you out. I rushed into the studio with you in my hands and peeled you out of all those unnecessary wrappings. And there you were, naked and gleaming.  The Sigma 60mm f2.8 dn. I sighed. I was smitten.

But we were both a little shy until we went out for that big walk through downtown. Me with my hat and walking shoes, you hanging off the front of a hulky camera body. And it was magic. Over the months my regard for you has grown and, though you don't say it out loud, I think you enjoy our time together as well.

But lest all the readers think us cloying and saccharine let me take a moment to more objectively catalog your charms:

1. The 60mm focal length is really nice for tight portraits and graphic close ups with the small format cameras.

2. The lens is very sharp in the center even when its aperture is wide open. By f4 the whole thing is sharp and by f5.6 it blows the doors off the same focal length on my zoom for that feeling of edgy good sharpness.

3. It is small and light and focuses quickly on all my modern m4:3 cameras.

4. I have had no issues with flare from glancing light or little pin points of direct photonic contact.

5. It's so inexpensive I never worry about it.

I took the 60mm Sigma out on a walk with me today and fell in love with it all over again. I have the 19mm and the 30mm and like both of them as well, but the 60mm is special. If they made a wider focal length to match the existing trio of lenses, say a 12mm, I'd buy it in a heartbeat. That would be a wonderful basic system of primes for any of the m4:3 cameras.

Ahhh. Summer romance.






11 comments:

Gato said...

Damn you. I've had this lens on order for a month now and it still shows backordered at B&H. Amazon at your link says ships in 3 to 8 MONTHS. Now you come along and torture me with your prose.

I have the 30 and like it so well I've considered the 19, even though I have the Panasonic 14. And like you I've been wishing for a 12. I'd order it tomorrow if they'd make one in the same size and price range as the rest of the line. And while we're wishing, how about a 90?

Anonymous said...

Yes, love indeed. But when clicking on the Amazon link on your site:

"Usually ships within 3 to 8 months"

ruins the immediacy of amy potential love affair! Ah, waiting is such sweet agony.
Joe

Anonymous said...

I am now very jealous! - Kirk's 25mm Panasonic/Leica lens. Grrr.

Richard Leacock said...

On a whim I bought the 60mm for portraits to compliment the 20mm Pany attached to my camera. Half the price of the 45mm Oly, a f2.8 (lots of light) lens, snappy focus and bought here in Canada where the supplier warrantees the lens for "7 years".
Am I happy with the results?
Not the jewel-like appearance of the 45mm but sexy, snap-crackle-pop results
: ) !!!

rexdeaver said...

The Sigma 60 and 30 are the foundation of my m4/3 kit.

Kirk Tuck said...

Just re-posted links. The silver version is in stock.

Joseph Kashi said...

The Sigma M43 DN lenses are the best deal on the market, bar none, and have better quality control than optics costings several times more.

Yes, let's have a small and affordable 12 and a 90 or 100. We definitely need those two from Sigma.

The 60 is great but sometimes it's a bit too short. No question, though, the Sigma 60 DN is nearly as sharp as the Olympus 75 at 1/4 the price, or less.

Anonymous said...

Kirk instead of a 12mm may I recommend to you the Panny 14mm 2.5.
Bought it as a cheap "if it don't work - so what" when I first got the EM5 - absolutely love it
Mike

Noons said...

I'd die for a Sigma 12mm/2.8 of the same quality and type (DN+Art?) as the 60. The 19 is just not wide enough for some images.
How about it, Sigma?

Dan Montgomery said...

Yes, Sigma, please make a 12mm (and while we're asking, a 300mm prime at, say, f4? Maybe?). I use my 60mm on a Sony a6000, but let me join the chorus.

I got mine, used (apparently, I could see no actual evidence of use)for $170 from Lens Rentals. They have at least one more in stock, guys.

Gato said...

OK. If anyone cares, I ordered the silver and will cancel my other order as soon as I get a tracking number.

When someone asks me if they should by new gear now or wait my standard answer is, "Will you miss any pictures if you wait?" In this case my answer is yes. I ordered the lens with an upcoming project in mind and now I should have one in time.

As for the color, I had to put gaffers tape on the focus ring of my 30 to get a reliable grip. Expecting I could have the same problem with the 60 I decided a careful application of black tap will take care of my objection to the silver. (What were they thinking with those slick rings anyway?)

If it all works out I'll stop cussing you and admit I owe you one for the post and link. :-)