Ben turned 25 this week. I'm stunned how fast time sprints. The kid is doing great. Looking at a new job as a writer for a cutting edge tech company and generally staying fit and centered. I'm always happy when he drops by the office in running apparel and tells me he's heading off for a long run around the lake. He's so, so much faster than me but I guess that's to be expected, given our 40 year age difference...
We had dinner with him last night and I took a few photographs of him with the new lens.
I picked up the new lens on Thursday. I meant to get a used camera but I started psycho-analyzing myself on the drive out and decided that my desire to buy new cameras right now must be a reflexive reaction to not being able to go any place or shoot anything exciting. I thought maybe a lens would be a less Jungian trope.
I'd been thinking about this lens for a couple of weeks. I wasn't paying attention when it was first announced but Sigma's Contemporary lens line has mostly been surprisingly good. The current line up, consisting of the 16mm f1.4, the 30mm f1.4 and the 56mm f1.4, is really superb considering the moderate cost. They offer the lenses in the Sony E mount, the M4:3 mount, the Fuji mount and now the L mount. All three lenses are designed to cover APS-C sized sensors, and smaller. I can't see the logic of me getting an L mount version since I have so many "normal" lens options for the Panasonic S1 cameras and the Sigma fp. So it was a pretty straightforward choice to opt for the M4:3 mount.
The Sigma 56mm f1.4 has an extremely sharp center area; even wide open. It's a great, longer lens for a small sensor system if you routinely want to photograph under low light conditions and you don't need expansive depth of field. The lens body is much smaller than that of the 16mm f1.4 and the front filter diameter is a very useful 55mm. The lens doesn't not include image stabilization and I think that helps keep the size and weight down.
Just like the new 85mm f1.4 Sigma Art lens (v2) the 56mm was designed with compromises that are largely meant to be fixed by automatic, in-camera correction software. Both the lenses
feature exhibit a relatively high degree of pincushion distortion and both have appreciable vignetting when used wide open. Used on a Lumix GH5, G9 or GX8 the system seems to do a good behind the scenes job making everything look great.
I pulled the lens out of its box yesterday, put it on a G9 body and headed out for a walk through downtown. The focus was quick, precise and accurate. I'm happy with the optical performance and I've put a selection of images down below so you can see for yourself. Be sure to click on them to see them larger.
My birthday comes up next week and I think I'll use the opportunity to spend more time swimming and less time thinking about what new gear to buy. Seems like more of a New Year's Resolution than a birthday thought but there you have it.
We're having our first "cold" snap here. My Calgary Friend, Eric, will laugh at this but it got all the way down to 52° Fahrenheit last night and I got to wear a light jacket this morning. After swim practice I bought a coffee and an egg sandwich and went to my favorite park to sit at a concrete picnic table to eat, drink coffee and watch the millennials play Frisbee Golf. Nice to just do normal things and watch happy activities in a year so fraught and disturbing. Be sure to turn off the news from time to time and watch people play and laugh and have fun. It's a reminder that we're meant to be good and to have fun. But sometimes we have to work at it.
I had coffee with a friend who is, politically, my polar opposite this last week. We skirted political conversations. We spent a lot of time discussing video. When we left we promised each other that no matter who wins the election we'll take a few days to recover and then, as usual, we'll meet for coffee. That made me feel good.
I just can't pass up those multi-paned, reflective windows when I've got a camera in my hands.
We started out our day with the usual heat and humidity and then the winds blew in
from the north, sucked the humidity out and dropped the temperatures quickly. Sweet.
There was never a reason for valet parking to exist in Austin when I came here to go to the University. The city was sparsely populated. You could park anywhere. The parking meters cost a dime for six hours.
Now that our economy is adapting and recovering the valet parking is roaring back.
It all seems so strange to me. It always has.
Fun to watch the wind gusts blow the trees over a bridge. It felt like the first day of Fall.
An odd business concept.
An electric boat on Lady Bird Lake. All selfies all the time...