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Lens porn: Sigma 50-100mm F1.8 Art

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Guest Ebrahim Saadawi

on contrast I see it more successful for photographers as they can pump up shutter to get stable images. They can use this basically as 50mm f/1.8, 85mm f/1.8, 100mm f/1.8. A great deal if 1100$ (!) is true. However for videographers they'll prefer the IS teles, like a 70-200mm f/2.8, except for slightly high-end Tripod/Movi/Jibs/Cranes type situations. It's more suitable for photography. IS kills it for me as a standard tele zoom. I already suffer way too much shooting with non IS 85mm f/1.8 prime, limits my creativity by forcing me to use a shulder ring and concentrate on vibration rather than framing, or makes me shoot static on sticks. 

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EOSHD Pro Color for Sony cameras EOSHD Pro LOG for Sony CamerasEOSHD C-LOG and Film Profiles for All Canon DSLRs

I think people need to remember what these Sigma Art zooms are supposed to be. They are not, I think, intended to be replacements for standard zooms - they are replacements for multiple primes. So to say "you can get a 2.8 with greater range and how big a difference is 2.8 vs 1.8?" is slightly missing the point. Would you buy a 2.8 prime over a 1.8 prime? You might, for price or size or use reasons, but you would recognize that it is not the same thing and there are perfectly good reasons why someone might want the faster lens.

Now if you are talking 2.8 plus speed booster, and thus 2.0 vs 1.8, the arguments are much better. And if you already own the speed booster, that makes complete sense as an option. But this lens only costs about $400 more than the speed booster alone. I'd love to find a 2.8 zoom for that...

 

Edit: and Ebrahim posted the same thing while I was typing...

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Guest Ebrahim Saadawi

Yes true. It's multiple primes.

The question is: for video would you prefer f/2.8 prime set with IS (70-200mm f/2.8 IS) or an f/1.8 prime set without IS (50-100mm f/1.8)?

I personally much much prefer f/2.8 with IS.

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1 hour ago, Ebrahim Saadawi said:

Yes true. It's multiple primes.

The question is: for video would you prefer f/2.8 prime set with IS (70-200mm f/2.8 IS) or an f/1.8 prime set without IS (50-100mm f/1.8)?

I personally much much prefer f/2.8 with IS.

This is really a matter of personal taste. Every professional camera op I've talked with considers IS useless for video because of its unpredictable behavior and motion artifacts. They'd all take a steadicam or balanced shoulder rig over IS any day.

Maybe for news gathering or doc I could see the utility, but for "cinema" it's undesirable. 

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2 hours ago, Policar said:

This is really a matter of personal taste. Every professional camera op I've talked with considers IS useless for video because of its unpredictable behavior and motion artifacts. They'd all take a steadicam or balanced shoulder rig over IS any day.

Maybe for news gathering or doc I could see the utility, but for "cinema" it's undesirable. 

Interesting, I guess it depends on what "profession" they are in. Most folks in the industry I've spoken with have the complete opposite opinion, but to be fair, most of them work events, nightclubs, weddings, etc. where having IS is worth their weight in gold. Even when rolling with an ENG cam on a balanced shoulder rig using gear from the TV studio they work for, that OIS switch is ON for critical work. Heck, Andrew Reid himself has sung the praises of having IBIS in your camera of choice- its a wonderful tool that those of us who don't have wish we did!

I know the big pro cinema primes used on Hollywood sets are fully manual and don't have IS, but I always assumed it was because they don't need features like that (big rigs on dollys, tracks, cranes, etc- not really in danger of camera shake) but not because it was somehow detrimental. That's news to me. I'd think everyone I know shooting in smaller crews on a budget, with small DSLR/mirrorless cameras and using lenses designed for photography, Image Stabilization would be very handy. Can you elaborate as to what the down side would be? What unpredictable behavior are you referring to (aside from a lens that is not working properly, like when the 35-100 lumix lens used to "jump" due to a firmware issue)? And what motion artifacts are introduced by one? This is all honestly very much news to me!

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24 minutes ago, dishe said:

Interesting, I guess it depends on what "profession" they are in. Most folks in the industry I've spoken with have the complete opposite opinion, but to be fair, most of them work events, nightclubs, weddings, etc. where having IS is worth their weight in gold. Even when rolling with an ENG cam on a balanced shoulder rig using gear from the TV studio they work for, that OIS switch is ON for critical work. Heck, Andrew Reid himself has sung the praises of having IBIS in your camera of choice- its a wonderful tool that those of us who don't have wish we did!

I know the big pro cinema primes used on Hollywood sets are fully manual and don't have IS, but I always assumed it was because they don't need features like that (big rigs on dollys, tracks, cranes, etc- not really in danger of camera shake) but not because it was somehow detrimental. That's news to me. I'd think everyone I know shooting in smaller crews on a budget, with small DSLR/mirrorless cameras and using lenses designed for photography, Image Stabilization would be very handy. Can you elaborate as to what the down side would be? What unpredictable behavior are you referring to (aside from a lens that is not working properly, like when the 35-100 lumix lens used to "jump" due to a firmware issue)? And what motion artifacts are introduced by one? This is all honestly very much news to me!

Lens IS can change perspective in the image slightly, which results in you at times seeing "behind" an object in the foreground. The net effect of it is to make the foreground object appear to be wobbling like jelly. Some of the early Panasonic lenses on the GH4 showed this quite badly.

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8 minutes ago, tugela said:

Lens IS can change perspective in the image slightly, which results in you at times seeing "behind" an object in the foreground. The net effect of it is to make the foreground object appear to be wobbling like jelly. Some of the early Panasonic lenses on the GH4 showed this quite badly.

I'm aware Panasonic's implementation on their lumix lenses being weird, but is this a thing for other systems as well? I've never seen someone complain about IS on a Canon lens or ENG camera, unless the system was broken (did have a DVX100 go nuts on me once because the OIS system was actually damaged and it wouldn't stop bouncing unless I turned the feature off. Go figure, also Panasonic, but I'd chalk that to coincidence). 

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4 hours ago, dishe said:

Interesting, I guess it depends on what "profession" they are in. Most folks in the industry I've spoken with have the complete opposite opinion, but to be fair, most of them work events, nightclubs, weddings, etc. where having IS is worth their weight in gold. Even when rolling with an ENG cam on a balanced shoulder rig using gear from the TV studio they work for, that OIS switch is ON for critical work. Heck, Andrew Reid himself has sung the praises of having IBIS in your camera of choice- its a wonderful tool that those of us who don't have wish we did!

I know the big pro cinema primes used on Hollywood sets are fully manual and don't have IS, but I always assumed it was because they don't need features like that (big rigs on dollys, tracks, cranes, etc- not really in danger of camera shake) but not because it was somehow detrimental. That's news to me. I'd think everyone I know shooting in smaller crews on a budget, with small DSLR/mirrorless cameras and using lenses designed for photography, Image Stabilization would be very handy. Can you elaborate as to what the down side would be? What unpredictable behavior are you referring to (aside from a lens that is not working properly, like when the 35-100 lumix lens used to "jump" due to a firmware issue)? And what motion artifacts are introduced by one? This is all honestly very much news to me!

This was from the perspective of someone who will only shoot film or Alexa (or occasionally Red), but it applied equally when he was (rarely) asked to use lower end cameras and dSLRs. I definitely notice a weird "locked on" effect with Tamron zooms and even my 70-200mm f2.8 II IS has a bit of a wavy look to the motion that I don't mind, but it's usually fine. I have seen it lock on and glitch out occasionally. Video OIS seems to be programmed a bit different than OIS for stills.

That said, at the $1100 price point, most people probably would appreciate the option both for stills and video. Parfocal is pretty awesome, though.

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Guest Ebrahim Saadawi

A modern Canon IS system in a 250$ STM lens runs at a corrective analysis speed of 5000 effective frames per second (yes 5 thousand, an immensely fast and precise motor), at 24p recording there are NO motion or image artifacts that exist in the image compared to as if it were move steadily. 

Unless the stabilization system is very old or bad, modern good quality IS is just identical to having, well, less lens vibration, 

If hollywood shooters had IS on their Cooke/MasterPrimes I bet most of them will use it,

it's just a fact this wonderful technology emerged from the low-end industry (and moving up steadily to proper cine zooms).

Yes there will always be those who prefer not using technology to be pure, but fact is, Digital replaces film, IS replaces shake, Dual Pixel AF with touch operation replaces pullers, drones replace helicopters, and the purists will always find an example of a bad technology implementation as their excuse, like how a Canon DSLR doesn't look like 35mm film (lots of this), how Sony IBIS in the A7II and EM-1 makes artefacts at the wide end or a panasonic kit lens, or how a drone fell off course someday due to error in operation/communication. 
 

IS doesn't make your film motion any less filmic or less cinematic. It makes no difference in all modern lenses by good manufacturers, but remember you have eyes too so pick up if a certain lens model makes unnatural behaviour before going out to shoot something important relying on it. I only saw bad IS in sensor-based systems but optical systems are a work of pure magic. Test it well before you head out, If it just decreases your shake and moves properly in all dimensions, go shoot a cinema piece.

I'd hate to see a rumor/concept of IS not being filmic spreading among internet-based-cinematowriters without actual testing/proof of each lens IS behaviour. It's a concept that will catch easily to peoples' ears to spread, and in my opinion and experience for 40+ years shooting no IS and IS, I find it a false concept, except for sensor-based systems and old IS systems and new defective systems. 

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41 minutes ago, Ebrahim Saadawi said:

A modern Canon IS system in a 250$ STM lens runs at a corrective analysis speed of 5000 effective frames per second (yes 5 thousand, an immensely fast and precise motor), at 24p recording there are NO motion or image artifacts that exist in the image compared to as if it were move steadily. 

Unless the stabilization system is very old or bad, modern good quality IS is just identical to having, well, less lens vibration, 

If hollywood shooters had IS on their Cooke/MasterPrimes I bet most of them will use it,

it's just a fact this wonderful technology emerged from the low-end industry (and moving up steadily to proper cine zooms).

Yes there will always be those who prefer not using technology to be pure, but fact is, Digital replaces film, IS replaces shake, Dual Pixel AF with touch operation replaces pullers, drones replace helicopters, and the purists will always find an example of a bad technology implementation as their excuse, like how a Canon DSLR doesn't look like 35mm film (lots of this), how Sony IBIS in the A7II and EM-1 makes artefacts at the wide end or a panasonic kit lens, or how a drone fell off course someday due to error in operation/communication. 
 

IS doesn't make your film motion any less filmic or less cinematic. It makes no difference in all modern lenses by good manufacturers, but remember you have eyes too so pick up if a certain lens model makes unnatural behaviour before going out to shoot something important relying on it. I only saw bad IS in sensor-based systems but optical systems are a work of pure magic. Test it well before you head out, If it just decreases your shake and moves properly in all dimensions, go shoot a cinema piece.

I'd hate to see a rumor/concept of IS not being filmic spreading among internet-based-cinematowriters without actual testing/proof of each lens IS behaviour. It's a concept that will catch easily to peoples' ears to spread, and in my opinion and experience for 40+ years shooting no IS and IS, I find it a false concept, except for sensor-based systems and old IS systems and new defective systems. 

To be fair, the only unacceptable motion artifacts I've seen (beyond legitimately anomalous glitches with my 70-200mm f2.8 II IS, but anomalous glitches which would ruin an image) were with Tamron lenses. The IS is amazing, but it locks onto one frame...drifts...finds another: feels very much designed for stills with Tamron. Canon is a bit smoother.

But you're speaking incorrectly for an audience who disagrees completely with you, and disagrees correctly.

I don't care about numbers, be it 5k frames analyzed or 4k pixels captured, I care about images. And every image stabilized lens I've used has imparted a slightly unnatural motion, or lagged a bit, or self-corrected when stationary, overshot during a pan, etc. For me, in a guerrilla shoot (what 99% of people here are facing) the die roll is in our favor: it's more stable. For those with the complete control of being on set with top level gear and excellent crew members, the die roll is not in their favor: they're already getting it right, IS can only get it wrong at the worst $100,000 moment.

There's plenty of middle ground, but how much of your shooting with no IS and with IS has been on studio-distributed features? On tentpoles? With the people you claim to speak infallibly for (union camera operators)? I'm guessing not that much. Every union camera op, AFI grad, etc. I've spoken with would disagree.

That said, it's never bad to have the option. But I think Sigma has targeted this lens more toward portraiture and video than toward sports. And to that extent, their omission makes sense.

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Guest Ebrahim Saadawi

 

28 minutes ago, Policar said:

IS being fallible is not a false concept. But, like Canon's DPAF, it sure is useful for those of us who can't afford the kind of crew that would frown on the use of both.

Just because they frown on IS or DPAF it doesn't weaken their rivalry vs shoulder rigs and focus pullers. People frown on wonderful things all the time, especially old people :) (not offensive because I am probably EOSHD's oldest member)
 

31 minutes ago, Policar said:

There's a reason you're told to turn off IS when your camera is on sticks.

Yes there is. To conserve battery life.

If you put your lens on a hard-rock-solid tripod indoors, magn. to 10x/1:1 on the LCD and see any motion, it's a bad IS system (and a good test)

35 minutes ago, Policar said:

I've used alternative systems (hired steadicam ops, Ronins, Ronin ops, shoulder rigs, geared tripods, Sachtler and Cartoni and Miller and O'Connor tripods) and they're better.

Non of these except shoulder rigs are in competition with IS. IS never made larger than 2 centimeters motion correction, that what steadicams/MOVIs are for.

By the way, do you also believe electronically stabilized gimbals like the MOVI are unnatural? truly curious. Do you see it visually? It IS an interesting discussion. 

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On 19/02/2016 at 9:36 AM, TheRenaissanceMan said:

Yikes...what a train wreck. 

Back to the subject at hand, what makes this lens more exciting than a speed boosted 70-200 is that it basically comes "pre-boosted," so it can be boosted again for m4/3 and BM cameras. 75-150 f/1 on the speed booster XL, and even faster on the BMPCC booster (too lazy to do that math right now). 

Of course, the practicality of using a lens this huge, expensive, and heavy on a GH4 or BMPCC leaves something to be desired...

Still less bulky and heavy than using a 70-200mm f2.8 on a BMMCC!! :-o

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3 hours ago, Ebrahim Saadawi said:

A modern Canon IS system in a 250$ STM lens runs at a corrective analysis speed of 5000 effective frames per second (yes 5 thousand, an immensely fast and precise motor), at 24p recording there are NO motion or image artifacts that exist in the image compared to as if it were move steadily. 

Unless the stabilization system is very old or bad, modern good quality IS is just identical to having, well, less lens vibration, 

If hollywood shooters had IS on their Cooke/MasterPrimes I bet most of them will use it,

it's just a fact this wonderful technology emerged from the low-end industry (and moving up steadily to proper cine zooms).

Yes there will always be those who prefer not using technology to be pure, but fact is, Digital replaces film, IS replaces shake, Dual Pixel AF with touch operation replaces pullers, drones replace helicopters, and the purists will always find an example of a bad technology implementation as their excuse, like how a Canon DSLR doesn't look like 35mm film (lots of this), how Sony IBIS in the A7II and EM-1 makes artefacts at the wide end or a panasonic kit lens, or how a drone fell off course someday due to error in operation/communication. 
 

IS doesn't make your film motion any less filmic or less cinematic. It makes no difference in all modern lenses by good manufacturers, but remember you have eyes too so pick up if a certain lens model makes unnatural behaviour before going out to shoot something important relying on it. I only saw bad IS in sensor-based systems but optical systems are a work of pure magic. Test it well before you head out, If it just decreases your shake and moves properly in all dimensions, go shoot a cinema piece.

I'd hate to see a rumor/concept of IS not being filmic spreading among internet-based-cinematowriters without actual testing/proof of each lens IS behaviour. It's a concept that will catch easily to peoples' ears to spread, and in my opinion and experience for 40+ years shooting no IS and IS, I find it a false concept, except for sensor-based systems and old IS systems and new defective systems. 

I think the optimal OIS for stills is different from that for video, and that is what sometimes causes problems. It seems like something that is very dependent on the particular lens being used. As I mentioned before, it was quite noticeable on some of the first lenses that came out with the GH4.

The issue arises I think when the system tries to keep the background steady, and does, but in doing so creates slight perspective changes for objects in the foreground. That creates the wobble (and it can create some very strange effects if you subsequently apply something like a warp stabilizer to the footage). If the system tries to keep the foreground steady, then it might appear that the camera is moving a bit, but you don't get the foreground wobble. So it depends a lot on what part of the image the manufacturer thinks is going to be the most important. At least that is the explanation that made the most sense to me.

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I own both the Sigma 18-35mm and the 50mm f1.4 lenses. The zoom lens is wonderful: sharp, beautiful color and not impossible to get relatively steady shots if used with some sort of stabilizer or a Gorillapod. The 50mm on the other hand is imbalanced on the GH4, and because of the longer focal length, virtually impossible for me to shoot handheld. Also, the focus throw is way too short, making focusing video an unpleasant experience. For that reason, I would choose the Panasonic Vario 35-100mm f/2.8 weather-sealed lens with OIS over the new offering by Sigma, should I need a longer lens. 

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9 hours ago, Ebrahim Saadawi said:

 

Just because they frown on IS or DPAF it doesn't weaken their rivalry vs shoulder rigs and focus pullers. People frown on wonderful things all the time, especially old people :) (not offensive because I am probably EOSHD's oldest member)
 

Yes there is. To conserve battery life.

If you put your lens on a hard-rock-solid tripod indoors, magn. to 10x/1:1 on the LCD and see any motion, it's a bad IS system (and a good test)

Non of these except shoulder rigs are in competition with IS. IS never made larger than 2 centimeters motion correction, that what steadicams/MOVIs are for.

By the way, do you also believe electronically stabilized gimbals like the MOVI are unnatural? truly curious. Do you see it visually? It IS an interesting discussion. 

When I'm using a tripod, it's not always staying still. I have noticed overcorrection in pans, etc. I've never seen an IS system in a still lens that looks completely natural in motion. What if I want to do a whip pan and land hard on an object? Are you implying that the inevitable stabilization artifacts I'll get are desirable? IS is a crutch, similar to DPAF. However, if you can't afford to do things properly, it's a good crutch. I use it, sparingly. That's not true about batteries–yes, Canon has added tripod detection, but previously their IS lenses could cause image artifacts even when the image is still from false positives in whatever algorithm they use to detect shake.

Maybe the STM lenses have better IS designed for video, I have only used it in non-STM lenses. I doubt they're psychic though and know I'm doing a whip pan, etc. I don't care if their algorithm runs a million times a second, the results have an unnatural motion to them that is foreign to high end content and hiding that motion is sometimes easy, and sometimes not. The unpredictability is the biggest issue on a set where everything else is designed to be safely repeatable.

Yes, I think gimbals have an unnatural motion that a good operator can hide. Steadicams have their own issues that a good operator can hide. I don't see how that's related.

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On 2/19/2016 at 0:35 PM, Timotheus said:

I remember Sigma announced a 'mount conversion service' when their Global Vision lenses were introduced. So you can switch mounts on all Art, Contemporary and Sports lenses...although I never heard anyone actually do this or what it would cost.

It Cost $100 to swap the mounts. The info is on Sigma's website.

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Since the 18-35 works on full frame from about 29mm-35mm, I wonder if this will work to some extend on full frame as well. I also wonder if it'll fill the frame of the 1DX II with the slight crop it has on 4K recording. 

 

Either way, as a 7d mark ii owner with a C100 II at work, I can't see myself not picking up this lens. It almost eliminates the need for a full frame camera for stills for me. 

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5 minutes ago, Zach Ashcraft said:

Since the 18-35 works on full frame from about 29mm-35mm, I wonder if this will work to some extend on full frame as well. I also wonder if it'll fill the frame of the 1DX II with the slight crop it has on 4K recording. 

 

It probably will so it pairs nicely with the new sigma aps-h camera.

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