My Gear Selections - Lenses
There is significant talk on forums, posts and websites about the merits of professional photographers owning proprietary lenses over and above any third-party alternative. This is often due to a number of factors; initially quality, reliability and often, the most unctuous of reasons...snobbery. There are a lot of traits I like about photographers; being helpful to others in the trade, providing technical assistance and advice to up-and-comings, being useful to the community etc. Other things I do not; eating their young, the one-upmanship, dismissive or snide behaviours.
I myself have been the victim of a passive aggressive verbal diatribe, over my choice to use Sigma Art Series lenses, to the exclusion of any Nikon. First, let's start this conversation....I LOVE NIKON! But, even with large enough incomes to service buying Nikon, I just cannot. There was enough evidence to show me (on reputable sources; DxO Mark, DP Review, et al.) that Sigma, and especially their ART series of lenses, were indeed a viable and competitive solution to filling a case full of lenses. Professional lenses. Some even trounced the proprietary lenses capabilities and are marvelled for their technical prowess.
That won't stop the nay-sayers, not one iota. Will that cacophony of negative grumblings steer me from buying Sigma lenses, no way.
I even bought an APS-C sensor camera to take advantage of some of the best telezooms I have yet seen. Again, choosing to use such a 'professionally substandard camera' may come under scrutiny of those trying to lease time atop their gold-plated soapbox, but meh...never stopped me from making a buck!
So, what can I say about Sigma? Well, they're big, well-made units that really only fall behind in one area, weather sealing. They do however, feel good to use, hold...they feel substantial. They provide dreamy bokeh and are usually very sharp right to the edges...even down in the wild yonder of f/1.4
All lenses have their sweet spot, most around f/5.6 - f/8, but Sigma continues to give..another sweet spot is being able to dock your lenses and carry out adjustments via USB cable and an computer interface. Sweet! No more sending lenses back for anything beyond the micro adjustments available via your camera. I have, in the past, had to send Nikon lenses back, for corrections. I'm not saying Sigma are infallible, but at least you have tools and options.
What does it all boil down to? Well, most of us need a few lenses, or three. Or 15! But, would you rather spend on a name or quality or price point? I believe that Sigma, in their newer Sport, Contemporary and especially their Art series of lenses, match up well to the proprietaries and also give you range for your money. Every time I buy two Sigmas, the third feels free when you look at the price of the equivalent first two Nikon lenses.
I can't take anything away from Nikon, their lenses are superb. But, can I make a great living from third-party lenses, avoid the sneers and produce great imagery. You bet.