Portraits with a Sigma 105 and Fuji 56 mm 1.2.

I was engaged in a do or die game of junior scrabble with my daughter when I decided to test out my two main portrait lenses.  I’ve recently gotten hold of a Sigma 105 2.8 macro lens for my Nikon D750, mostly for macro work but its a very good portrait lens as well.  It’s also pretty cheap for such a high quality lens and very, very sharp.  I wanted to see how it fared against my current favourite portrait lens, the Fuji 56mm 1.2, in quite low light.  So while playing scrabble I took a few shots with each and here are the results.  Other than the default sharpening that happens when you convert a raw file to jpeg I’ve not sharpened these images at all.

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Next..another shot from the Fuji, but at a slightly lower ISO ( the light kept changing, as it does ).  I processed this in lightroom to add the Classic Chrome filter which I really like..ISO was 1000 this time but all other settings stayed the same.


Now for a couple with the Sigma 105…

This was shot at f3.2, ISO 10000(!!!), 1/200.  This being a macro lens, the aperture changes as you get closer to the subject, which is why I couldn’t shoot at 2.8.   The quality of the image given the ISO is staggering I think.


And here is one at a much lower ISO (f4.0, ISO 3200, 1/100).

DSC_3571colorSo what have I learnt from this exercise..

1.My daughter kicks my ass at Junior Scrabble.

2.Both these lens produce lovely portraits

3.The bokeh on the 56mm can be a little distracting ( see to the right on the second image ), although its still very good.  On the Sigma the bokeh is very smooth.

4.The 56mm obviously lets in more light, as it’s a 1.2 lens, but the ISO capabilities of the D750 make up for this.

5.Both lens are super sharp.

That’s as much pixel peeping as I want to do for now.  I’m very impressed with the Sigma and wouldn’t hesitate to use it for portraits. My go to lens will still be the 56mm 1.2 though ( which is considerably more expensive than the Sigma ).




Sigma 105 2.8 macro ( 2012 ) – first impressions

I’m a complete beginner when it comes to macro photography.  As the Fuji doesn’t have a macro lens that I want ( I don’t need the 60mm ) I thought I’d give this one a go on the D750.  When it originally came out in 2012 this was almost the same price as the nikon version, and it still got rave reviews.  I’ve had very mixed experiences of sigma before so I was a bit nervous about it.  I still remember that 24-70 that I just couldn’t get sharp even after hours and hours of micro adjustment.  This lens just worked flawlessly out of the box however..tack sharp with no micro adjustment.  And its half the price of the Nikon now, so an absolute steal. Here a few images..more to come once I’ve had a chance to use it more.  As the shot of my daughter shows, its also a pretty great portrait lens for when I want a slightly different look to the one the 56mm 1.2 on the Fuji gives me.

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Some x100s images

I own 3 cameras, the x100s, the X-T1 and the Nikon D750 ( mostly used for video work on a project I’m working on ). I enjoy using all 3 but the x100s is my go to camera, and probably my favourite of the lot.  I was going out to a pub gig the other night and briefly considered taking the D750, its amazing high ISO performance would have been great to have..but then I took the x100s.  Same thing happened when going to the park with the kids and their cousins, I just picked up the x100s.  Its great for just about everything except nature photography and sports.  Here are some recent images…

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Low key portrait

I’ve not had much time to update the blog over Christmas, but I have been busy shooting stuff and I’ll have some proper updates soon.  For now, here is a shot from the lighting course I ran at the weekend, which was great fun.  This is taken with the X-T1 and 56mm 1.2, f11, one light set up in the studio.



I thought I’d post a few memorable ( for me ) portraits from recent work.

Here is one of Emily, this was on a model fashion shoot.  Taken with the Fuji X-T1 and 56mm 1.2, which is my favourite lens for portraits.  I was using natural light and a reflector.


My next portrait is again shot on the 56 mm 1.2, but this time at f11 in the studio, on one of my lighting courses.  This was a modified clamshell lighting setup with four softboxes.  The model is Jemma Funge ( great model! ).


Next up is a portrait of Ayla, whom I shot a few months ago.  this was using a standard clamshell set up, but continous lights, which allowed me to shoot at 1.2 ( on the 56 mm lens again ).  ISO was around 400.


And lastly, a shot of my daughter Ellie.  I caught her completely by surprise here but I quite like the expression.  This was shot using the Fuji X100s, at f2, ISO 1250.




Shooting football with the D750 and the X-T1.

I haven’t shot one of my son’s matches for ages, mostly due to sheer laziness.  I decided to break out the X-T1 and the 55-200 lens again and took along the Nikon D750 just to get the hang of some of its autofocus settings.  First..the X-T1 images.  As usual, it did ok, but not great.  I got enough keepers to make me happy but its no DSLR.  Quite useable though and I didn’t find it frustrating to use at all.  These were shot using Velvia film simulation, 1/500, f4, AF-C mode and high speed burst on the X-T1 ( with high performance enabled ).DSCF7673 DSCF7783 DSCF7791 DSCF7799 DSCF7836 DSCF7940 DSCF7986 DSCF7993 DSCF8034

Now for the D750 shots..as expected it nailed focus amazingly well.  I didn’t really like group AF mode, although I’m sure its amazing in the hands of someone more capable than me.  I still prefer using a single focus point.  I used AF-S on the Nikon, and a 50mm 1.8G l prime lens ( as thats all I have for this body).  Obviously  some sort of zoom lens would have been preferable, but I didn’t buy the D750 to shoot football matches, and its not my main camera, hence I only have one lens for it.  Clearly I didn’t hit the well documented lens flare issue, hopefully that means my camera has avoided it, that or I just didn’t hit the right conditions for it to show up.

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Reading Photography Christmas Social ( Nikon D750 and Fuji X-T1 )

These socials seem to be going from strength to strength and this was the best one yet, 40+ people all in the photography business in one way or another gathered together to socialise, network and drink beer.

The first set of shots are shot with the D750.

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And the rest on the X-T1 with the 56mm 1.2.  As always I found the Fuji less intrusive in a social situation.  Even though the D750 is quite small and light for a full frame DSLR, its a lot noisier and people seem to take a lot more notice when you point it in their direction ( great camera though, more to come on it soon ).  What is incredible also about the D750 is the dynamic range and how good shots look even at ISO 12800.

Here are the Fuji shots.

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Family time with the 10-24 and x100s

We had a lot of family time this weekend, involving a trip to Basildon Park and also the Reading Christmas Fair.  I’m finding the combination of the 10-24 on the X-T1 and the X100s to be a good combination when I want to shoot some landscapes and also some family shots.  Of course I could just carry a spare lens for the X-T1 but I enjoy shooting with the X100s too much to leave it behind.  I keep reading on various websites that the dynamic range on the Fuji X system is quite poor, but I don’t find this to be the case at all.  In the shot below the background behind my son was blown out and I didn’t have the time or inclination to shoot multiple exposures.  But I was able to pull all the details back in Camera Raw no problem.


Another family shot below..

DSCF7037And then some exterior shots of Basildon Park with the 10-24.

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Fuji 10-24 and the x100s on a trip to London

I really should go to London a lot more.  I’m always envious of landscape photographers who live near amazing places, but London is an amazing place to take photographs, especially as I’ve recently gotten hold of the truly excellent 10-24 mm lens for my X-T1.  This is the rough equivalent of a 16-36mm on a full frame camera and I’m still getting used to its capabilities, but it is great for sweeping, epic shots with a lot of context.  It’s also great for warping tall buildings if you point the camera upwards.  I took the x100s to try and get some street photography done, like the buildings shots, this is way out of my normal comfort zone, but I got a couple of results I was happy with and no one noticed me or was bothered by the stealthy x100s.

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A few more shots from Marwell Zoo ( Fuji X-T1 and 55-200mm )

Just a few more images I’ve finally got around to posting from our trip to the zoo with the family for my daughters 6th birthday.  Sure I’d have loved to have a 7d2 and 100-400mm lens to take these shots, but I’m glad I didn’t have to lug it around all day with the kids.

The fuji was just the right size to carry around on a day out like this and the shots are fine for their intended ( personal ) use.  Nice and sharp as always with this lens.

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