Since buying my camera I never really felt the need to get a new lens. I was happy with the kit lens (18mm – 70mm f/3.5) that came with my Sony Alpha 200 dslr. A basic camera with a basic setup, good enough for my initial needs as I just upgraded from a camera phone point and shoot.
I remember my first ever shot was the Creator’s Labo Rei Ayanami. It looked gorgeous, and HDR was just pure eye candy. Over time though, I felt like I needed something more…not better or bigger…just more.
Now the kit lens serves me fine for normal photography but I didn’t get some shots like I wanted to. Not much bokeh (blurry effect in the background) on the f/3.5 kit lens, so I needed a higher aperture for sure. I considered getting a ‘prime lens’ first (standard 50mm). An f/1.4 aperture would mean beautiful bokeh and great night shots (aperture is big enough to let in more light). Even portrait shots would look great due to the shallow depth of field since the background of the subject is all out of focus, so the viewer pays more attention to the subject.
However, the prime lens would not have given me the in-your-face big macro shots that I wanted, not to mention the sharpness. Secondly, the macro lens would suffice for good portrait shots as well.
I’m not really into landscape shots that much, so for the time being I don’t feel the need for a wide-angle or telephoto lens as the standard kit lens serves me just fine. So after much asking around, I was advised by friends to get a Macro lens. I got the Sigma 105mm f/2.8 EX DG Macro lens. Also a UV filter (by Sigma) to keep the lens dust-free.
Funny thing is, that the Cloud Strife and Hardy-Daytona figure was the catalyst for me to get this lens, yet I didn’t feel like taking Macro shots of it. Cloud doesn’t need that much attention and the bike is the star attraction imo.
So anyways I started experimenting a bit and took some macro shots of figures I’ve already featured. While this proved to be extremely satisfying, portrait shots were not so great. Thing is, this lens is so damn sharp, that on adults, each and every wrinkle, skin marks, pores, etc. stand out. The backgrounds are nicely blurred, but the subject matter itself doesn’t look good…at all! That said, kids would be wonderful subjects due to their smooth skin. I haven’t had a chance to snap portrait shots of kids myself, but Flickr results prove my theory correct.
Don’t be fooled by these shots thinking this was easy. Using a macro lens forced me to use my camera in full Manual mode which was a good side effect, but manual focusing with the lens is a bitch! There’s absolutely no way for me to get the shots just the way I want with the Auto-focus. Often times the AF would focus the hair or some other part of the figure when all I really wanted was the focus on their eyes. Patience in macro photography is definitely a virtue, with sweet results!
All things considered, I’m glad I purchased the lens (for AED 1,450/ USD 395) and discovering new ways of photography. The level of detail in a full resolution picture is insane (I have cropped all images to 50% ). Next up, the 50mm Prime lens!
PS: in some pics you will see the dust problem I keep on crying about. Shots were taken just after dusting my entire room!