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Thread: Ultra wide angle with the Sigma 8-16mm

  1. #1

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    Ultra wide angle with the Sigma 8-16mm

    Hi there,

    I have question regarding the aperture setting when taking some landscape shots with an ultra wide angle lens, the Sigma 8-16mm in my case.

    I have seen many people on Flickr shooting with a small aperture, at f/11 or f/16. I wonder if it really makes sense with this lens? Actually, this lens have a huge depth of field, so I don't see improvement in sharpness in that respect. Can my picture get sharper when shooting at f/16? Of course, not good idea to shoot wide open, so I thought of shooting at 1 or 2 stops lower than the wide open, especially when hand-holding the camera.

    Regardless of f/#, I feel disappointed with the dynamic range this lens can achieve, when comparing even to some Nikon kit-lens. For example, when shooting a subject like tree leaves with a very bright background, e.g. the sky, I can't capture both background and foreground with reasonable exposure. Worse yet, at the interface between the tree leaves and the bright background I typically see a lot of chromatic aberration or other artifacts, so it is not always possible to lower the background exposure in software. Please have a look at the image below. Are these issues related to the ultra wide angle lens? Are there single-exposure techniques to address this issue?

    Thanks,
    CNick


    Ultra wide angle with the Sigma 8-16mm

  2. #2
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Ultra wide angle with the Sigma 8-16mm

    Firstly, welcome to CiC. I hope this is the first post in what will see you become a regular member of the forum.

    As to your questions......

    Can my picture get sharper when shooting at f/16?
    Every lens has a 'sweet spot'; a setting at which it performs at its best. That's usually around the f8, f11 mark. But you'd need to read reviews about your particular lens to see what others have said about that. I do not know the lens. How you use the lens is very often a matter of practice and getting to know the lens and discovering when ti performs at its best.

    I feel disappointed with the dynamic range this lens can achieve, when comparing even to some Nikon kit-lens. For example, when shooting a subject like tree leaves with a very bright background, e.g. the sky, I can't capture both background and foreground with reasonable exposure.
    You can't ask a lens to do something it wasn't designed to do. If you have dark leaves a very bright sky, no lens is going to cope with the dynamic range. It all depends on what the extent of the dynamic range is. And the only true way of testing one lens against another would be to shoot the same scene, at the same time, with both lenses and then compare. If your lens doesn't compare as well as another, then you know what you're working with and you have to shoot accordingly.

    Worse yet, at the interface between the tree leaves and the bright background I typically see a lot of chromatic aberration or other artifacts
    Again, I don't know your lens and what its performance data is in relation to CA. It's one of these issues that you need to check out when buying equipment. For example, I have the Tokina 11-16 f2.8. All the review sites refer to the CA issue with it. I think it is a fantastic lens. The secret is in knowing that the issue is there and managing it. For some subjects, then you are going to have to compromise and manage your shooting to take account of whatever CA issues may be known about the lens. It's about knowing your equipment and using it so that it can perform at its best for you.

  3. #3

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    Re: Ultra wide angle with the Sigma 8-16mm

    Hi Donald,

    Thank you for the quick feedback on my post.

    Every lens has a 'sweet spot'; a setting at which it performs at its best. That's usually around the f8, f11 mark. But you'd need to read reviews about your particular lens to see what others have said about that.
    Indeed, I was trying to do that by looking at how the Flickr people shoot with that lens. Interestingly, after your suggestion I checked some lab tested MTF charts for that lens and the sweet spot is between f/5.6 and f/8, depending on the site/source and on center vs corner sharpness. At least, as far as sharpness is concerned, there is no reason to shoot at f/11 or smaller aperture. Thanks for the advice, I should have checked on that before posting.

    You can't ask a lens to do something it wasn't designed to do. If you have dark leaves a very bright sky, no lens is going to cope with the dynamic range.
    I agree, but without exactly understanding why, my feeling after shooting with this lens for about 6 months, is that it is not as good as my other lenses in that respect. Perhaps it has to do with the exposure metering on my body that is either not correctly set when I shoot or unable to balance a good exposure for the entire (wide angle) image. Most probably, as you pointed out, I am simply expecting too much in terms of dynamic range.

    Also, I realize my post was not exactly in the most appropriate category. I was actually expecting some people who own this lens to share their experience.

    Thanks again, looking forward to learn more on photography from this forum.

  4. #4
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Ultra wide angle with the Sigma 8-16mm

    Hopefully people who do have that lens (although I can't recall anyone referring to it recently) will see this and come in with their views.

    I suppose another thing to consider is how you are metering. You may well be taking your readings from a much wider area and that could be a factor is you not getting the results that you've achieved with other lenses.

    Don't worry too much about whether things are in the right category. No-one bothers too much about that around here.

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