Prime Time

Sigma 70mm f/2.8 EX DG Macro/ Nikon D300

I’ve been contemplating my photography kit for my trip to Yellowstone at the end of January. Over the last year or so, I’ve acquired a 3 lens set of Sigma Macro lenses, which are pretty old designs but are also very sharp and distortion free. I still hardly ever use them though.

I normally pack my 24-70mm f/2.8 Nikon zoom lens, which is about as nice a zoom in that focal range that is available for Nikon DSLR’s. But, my Sigma prime lenses are optically superior, and I’ve decided that I’m going to leave the 24-70mm f/2.8 at home and take the 50mm and 70mm f/2.8 primes with me for landscape photography.

Years ago, I used the Sigma 50mm f/2.8 EX DG Macro quite a bit on my Canon bodies. It makes for a very nice landscape lens too.

The confluence of Cherry Creek and the South Platte River in downtown Denver. Canon EOS 5D with the Sigma 50mm f/2.8 EX DG Macro

One of the benefits of dumping the zoom is losing a little weight in my kit. The two Sigma primes weigh less combined than the 24-70 weighs. The other benefit is that I’ll be putting optics on my 46 megapixel D850 that should get me the most out of that sensor resolution.

I used to play a little game with myself when I was out working for landscape photography. I’d pick a lens to put on the camera and stick with that lens throughout the trip, never switching to a different lens. It was a good way to learn how to compose an image with a specific focal length, and ultimately learn how to find those compositions. It worked too. My eye can see a scene and visualize the different focal lengths that scene can be captured at. By limiting my focal lengths to prime lenses, I’ll get a consistent look and feel to my compositions and I’ll have to study the scene a little more.

I don’t mind doing the extra work. It’s good practice.