Not a post about the Transformers supercomputer, but about a couple of new lenses I’ve picked up this week.  I’ve had a couple of limitations with the lenses I already have – no super-wide angle lens for landscape shots and a slow and poor quality kit lens as a general-purpose ‘walk around’  lens.

Initially I was thinking of the Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM Lens however I was rather put-off by the steep price tag (around £800 on Amazon).  So, I did some looking around at reviews and discovered the Sigma 18-50mm f2.8 EX DC Macro Digital Zoom Lens For Canon Mount – at the far more reasonable £330.  It has a constant f2.8 through it’s zoom range – which makes for nice bokeh and a great lens for low-light conditions.  Tonight I headed up to Hollingworth Lake (arriving just after sunset, cursed traffic) and took a few photos with this lens, and the other I bought.  This is from the 18-50mm, at f2.8, ISO 800 and 1/50th second exposure time without a tripod:


I’m pretty pleased with the result – and at less than half the price of the Canon lens I’m more than happy.

The second lens isn’t as a replacement for anything I already had – it’s a wide-angle lens I’ve bought specifically for landscapes – and it’s another Sigma lens; this time the Sigma 10-20mm f4-5.6 EX DC HSM – Canon fit lens – available for £390 on Amazon.  This picture is using the wide-angle lens at f4.0, ISO 400 and 1/40th second exposure time without a tripod:

Look Out

In the case of both lenses I’ve not had much time to play with them yet, but what I will say is that they both feel extremely well built and more solid than any of my canon lenses – even the Canon EF 70-300mm f/4.0-5.6 IS USM Lens.  They also both came with lens hoods and cases which is a nice touch you don’t get with the low-end Canon stuff.  I’ll naturally be looking forward to playing with these lenses more and I’m hoping for nice weather and a good sunset at the weekend for the opportunity to take some landscape shots with the wide-angle lens.

I’ve also picked up a sto-fen omni-bounce diffuser for my flash, but have yet to play with that.  Finally, I’ve also bought a new camera bag.  My basic requirement was a back-pack style bag that would allow me to carry my camera and equipment safely, along with my MacBook Pro – especially when flying as I can’t carry the laptop bag and my camera bag as hand-luggage, but there’s no way either will be going in the hold!  So, after picking up some recommendations from Facebook status comments, I opted for the Lowepro Fastpack 250 Backpack for £60.  This bag is great and fits in all my gear, plus at the moment an extra surplus lens.  I can now carry it all around safely – without my camera and lenses rattling away, or being packed wrapped in towels or jumpers in my laptop bag.  It also means I’ll be able to go walking with my camera that bit more easily – and have space for a lunch and drinks.  All good.

Finally, just because I like it, this picture was taken up at Hollingworth Lake with the wide-angle lens.  I cropped it and converted to black-and-white.  I’m quite pleased with it:


As ever, click the images to go through to my Flickr account and see the original/large versions and see my other pictures.  At some point soon I’m going to be creating a new set for my favourite pictures – and posting a blog post here highlighting them too.