Sigma Lens Corporation

A couple of weeks ago, I came across this video of the Sigma lens factory in Fukushima, Japan.  Needless to say, it was a beautifully produced video.

The video was nostalgic for me, because I used to own a couple of Sigma lenses; the 30mm 1.4, 20mm 1.8, and still use the 15mm fisheye.

The first Sigma lens that I purchased was the 30mm.  I got it because I wanted a fast lens for my 7D, and I read a lot of good reviews about it on the Net.  I really enjoyed this lens.

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M.E. @ Sangenjaya, Tokyo.  Sigma 30mm 1.4 + Canon 7D

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Naked monk-looking boy statue, Fuchu, Tokyo.  Sigma 30mm 1.4 + Canon 7D

I was pleased with the 30mm’s performance; it was fast, sharp enough to satisfy my eyes, and the price was right.  All of this gave me a good overall impression of the Sigma brand name.  I mean shit…I always had this inferiority complex with a 7D and a Sigma hanging around my neck; especially, when I saw some goofy-looking dude with a Canon 1D and a big, fat, juicy Canon L lens taking pictures of trains.

But after shooting with the 30 mm, I thought, “Who gives a shit about that damn red ring?!”  I even made one of those unboxing videos on YouTube which I totally hate.  I was so impressed with the “thirty-mil” that I even visited the Sigma headquarters which just happens to be a twenty-minute drive from my home west of central Tokyo.

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The Sigma rep was kind enough to show me and my son (I was on babysitting duties that day) some of their lenses from their display case.  By the way, I felt like a total idiot when I walked into their office with a toddler.  The entire office staff was looking our way.  They didn’t seem to care.  One guy even came over and gave some sweets. Cool.

“Sigma is a winner!,” I thought.  Nice images, affordable, near my house, helps me out with babysitting; this is a no brainer.  I’m sold on the Sigma brand.  So, I went ahead and ordered (without testing out at the shop or at Sigma’s HQ) the 20mm 1.8.  I wanted something wide, but not too wide for my 5D.  Man, that what a huge mistake.

As soon as I got it out of the box and hooked onto my 5D, I heard this loud, robotic-sounding noise from the autofocus; it sounded like a wounded Terminator after Sarah Connor had kicked its ass.  And then after I took a couple of shots, I knew that I was doomed with this lens.  The image quality wasn’t as sharp as I had expected / hoped for.  I then had this Hitchcockesque, vertigo-like thought pound into my head – “I need that damn lens with the red ring!”

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T.M on location for parody video shoot.  Sigma 20mm 1.8 + Canon 5D

Perhaps it’s psychological or ego, but I feel like I need 3D glasses when viewing the shot of T.M above.  The twenty-mil is nice and wide, but it just did not provide the sharpness that I knew was possible with other more expensive lenses with red rings on them.

If there are any 20mm Sigma fanboys and girls out there that wish to share some of their shots, by all means.

Anyhow, it’s been over a year now since I sold the 30 and the 20mm lenses, as well as the 7D.  I was strapped for cash, and I was also frustrated with having to do all that lens crop factoring when purchasing a lens.

Although I’m not as enthusiastic about Sigma as I was in the past, I don’t hate it.  I still use the 15mm which is kind of neat to use from time-to-time.

_MG_8709Meguro, Tokyo.  Sigma 15mm 2.8 + Canon 5D

Tokyo Monorail.  Sigma 15mm 2.8 + Canon 5D

Would I buy another Sigma lens in the future?  Maybe.  I’m curious about the 85mm 1.4.  Of course, I want that Canon 85mm 1.2, however, I’m not ready to sell a kidney for that jewel.

Sigma, you’re a nice brand.  Nice build quality, some nice lenses, some crap, and professional mannerisms at HQ when dealing with toddlers.

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