Many photographers with a big budget buy the so-called trinity, that is f/2.8 constant aperture wide, standard and telephoto zoom lenses. Why? Because it is the common knowledge that is the way to go for any serious photographer. But my ‘go-to’ standard zoom lens is a f/4 constant aperture zoom lens, SIGMA 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM | Art, although I can afford more pricey standard zooms. I’ve taken tens of thousands of shots with this lens . Let me explain why I prefer this lens.
Nikon D800E + SIGMA 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM | Art
ISO100 35mm f/11 1/4sec.
Since I mainly shoot landscapes, what I need is images sharp enough at the edges, and thus, I usually narrow down the aperture to f/8 or f/11. The SIGMA 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM | Art is as sharp as or possibly sharper than the f/2.8 constant-aperture zoom lenses in the market.
Do you need the f/2.8 wide aperture when shooting landscapes? Perhaps you think it’s necessary when taking photographs in low light, for example, when shooting starscapes. But in that case, you get much better results with f/1.4 single focal length lenses. Since I own many fast single focal length lenses, I really don’t need f/2.8 constant-aperture standard zoom lenses when a slower standard zoom lens with a wider focal-length coverage can be as sharp at narrow aperture settings.
For a landscape photographer like me, this lens is really handy and so it has stayed as my ‘go-to’ standard zoom since it was released.
In addition, the lens also offers quite beautiful bokeh as a zoom lens. The lens is very sharp, versatile and useful. You might think the weight of the lens is a little too heavy (885g/31.2 oz). But it is much lighter and more convenient than carrying two lenses.
All that said, the lens isn’t perfect. The edges of deep focus images may be distorted at wider focal lengths (24-35mm), which is probably my only gripe with this lens. But there is a workaround. In such a case, focus at a relatively near object (several meters away) and narrow down the aperture to f/8-f/11 to include infinity within the depth of field rather than focusing at infinity. By doing so, you can take sharper photos with deep DoF. Vignetting and barrel distortion are noticeable at wide angles. But they can be easily compensated in LightRoom.
Let me show you some example shots in original size. The below images are not sharpened or processed. Just minor shadow, contrast, or colour adjustments were done for some of them in LightRoom.
BTW the cat statues in the photo were created by artist Moriwajin.