If you, Dear Reader, read my last post, entitled "Anticipation", you know that the title of this post relates to the new (old) 400mm lens of which I just took delivery. The Wee Beastie arrived, and it is mint condition, followed a day later by the Sony E-mount adapter (the lens is Pentax K mount). The lens even has a built-in rotating tripod mount. It's a peach! (Albeit an olive green peach... for some obscure reason, it has a military livery.)
I've always loved long telephoto lenses, not simply for their reach, but also for their ability to isolate a graphic element, to compress perspective, and, if you're lucky, they possess a pleasing bokeh. (Bokeh is a Japanese term that describes the quality of the out-of-focus areas in an image.)
Looking at the first results of the new (old) Sigma, I am nicely satisfied.
Handling-wise, the Sigma is large and heavy, but nowhere nearly as large and heavy as most comparable 400mm lenses. That's one of the main reasons I chose it, to minimize the wear and tear on my arthritic hands. The manual focus is beautifully smooth and buttery, and in combination with the technology that the Sony a6000 body provides, such as focus peaking and focus magnification, it is super quick to nail the focus. The only niggle is that (very commonly to this lens) the sliding lens hood does so with abandon, accompanied by a loud clink as it bottoms out at either end. The addition of an elastic band nicely solves the issue effectively and cheaply.
The tripod mount is actually fairly-well balanced, even with the light a6000 body, and the adapter adds a it more weight at the back end. I adapted a camera strap with a QR clamp to use handheld as I didn't want to stress the a6000's strap lugs. But for the most part. This combo will be tripod-mounted to get the best sharpness at the lowest practical ISO. I have fooled about a bit and found that I can effectively handhold the beast by setting the a6000 to Shutter Priority, setting a speed of 1/1250, and letting Auto ISO adjust as needed to achieve the exposure. With the Sony, I will let the ISO range up to 12800. Phenomenal!
I'm looking forward to getting out to the trails either at Lynn Canyon, or over at Capilano to do a full on test with nature images. More to come...