Sigma India

A Review By Pramod Mani, SIGMA Ambassador

Nestled in the heart of Chennai, the vibrant neighborhood of Kosapet has been a hub of artistic creativity and devotion for generations. It is here that a dedicated community of skilled artisans has been crafting exquisite idols of Lord Ganesha for many years, serving as a testament to the rich cultural heritage and religious fervor of the city.
The tradition of making Lord Ganesha idols in Kosapet dates back several decades, with artisans passing down their craftsmanship from one generation to the next. These artisans are not just skilled sculptors but also deeply spiritual individuals who pour their heart and soul into every creation.

The rain, although unforeseen, added an element of enchantment to the atmosphere, casting a soft, diffused light upon the vivid colors of the idols and generating shimmering reflections on the rain-slicked streets. I eagerly reached for my Fujifilm XT-5, coupled with the brand-new Sigma 23mm f/1.4 DC DN Contemporary Lens to capture the timeless beauty of the graceful Lord Ganesha idols precisely crafted by the skilled artisans of this vibrant community.

This lens has a classic 23mm focal length, which is like using a 35mm lens on a full frame camera. It has been carefully engineered to earn its place as a standout in Sigma’s esteemed DC DN series. The 23mm focal length proved exceptionally instrumental to my photographic endeavors during this excursion. It made it easy to capture all the little details of the subjects and also take wide shots of the city streets.

The lens’s rapid f/1.4 aperture proved indispensable, particularly in challenging low-light scenarios within dimly lit workshops. It afforded me the ability to freeze the artisans’ brisk hand motions (ghosting resistance) with remarkable precision as they carefully crafted their sculptures and paintings.

One standout moment was the chance to photograph idols covered in rain-soaked plastic wraps placed outside homes and temples. The Sigma lens’s exceptional optical quality guaranteed that every raindrop appeared with striking clarity, crafting a deep sense of immersion that encouraged viewers to feel the rain gently touching the divine figures of the idols.

The SIGMA lens showcased several notable advantages during the walk:

  • Its versatility was evident in the 23mm focal length, which allowed for capturing a wide range of
    shots, from detailed close-ups to expansive street vistas.
  • The lens’s fast f/1.4 aperture excelled in challenging low-light conditions, ensuring that images
    remained sharp and well-exposed even in dimly lit environments.
  • Its rapid autofocus capabilities enabled the seamless capture of candid moments and moving
  • Additionally, the lens exhibited exceptional optical quality, rendering details and colors with
    stunning clarity, while its wide aperture offered the creative benefit of producing beautiful
    shallow depth of field effects, emphasizing subjects and creating pleasing background blur.
    The Sigma 23mm f/1.4 DC DN X-mount lens lacks weather resistance, which can be considered a notable disadvantage. This means that it may not be as well-suited for use in adverse weather conditions, such as heavy rain or dusty environments, as some other lenses that offer weather sealing. For me, employing rain covers for my camera gear proved effective in preventing any harm to both the camera body and the lens.
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