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I am Rod Wynne-Powell, and this is my way to pass on snippets either of a technical nature, or related to what I am currently doing or hope to be doing in the near future.

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Professional photographer, Lightroom and Photoshop Workflow trainer, Consultant, digital image retoucher, author, and tech-editor for Martin Evening's many 'Photoshop for Photographers' books.

For over twenty years, Rod has had a client list of large and small companies, which reads like the ‘who’s who’ of the imaging, advertising and software industries. He has a background in Commercial/Industrial Photography, was Sales Manager for a leading London-based colour laboratory and has trained many digital photographers on a one-to-one basis, in the UK and Europe.
Still a pre-release tester for Adobe in the US, for Photoshop, he is also very much involved in the taking of a wide range of photographs, as can be seen in the galleries.

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Monday, 26 November 2018

Sigma 60-600mm Test Gallery

  
          Sigma brought a stunning addition to the Sports category of its lenses with a really long range of 60mm through to 600mm. To be able to make this range possible the designers needed to find a lighter but stronger metal to keep the weight down yet tough enough to work the much longer range than the existing long zoom, the 150-600mm Sports lens. The decision would only be possible if the parts Sigma needed were made using a Magnesium alloy and even some using carbon fibre. For this to be possible Sigma had to create its own manufacturing facility for this material, rather than have to rely upon a third party.
          I was lucky enough to be allowed to get my hands upon this lens to help me decide whether it would solve a problem I regularly face in Sports and Wildlife scenarios where the subject of my images can range from a racing car heading towards me that in a fraction of a second is more than filling my frame having started as a mere speck in the distance, or a kingfisher is on the far shore of a stream, but then takes off and is flying close by me with little chance of me being able to focus on it as 150mm is not short enough. I found that except when conditions allowed me to consider prime lenses of a fixed focal length, zooms were always preferable, but often having more than one zoom lens was equally not the answer, and hitherto high quality lenses with long ranges lacked the quality, so I had to burden myself with the extra weight and the inconvenience often of two cameras.
          Then Sigma announced it had produced a lens with a 10 times range that was a match for its already excellent 150-600mm with matching quality and no gain in overall weight! I just had to check it out because this seemed to be the answer to my prayers — a single zoom lens on the one body and the same quality of result that I had come to expect from my 150-600mm Sports lens.
          The only difference was unlike my present lens which could be pushed and pulled as well as rotated, this new lens was helical, so one twisted it to zoom, but and here is an interesting twist, (pardon the pun!) it is actually lighter to turn than its predecessor, and though I had favoured the push-pull action, being lighter to move was definitely a benefit.
          When I bought the 150-600mm lens the short shoe for the lens was inadequate to cover the balance of the range of focal lengths over its travel within the Arca Swiss quick-release, but I later bought a longer shoe that was a vast improvement. To find that this has not been supplied as standard I was somewhat surprised, however since if I decide to buy this lens, I can simply transfer it over, it does not affect me, but someone coming to purchase this lens from the start will have to consider this extended shoe as essential from the start.
          Last week the weather was absolutely ideal for a really thorough test of this lens, but due to the lens being delivered by UPS to Amazon, despite being clearly marked with my address, the lens did not arrive for more than a week due to Amazon breaking the continuity by considering the entire day’s delivery completed under a single signature, the Tracking ceased at the Amazon Depot, and was then dumped in the Carriers’ cage to be returned when that carrier next returned. When I learned of this error I visited the Depot which only shares the major component of the Postcode, the MK 43, I decided I would go to the ‘Mountain’ to try to collect it from them. The point to note here is that the parcel now has had its tracking marked as ‘Delivered’ so despite this not being the case, it is now orphaned and in this state of Limbo, could be stolen or mislaid and there is no tracking number to validate its position in the path from Sender to Recipient. This is simply a disaster waiting to happen, and my appearing at the Amazon Depot was shrugged off with complete disdain, and I spent an inordinate amount of time on behalf of Sigma who had been so generous in allowing me to test this remarkable product, in hounding both Amazon and UPS to get them to honour their commitment to deliver this as their Duty of Care to their customer Sigma. A week later it arrived, and since about fifteen minutes after its arrival I received a call from the Netherlands and a woman asked me had the package arrived — no heartfelt apology, just in impersonal: “Had the package arrived?” The answer obvious since the driver had been primed to inform the woman to phone and ask (which should have been prefaced by: “I am sorry for the delay in the delivery of your package, please accept our sincere apology, and we will look into the circumstances and try to improve this in the future.”  I explained this fairly forthrightly but calmly, but as with Amazon this end, Customer Care is not part of either’s ethos, so this experience has left me with a very sour taste of that company’s attitude. Due to the attitude I met from both UPS and Amazon, I would really like to see both parties severely curbed, so that they realise that the Public deserves better.
          I am hoping that I get some sun and wind shortly so that I may complete my testing and return the lens to Sigma, and thus far I am already highly impressed with the results, but am sad I missed those two excellent days which would have gained me some good images as opposed to just tests, but I reckon that my funds are going to be depleted shortly as this looks like a dream come true for the photography I do most. Now to process the most recent shots.
          The first shots of any interest were shot at the Forest Centre, and the sailing Dinghies on Stewartby Lake, then I headed for Brogborough Lake, but in the main the idea was to understand the handling of the lens and see whether it lived up to expectations, and even though my testing is not yet complete, I am impressed. Sigma should be justly proud.

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