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Rediscovering a lens that I already owned while packing for a trip –

When packing for trips, I find myself seesawing between my Fuji X system and Nikon DSLRs. We do underwater, street, nature and landscape photography. Do I pack the Fuji X-Pro2, the crop sensor Nikon D500 and my old D800 or complicate things and buy the new Nikon D850?

Earlier this winter, we were packing for street and winter nature and landscape photography in Japan. My wife and partner in Aperture Photo Arts is a die-hard Fuji shooter and between us, we have most of the Fuji X lenses and spare camera bodies. This was the logical choice.

monkey in Japan - packing for trip
Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park. Nikon D850 Sigma 150mm macro lens. 1/640th, f7.1, ISO 800

While I believe DSLR’s days are numbered, they have become so darn good that I found myself ordering a Nikon D850. For Nikon f mount lenses, I had street covered with my prime Nikon 35 and 50mm, landscape with the Tamron 15-30mm and Tokina 11-20mm and for wildlife, the newest Nikon 80-400mm.

portrait in Japan - packing for a trip
Tsukiji fish market, Tokyo. Nikon D850 Sigma 150mm macro lens. 1/500th f4.5, ISO 1250

I was feeling deficient in the short-range prime telephoto lens department and started internet searching for the next lens that would make “all the difference”, match the D850’s discerning eye and fit in my camera bag.

Staring into my gear closet, I took note of my Nikon 105mm and the Sigma 150mm macro lenses. They are optically wonderful. The 105 is also great for portraits, but I mostly use this underwater. The Sigma 150mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM APO macro lens straddles the short and medium telephoto reach but I’ve only used it for macro photography when a bit more distance between me and the subject was needed. I refreshed my memory on the attributes of the Sigma 150mm lens and decided to pack it.

Stellar’s eagle, Hokkaido. Nikon D850 Sigma 150mm macro lens. 1/1600th, f5, ISO 400

While not a scientific test, here are my observations traveling with my “forgotten” prime telephoto lens.

For a macro lens, it is neither small nor light, but still easy to handle, solidly built and fast at f2.8. It has image stabilization and the focus for street and flying birds was snappy and accurate. This is one sharp lens, easier to lug and hold than the 80-400mm and had a very pleasing bokeh. I detected no chromatic aberration or significant distortion. It also comes with a comically long lens shade which came in handy shooting in weather.

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Rafael Jones

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