Sigma's 105mm f/1.4 Art Promo is... Terrible

by Sean Setters
When you hear the phrase "105mm f/1.4 lens," what kinds of image characteristics or shooting circumstances immediately come to mind? For me, it's a wonderful subject/background separation via soft, creamy bokeh and a compression that helps create a pleasing head shot. It's low light shooting, where the wide f/1.4 aperture allows for capturing imagery in situations where an f/2.8 just won't do. But in its latest promo video, Sigma decided not to feature any of the traits that make its 105mm Art lens so desirable. Instead, they had photographer Sascha Hüttenhain shoot full-bodied images dancers, in his studio, in front of a white backdrop.
This has got to be one of the worst marketing videos I've ever seen. It doesn't highlight the product's strengths, at least through its concept or imagery.
While the narrorator indeed mentions that the lens is "...ideally suited for low-light situations, or to seperating subject and background," the video doesn't highlight either of these uses. First of all, the entire shoot takes place in a studio that's lit with high-power strobes and/or fresnel lights. If you're in a studio using strobes, guess what? You don't need an f/1.4 aperture. And second, the blank white background used makes it impossible to discern any subject-to-background separation created by the lens. But even if the background wasn't blank, the loosely framed full body portraits wouldn't really show off the lens' background separation capabilities unless the background was miles away. Throughout the video, there's only one image out of five (found at the 1:40 mark) that even hints at the lens' wide aperture results.
In otherwords, the photographer could have used any lens featuring a 105mm focal length for the featured shoot. Do you already own a 70-200mm telephoto zoom? How about a 24-105mm general purpose zoom? Good! You already have what you need for shooting dancers in a studio using a blank white wall.
Sigma, if you're going to make me want this lens, you're going to have to showcase what makes the lens special. Show me what the results look like at f/1.4 where you're blurring a not-so-photogenic background into oblivion. Show me how I can capture a dancing couple in very low light with string lights draped in the background. But please, Sigma, don't show me an official marketing video that makes the unique features of your product seem completely irrelevant.
If you have more imagination than Sigma and know how to make the 105mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art lens shine, you can preorder the lens at the following retailers:
B&H | Adorama | Amazon | Wex Photo Video
Posted: 7/9/2018 8:35:42 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
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