I finished with the dog and got my camera. I had just received a Sigma 105mm ƒ/2.8 DG Macro and Sigma Electronic Flash EF-500 DG Super for review, so I pulled them out, grabbed a camera and tripod, then headed off to the spider and web. I also took a flashlight because I knew focusing would be impossible otherwise.
The web and spider were beauties. I set up the camera on a tripod nearby, using the flashlight for composition and focus. This is where I loved the Sigma macro's focal length—105mm on a Canon EOS 20D gave it the equivalent of nearly 170mm used on a 35mm camera. That meant I could keep my distance, which helped both my psyche (keeping the spider from my neck) and my light (allowing some room between the camera and the subject).
I put the flash on a dedicated cord so I could move it around to get the best light. This is one of digital's greatest features—even if you have no clue as to what a flash will do, you take the picture, check the LCD and make exposure and direction changes as needed immediately.
The flash and lens were a great combination. I quickly got several shots from diverse angles, with varied light and at different distances. Without any chance of camera movement (the tripod and flash pre-vented that), the lens' qualities came through. A decent lens wide open, like most lenses, it's at its best stopped down from the maximum aperture. It's available in Canon, Konica Minolta, Nikon, Pentax and Sigma mounts.
The EF-500 flash performed perfectly. Designed to work with the latest in digital camera technology, its controls are easily accessed on the back. It has an excellent guide number (GN) of 165 (feet, ISO 100) and will zoom to fit the lens used (you also can zoom it manually for special needs or effects). The flash includes a modeling light mode and works wirelessly with camera manufacturers' wireless flash units. It's available for Canon, Konica, Minolta, Nikon, Pentax and Sigma cameras.
Contact: Sigma, (800) 896-6858, www.sigma-photo.com.
[ Specifications ]
Lens: Sigma 105mm ƒ/2.8 DG Macro
Lens Elements: 11 elements in 10 groups
Focal Length: 105mm
Focus Range: 1:1 to infinity
Filter Size: 58mm
Size: 3.1x3.7 inches
Street Price: $399
Flash: Sigma Electronic Flash EF-500 DG Super
Guide Number: 165 (feet/ISO 100)
Angle Of Light: Variable to match 28-105mm; 17mm with built-in diffuser
Head Movement: Swivels right and left, up to bounce position
Size: 3x5.5x4.6 - inches
Weight: 12 ounces
Street Price: $229
1 Powerful GN of 165 (expressed in feet at ISO 100)
2 Wireless capabilities with other wireless flash
3 Full range of head movement for versatility