Sigma 19mm DN Art f2.8 Amazing Lens with a Video Auto Focus Problem.

The very first lens I bought for my Sony a6000 was the 19mm Sigma DN Art f2.8. For under $200 you get a lens that is super sharp. According to most reviewers, dollar for dollar, it outperforms the competition.

Flag over Washington (Half Mast)I have been very happy with it. I’ve taken some great pictures. On an APS-C sensor, the 19mm is a handy focal length for catching pictures of kids inside the house. It’s not too bad for wider landscapes. Or shots like the one above.

There is a problem, however, when you use it with AF turned on for video recording.

I didn’t notice it for a long time. If you’re running hand held, you might never notice it. On Youtube it’s not easy to see, unless you’re looking for it. And I wasn’t. The I pulled up the footage on my computer. How could I miss this?

But now that I’ve seen it, I can’t look at any footage on a tripod or slider without seeing it. What is it?

Here’s a video that shows the issue very clearly. Watch the edges:

Slowed down like this, the jitter on the edges of the frame is very visible. I pulled down a few videos I shot with it. (But not everything.) But every video I’ve checked has the issue. I’ve used the lens for several videos, but none were reviews of the lens. All were about something else, so I didn’t notice. they look fine where the center of focus is, where your attention is drawn. I don’t “pixel peep” with most of my gear. The center of the lens is sharp, and looks great. But with the autofocus on, the edges shake and jitter.

When I was researching this lens, every review was positive. I didn’t find one mention of this issue. Now there are a few posts about it. Some videos like the one above. I’d hate for someone who wanted this lens for video to not know about this issue, so I’m doing my part.

I love this lens for pictures. But I can’t recommend it for video.

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Buying a New Camera Brand is Buying a New Lens System

UnknownIt all started when Canon released the EOS M3 in Europe and Asia. I saw a few reviews and suddenly I had the urge to get a new camera.

I made the choice to slim down my personal camera to a small DSLR style/mirrorless body a while back. The plan is to rent when I need something bigger.  I chose not to pursue bigger and better DSLRs, or to buy real cinema, large sensor interchangeable lens cameras. Even though I like them, 99% of the day to day footage I need can be shot with something less. And larger projects can afford to rent gear, and I’m off the merry-go-round of trying to stay current with multiple thousands of dollars in camera gear.

But I had settled into the status quo with my EOS M. It was a great little camera, who HD with a very nice picture. And I liked adapting old manual lenses to it. The M3 release got me looking around a bit, and I was pleasantly surprised to see some of the advancements in small mirrorless bodies. A few manufacturers have really stepped up. For not much money you have access to a slew of helpful/useful video capabilities.

Canon hasn’t really done that though. They have a few improvements, but they seem to be driving people who want high end video toward their Cinema EOS Line. The new C300 mark II looks amazing. But their DSLRs seem to be lagging. A little research into the EOS M3 (available online from overseas sellers) showed that while they added quite a few features that videographers wanted (usable autofocus, focus peaking, tilt LCD, EVF) to the EOS M, the actual video quality had gone down. That’s frustrating.

But changing brand of camera is really changing lens systems. A camera body is the initial investment, but it’s what you can shoot with it that ends up costing more. Technically, the EOS M only has 4 possible lenses you can mount on it, but because Canon has the very nice EF-EOSM adapter, the rest of the canon EF/EFS lenses become an option. And they have some great glass.

Luckily, I didn’t have huge money tied up in Canon lenses. I can still use my old manual glass with any mirrorless body. I took the leap and sold all 3 of my Canon lenses and my EOS M.

That sale brought in enough to cover the purchase of a Sony Alpha a6000 body and one of the Sigma ART series lenses for Sony E Mount. Probably the 19mm f2.8 model. That lens will be the first of many to come for this new system. I don’t think the Sony E Mount universe has a better lens selection than Canon. But they have enough, and because the a6000 is mirrorless, I can use so many other lenses that it won’t matter. In the meantime my manual glass will cover the rest of the range from 35mm-210mm. That’s the thing you have to consider, can you do your work within this system of lenses mounted to this camera body? The camera body with these features at this price (currently on sale for $450) made me interested in Sony, but the availability of lenses that I could use and afford tipped me the rest of the way.

Now I’m just waiting for the camera to arrive…