SIGMA Surprises: “Bokeh Master” lens, a SIGMA film camera, and another walk through Duke Gardens.

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I recently championed alternatives to the acquisition of lenses like the “bokeh master” SIGMA 105mm f/1.4 followed by a post about the acquisition of the same. As stated I am a work in progress.

Well, this has all brought fruits that were expected along with some that were not. Expected the lens to work well with both the Sony FE mount with the MC11 adapter and the native mount SIGMA sd Quattro. Will write posts about the expected outcomes with these pairings. But there were some surprises also. This is my first post in the surprise column.

SIGMA SA-7N
SIGMA SA-7N

Now I fully expected this would happen. I knew SIGMA made SA mount film cameras. And since they existed I fully expected one would be in my future. In a bit of good fortune, I found one at KEH quite quickly. Soon after receiving the camera I headed out to my local camera shop for a bit of show and tell, two batteries, and a couple rolls of Ilford HP5. Fired it up half expecting it not to work, but once it had batteries a quick test confirmed that everything worked as I had hoped. Loaded a roll of HP5 and here are the first two test shots.

SIGMA SA-7N - 105mm f/1.4 Art
Graham
SIGMA SA-7N - 105mm f/1.4 Art
Wilson

All seemed to be going well so far. Exposures shown made sense. Shutter fired with confidence. Filmed seemed to advance. But has it actually been successful? Took another shot at home that felt good,…

SIGMA SA-7N - 105mm f/1.4 Art

…but then chose to head out to my favorite film roll burning test location. Duke Gardens. Below I give you the balance of the roll save one (one!) user error fueled AF miss and another blurry shot, again owing to user error, taken in low light with less than a steady hand.

One of the first things I encountered at Duke Gardens was an amazing wedding shoot. Stills, video, and a drone were employed. Very impressive.

SIGMA SA-7N - 105mm f/1.4 Art

Here are the remaining shots from my lap.

SIGMA SA-7N - 105mm f/1.4 Art
SIGMA SA-7N - 105mm f/1.4 Art
SIGMA SA-7N - 105mm f/1.4 Art
SIGMA SA-7N - 105mm f/1.4 Art
SIGMA SA-7N - 105mm f/1.4 Art
SIGMA SA-7N - 105mm f/1.4 Art
Squirrel.
SIGMA SA-7N - 105mm f/1.4 Art
SIGMA SA-7N - 105mm f/1.4 Art
SIGMA SA-7N - 105mm f/1.4 Art
SIGMA SA-7N - 105mm f/1.4 Art
SIGMA SA-7N - 105mm f/1.4 Art
SIGMA SA-7N - 105mm f/1.4 Art
SIGMA SA-7N - 105mm f/1.4 Art
SIGMA SA-7N - 105mm f/1.4 Art
SIGMA SA-7N - 105mm f/1.4 Art
SIGMA SA-7N - 105mm f/1.4 Art
SIGMA SA-7N - 105mm f/1.4 Art
SIGMA SA-7N - 105mm f/1.4 Art
SIGMA SA-7N - 105mm f/1.4 Art
SIGMA SA-7N - 105mm f/1.4 Art
SIGMA SA-7N - 105mm f/1.4 Art
SIGMA SA-7N - 105mm f/1.4 Art
Close focus. What is that bokeh haze in the background?
SIGMA SA-7N - 105mm f/1.4 Art
There you go.
SIGMA SA-7N - 105mm f/1.4 Art
SIGMA SA-7N - 105mm f/1.4 Art
SIGMA SA-7N - 105mm f/1.4 Art
SIGMA SA-7N - 105mm f/1.4 Art
SIGMA SA-7N - 105mm f/1.4 Art
Heading out.
SIGMA SA-7N - 105mm f/1.4 Art
I call this one I had one exposure left.

Well, that about wraps things up for now. Quite a few SIGMA posts will follow. This camera is amazing. Definitely will write a SIGMA SA-7N This Old Camera post. Will write more and share product shots then, but for now here are my first thoughts if not quick ones.

  • While not plentiful these cameras are very affordable when you do find them. And a pristine copy of the latest model appeared with perfect timing at KEH.
  • This camera is full featured. More so than about any other film camera I own. To wit:
    • 1/2000s shutter speed.
    • Full range of modes (M, A, S, and P).
    • Mulitiple exposure mode where you can set the number of exposures.
    • Mirror up mode.
    • AF-S and AF-C modes.
    • Multiple metering modes.
    • Relatively quiet even with auto advance… And it has auto advance.
    • Bracketing is nice where you can set the exposure variance.
    • Easily decipherable controls.
    • Diopter.
    • AEL button.
    • Built in flash.
    • Front dial around shutter controls aperture.
    • Dedicated shutter speed dial.
    • Both aperture and shutter speed show in viewfinder.
    • Full manual uses AE for +/- exposure metering.
    • Quick and accurate AF.
  • While the dials to feel a bit plastic-y overall the camera feels good in hand.
  • Lastly it works with modern SIGMA SA lenses. Even down to the lens’ AF/MF switch. I mean it works perfectly with their latest and greatest portrait lens. I say again… A film camera released in 2001 works perfectly with a digital lens released in 2018.

While the topic of an earlier post this lens also deserves a full-on review. If things continue as is it is on track to being the best lens I have ever owned. Thoughts on it.

  • Other than size and weight it is perfect in any measure you would apply to lenses. Rather than spill many words here, I offer the images above as Exhibit A.
  • True of an SA mount lens it has also proven to be ridiculously versatile. It can be used on Sony without any functional sacrifices on an MC11, with a native mount SA digital camera, as well as with a film camera. So in my world a nearly perfect lens.

Well, there are other SIGMA surprises, but that is it for now.

Well done Sigma.

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