During my trip to Death Valley, I experimented a little with timelapse photography using the MIOPS device. One of the moments, particularly at Zabriskie Point, was the one I did not miss and capture it at its full glory, while the light was constantly changing. At first, I set up my Nikon D810 to take pictures every 2 seconds, then I left the camera to go shoot a panorama with another one, as described in this recent article. After I came back, I saw that my camera captured a total of 1675 images. I reviewed some of the photos and really liked the fact that I captured so many different images and the transitions in between – from colorful pink clouds, to sun hitting the Manly Beacon. Since light conditions were changing so fast, I decided to shoot in Aperture Priority mode (see our article on camera modes), with ISO set to 100 and Aperture fixed at f/8. For the Zabriskie Point timelapse in the video, I used the Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8E VR lens (obviously, with VR turned off). Since I already had plenty of images for my upcoming review, I decided to use the Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art lens. Boy, what a mistake!
First of all, I don’t know if it was my sample of the Sigma 24-105mm f/4 OS Art, or all of them are like this (I will be testing more samples), but this lens cannot yield sharp corners at infinity focus at every aperture. Even stopping down to f/11, the corners looked pretty soft on my D810. Second, the darn lens apparently has optical stabilization that cannot be fully turned off! I first noticed this when mounting my camera on a tripod – as soon as I would turn the camera on, the viewfinder would make a slight adjustment. And that’s with OS turned off on the lens! I really don’t understand why Sigma decided to do this, but it really annoyed the heck out of me. I still decided to go ahead and shoot the timelapse with this lens, thinking that framing would stay the same between the shots, as the camera was obviously constantly turned on. When I imported images into Lightroom and started looking at individual shots, they all were framed differently. Needless to say, my first timelapse sequence from both the first and the second scenes (from Saguaro NP and Joshua Tree NP) looked horrendous, with everything jumping from frame to frame. Thankfully, the “Warp Stabilizer” feature of Adobe Premiere Pro proved to be really handy in such situations – it did a great job at getting rid of the constant framing changes introduced by this lens.
That’s a huge disappointment. I am a big fan of Sigma Art series lenses and this is the first lens that really got me ticked off. Why Sigma? What’s the point of keeping OS on? Why don’t you allow turning it off completely?
If you are planning to do timelapse photography, I would strongly recommend against using the Sigma 24-105mm f/4 Art lens. Hopefully there is a way to fix this issue via a firmware update.
Hope you enjoy this timelapse. If you have a 4K screen, don’t forget to switch video quality on YouTube for the best viewing experience: