Pontus Gustavsson Photography
Welcome to my little home planet in the vast emptyness of cyberspace...
This site is dedicated to the art of nature photography. If you don't know me and would like to know who I am, press "About me" above. Too see some of my pictures please use the link named "Gallery" above. In addition, you'll soon find reviews on some pieces of equipment that I'm using or have used in the past under "Reviews" and some useful photo related web sites under "Links". Please note that all material on this website is protected by copyright. If you would like to use one of my pictures, contact me by e-mail or by letter. The addresses can be found under "Contact me".
This web site is only just started, so I apologize for the lack of content so far. Please come back once in a while to check on the progress!
I just got my new supertele, the Sigma 500mm f/4,5 EX HSM!
I will soon write a real review on this monster lens but I would like to use it a little more in the field first. I did shoot some birds with it in the back yard and the pictures all look perfectly sharp, crisp and contrasty. The HSM autofocus seems to work at least as fast and accurately as the USM of the EF 300mm f/4L IS, which is a very good verdict. The build quality is great with a massive tripod foot and a sturdy lens hood. It's not a small lens, but still lighter and more compact than its Nikon and Canon 500mm f/4 counterparts.
I had originally made plans to some day buy the Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS, but even imported from New York it costs $5500 + taxes and customs and it's a lot of money to spend on a lens... I've been searching the web for a used Canon EF 500mm f/4,5L but the prices are still too high. The Sigma 500mm f/4,5 EX HSM has received a lot of rave reviews and is significantly cheaper at $4200. I bought mine on an auction used, not the current DG model, but in very good condition for 20000 SEK, which is about $2700. A new Sigma costs 38000 SEK here in Sweden, which is more than $5000, so I'm quite pleased with the purchase!
I won't say you can't handhold a lens like this. Of course you can! ;-) At least for a few minutes and that might be all it takes to grab that shot of your lifetime. But you would need to use a very fast shutter speed to get a sharp picture and I recommend using the sturdiest tripod you can find, whenever you can. The Gitzo 5-- and 15-- series are quite stable. If you really need the best there is for long lens support, go for the heaviest Berlebach UNI wooden tripods. Some say the heavy Sachtlers are good too.
I don't like most ball heads because I feel they're less stable than the alternatives, mainly video heads/fluid heads. Ball heads tend to cause vibrations when you put weight on them, because the stem acts like a tuning fork. If you really need a ballhead, go for something low and stable like the Burzynski. For moving subjects and long lenses I'd recommend a videohead like that on the picture to the right (Gitzo 505 + Manfrotto 501), or a well-built gimbal head like the Wimberley. The videoheads are heavier but more stable. The Wimberley is lightning fast, reasonably stable and makes a large lens feel almost weightless.