Happy New Year to you all!

Despite the grey weather today, I just had to get out with the camera – the reason? Well a lovely shiny new lens!

Now the folks who know me will know I’m not that much of a ‘gear-head’ and I’m a firm believer in that it’s not what you’ve got, it’s what you do with it that counts. So for many years I’ve been using the Nikon Nikkor 500mm f4 P lens, and in fact the majority of the photos on my website were taken with this lens. This lens was produced in 1988 (I would have been about 4 years old!) and is manual focus only, it’s a fantastic bit of glass and was the only decent 500mm lens I could afford at the time. It’s served me very well over the years, but the manual focus and resulting quantity of missed shots was often frustrating, so I’ve been long overdue for an upgrade. Enter stage right my sleek new Sigma 500m f4.5 EX APO and all the other random letters lenses seem have attached. It’s autofocus! For the wildlife photographers reading, I went for the Sigma over the Nikon for several reasons, mainly that funds wouldn’t quite stretch to the Nikon (it’s waaay more expensive than the Sigma), but the image quality compares very favourably according to the reviews and the Sigma focuses slightly closer and is more compact and lighter than it’s Nikon counterpart. The Nikon has VR (Vibration reduction) and the Sigma doesn’t, but I didn’t consider that a good reason to spend all that extra money. So I overcame my brand faithfulness and went for the Sigma.

I haven’t had much of a chance to test it out properly yet, but after a brief session in the garden with the birds I’m thoroughly chuffed with it so far! Even with the grey conditions, it focuses super quickly and quietly and is beautifully sharp. I can’t wait to get out and try it properly, but for now:

Great tit, Parus major, perched on branch with lichen, Norfolk, January

(Click images to view larger…)

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