Jason Hampden is an Exclusive Licensing Contributor based in Greensboro, USA who shoots a variety of content, from intimate weddings to vibrant lifestyle sessions, occasionally dabbling in video content and documentaries.
Q: Tell us a little bit about who you are and the gear you use.
A: I am a lifestyle portrait and wedding photographer, commercial photographer, and aspiring filmmaker based in Greensboro, NC.
Gear I use:
• Sony A7RIII
• Sigma 35mm 1.4 ART E Mount
• Genustech 77mm ND Filter
• Tiffen 77mm Black Pro Mist ¼
• 67mm to 77mm step up
• DJI Ronin S
• Feelworld MA5 Monitor
Q: What inspired you to purchase the Sigma 35mm lens? Is there a particular feature that really stood out to you?
A: I started out with using just an 85mm for my work, given I had the right amount of space to work with. I loved the compression of the lens, but I desired to be closer to my subjects.
I was looking for a lens that would allow me to be more involved with my subjects and give the viewer the feeling of full immersion of the scene including in the environment, and the [the model’s] personality and emotions. That tells more of a story. I feel that just by changing that perspective, my portfolio has dramatically changed and widened my scope for subject matter.
Q: You put this lens to the test on two of your most recent shoots, a bridal shoot and a couple shoot. How do you feel the lens compared in these two scenarios?
A: The lens performed phenomenally! The AF response, coupled with the AF from the A7RIII, is a powerful combination in any kind of light.
Q: You challenged the sigma 35mm’s low-light capabilities in your couples shoot. Did the aperture range deliver? How does its performance stack up to other low light lenses?
A: The aperture range shined on all stops.
Even at 1.8, I found the images to be tack sharp, which many lenses cannot do. Although I typically stay at f 2.8 most of the time. I found that the E-mount version of Sigma handles just as well with native lenses such as my 85mm 1.8.
Q: The wide aperture range also provides you with great depth and bokeh abilities, why do you find this useful in lifestyle and portrait sessions?
A: For most of my lifestyle and portrait sessions, I’m shooting primarily in the early morning or evening to get the best natural light possible. Knowing that I have the flexibility of shooting wide open in darker situations is priceless and still having images tack sharp.
Q: Is your preference to shoot with prime lenses? Why or why not?
A: Yes, I’m mainly a prime lens shooter. I only own the 85mm and 35mm combo, and it handles a large portion of my work.
I mainly use the 85mm for traditional portraits, or discrete, candid moments. I use the 35mm if I want to bring the viewer into the image and incorporate the environment, which is why I use it mainly for all of my lifestyle and commercial content. For weddings, I rent an A7III for a dual combo, and the setup is perfect for my style of shooting.
Q: How do you feel this lens compares to one of your other prime portrait lenses?
A: Between the Sigma and Sony lenses, the Sigma overperforms with its ruggedness and durability. People have mentioned the weight, but I find that it just adds to the premium quality that Sigma offers.
Q: Would you take this lens with you while traveling? Why or why not?
A: The 35mm would be the only lens I’d take because of its versatility. You can create amazing work with this one lens, including street photography, landscapes, and portraits. Also, the ability to crop in with a function on the Sony can give you a bit more reach as well.
Q: Would you repurchase this lens? Why or why not?
A: Yes, without hesitation. The durability and versatility alone is worth the price. Sigma offers, in my opinion, a powerhouse of a mixture while providing affordability and longevity.
Q: What’s the next shoot you’re taking this lens to?
A: I will be using this lens for an upcoming couple’s shoot, commercial video project, and a wedding.
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