after my stay in Vietnam’s capital Hanoi I took the train to the north of the country. After a 10-hour train ride and after crossing a distance of 380 km, though I have to admit that Vietnamese trains aren’t the fastest, and another 2 hours on the bus I reached my next destination. Sapa!
Sa Pa is located in the Hoàng Liên Son Mountains at an altitude of about 1,600 meters above sea level and surrounded by a national park. It is totally different from the capital. It’s surrounded by nature and numerous steep rice fields. Simply idyllic and stunning.
My equipment included my Canon 5D MarkIII and, after some thinking about the lens, I finally decided to take the SIGMA 24-105mm F4 DG OS HSM | Art.
Although I’ve already written my opinion on this lens once, I’d like to repeat the “basics” and tell you what I think of using it as a lens for traveling. I want to start with some brief technical specs.
The lens covers a focal length range of 24 to 105 mm and it weighs about 885 grams. The lens has a consistent light intensity of 4 and it can also be supported by image stabilization, its smallest aperture being 22. It has a close focusing distance of 45 cm and is sold with a lens hood.
I consider the focal length range perfect for traveling and I highly recommend lenses with such zoom levels for traveling! Without annoying lens swaps you can both take wide-angle images of the scenery as well as close-ups and detailed photos. The consistent light intensity and the image stabilization are also very useful. The thing I don’t find that perfect is the high weight of the lens. As you’re likely to walk greater distances while traveling some additional weight might bother you. Of course, carrying two lenses instead of one all-round zoom lens will turn out to be quite heavy as well!
Even with a wide open aperture (f4) the lens convinces me with its good level of sharpness. Beyond that, the bokeh that’s created has a nice shape, which I always consider very important! Its focus is very fast and easy. I didn’t have any problems and was convinced even when the light was not that good. The focus performed great even with the snapshots I did out of the windows of a train or bus.
Two points of critique regarding this lens are, on the one hand, the distortion at the focal length level of 24 to about 40mm, and on the other hand the vignetting. You can find it with an open aperture at a shorter focal length range.
Generally speaking, however, I was very happy with the choice of my travel lens. Thanks to its versatility, its level of sharpness and the speed of its focus you can easily overlook minor “flaws” such as its weight.