Beach Soccer Championships 2018 shot with Sony a9 and Sigma 135/1.8 lens

Congratulations to for winning the 2018 U.S. Pro Cup, at the Beach Soccer Championships. The contest featured an all-star lineup of international players, including Nick Perera, Mikel Palmerin, Chris Toth, Lucao Azevedo, and Frank Velasquez. @GoBeachSoccer won the final round against NorCal Beach Soccer Club.

These beach soccer photos were shot with the Sony a9, Sigma MC-11 adapter, and a Sigma 135mm f/1.8 ef-mount lens. The lens aperture was at f/2.0, and f/1.8 for some of the Sunday finale pictures. Shutter speeds were usually 1/10000th or 1/12800th. The MC-11 integration with modern Sigma lenses looks like a native e-mount lens to the camera body, and with the Sony a9 you have all of the native autofocus modes available in the a9 menu. The MC-11+Sigma 135/1.8 combo performed well, with some early testing showing AF-C working at 13-14fps, according to the EXIF date/time stamps.

Using a prime lens to shoot a bigger playing field like this incurs some major tradeoffs, mostly in the form of heavy resolution loss due to severe cropping, at 50% or more in some of these photos. Cropping a photo can also affect the way that the depth of field looks, which tends to counteract the use of fast prime glass. Picking the correct focus area with ball sports is a headache, due to all of the players on the field. Expanded flexible spot is a viable option, but then it’s difficult to frame the shot with a focus point that’s off to one side, which is often necessary to get the best shot composition.

The biggest problems with adapted lenses on Sony bodies tends to be with video autofocus, and in this case, the lens would autofocus, but it appeared to be using CDAF, judging by a slow but brief hunt on both sides of the focal plane, before settling into focus. That is not native e-mount lens behavior, but you should test it for yourself to see if it’s acceptable. That behavior could be different with the upcoming Sigma Art lenses release, in e-mount.

Dan Euritt

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