Macro lens, Sigma 105 OS or Nikkor 105/2.8VR?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by mark_stephan|2, Nov 13, 2014.

  1. I'm currently using a Nikon 85/3.5VR Micro with my D300s. I'm thinking about selling it and replacing it with the 105VR or the less expensive Sigma 105 OS. I'm currently using a Sigma 150/2.8 (non OS) with my D700. It's an impressive lens but it's big and heavy and takes up a lot of room in the camera bag. IMO it makes more sense to have a 105 which would work with FX as well as DX and sell the 85VR. I'm not replacing the Sigma 150 but I do want a 105 lens that is useable with both digital formats.
  2. The Nikon due to its constant physical length. If that is not of significance to you, then I would get the older Nikon 105/2.8D instead of the Sigma - it's smaller and lighter (but of course has no VR).
    Personally, I would have a hard time justifying a 105mm lens (for FX) if I already had a 150mm and I don't see a good reason to go to 105 on DX if I already had an 85 - in particular if that means doubling the weight. YMMV though.
  3. What do you think of the performance of your sample the 85mm DX VR micro? For me the availability of the DX 85mm micro (along with the 35F1.8 DX) sways me toward the Nikon DX system in the first place (over say Canon or Fuji).
  4. Why specifically a 105? I have the 150mm Sigma (OS version), but got it after I already had the 90mm Tamron (older, pre-VC version), which is still very good on FX and a fraction of the cost of the 105 Nikkor. It does have more LoCA than the 150mm Sigma (or the new 90mm Tamron), but so does the 105 Nikkor.

    If you're specifically after a smaller macro than the 150mm that's as long as you can get, by all means go with the Sigma 105 (or get an old 100mm Tokina). To complement the 150, I'd rather have the 90mm (old or new) Tamron, since I'd rather have a wider choice of focal lengths available rather than two lenses closer together. YMMV.

    I don't own one, but most of what I've heard of the Nikkor is that it's a perfectly good lens, but it's not so outstanding that it's worth the premium over other versions. Plus the VR is conventional, and doesn't work well for hand-held macro shots, whereas the 100mm Canon does have a special IS system. (That said, I've not had problems hand-holding the 150mm OS with what I believe is equivalent to Nikon's VR, but the extra focal length may help.) I have to admit that the 150 OS Sigma is a bit chubby (not quite in the 70-200 category, but close) - but it's also a "no LoCA portrait lens" for when I'm not using my 200 f/2, and it's certainly a lot lighter than that!
  5. I have the Sigma 150mm OS lens and the older Sigma non OS 105mm lens. Personally, I prefer using the 150mm lens with my D800 because you can throw the background out of focus that bit more easily and get a bit more distance from your subject but it is a very large, heavy lens. Sharpness wise there isn't much to criticise with either lens and the Sigma 105mm is remarkably good on the D800, pin sharp up close and at infinity.
    If you like Sigma, the older non OS 105mm lens is plenty good enough if you don't need the VR technology or even the Sigma 70mm which is equivalent to 105mm full frame when used on DX and equally at home on DX and FX and of course I would be very surprised if the Nikon 105mm VR was any worse than the Sigma 105mm in either version.
  6. Hmm, let's see. A lens from a 3rd party company with IME a not-very-good track record for consistency or optical quality, or a lens from a reliably good marque? Surely this is a no-brainer?
  7. My preference is for genuine Nikkor lenses.
  8. The new Sigma OS is a good lens optically, much better than the older version, but it also has much more flair:
  9. After just a quick look at DXO it looks like the Sigma 105 is the better deal, at least sharpness wise. In my experience with camera lenses if you buy a cheap lens you get a cheap lens. Also in my experience Nikon and Canon customer service could take a lesson from Sigma.
    I use Sigma lenses as well as Nikon lenses among others, and I have to say that I have had no more problems with Sigma lenses then I have had with Nikon. Blanket statements about 3rd party lenses not being as good as or better then Nikon or Canon lenses is very out dated thinking.
  10. Lenses usually have flare not flair.
  11. "Blanket statements about 3rd party lenses not being as good as or better then Nikon or Canon lenses is very out dated thinking."​
    There's a proverb "Once bitten, twice shy." - Now I've been 'bitten' by Sigma too many times in the past. Last time I bought a Sigma lens was, I admit, back in 2005, but that lens (an EX 24-70mm f/2.8 zoom) was truly awful. As most of my previous Sigma purchases proved to be, either in build or optical quality. So the Sigma experience isn't one that I'd care to repeat anytime soon.
    Maybe Sigma have changed their ways and now make lenses of good and reliable quality, and I'm sure there are exceptions among the mediocrity. However, I'd rather my money went to Nikon, Tamron or Tokina. Anywhere but Sigma basically.
  12. I have both the Sigma 105 OS HSM and the Sigma 150 HSM (not OS). I think the 105 is a superb lens on both FX and DX. The optical quality never ceases to amaze me. It is definitely lighter than the 150 and feels quite plasticy in comparison. This was very obvious when I compared it to the Nikon 105 VR. Now that is some serious chunk of glass. I think on the Nikon the barrel is all-metal and I recall feeling like it was much steadier and heavier than the Sigma. However, I was surprised to look at specs and find the Sigma was 5g heavier. My conclusion was that perhaps the Sigma has more glass as the plastic outer body couldn't weigh much.
    One thing I didn't like about the Nikon was the very limited focus limiter. It's either FULL or 0.5m-Infinity. On a macro lens with a minimum focus distance of 0.31m? Perhaps there's a technical reason behind this. I just take photos :). I find the three option focus limiter on the Sigmas much more useful. I'm sure the Nikon is a great macro lens but I am very happy with the Sigma.
    Good luck.
  13. Lenses usually have flare not flair.​
    Depends on the lens. :)
  14. From what i can see if you are looking at dedicated prime macro lenses, the current crop all seem pretty good, whether from Nikon,
    Sigma, Tamron or Tokina. A 24-70mm zoom lens of a different generation of lenses is somewhat more complex than any of these designs
    and not really a fair comparison.

    I've used Tamron and Sigma macro lenses of various focal lengths and found nothing to criticise either way. In fact currently I have 5
    macro lenses, which is kind of overkill and all of them perform extremely well on my D800. The oldest one is a Tamron SP 90mm adaptall
    lens which was outstanding with my old Olympus OM 4ti and is still pin sharp on digital but only criticism is the out of focus highlights
    don't look great which is probably down to older lens coatings, I'm sure the newer version would be better in that regard.

    As for Sigma they seem to be on a roll just now, with excellent 35mm and 50mm lenses that Nikon would be happy to have made and
    more new lenses in the pipeline, not exactly a poorer option than buying Nikon!
  15. Hmm, let's see. A lens from a 3rd party company with IME a not-very-good track record for consistency or optical quality, or a lens from a reliably good marque? Surely this is a no-brainer?​
    The LensRentals blog mentioned that small, new companies tend to make good products, but not enough of them to work through any production kinks and reliability issues. Sigma - and to a lesser extent Tamron - make a lot of lenses. Some of them are built to a budget, because people pay a premium for the on-brand version, so, yes, something like an 18-200 is probably not going to set the world on fire, even compared with the already-iffy Nikkor version. Not that I'd try hammering too many nails in with my 28-80 Nikkor, either. The premium stuff is another story. Add to that, pretty much nobody makes a bad macro lens, although Nikon have occasionally tried to. Add to that, companies tend to get to a certain size by building budget items, then decide to do something about their quality control, and then do extremely well. My employers (Samsung) and the large Japanese car manufacturers spring to mind. Sigma very publicly did this, possibly having heard "friends don't let friends buy Sigma" once too often.

    To be fair, my first 150mm Sigma did have a problem - the focus mechanism spontaneously broke. I got a no-quibble replacement. Optically, it's been great, which is more than I could say for my 135 f/2 DC. And yes, my old 150-500 OS Sigma sucked at the long end, but I get the impression the AF-D 80-400 wasn't all that hot either. I'm more confident of at least the premium version of the 150-600. And certainly I have no qualms about the Sigma 35 f/1.4 (give or take getting it to focus, for which I blame the D800 as much as the lens) or the 50mm Art. Things change.
  16. Lenses usually have flare not flair.​
    Depends on the lens. :)
    Does this count as lens flair? ;)

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