Sigma 35/1.4 --anyone interested or own it already?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by eric_arnold, Jan 7, 2013.

  1. hi P-Netters,
    just saw the DPreview write-up of the sigma 35/1.4. the review claims it has "Superb optics that beat anything else in its class"; other reviews have been similarly glowing. anyone have this lens or planning on getting it? i'm thinking about using it on a D3s for low-light stuff, and maybe on an APS-C body as well.
     
  2. There is a lot of Internet-love for this new Sigma, as there has been in the past for other pro-level Sigma announcements. But later, some disappointment usually sets in. Maybe Sigma has a winner here, but I'll wait a few months and see how things play out ;-)
     
  3. I have a lot of interest and I keep going back and forth on weather to pre order one or not. I have the Nikon 35mm f/1.4 AI-S and from what I have seen and read the new Sigma kicks its butt all the way into next week.
    I also like the idea of being able to update the firm ware and tweak the AF of the lens.
     
  4. But later, some disappointment usually sets in.​
    couldn't this be said about almost any lens? i'm reminded of the Nikon 28/1.8 G which has focal plane/focus-shift issues which make it tricky for landscape use, especially on high-MP cameras. i could go down the list: the 17-55 and flare, the 70-200 VRI and FX corners, the 70-200 II's focus breathing, the distortion on the 14-24 and 24-70, the 300/4's puny tripod collar, the 70-200/4's additional-cost tripod collar, etc., etc.
    the Sigma, OTOH, seems to have no significant weaknesses, other than somewhat inelegant bokeh in some conditions, which appears to be a trade-off for its laser-like sharpness, even at f/1.4. for the price it's being offered--$900--it seems like it could be a game changer. all the nikon lenses i mentioned are frightfully expensive, (with the poss. exception of the 300/4) which is definitely a factor. if the sigma delivers better optics than the nikon 35/1.4 AF-S and the Zeiss at a lower cost, what's not to like?
    FWIW, i already own the sigma 85/1.4 and 50/1.4, and disappointment has yet to "set in."
     
  5. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    i'm reminded of the Nikon 28/1.8 G which has focal plane/focus-shift issues which make it tricky for landscape use, especially on high-MP cameras. i could go down the list: the 17-55 and flare, the 70-200 VRI and FX corners, the 70-200 II's focus breathing, the distortion on the 14-24 and 24-70, the 300/4's puny tripod collar, the 70-200/4's additional-cost tripod collar, etc., etc.​
    Eric, you have been reading way too much internet nonsense. The only lens among that group that I don't have is the 24-70mm/f2.8. As usual, some minor issue is blown way out of proportion. If you use that kind of logic, there is almost no lens you can use any more. I just bought a 28mm/f1.8 AF-S a little over a month ago, and it has been great. Earlier last year, I got to use a sample from Nikon and then wrote a review based on that sample. I explicitly checked for any focus shift and could not find any.
    I too have the 35mm/f1.4 AI-S that I bought back in 1987. By now, that is a very old optical design and I wouldn't use it on modern FX DSLRs any more. For one thing chromatic aberration from it is as bad as that from the 35mm/f1.8 DX AF-S, which is a $200 consumer lens. Any new 35mm lens that costs over $500 had better blow the AI-S version out of the water.
     
  6. Eric, you have been reading way too much internet nonsense.​
    Shun, the 28/1.8's challenges are a known issue. not sure what you've been shooting with it, but it's definitely problematic for some folks, and even beyond focus shift, the field curvature issue seems to go beyond simple lens variation. it probably wouldnt affect me too much, since i dont shoot a lot of landscape, but if i could avoid those issues for $300 more and get a wider aperture, better build, and sharper optics to boot, that seems like a no-brainer.
    If you use that kind of logic, there is almost no lens you can use any more.​
    that's actually the point I was making earlier. i realize that a lot of Nikon shooters have biases against third party lenses, but as noted here, that way of thinking is starting to be obsolete.
     
  7. "a lot of Nikon shooters have biases against third party lenses" My guess is that these biases are based on hands on experiences with third party lenses. At least mine are.
     
  8. i wasn't really trying to get into the whole OEM vs. third party debate, since so much of it has been said before. i was actually hoping someone out there had a copy of the new sigma and can speak from personal experience.
     
  9. Eric, you're constantly trying to get into an OEM vs. 3rd party (specifically Sigma) debate. Give it a break.
     
  10. give it a break? jeez. just trying to gauge interest in a new lens which has gotten good reviews. actually, excellent reviews. is that so wrong? it's not my fault that sigma glass keeps getting better and they are putting out interesting lenses at affordable price points. if you're not interested in this new 35/1.4, you don't have to reply. thanks.
     
  11. You wanted to gauge interest, you got one response from somebody who is not excited (which seems like a data point if you want to gauge interest) and you took offense. We all get a bit of brand loyalty from time to time but give it a break.
     
  12. if you're not interested in this new 35/1.4, you don't have to reply​
    not interested in accusations or value judgments. only interested in whether people are considering this lens or not. thanks.
     
  13. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Shun, the 28/1.8's challenges are a known issue.​
    Eric, as I said, when I tested my original 28mm/f1.8 AF-S test sample from Nikon, I on purpose looked for any focus shift issue, and I found none. I repleated this test on my D800E and D7000: I switched off AF, manually focused on a fixed target on the ground via live view. Without changing the focus, I took a bunch of pictures at different apertures from the maximum to the minimum and then pixel peep each image, and the focus never shifted. It is well documented in photo.net's review published in August, 2012: http://www.photo.net/equipment/nikon/lenses/28mm-f1.8-g-af-s/review/
    (Since the target is on flat ground, it would have been very easy to see either the area in front or behind it to be in the best focus if the focus had shifted.)
    Incidentally, none other than Ellis Vener followed up to that review on September 3, and he wrote:
    A good solid review, free of hyperbole and bad writing. Well done. I also happen to agree with you about the lens.​
    So maybe it is some "known issue" to certain people, but it is not to me.
    As usual, I put my own money where my mouth (or keyboard) is. At the end of 2012, I bought a 28mm/f1.8 AF-S myself. Do you think I am so stupid that I would buy a $700 lens with serious known issues?
    However, the 28mm/f1.8 AF-S is by no means perfect. It is fairly light so that it is apparent that most components (that are not lens elements) are plastic and the manual focus ring is very loose. I would say its construction quality is acceptable but at best mediocre. I have tried three different samples of that lens, including the one I bought, and that impression is consistent.
     
  14. Eric, I pre-ordered at the end of November this lens but unfortunately for now it is available in my country only for Canon mount. I hoped for a nice Christmas gift to myself but there is no info yet and that's very frustrating. :-( I have a very good experience with the two primes you own (50/1.4 and 85/1.4) but one even greater with Sigma 150/2.8 macro. I'm sure that these glowing reports regarding 35/1.4 must have a reason... and at least the guy at lensrental is someone who can offer a solid opinion. If I'll get a good copy I'm sure this lens will be glued to my bag since 35mm is truly my FL.
     
  15. the 28/1.8 g seems to be a good deal for the money. i was considering it for my FF camera, but i think i will get the sigma instead because, y'know, 1.4 sharpness yadda yadda. but please note i didn't say "serious known issues", i said "known issues." because YMMV. the focus shift seems to be on some copies but not on others. however, several reviews have noted pronounced field curvature, which appears to be a lens characteristic, and evidently isn't present in the 24/1.4.
    here's what digilloyd said: It’s sad to see what might otherwise be a very fine lens degraded by such a severe handicap for practical use, at least when high quality results are desired on high-res digital.

    here's nasim mansurov: The donut-shaped field curvature is fairly evident at all wide apertures, all the way to f/8

    and here's tim ashley: It has not only focus shift* as it stops down, but pretty extreme curvature of its field of focus. If you imagine an aerial view of a nose, that is the shape of the field of focus of this lens: it has a sharp distant centre, sharp nearby sides, and risks other stuff being OOF when you might expect it to be in.


    i doubt these reviewers are making this problem up, especially as they show pictures where curvature is evident. and i could go on -- there are plenty of forum threads detailing this issue, which is why it's a "known issue."

    so, shun, all your example proves is that either you got a good copy or field curvature is irrelevant to your shooting style. in any event, the point was just that it's not only with third party lenses that one might have to play sample roulette.
     
  16. I'm sure that these glowing reports regarding 35/1.4 must have a reason... and at least the guy at lensrental is someone who can offer a solid opinion.​
    mihai, looking forward to seeing some shots with the sigma 35, especially at 1.4-f/2.
     
  17. Seriously? We're getting worked up over field curvature? If nobody had told me there was something odd going on I never would have noticed in those shots.
    Oops, there I go again, posting in Eric's thread to say something other than "I think Sigma lenses are awesome and I'm going to buy one right now!"
     
  18. I too have pre-ordered the Sigma 35mm f/1.4. I am heavily invested in mostly Nikon glass (26 or so) but I also have 3 extremely high quality third party lenses. I pick and choose not by who's name is on the lens but what it will do for me. Third party companies make some very high quality lenses. They also make some not so great lenses but then so does Nikon and Canon.
    When the reviews I have seen rate a less expensive lens as highly as this lens has been rated I am going to take a long hard look at it. And when a company goes to the trouble to make the lens so that the end user is able to update the firmware and make adjustments to the focus I have to think that this is a step in the right direction.
     
  19. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Eric, I really don't care who those reviewers are; sometimes I disagree with Bjorn Rorslett too. Whenever their review disagrees with my findings, I trust my findings. As far as curvature goes, that is a characteristic of many lenses; it is nothing new. I bought my first SLR over 40 years ago and never thought that was an issue.
    My feeling is that in these days, the bloggers need to make sensational statements to get attention. That was precisely why the D800 was declared "not recommended" and the D600 dust issue is discussed to no end. If you perform the same dust test on any DSLR and check things at f22 after 1000, 2000 captures, I am sure that you'll find the same "dust problems" on most DSLRs, but somehow the D600 is singled out.
    However, it is not my style to make sensational comments. Maybe that was why Ellis said: "free of hyperbole."
    Back in 1987, I bought the 35mm/f1.4 AI-S because I was interested in indoor, available light photography, but back then, ISO 400 print film was very fast. Today, I don't really need any 24mm/f1.4 or 35mm/f1.4 lenses any more. For landscape, I have the 24mm/f3.5 PC-E. To me, the 28mm/f1.8 AF-S is a relatively affordable way to own a modern wide-angle prime, even though its construction is mediocre.
     
  20. Eric
    Here are some links i found with pictures taken by this lens, on Canon bodies though. It seems that it is still hard to get a
    Nikon copy in Asia. Sorry it is in different language, but pictures speak for the lens.

    http://www.dcfever.com/forum/read.php?f=12&i=194315&t=194315&phorum_auth=e2a28d2dfa4faba9ca6785103fdd3cec

    In this link, the author compared it with Canon 35mm 1.4L. He thinks overall Sigma is better. It is sharper, better control in
    CA but the vignette and autofocus are not as good as Canon, just by a hair. Compared with Sigma 50mm F1.4, 35mm is
    a lot faster and quieter.

    http://www.mobile01.com/topicdetail.php?f=244&t=3075861


    I think Sigma has better contrast, if I were in the market for a 35mm lens, I will seriously consider this one too.
     
  21. Shun,
    For me, at least, the dust problems with the D600 are very real for me. Are they so bad as to ruin every shot? Hardly. But if I shoot against a solid, light colored background the crap on the sensor shows up. In fact my D200 (which I sent in for a CLA a couple years ago) has fewer noticeable "dust spots" than my D600 (which has fewer than 5,000 clicks on it). The D200 even lacks the fancy pants dust removal system that the D600 has.
    From where I'm sitting it seems like the folks you disagree with are primarily the folks who are willing to criticize Nikon. Now, sure, it's reasonable to doubt that you can extrapolate from one or two copies... but I think that Roger Cicala's (of LensRentals.com fame) critique of the D600 is much harder to dismiss. He looked at a fairly large sample (~20 D600s and a larger number of non-D600s), and found that every single D600 needed cleaning. Likewise, he's got a business to run. He's badmouthing the products that make him money, that goes well against self-interest. I'd go as far as to say it's just as valid as his criticism of Sigma's quality control.
     
  22. Maybe to stay competitive on 'cheaper' lenses like the 28mm AF-S, Nikon's lens quality variation is increasing to levels where Sigma's used to be....you might be lucky, you might not.
    Where-as Sigma has realised it can make and SELL high quality lenses at a financial premium IF it ensures minimal sample variation....you won't need to be lucky!
    ...and to answer the OP's question, YES. I'm very interested! I could never afford or justify the Nikon version..... it isn't that great a lens either....wide open it really sucks.
    ...or maybe the one lenstip reviewed was a bad specimen....?
    http://www.lenstip.com/286.11-Lens_review-Nikon_Nikkor_AF-S_35_mm_f_1.4G_Summary.html
    £1200 for the Nikon compared to the Sigma's £750.....better AND cheaper. No Brainer!
    http://www.lenstip.com/359.11-Lens_review-Sigma_A_35_mm_f_1.4_DG_HSM_Summary.html
     
  23. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Alex Zepeda, the D600 dust issue was first discussed here on the following thread; see my comment there: http://www.photo.net/nikon-camera-forum/00axxj
    At that time I was testing the D600 and never noticed any unusual problem until I read Roger Cicala's article. If I capture a uniform white sky at f22, there is certainly some fine dust in the pattern he describes. Otherwise, I have over 1700 images on that D600 and never notice any dust problem even once because I typically use f2.8 to f8 and occasionally f1.4. Meanwhile, I just found some large dust spots on images with my D700 at f8 and cleaned that sensor yesterday.
    The fact of the matter is that dust has been an issue in photography since the very beginning. I used to clean dust off negatives every time before printing or scanning. There has been lots of complaints about dust on every DSLR before the D600. Even though the D600 may indeed have more serious dust problems than your average DSLR, just clean it a little more often. From my experience with the D600, I don't see what the big deal is. If I didn't already have a D800E and a D700, I would buy a D600 in a heart beat. However, I don't need a 3rd FX DSLR to sit around and depreciate, rapidly (unless I can afford a D4).
    Looking at Eric's original list of "problems" among Nikon lenses, I found it amusing. Do you really expect an extreme wide zoom such as the 14-24mm/f2.8 to have no distortion at 14mm? Don't get me wrong; Eric is a great guy and has a lot of contributions to this forum; however, this thread is not one of them.
    If Sigma sends me a 35mm/f1.4, I'll be happy to test it. However, at this point, I have no need for another f1.4 wide angle lens, be it 35mm or 24mm, Sigma or Nikon. The high ISO capabilities from modern DSLRs makes that unnecessary.
     
  24. Regarding the comments on the Nikon 28mm f1.8g, I bought one of these back in July and have been very happy with it, no strange focusing issues at all, just very, very sharp images with my D800. If the new Sigma 35mm f1.4 resembles the Nikon 28mm f1.8g in this respect, it will sell lots of copies and deservedly so. The Nikon 28mm f1.8 g is one of my favourite lenses. There will always be a few rogue examples of any product and it may well be the case that some people have been unfortunate enough to buy bad copies of the Nikon 28mm f1.8g and complained about this issue online to the extent that people think that most copies are affected with similar issues.
     
  25. fellow photographers, jut a few quick points of clarification:
    1) when i mentioned the 28/1.8 G's issues, it was in a larger context: that of overall quality control WRT 3rd party lenses and OEM lenses. Doubtless, the perception is still out there that 3rd party QC lags far behind OEM's. i merely mentioned a couple examples of Nikon lenses with design issues, to illustrate the point that there is no "perfect" lens. some of these comments have been distorted; however, there is little doubt that Nikon in general has had more QC issues lately than is "normal" for them. whether this is symptomatic of a long-term trend remains to be seen.
    In the mansurov review, for example, he mentions that he tested three copies of the 28G, 2 of which showed extreme field curvature. the third copy performed much better, to the point where he revised his review accordingly. he also notes that out of 100 nikon lenses he's tested, only 3 or 4 of them have been problematic. of course the irony here is that having to go through multiple copies of a lens to get a "good" sample is a paradigm associated with 3rd party lenses in general.
    2) regarding the point that bloggers need to sensationalize issues to get attention: that, too seems like a generalization, since these comments aren't only coming from bloggers, but by respected, credible experts in some cases. if i was primarily a landscape shooter, i wouldn't necessarily rule out the 28G, but i'd want to try it out in a store to make sure i got a "good" copy. Ditto with the d600 and d800.
    3) getting back to the sigma 35, the few reviews which have been done on it all have the same findings: it's sharper than Canon and Nikon equivalents--as well as the Zeiss entry--sometimes by wide margins. that definitely caught my attention, especially since i have had positive experiences with other Sigma 1.4 primes. in general, DPreview's tests seem to be above reproach, especially since they have teamed with DxO Mark. not that i would hold any review as the gospel truth, but they're generally as credible as reviews can be. similarly, Roger Cicala at LensRentals isn't someone i would consider a sensationalist blogger. he rates the sigma higher than the nikon 35G, even though the sigma costs less, which means it rents for less.
    4) Sigma is no doubt aware that its past reputation has dogged it. 10 years ago, the company had little aspiration to be a player in the hi-end market. it is obvious that this has changed. why? the advent of FF bodies which demand hi-caliber glass, for one thing. for another, Sigma's own ambitions with its SD1 camera bodies, which only take its own proprietary mount. For Nikon shooters, as well as shooters of other makes, this seems to be a good thing, since the company has been steadily improving its glass with the 50 and 85 primes, and the 35 appearing to be the best yet. the fact that these lenses are (reasonably) affordable seems to be the icing on the cake. it might be worth noting as well that Sigma lenses are made in japan, whereas many of Nikon's mid-end and low-end lenses are manufactured in China or Thailand. while i'm not going to go as far as to say that Sigma no longer has any QC issues with any of its lenses, and i'm still wary of their zooms (excepting the 17-50 OS, which has been a capable performer for 2 years for me), since the 35 marks the debut of a new lens class for them, it was probably pretty important to them that they get it right, if they want to be taken seriously. so far, this seems to be the case. i'd still like to see more feedback from actual owners of this lens before committing to purchase, but i'm leaning away from the nikon 28G and toward the sigma 35 at this point.
    5) at the end of the day, for me at least, it's about choosing the right tool to get the job done. i'm not going to get a nikon lens just for bragging rights if a 3rd party lens does what i need it to do, especially if the cost is much lower. i already have about $4000 invested into nikon pro-spec glass (the 24-70 and 70-200 VRII); therefore i dont think i "owe" nikon anything. when looking at primes, i'm aware that nikon builds their 1.8 primes to a generally lower spec than their 1.4 glass, since otherwise there would be no incentive to buy the more expensive lens. that said, a lot of those primes are exceedingly good values, and sometimes equal or even surpass the more expensive glass in many key performance areas, i.e. the 85/1.8 G. But since sigma doesn't have a 1.8 line, they don't have to adopt a two-tier market strategy; with their 1.4 lenses, their tactic, especially of late, seems to be to outbuild and out-engineer OEM glass, if they can, and offer it at a lower price point. that strategy results in a win for the end-user mainly concerned about performance, maybe not so much for OEM fanboys for whom camera gear is a matter of prestige first and performance second. but still, if i'm spending that much for a lens, it had better be good; i don't want to overspend, just like i dont want it to underperform.
     
  26. lwg

    lwg

    I have the 28mm f/1.8 Nikon and find it's a decent lens, but I don't care much for the 28mm focal length. I have a 35mm f/1.4 Rokinon and it's pretty good on the D800E, but it's manual focus only. The Sigma looks to be sharper, have AF and is still f/1.4. So I am considering getting this Sigma. But I'm waiting for more reports (and some more cash). Now if only someone would make a fast high quality 24mm lens under $1K I would be set.
     
  27. I have the Sigma 35 on order but may not see it for a couple of months (going to a warm place as I sit here and watch the snow blow by at 50mph). I have the 28/1.8 but i think I am more of a 35 shooter. Don't like 50s. Already have the Sigma 85/1.4 ... So, from the samples I have seen, I like the colour, I mostly like the bokeh except some people don't know what that is, sharpness seems good. I also ordered in the new 120-300 - I have the original which I still like but now with the 70-200/f4, I am contemplating shipping off both the original and my 70-200 VRII which should cover it. I like the concept of that new dock thing of Sigma's ...
     
  28. I've had my mind set on the 35G as my next glass purchase for quite a few months now - however after reading so many positive reviews of the new contender I'm strongly tempted to go in that direction instead, despite holding an all-Nikkor quiver at the moment.
    My previous experience with Sigma has been mixed - a 10-20, which was a truly great little lens for the price; and a 400 f5.6 APO which was soft enough that a crop from the 70-200 + TC14 was sharper!
    Regardless of whether or not I return to dabble in the murky waters of third-party glass, I believe that strong competition is good for everyone, especially the consumer, and so wish Sigma the best of luck in their self-reinvention.
    C
     
  29. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    I've had my mind set on the 35G as my next glass purchase for quite a few months now - however after reading so many positive reviews of the new contender I'm strongly tempted to go in that direction instead,​
    Sounds like you aren't exactly in a hurry. IMO you might as well wait a little longer. If the Sigma 35mm/f1.4 turns out to be a winner, it is going to put a lot of price pressure on the Nikon AF-S version. Prices are always determined by supply and demand. When demand drops, the price will have to come down or Nikon would be stuck with a lens that won't sell. So even though you may still want the Nikon version, it pays to wait.
    If you need a 35mm/f1.4 immediately, that may be a different story.
     
  30. Maybe go and find a shop that has both? Neither is a cheap lens, so should realise you want to check quality and you're not just tyre kicking!
    From all accounts, they (Nikon) would be better off making a better lens, not dropping the price of a poor, non-competitive lens.
     
  31. If the Sigma 35mm/f1.4 turns out to be a winner, it is going to put a lot of price pressure on the Nikon AF-S version. Prices are always determined by supply and demand. When demand drops, the price will have to come down or Nikon would be stuck with a lens that won't sell. So even though you may still want the Nikon version, it pays to wait.​
    interesting logic. no one is saying the nikon 35G is a complete dud. however, it is clearly overpriced. but even if the price--which is currently $1600--drops, it doesn't change the objective fact: that the sigma outperforms it. in other words, even if the price were the same--and for that to be the case, nikon would have to discount its lens by almost 50%, which seems unlikely--the sigma would still be the sharper of the two.
    while price is almost always a factor in lens purchases, what's interesting about the sigma 35 isn't just that it's less expensive, but that it's optically superior to both the canon and nikon 35s, as well as the Zeiss. thus, brand loyalty is perhaps the only reason to get the OEM version. that's a complete game changer, IMO, as it could lead to a shift in conventional wisdom.
    as previously stated, nikon is unlikely to revise its 35/1.4 so soon after designing a new one. but what does seem likely is that sigma will follow up its 35/1.4 with a 24/1.4 -- a lens which is pretty much on everyone's wish list, with its high price being a major drawback. if sigma puts out a 24/1.4 at around the same price point as their 35, with similar characteristics, heads. might. just. explode.
     
  32. Eric!......Wot?....an end to the myopic Nikon fanboys?.... I like your thinking..:)
    Blind brand loyalty has no place when IQ is the main driving force to most of us, well, me at least! Paying over the odds for substandard glass is daft. I'm not saying Nikon glass is rubbish or all off-brand glass is perfect, no way, but when it's as good or better for less $$$, economic forces start to bite.
     
  33. brand loyalty has its place, but innovation is what drives a market. just ask Kodak.
     
  34. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    I wonder why there is so much interest in having fast f1.4 on wide-angle lenses now in 2013. Michael Bradtke mentioned that he wants very shallow depth of field. That is one possibility.
    Back in 1987, I bought my 35mm/f1.4 AI-S because I was (and still am) interested in indoor, available-light photography, and back then, ISO 400 color print film was "fast." ISO 800 film essentially provided unacceptable quality.
    Today, with modern high-ISO capability from DSLRs, neither the 24mm/f1.4 nor the 35mm/f1.4, from any brand, is on my wish list. I may change my mind if I get my hands on the Sigma. For me, those Nikkors are simply too expensive for very occasional use.
     
  35. If the Sigma 35mm/f1.4 turns out to be a winner, it is going to put a lot of price pressure on the Nikon AF-S version. Prices are always determined by supply and demand. When demand drops, the price will have to come down or Nikon would be stuck with a lens that won't sell. So even though you may still want the Nikon version, it pays to wait.​
    Interesting viewpoint Shun, however this does not appear to have happened in the case of the 85 1.4G. The Sigma version, while perhaps not so universally lauded as their 35, nevertheless by many accounts is a worthy competitor to the Nikkor.

    As far as a usage scenario, last month I was covering the World Woman's Open Squash final. Shooting through the ports in the front wall of the glass court, relying solely on the court lighting was very challenging for the D700. The majority of my best shots were with the 85G at f1.4-1.6, as putting any of the fast zooms on involved cranking the ISO up to 3200 - 6400, at which point image quality was starting to degrade to a (to me) unacceptable level. 35mm would have been an ideal FL for wider compositions, and f1.4 would have let me keep SS and ISO within the ranges I was after. The supposedly superior focussing speed of the Sigma version would have been an asset here also. Obviously a D4 or D3s would have helped here, however my budget can not currently stretch to one of those monsters.

    Chris
     
  36. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Interesting viewpoint Shun, however this does not appear to have happened in the case of the 85 1.4G.​
    Chris, interesting that you mentioned the 85mm/f1.4 AF-S G lens. After watching its price changes for a few years, I bought one a little more than a month ago.
    Recall that the 85mm/f1.4 G was introduced in August 2010 at $1650: http://www.photo.net/equipment/nikon/new-fx-lenses-telephoto-zoom/preview/
    Subsequently it went up to $1699 (USA and even the gray version) and was in major shortage for a long time, especially after the March, 2011 Japan earthquake. Some stores wanted around $2000 for one in the latter part of 2011 and 2012. That was precisely why I didn't buy one for a long time.
    Today, you can get a gray market one for below $1500: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/729952-GREY/Nikon_2195_AF_S_NIKKOR_85mm_f_1_4G.html
    Whether the slight price drop is due to natural demand changes after the initial surge subsiding or due to competition from Sigma, Zeiss, etc., including Nikon's own 85mm/f1.8 AF-S G, which is very good itself at 1/3 of the price, or some combination of those is not clear, but I am glad that I got a bit of price break.
     
  37. I wonder why there is so much interest in having fast f1.4 on wide-angle lenses now in 2013.​
    ok, so last night i was shooting an art gallery opening with a D3s and 24-70 AF-S. the lighting was challenging--indoor and outdoor scenes, light sources very high up, not a lot of direct illumination. at 2.8 and 1/00-1/160, my ISO varied from 1600-6400. the D3s can handle 6400, ok, but sometimes you need that extra bit of latitude as far as aperture. when i shoot live shows, at some venues the lighting is very difficult, a combination of bright light sources and dark shadows. if you raise the ISO too high, you might get overexposure in some areas. which is where a fast prime comes in. being able to shoot at 1.6-2.2 enables you to keep the ISO low.
    as noted before, i have the sigma 50 and 85 1/4's. i like them both, but i'm starting to recognize the need for a wider FL. also, there's times when i just want to carry one lens. i've gotten used to shooting with the 50, but i'm thinking i might enjoy the 35 even more, especially since sharpness at 1.4 appears to be unparalleled.
    I am glad that I got a bit of price break.​
    $150 is a price break on a $1600+ lens? i'm sure the 85G is an excellent lens, but still pricey. maybe if i shot more portraits or didn't have a 70-200, i would have been able to justify its cost. OTOH, i got the sigma 85 for $100 off on sale at adorama -- just $800. can't complain with either the price or the performance.
     
  38. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Eric, as I said, a year, year and half ago, the 85mm/f1.4 AF-S G was going for like $2000 at some places and there was major shortage. That shortage is all but gone.
    I decided to pull the trigger at some point. I can wait another 6 months or another year. I am not going to predict how the price will change in the future. Another factor is that the Japanese yen is finally coming down. It has lost some value in the last 2, 3 months. Therefore, we may see some price reversal in camera equipment prices, after that major surge in 2009/2010.
    I simply don't like to shoot at f1.4 much. The depth of field is too shallow and the lens is certainly not at its sharpest. For a short tele such as the 85mm, I have no choice because I need to reduce camera shake. For a 35mm or 24mm, I can easily get away with 1/30 sec or even 1/15 sec. If I have to use 1/15 sec, I would take a few more samples and select one with less shake and subject movement.
    That was partly why I got the 28mm/f1.8 AF-S as a less expensive option.
     
  39. i was considering the 28G until i saw the reviews on the sigma 35. as far as shooting at open apertures, sometimes conditions demand that. that is why i usually bring at least one fast prime as well as a zoom, "just in case." but i'm also thinking that for some of my street shooting--i'm the official photographer for oakland's First Friday festival--a 35/85 combo might work better than just the 50. for those situations--outdoor night shots with only street lighting--2.8 zooms just don't give me enough light, even with the D3s. i'd much rather shoot at a wide aperture than raise ISO, but sometimes i find i need to do both to get the shot.
    at the end of the day, everyone has different criteria and parameters for their individual shooting style. that is why it's good to have many different options as far as lenses, so you can hopefully find lenses which work for you. i really dont think you can go wrong with fast primes, especially when you are just carrying one lens.
     
  40. That is certainly a sharp price on the 85mm Shun, and congratulations for taking advantage of it! I do observe that the non-grey market lens seems to be holding steady at $1649 - essentially the same price it was introduced at more than 2 years ago - which indicates to me that Nikon is (to date) not buckling to any pressure to lower it's price due to competition from Sigma - or elsewhere, for that matter.
    Chris
     
  41. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    A bit off topic, I would like to point out that US$1 was in the 76 to 78 yen range for a couple of years. Since last October, the yen has been going down against the US$. Currently $1 is almost 89 yen: http://finance.yahoo.com/echarts?s=USDJPY%3DX+Interactive#symbol=;range=2y;compare=;indicator=volume;charttype=area;crosshair=on;ohlcvalues=0;logscale=off;source=undefined
    In North America, we may see some effects on camera equipment prices in general due to exchange rate changes.
     
  42. ok, but even if the nikon 35/1.4 G drops to $1000, i would still get the sigma. ;)
     
  43. Haha, At $1000 I'd have to go for the Nikkor - but back in the real world that Sigma is looking like a true bargain. The trouble will be finding one locally.
    C
     
  44. I have one in my possession. It arrived last week but I have yet to test it out. But my initial findings like everyone else is the craftsmanship of this lens is superb. It reminds me of the old Contax film cameras and lenses. That metal gear type solid smooth and silky. I will get back to you on the test results after I test it on my D700. Firstly I will have to clean my sensor and camera before this puppy is mounted on there.
    00bIPL-516949584.jpg
     
  45. Here is second one from LR...no editing.
    00bIPR-516949684.jpg
     
  46. Lightroom 4.3
    The first shot of the box was shot in manual mode at the following:
    D700, ISO 800, 1/160s, f/2.8 on Auto Focus continuous, Auto White Balance, Focus point is on the 67 on the white and black Sigma Box
    The second shot again was again shot in manual mode at the following:
    D700, ISO 1000, 1/200s, f/1.4 on AF Single (Center), Auto White Balance, focus point is on the think tank logo on the 'ink'
    Please Note: No sharpening or any adjustments whatsoever have been applied. NR is OFF, Fine tuning is off. This baby is straight out of the box spot on. All shots were hand held and were taken late at night in my office.
    Robert Daniels
     
  47. that's exciting, robert. please post more pics when you get a chance.
     
  48. The next two are same shots but exported from Nikon View NX 2
    here is the first . Black and White box.
    00bIPj-516955584.jpg
     
  49. Here is the second shot. Think Tank logo shot. again focus point is on 'ink'
    I shall post again in a few days when I get time after the weekend.
    00bIPk-516955784.jpg
     
  50. thanks for posting. particularly interested in performance between 1.4-2.8. also AF speed/accuracy.
     
  51. Thanks for these Robert. Very nice!
    UK pricing is currently £630 Sigma v £1150 Nikon. Seems like there's no contest.
    The Sigma appears to be the much, much better lens, so why someone would choose the grossly more expensive Nikon, even if miraculously made the same price, is a mystery. I buy lenses to take pictures, not worry so much about re-sale value. Brand loyalty doesn't make better pictures.
     
  52. in this case, if you're paying almost twice as much for the nikon, reselling at 80% of value is still a loss, since the resale price is still about 40% higher than the sigma's base retail price (not MSRP) to begin with. so that's petty much a non-starter as arguments go.
    definitely need to see more pics but the sigma is looking like it's worth the money. could be a game-changer for the reasons i said before: nikon can only sell the lens in F-mount, while sigma can amortize its R&D and production costs across several product lines: nikon, canon, sony, pentax, m4/3 -- thus keeping consumer cost lower than OEM manufacturers. if they can maintain quality control--something which has been an issue for nikon the past 2 years--sigma could be a serious player in the FX/hi-end glass market.
     

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