Sigma 50mm 1.4 vs Nikon

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by john_e|2, Aug 11, 2011.

  1. I'm trying to decide which lens to get the Sigma 50mm 1.4 auto focus or the Nikon AF-s 50mm 1.4 auto focus. which is sharper, has better bokeh, etc?? I've never used Sigma but have heard good things. I noticed the Sigma is more expensive than the Nikon at BH.
     
  2. I have the Nikon 50mm f/1.4 and have (briefly) shot the Sigma.
    The Sigma produces more pleasing background blur than tha Nikon, (though neither produce what I consider extremely smooth bokeh) and the Sigma focuses a bit faster.
    Both are a bit soft wide open, but are equally sharp once stopped down a bit.
    The Nikon is a bit lighter and, although AF is a bit slower, it seems to be more precise when wide open...which seems to be Nikon's focus on all of their AF-S f/1.4 lenses. (pardon the pun).
    Both are close enough price wise so there's not really a comparison there.
    In the end I chose the Nikon...mostly because I've had bad experiences in the past good copies of Sigma lenses...but I see that complaint less and less these days and I don't usually even try Sigma lenses, but my friend insisted that I try their 50mm f/1.4 offering before I bought the Nikon.
    Hope this helps
    RS
     
  3. Having tried both with an open mind, I went with the Sigma. This was based mostly on my intended use (shooting with wide apertures ... I've got other lenses I can use very happily at 50mm when I don't need speed or lots of DoF control).

    My impression, handling them both and looking at the results, was that the Sigma is optimzed for shooting wide open or closer to it, and mostly at near/mid-distance objects (like people). The Nikon strikes me as a more general-purpose lens, something I'd reach for before the Sigma if I was using it for landscapes, or when AF speed wasn't as important (say, with quickly moving nearby subjects, like a child or pet, etc) as was across-the-range precision for a more methodical pace.

    You will be very happy with either lens. But if you know that your purpose for the tool is a specific sort of shooting, you might choose more carefully. I find the Sigma's blur-rendering to be far more pleasing - very noticeably so - and like its AF behavior on the sort of subjects for which I purchased it. The Sigma is larger, but not (for me) unpleasantly so. I like that it uses 77mm filters, vs. Nikon's odd choice of 58mm on theirs.

    Over the number of years you'll use either lens, the difference in price is meaningless.
     
  4. I agree with Matt that the two lenses seems to be built with a different purpose in mind. While Nikon is a good lens it does not hit the first place at any area... that's why I parted with my copy after using it a year or so... I had serious prejudices against 3rd party manufacturers like Sigma and Tamron... based mostly on bad reputation... until I tested a Sigma 50/1.4. My copy really shines... Since that time I added alongside 50/1.4 other great primes from Sigma camp and I could not be happier... 24/1.8, 85/1.4 and 150/2.8 micro... At least the last two are in the top five of my lenses.... and believe me I own many (expensive) lenses... Sigma 50 has a nice character and if you love to shoot people, wide open and/or in available light this is the lens to go. If you need better corners you have to go for Nikon... but I tell you that I like more the new Nikon 50/1.8 G than the 50/1.4 G. The 1.8 is a steal for the money.
     
  5. no question the sigma has better bokeh. haven't tried the nikon version so i can't comment on its sharpness or AF. i often shoot the sigma on FX at open apertures and get pretty good results. don't use it much on DX since i also have the 30/1.4.
    00ZArj-388719584.jpg
     
  6. I've briefly used the Sigma (a friend owns it). On FX, wide open, the corners weren't worth the price to me; the Nikkor is, I believe, better in the corners, but the bokeh ruled it out for me. Which is why I own neither - but if I had a DX camera, I'd have the Sigma. Good luck deciding. :)
     
  7. On FX, wide open, the corners weren't worth the price to me.​
    who needs sharp corners at 1.4 or f/2? lol. what are you shooting that requires sharpness in elements which are out of focus at that aperture anyway? if you plan on shooting a fast prime at f/4 and above, in low-light conditions, the sigma is the clear choice. OTOH, if you're more of a landscape shooter and you mainly want a normal lens which stops down nicely at 5.6-11, the nikon bears consideration. since i have other lenses which have sharper corners past 5.6, i don't really need to use my fast primes like i would a slower lens.
    if I had a DX camera, I'd have the Sigma.​
    actually, i recommend the sigma 30/1.4 for DX.
     
  8. who needs sharp corners at 1.4 or f/2? lol. what are you shooting that requires sharpness in elements which are out of focus at that aperture anyway?​
    (Oops, sorry, hadn't spotted that this thread was still alive.) To my mind, it's a myth propagated by Mr Rockwell (notably) that nobody cares about the corners of fast lenses - he claims this of the 85mm f/1.4 AF-D and the 70-200 f/2.8 VR mk1, for example. It's true that, for many images, you don't care what the bits of the image away from the centre look like. Then again, if you compose the image with an off-centre subject, you may care quite a lot how quickly the image deteriorates. Photograph something near any surface containing mild detail that crosses the focal plane and, to me, it's quite distracting if the detail in that surface falls apart because the lens can't resolve details at the edges. The detail doesn't have to be much - I'm not suggesting that you need something there which would pull the eye away from the subject; I'm talking about grass, or trees, or carpet detail, or maybe even the edge of a table - but there's a clear difference between "this is naturally blurred because of the focal plane, along with the rest of the scene" and "this part of the image has just dissolved into a smeared mess". If I only cared about the centre, I'd own a lensbaby.

    The other primary reason I have for combining speed and sharpness is for amateur astrophotography. Large apertures mean more light; poor corner performance means I may as well be using a narrower field or smaller sensor.

    I'm not saying the Sigma is a bad lens, just that this issue means I'm not prepared to pay the going rate for it. The same applies to the Nikkor 85mm AF-D f/1.4 - but I did buy the 85mm Samyang, which is not vastly better but is vastly cheaper. I expect others to make different decisions, especially if they're sensible enough not to pixel-peep.
    if I had a DX camera, I'd have the Sigma.​
    actually, i recommend the sigma 30/1.4 for DX.​
    I hope you recommend the 30mm lens to DX shooters looking for a normal lens, rather than to DX shooters looking for a 50mm mild telephoto? So yes, if I shot DX, I would own the Sigma 50mm and use it as a wide portrait lens. To be fair, I don't miss not owning a high-end 50mm anyway, since I don't seem to have much use for very fast normal lenses. I may reconsider when a cheap ED AF-S VR 50mm f/1.2 turns up, especially if it's a macro lens. :)
     
  9. I hope you recommend the 30mm lens to DX shooters looking for a normal lens, rather than to DX shooters looking for a 50mm mild telephoto?​
    well, andrew, i have the 50/1.8 AF-D as well as the 50/1.4. the truth is, i dont use either very much on DX. IMO that focal length is a little too short for portraits, and too long for a 'wide portrait lens' --which is what the 35/1.8 and 30/1.4 are, in addition to excellent low-light/street lenses. i dont know who these DX shooters looking for a 'mild telephoto' you mention are, all i know is that 30 or 35 is a more useful focal length on DX, especially indoors. you don't have a DX camera, right? so you may just be guessing at the size of the 'mild telephoto' demographic.
    To my mind, it's a myth propagated by Mr Rockwell (notably) that nobody cares about the corners of fast lenses​
    i think you're assuming here that everyone shoots what you shoot, the way you shoot it. if you want sharper corners, stop down, it's that simple. what i'm saying is that when you are shooting at open apertures such as 1.4 or f/2, corners dont matter. at all. what's important is the subject isolation you get from shooting that way. if you want a fast lens which gives you both subject isolation and sharp corners, good luck with that one. i've looked at enough MTF charts on photozone at 1.4-2.8 to figure out that there are few if any lenses which perform that way wide open or close to it.
     
  10. Personally the only times I tend to care about corner sharpness are when shooting landscape, and for that I stop down anyway - and all of these lenses have good corner sharpness when stopped down. But anyway. The OP never specified DX or FX. John, what camera is this for? Often with FX lenses, the DX sensor doesn't reach far enough toward the corner of the lens image circle to hit the corner problem areas. Also, now that Nikon's got the 50/1.8G, I think that one needs to be mentioned in any serious discussion of 50mm lenses with good bokeh. It's a huge improvement over the D version and half the price of the 1.4.
     
  11. Personally the only times I tend to care about corner sharpness are when shooting landscape, and for that I stop down anyway - and all of these lenses have good corner sharpness when stopped down.​
    right, my point exactly--who shoots landscape at 1.4? OTOH, for, say, live music photography with no flash/available light, you do need a fast lens, but the corners are completely irrelevant as long as you have isolation on your main subject. i do this a lot so that's why i have a bunch of fast primes. if i'm shooting DX, i can get away with the 35/1.8's bokeh if i'm careful not to overemphasize it, but i'd rather have the 30/1.4, where i don't have to worry about it. on FX, why would i use the nikon 50/1.8 when i have the sigma 50/1.4? there's no reason to whatsoever. like i said, i haven't used the nikon 50 AF-S, but when i was researching it, all evidence suggested the siggy not only had better bokeh, but better performance at open apertures.
     
  12. Hi Eric. I think we've got some crossed wires somewhere. Sorry about the essay...
    well, andrew, i have the 50/1.8 AF-D as well as the 50/1.4. the truth is, i dont use either very much on DX. IMO that focal length is a little too short for portraits, and too long for a 'wide portrait lens' --which is what the 35/1.8 and 30/1.4 are, in addition to excellent low-light/street lenses.​
    By "wide portrait lens", I meant "at the wider end of the traditional portrait range" - for which lenses in the 85-135mm FX-equivalent field of view tend to get mentioned. 50mm is, as you say, a bit wider still, but I'd still put it in that category rather than trying to invent a new category between "normal" and "short telephoto". Please excuse my terminology failure. I would be perfectly happy to take a portrait with a 30-35mm lens on a DX camera, or indeed a 50mm lens on an FX camera, but they wouldn't be what I would traditionally describe as "portrait lenses" - they're "normal", and - whether they're perfectly good for portraits or not - that's a different category. I own the 50mm f/1.8 AF-D and really don't use it much - I find I take more shots with mild telephoto lenses than with normal ones. Each to their own style.
    i dont know who these DX shooters looking for a 'mild telephoto' you mention are, all i know is that 30 or 35 is a more useful focal length on DX, especially indoors. you don't have a DX camera, right? so you may just be guessing at the size of the 'mild telephoto' demographic.​
    I admit that I'm guessing, based mainly on all the people on these fora who recommend the 50mm lenses as a cheap approach to a wide telephoto and all those who claim that they'd like something slightly longer for portraits (see various "what should Nikon's next lens be?" type threads), and on the basis of a friend who uses his Sigma 50mm f/1.4 on a DX camera for portraits. For those who don't think the Tamron 60mm f/2 is fast enough for their portraiture, a 50mm f/1.4 is the nearest fast autofocus lens for DX users to giving the equivalent field of view of the extremely popular 85mm portrait lenses for FX users. (Canon users are lucky and can use the 50mm f/1.2 with a 1.6x crop to get a bit closer.)

    I don't think I invented the category of people wanting 50mm lenses for portraiture, but I admit I'm not in it - although I do own both an 85mm and a 90mm lens and use them on FX for portraits, and I use my 50mm f/1.8 on a Canon crop body occasionally, for the same reason. On the other hand, I will gladly admit that a normal lens is a very popular choice, be it the 45/50mm on FX or 30/35mm on DX. I just wouldn't assume that someone with a DX camera didn't really want a 50mm lens, and did want a normal lens - they both have their uses.
    To my mind, it's a myth propagated by Mr Rockwell (notably) that nobody cares about the corners of fast lenses​
    i think you're assuming here that everyone shoots what you shoot, the way you shoot it.​
    Um, no. It is a fact that I care about the corners in fast lenses, which means that it is Ken (for whom I have s degree of respect, lest I appear to be slagging him off) who appears not to be able to see a reason for wanting corner performance. He is the one who appears to be implicitly claiming that everyone but amateurs shoots like he does. I absolutely don't claim that everyone else should care about the corners and that no sane FX camera owner would buy a Sigma 50mm or a mk1 70-200. I merely suggest that there are justifiable reasons for wanting sharp corners, and that - if you do want them - the behaviour of these lenses might not satisfy you. Or, in my case, seem to justify the necessary outlay. As I said, I expect others to make different decisions - and by that I mean it's a matter of style and opinion, not that I think they're wrong to do so. But I'll stand by the reasons for my choices even though I don't claim to be nearly the photographer (or blogger) that Ken may be.

    I may be in a minority of one, but the distinction is that I'm not expecting everyone to agree with me. Say "soft corners often don't matter" and I'll agree 100%; it's only "nobody ever needs sharp corners wide open" that I dispute.
    If you want sharper corners, stop down, it's that simple.​
    Absolutely. But if I'm going to stop down, I can use my 50mm f/1.8 and save some cash. I want a shallow depth of field (or more specifically, subject isolation) and reasonable sharpness at the focal plane across the frame. I don't believe the Sigma offers me this, so I didn't buy it; if it were cheaper, I might consider it for the many shots where I don't think smudged corners will be an issue, and I've used a borrowed one fairly comfortably to use some shots that I'm happy with, but it's not worth the price to me. I don't expect anyone else to take the exact style of shot that I do, so I don't expect anyone else to make exactly the same trade-off.
    what i'm saying is that when you are shooting at open apertures such as 1.4 or f/2, corners dont matter. at all. what's important is the subject isolation you get from shooting that way.​
    Having made my point earlier about the effect of the on smearing detail in the focal plane when that focal plane is visible to the edge of the image, I'm choosing to agree to disagree with you about whether corners matter. Of course you buy these lenses for the subject isolation (and low light performance) so that's the primary concern; however, the corner softness is a defect, not a design goal. Some like the effect (especially on the 85mm f/1.4 AF-D), but since softening is much easier to apply in post than sharpening, I'd prefer the lens to be sharp for the proportion of the time when I need it to be.

    I said, very early on, that for many images it doesn't matter - but if you claim that it never matters (to anyone, I accept it may never matter to you), I suggest that you're the one "assuming that everyone shoots what you shoot the way you shoot it". Many would buy one of these lenses for the many shots for which wide open corner sharpness doesn't matter, and accept that it's a paperweight when corner sharpness is important. I felt that my style of shooting didn't justify spending this much on a "sometimes okay" lens. YMMV, and I don't judge you for choosing differently.
    if you want a fast lens which gives you both subject isolation and sharp corners, good luck with that one. i've looked at enough MTF charts on photozone at 1.4-2.8 to figure out that there are few if any lenses which perform that way wide open or close to it.​
    Thank you, I do enjoy shooting candid portraits with my 200mm f/2, not that it's the lens I immediately recommend to everyone for general use. To be fair, I'm less picky than this makes me sound - I'm sure I could live with the sharpness of the AF-S 50mm f/1.4G (I've never used one, but photozone's sample isn't so obviously soft at the edges as the Sigma), but I don't like its bokeh. If either lens were cheaper, I'd buy one and put up with the imperfections - hence my Samyang 85mm - but on this occasion I'd rather have the money.
    Personally the only times I tend to care about corner sharpness are when shooting landscape, and for that I stop down anyway - and all of these lenses have good corner sharpness when stopped down.​
    (For completeness, the mk1 70-200 that I mentioned never gets sharp in the corners at 200mm.) I appreciate that there are people for whom sharp corners and fast apertures never mix - I assume Mr Rockwell wasn't deliberately expressing something he found to be untrue. But I think I made my point about the circumstances in which it matters for me. If it never matters for you, I wouldn't tell you not to buy one of these lenses. It's true that both 50mm lenses have sharp corners when stopped down (the Nikkor appreciably more so, admittedly) - but the same is true of much cheaper options and a lot of zooms.
    But anyway. The OP never specified DX or FX. John, what camera is this for? Often with FX lenses, the DX sensor doesn't reach far enough toward the corner of the lens image circle to hit the corner problem areas.​
    This is, before I got distracted, the point I was trying to make about why I'd be happy to own the Sigma if I owned a DX camera. On FX I think there's a choice to be made; on DX I would be surprised if most didn't choose the Sigma.
    Also, now that Nikon's got the 50/1.8G, I think that one needs to be mentioned in any serious discussion of 50mm lenses with good bokeh. It's a huge improvement over the D version and half the price of the 1.4.​
    Absolutely (Mihai did, and I should have picked up on it). For the record, I am definitely considering getting the AF-S f/1.8 G. It's not perfect, but I'm far more willing to hand over that price for a lens with some limitations than the price of the f/1.4 version. Of course, if you really want the extra 2/3 of a stop, that doesn't help you.
    right, my point exactly--who shoots landscape at 1.4?​
    Anyone wanting to include stars in them without star trails? Anyone wanting to isolate components of the scene? Anyone out after dark without a tripod? Anyone wanting to freeze some wildlife - or water - in the scene?

    Are these reasons that apply 99% of the time? No - I didn't even mention landscapes in my arguments for wanting wide-open edge performance, but then none of these are my obvious landscape lens choice (and if I were looking at landscapes, the old 50mm f/1.8 AF-D has less distortion than any of these). Are these justifiable reasons why you might shoot wide open and be disappointed that the edges are soft (if you were shooting the Sigma on FX)? I think so. This limitation may not be enough to dissuade you from buying the Sigma; for me, it was, and I think people choosing between these lenses should be sufficiently informed that may can make their own decision rather than being told they're wrong even to consider it.
    on FX, why would i use the nikon 50/1.8 when i have the sigma 50/1.4? there's no reason to whatsoever.​
    A) Because it's much cheaper. B) Because it's much smaller/lighter. C) Because it's much sharper at the edges. But under the circumstances, it sounds as though you need the extra 2/3 of a stop and the Sigma's bokeh - so I'm not saying you should ditch the Sigma, just that there are some benefits to the alternative.
    like i said, i haven't used the nikon 50 AF-S, but when i was researching it, all evidence suggested the siggy not only had better bokeh, but better performance at open apertures.​
    You're right about the bokeh. On DX, you're probably right about the sharpness. On FX, never having used the AF-S either and solely going off reviews, but having seen the corners of the Sigma myself, I'm afraid you're mistaken. However, if you never place the subject much outside the DX frame, never care about any focal plane that crosses the image boundary, and prioritise bokeh over edge sharpness at wide apertures (which we've established you do), the Sigma is absolutely still the right choice for you, even on an FX camera. I happen to have different needs.

    Eric - sorry if I sound argumentative. I'm just showing that an alternative viewpoint exists, even if the OP wants to exclude himself from this category.
     
  13. andrew, the sheer length of your post is impressive. seriously. i thought Ilkka N. was the king, but you, sir, are the monarch of eternity.
    anyway, we're talking semantics at this point.
    By "wide portrait lens", I meant "at the wider end of the traditional portrait range" - for which lenses in the 85-135mm FX-equivalent field of view tend to get mentioned. 50mm is, as you say, a bit wider still, but I'd still put it in that category rather than trying to invent a new category between "normal" and "short telephoto".​
    ok, no problem. for me, 30 or 35 is a wide portrait, 12-24 is an ultrawide portrait -- on DX. 50mm is a short tele.
    all the people on these fora who recommend the 50mm lenses as a cheap approach to a wide telephoto​
    yeah, you use it for 6 months and you're like, 'this isn't quite it'. but it's affordable.
    I will gladly admit that a normal lens is a very popular choice,​
    for me, it's mainly about the 1.4. :)
    if you claim that it never matters (to anyone, I accept it may never matter to you), I suggest that you're the one "assuming that everyone shoots what you shoot the way you shoot it".​
    no, no, i'm saying that at 1.4 or f/2, corners don't matter. this applies to every one shooting a fast prime at open apertures. of course corners matter at 5.6 or f/11.
    in any event, andrew, if the sigma 50/1.4 is not your cup of tea, that's okay by me. no skin off my back. i'm still going to hold forth that the majority of landscape shooters will stop down and if they care that much about available light, they'll use a tripod, rather than shoot at 1.4. merely stating scenarios where one might shoot landscape at 1.4 is not the same as actually shooting landscape at 1.4. and if you are shooting landscape at 1.4 and expect sharp corners, you may be disappointed. which is why people don't shoot landscapes at 1.4.
     
  14. "no question the sigma has better bokeh. haven't tried the nikon version so i can't comment on its sharpness or AF" Then how can you comment on its bokeh? Many have stated here that the Sigma has better bokeh. It may be true. Or not. Without side-by-side comparison shots, it is impossible to determine. 'Better' is subjective anyway. I believe both lenses have their strong points and perhaps a couple of weak ones. And both probably give great bokeh depending on what is in the background, how the image is shot, and of course who you ask.
    I owned the Nikon version for several years - I found it delivered sharp images, focuses consistently very, very accurately with reasonable AF speed and great color/contrast. And pleasing bokeh. But that is just my opinion. I have never used the Sigma equivalent.
     
  15. "no question the sigma has better bokeh. haven't tried the nikon version so i can't comment on its sharpness or AF" Then how can you comment on its bokeh?
    easy. because every single review and comparison i've seen has come to the exact same conclusion. here's a snippet from the dpreview review: "This new lens essentially redefines its class". and here's what dpreview said in its nikon 50/1.4 G review: "The Sigma performs a bit better at the largest apertures - it's sharper, especially in the middle of the frame, and the bokeh is more attractive... It may not be quite match the sharpness and clarity of the Sigma at F1.4..." just the fact that the nikon's review mentions the sigma's optical superiority should tell you something.
    Elliot, it's 2011. the sigma 50 has been out for 3 years and has also been discussed many times on photo.net, by folks like Matt Laur et. al. It's qualities are well known at this point. Elliot, i don't know why you would go into mock outrage over something which is more or less accepted as a fact by the photographic community. i do notice that instead of challenging my statement, you're challenging my right to make such a statement, not whether it's true or not. you also don't say whether your 50/1.4 was the D or G version. in any event, the sigma's rep for bokeh was a primary consideration in my purchase of it. notice i didn't say the nikon had bad bokeh, or that there weren't other reasons to consider it, it's just that the sigma is known to be better at rendering out of focus elements at wide apertures.
     
  16. enough words, let's let the pictures do the talking...here's one of chilean hip-hop star Ana Tijoux, with the sigma 50, at f/2...
    00ZBMD-389261684.jpg
     
  17. When you see the big glass eye of the Sigma looking at you, she's hard to resist (except for her weight, but I like full figured lenses). I love the Sigma 50mm 1.4 and the 85mm 1.4. Sigma seems to have found their groove with these two lenses (at least).
    Regards, John
     
  18. one more of ana.
    00ZBMy-389277584.jpg
     
  19. at this level, sharpness comparisons are mostly irrelevant. they both perform well in that regard. i think what it really comes down to is boke, and how smooth the lens transitions. this is what separates an okay lens from a great lens.
     
  20. As I clearly stated, "Without side-by-side comparison shots, it is impossible to determine" what the differences would be, if any. I owned the 50mm f1.4 G version (no longer do). I was extremely pleased with it in every regard. While I could post sample images that show its bokeh is as nice as the sample images posted above, but without a controlled side-by-side comparison, they would be 'mostly irrelevant'.
    By Thoms' review perhaps gives a slightly different view of what 'everyone' is saying:
    http://bythom.com/Sigma-50-HSM-lensreview.htm
    I would have to guess that Nikon f1.4 G owners are just as happy with their lenses as the Sigma owners are.
     
  21. sorry elliot, but what were you reading? thom's review is inline with everyone else's findings: "the Sigma seems to get to better center results faster (f/2 or f/2.8 depending upon where you set the bar for "excellent") than the Nikkor. On the other hand, the corners never quite come up to excellent levels, always being significantly softer than the center." that's not significantly different from what other reviewers have said.
    he downgrades the lens a bit because he's a--wait for it--landscape shooter, not a low-light shooter. but his concluding comparison is also in line with what everyone (and their mama) is saying: "If central performance and bokeh (e.g. portraits) is most important to you, I'd slightly favor the Sigma. If overall performance is most important to you, I'd slightly favor the Nikkor. Autofocus performance is slightly faster on the Sigma at the expense of manual focus precision."
    it's not a slam-dunk review like DPReview's, but it does confirm the better bokeh of the Sigma (Elliot, are there any reviews you've seen which say the nikon has better bokeh than the sigma?). Also, Thom is harder on non-Nikon lenses for some reason. he didn't like the sigma 30 either. i don't buy a 1.4 lens for corner performance, i buy it for center performance at open apertures. YMMV.
    if i was mainly a landscape guy, i'd probably want the nikkor. but for people shots, the sigma shines. also, just curious, elliot, why did you get rid of the 50/1.4 G? as you can see, i'm keeping the sigma.
     
  22. Eric, I don't like to comment on gear I don't own. The comments I make are always based solely on my hands on experience with the gear in question. I was fully satisfied with the Nikon f1.4 in every way. And truly what is most important is that you are fully satisfied with your Sigma. I sold my f1.4 G lens when the 50mm f1.8g game out and bought the f1.8g. The reason I sold it had nothing to do with its performance.
    While the quotes you extracted from the review I linked to favor the Sigma, there are numerous others in that article that favor the Nikon. Which is a better choice? Based on his article only, I think its a wash - he clearly stated the differences and indicates based on his testing that the differences are small. Based on dpReview's rating system, the differences are extremely small.
    Here is another interesting review on the Sigma lens by Photozone:
    http://www.photozone.de/nikon_ff/616-sigma5014ff
    And the dpReview on the Sigma:
    http://www.dpreview.com/lensreviews/sigma_50_1p4_c16/
    And the dpReview on the Nikon f1.4g:
    http://www.dpreview.com/lensreviews/nikon_50_1p4g_n15/
    I have searched the internet for comparison photos between the Sigma and Nikon f1.4g and have yet to find any. Does anyone know of any?
    After reading the various reviews, my conclusion hasn't changed: I would have to guess that Nikon f1.4 G owners are just as happy with their lenses as the Sigma owners are with theirs. It appears both are excellent lenses.
     
  23. If I only cared about the centre, I'd own a lensbaby.
    I couldn't agree more. ;-)
     
  24. andrew, the sheer length of your post is impressive. seriously. i thought Ilkka N. was the king, but you, sir, are the monarch of eternity.​
    Sorry, Eric. You got me a little riled with the "assuming everyone shoots like me" line, I ramble when I'm posting late on a Friday night, and then I ended up responding to multiple posts. I'm trying to cut down, I promise.
    [50mm on DX] yeah, you use it for 6 months and you're like, 'this isn't quite it'. but it's affordable.​
    I'll take your word for it, since I don't own a 75mm lens to compare on FX. 50mm seemed fine for me on Canon, but of course it's slightly longer there. People do call for more 60mm lenses for DX, so maybe 50mm really is neither fish nor fowl. Since I don't seem to find much need for normal lenses, we clearly have different preferences anyway, so I can't vouch for the superiority of a 30mm on DX.
    if you claim that it never matters (to anyone, I accept it may never matter to you), I suggest that you're the one "assuming that everyone shoots what you shoot the way you shoot it".​
    no, no, i'm saying that at 1.4 or f/2, corners don't matter. this applies to every one shooting a fast prime at open apertures. of course corners matter at 5.6 or f/11.​
    Yes, you're still saying that nobody could possibly, under any circumstances, care about sharpness at the edge/corner of the frame when using the lens large apertures. I defend your right to believe that it doesn't matter to you, that your style of shooting might mean it genuinely does never matter to you, and that a lot of people might agree with you. But there are people for whom it matters - I am one of them, so "it applies to everyone" is incorrect; I have no idea how small my minority might be - and for these, there are reasons to avoid the Sigma. I want to be clear that the minority including me exists, because I don't want lens designers to de-prioritise corner performance in fast lenses, should they believe Mr Rockwell's assertions that absolutely nobody cares. (I don't think Sigma did this - I think they designed the lens to be sharp all over on DX, and decided that there are enough FX users who don't care about corners wide open that it would still sell as an FX lens.)
    in any event, andrew, if the sigma 50/1.4 is not your cup of tea, that's okay by me. no skin off my back. i'm still going to hold forth that the majority of landscape shooters will stop down and if they care that much about available light, they'll use a tripod, rather than shoot at 1.4. merely stating scenarios where one might shoot landscape at 1.4 is not the same as actually shooting landscape at 1.4. and if you are shooting landscape at 1.4 and expect sharp corners, you may be disappointed. which is why people don't shoot landscapes at 1.4.​
    I made my point about the Sigma's edge sharpness because others reading this thread and considering the Sigma might find it useful to know that they're not alone in being concerned. You'll note that the landscape shooting scenarios I mentioned - in response to the direct "who shoots landscapes at 1.4?" question - are not solved by the use of a tripod (except the "out without a tripod..." case), and that I gave more common scenarios other than landscape shooting for which I care about sharp corner (or at least edge) performance wide open. I have shot landscapes wide open in the scenarios mentioned, although not with an f/1.4 50mm; for what it's worth, Bjørn has stated that he uses a 200 f/2 for landscapes, wide open.

    It's true that no lens that I know of is tack sharp in the corners of the FX frame at f/1.4; however, there are some lenses, including the AF-S Nikkor which - as far as I can tell from reviews - are more sharp in the corners of the FX frame at f/1.4 than the Sigma is. The 85mm AF-S seems sharper still, for what it's worth.

    I speak as devil's advocate: the corner performance did put me off the Sigma, but the bokeh and LoCA put me off the Nikkor. Instead I chose neither - I might give up on f/1.4 completely and get the f/1.8 AF-S. If I really wanted an f/1.4 50mm and had to pick between compromises, I genuinely don't know what I'd choose, but I lean towards the Nikkor. I prefer longer lenses for losing the background, and shorter ones for low-light, so I'm not distraught that neither 50 tempts me.
     
  25. @andrew: ok, fair enough. thanks for sharing.
    While the quotes you extracted from the review I linked to favor the Sigma, there are numerous others in that article that favor the Nikon.​
    Not concerning bokeh and center sharpness, which was my original point. also, i didn't just cut and paste Hogan's pro-Sigma comments, i also included his caveats, so if you're implying that i used selective editing to make Thom seem more in favor of the Sigma than he actually was, that's simply untrue. and thanks for linking to those reviews, but i read all of them a while back before i bought the sigma. i always research a lens thoroughly before purchasing, and always look at multiple review sources. i still havent seen a single source which claims that the nikon has better bokeh than the sigma, so it's possible that such a claim has not been made.
    in any event, the sigma 50 was a watershed moment for that company, who took a progressive approach to a traditional design, and came up with a winner which actually justifies its price tag (IMO). again, not saying the nikon is a bad lens, it's just that the sigma was more in line with how i shoot fast primes--street photography or live music in low-light conditions, where center sharpness at wide apertures is more important than corner performance-- so for me it was a no-brainer. for a traditionalist or landscape shooter, the criteria might be different. and, yeah, i'd probably be just as happy for the most part with the nikon, except i would always wonder if the sigma's bokeh was better. i realize this may not matter for everybody, but it does for me.
     
  26. in any event, the sigma 50 was a watershed moment for that company, who took a progressive approach to a traditional design, and came up with a winner which actually justifies its price tag (IMO).​
    For all my disagreement with Eric, I do agree with this statement. Canon's f/1.2 lenses are more exotic (and possibly better, for a price - though I'm not prepared to switch back to Canon to get them); Leica have some advanced tech in their f/1.4 50mm too. Nikon, to be fair, did redesign their 50mm f/1.4, and it's much sharper than the historical version, but the Sigma does give the impression of trying to push the envelope further. It's also unusual for Sigma to come up with a lens that's actually designed to be more expensive than the on-brand version.
    again, not saying the nikon is a bad lens, it's just that the sigma was more in line with how i shoot fast primes--street photography or live music in low-light conditions, where center sharpness at wide apertures is more important than corner performance-- so for me it was a no-brainer.​
    Again, I have to agree - I think Nikon may have made a mistake by not giving more priority to the bokeh in their design. To my mind, the new 50mm f/1.4 is like the 85mm f/1.8 - sharp, but at the cost of bokeh, and you really need both in a lens this fast. Maybe they figured that the AF-D version is a better-bokeh alternative, but - especially for DX shooters - the Sigma seems to have the edge over that lens.
    for a traditionalist or landscape shooter, the criteria might be different. and, yeah, i'd probably be just as happy for the most part with the nikon, except i would always wonder if the sigma's bokeh was better. i realize this may not matter for everybody, but it does for me.​
    It matters to me, too. For landscapes, I'd go with one of the f/1.8 lenses (the AF-S for bokeh, the AF-D for distortion if I was stopped down). Otherwise, I'm vaguely hoping that Nikon will update their f/1.2 50mm to a spec competitive with Canon's - especially if they can do it more afforably. Unfortunately, since I seem to remember the inability to select f/1.2 on some Nikon menus (flashes, possibly? I forget) I'm not holding my breath.
     
  27. I think Nikon may have made a mistake by not giving more priority to the bokeh in their design. To my mind, the new 50mm f/1.4 is like the 85mm f/1.8 - sharp, but at the cost of bokeh, and you really need both in a lens this fast.​
    this is an interesting comment. i'm not sure nikon made a mistake, but i think that in retrospect, sigma did push the 50mm envelope, impressive considering this was their first fast normal. one of the ways they did this was by making the glass physically larger, requiring a 77mm filter. that has both pros and cons: the pro is that it allows for bokeh-prioritizing and makes things easy if you have a bunch of 77 filters already. the con is that it might be more prone to overexposure. so, as with most lenses, it's a mixed bag. the question really comes down to, can you live with it? for me the answer was yes.
    anyway, good discussion. appreciate the different perspectives, which did make me think about my standpoint a bit. i stuck to my guns, but Elliot and Andrew did make me weigh alternative viewpoints.
    as always, photo.net is the best.
    ps: this makes me want to get the sigma 85/1.4 just to see what the forum's views are on that, compared tot he 85d and G.
    00ZBxk-389996084.jpg
     
  28. Eric - a pleasure chatting. I look forward to your 85mm review!
     
  29. Figured I might as well chime in here. I agree with the conclusion that Nikon and Sigma simply had different priorities with their fast primes. With some exceptions (DC lenses, micro, and the 85) Nikon went after a more general purpose market. The bokeh might not be great, but the focus is errs on the side of accuracy over speed and sharpness is prioritized (both stopped down and in the corners). You get a sharp, predictable, well built lens. Some people really value wide-open AF accuracy. Look at the people who bemoan how imprecise the Canon 85/1.2 AF is.
    Sigma went after people looking for creamy bokeh and nice portrait lenses (their AF has always sucked, so there's that). The sorts of people that don't care too much about vignetting or corner sharpness. I've nothing nice to say about Sigma's build quality, AF, or support... so I'll leave it at this: I was pleasantly surprised by how many shots actually came out focused last night... once I took the camera out of M mode. >_<
    Hands down Sigma's got the OOF blur advantage with their 30/35 and 50s. In fact I'd go so far as to say that while I typically don't like the look of Nikon's f/1.8 primes (the 85/1.8 being particularly garish), I really don't like /any/ of their 50s. Even Canon's 50/1.8 does the bokeh thing nicer by a fairly wide margin. And I'm definitely in the camp that doesn't care at all about corner sharpness wide open. There's enough distortion with any fast lens that, really, who's going to be eyeing the corners?
    With f/1.2 lenses, I seem to recall that the placement of the AF contacts was problematic in the development of super fast F-mount lenses. And as for a short portrait lens on a DX camera, you get the Voigtlander 58/1.4 and call it day. IMO a 50mm lens on a DX camera is just awkward.
    [​IMG]
    Pardon the Flickr oversharpening. Optically I love the Sigma 30, and I expect that the Sigma 50 would outdo the Nikkors if you're looking for the nice bokeh. Just make sure you're aiming at slow moving, high contrast subjects.
     
  30. The bokeh from sample shots here (with perhaps the exception of perhaps Eric's guitar shot) look like results you would expect from any f1.4 lens, Nikon, Sigma or any other brand. I certainly got those type of results with my lens. To me, the true test of great bokeh is when you have a harsh background. Some lenses definitely work better than others. This reviewer (link below) posted sample shots with such a background. His claim about the Sigma bokeh is contrary to the comments here.
    http://mansurovs.com/nikon-50mm-f1-8g-review
    So, show me the side-by-side comparison shots. I need to see it in order to believe it!
    "Sigma... (their AF has always sucked, so there's that)" Not the first (or second) time I have read this. I think I will stick to my Nikkor lenses, even if the bokeh turns out to really be so much better with the Sigma.
     

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