Sigma 85mm f1.4

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by steve_phillipps, Nov 6, 2010.

  1. My local shop in the UK just got a copy of the new Sigma. I was in a rush so only had 5 mins with it. Stuck it on a D3. First obvious impression - at f1.4 it's not that sharp and has massive purple fringing. By f2 it's sharp and the CA has gone completely. Hmmmm.....
    I'll get in again on Monday and have another look. Perhaps an AF Fine Tune will help with the CA, perhaps it wasn't focussing spot on, I'd hope so as it was really bad, you could see it clearly centre frame on the LCD without even zooming in!
    AF seemed just like the Sigma 50 1.4, ie quiet fast but not as smooth as the AF-S Nikons.
    Sorry not to be able to say anything concrete, just thought someone might be interested, and to know that's it's shipping to UK now (Canons have been around for a few weeks here).

  2. Keep up the good work, Steve!
  3. At F=2 is great, so it looses only one stop for use at 1/2 light for the picture, but uses 1.4 for the metering, focusing, etc. So perhaps is a good lens if you paid 1/2 price when compared to Nikkor lens.
    You will use the 1.4 rarely, so perhaps you will use it a lot starting at 2.0, 2.8, 4, 5.6, with great results.
    I am kind of surprised that you can afford Nikon D3, yet you decided to get an off-brand lens
  4. "I am kind of surprised that you can afford Nikon D3, yet you decided to get an off-brand lens"
    I'd have no cash left after buying a D3, so I'd probably go the Sigma route too. I have 3 Sigma lenses and they all perform well and build quality is good for the price. I'm waiting for Nikon to upgrade the D700.
  5. Most people need more time than 5 min. to be able to focus precisely at f1.4.
  6. Frank, agreed, I use my current Nikon 85 1.4D at f2 most of the time, and also the Sigma 50 1.4, never been that happy with any lens at 1.4. Seems a bit of a waste I know buying a 1.4 lens and using it at f2 but f2 is still a whole stop better than f2.8 on say a 70-200 zoom - that's why I also have the 200 f2 to get me that extra stop.
    As for buying an off-brand lens, I wouldn't do it to save money, but from what I've read and seen in reviews it seems the Sigma may be better than the new Nikon in image quality and focus speed, as well as much cheaper. When I bought the Sigma 50 1.4 I tried it next to the Nikon 50 1.4G and thought the Sigma was better. I have a D3 and D3s, 200 f2, 400 2.8, 85 1.4 and 28 f2 so the cost of even the new Nikon is fairly small change really!
    Walter, yes I know, that's why I said that I only had 5 mins with it. It could well be that it needs calibrating. Just tried it with my Nikon 85 1.4D and there's not even the tiniest hint of CA at 1.4, even though I've seen plenty of tests showing it prone to it. I'll go in again on Monday and do some side by sides with my Nikon.
  7. it's becoming clear that, at this point, generalizations about 3rd party lenses may be inaccurate, unless you are talking about first-hand experience and direct comparisons. sigma in particular has improved the quality of their EX line, and the tokina 11-16 is well-regarded as sharper than the nikon 10-24 or 12-24. tamron has a few sharpies too. in my experience, the sigma 30/1.4 smokes the nikon 35/1.8 (which in itself is a sharp lens for $200, but doesn't resolve detail as well as the sigma and has far worse bokeh). furthermore, the sigma 50 is preferred by many over the nikon 50/1.4 AF-S, at least as far as bokeh and wide apertures are concerned. given that, i wouldn't jump to conclusions about the new 85/1.4 until you've had a chance to try one. it may seem strange to pair a $900 off-brand prime with a $4k body, but if it just comes down to brand loyalty vs. optical quality (and cost savings), i can think of plenty of things i'd rather do with the $800 saved over a nikon 85/1.4 AF-S. so the sigma 85 is starting to seem interesting. i for one am looking forward to seeing some direct comparisons between the two, as well as more reviews.
  8. Am I correct that you already have the Nikon AFD 85/1/4? So, why do you need to get the Sigma? I have seen this review in which the Nikon AFD and the Sigma were compared side by side. They too mentioned CA wide open and the Sigma seems to hunt more. However, the Sigma seems to be just a little bit sharper than the Nikon and they both have outstanding bokeh.
  9. It would be interesting to see a formal test of all the Nikon-able 85mm f/1.4's out there, including Zeiss and Samyang ( Sort of from the standpoint of "this is how much quality you get for the money."
  10. I do have the AF-D, and am quite happy with the image quality, I just would like something with quicker focussing - in a dream world it'd focus like the 70-200 etc., so quick, smooth, quiet and accurate.
  11. Perhaps Nikon's 85mm f1.8 makes more sense both financially and IQ wise.
  12. Maybe, but it's still not the fastest focussing, and I'd hope that the 1.4 lenses at f2 would be better than the 1.8 which at f2 would be virtually wide open.
  13. The 85/1.4D doesn't necessarily focus any slower than the AF-S; in fact I've read opposite reports. The AF-S is quieter though and probably more accurate when tracking moving subjects, due to the lack of play in the focusing mechanism. The AF-S also allows manual focus override without having to use switches (convenient when AF activation is transferred from shutter button to AF-ON only using a custom function).
    Personally I'd just use the AF D. I am very satisfied with mine and don't foresee myself getting the AF-S of this lens since the cost difference is substantial for a small gain. However, if I didn't already have the D version I am sure I'd get the AF-S.
  14. Here are some samples. Always difficult at 1.4 as you have to take into account depth of field being a possible factor.
    FWIW my analysis is that the Sigma definitely has a bit more purple fringing, it's also a little bit sharper all over. Focus seems a tiny bit quicker and smoother.
    Overall there's not much in it from what I can see - which makes it a pretty good buy if you don't already have an 85.
  15. First the Nikon
  16. All wide open
  17. Now the Sigma
  18. The Nikon again
  19. Sigma again
  20. Nikon once more
  21. I won't post any more shots just for now but I just shot some more tests this time at f2. The result is very interesting, the CA on the Sigma is not much much less than on the Nikon, and it's a fair bit sharper all over too.
  22. That should read "now" much much less than on the Nikon.

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