Sigma Vs Nikon 85mm F1.4D

Started Mar 4, 2011 | Discussions thread
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wcowan
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Sigma Vs Nikon 85mm F1.4D
Mar 4, 2011

G'day all

I'm planning on buying an 85mm F1.4 for my D700. I currently own the excellent little 85mm F1.8D. My main motivation for buying the 1.4 is for the better bokeh when stopped down slightly, better subject isolation when wide open and the 77mm filter thread which is common to all my other lenses. The lens will be used for low light and portraits between F1.4 and F2 and as a general purpose walk around mid-tele between F4 and F8 when I'm travelly light (with a 16-35mm).

For cost reasons, the new Nikon 85mm 1.4G is out of the question. I also need AF which rules out a few others. The Sigma and Nikon D are currently selling for around the same money, new. Pros and cons as I currently see them are:

Nikon
Pros:

Classic proven performer
Near perfect Bokeh
Rugged, reliable design
Smaller and lighter than the Sigma

Cons:
Perhaps outdated optical design
Outdated focus. (Is it any worse than the 1.8?)
Funky manual focus switch

Sigma
Pros:
Optically excellent (If I get a good one)
Excellent focus (If I get a good one)
Reversible hood
Full time manual override.

Cons:
Quality control
Size / Weight (Minor)
Focus motor reliability?
Resale value in five years?

I'd love to hear the opinions of people who have used, or preferably owned, both. So many people were saying the Nikon was such an excellent lens, so much better than the 1.8 I currently own, and think is great. The 1.4D was also touted as a near perfect match for the D3 when it came out. It's hard to believe the new Sigma is so much better, according to the reviews I've read recently.

Also in this range I have the 70-200VR-I which is my go to lens when focus speed is a priority. I feel the 85mm F1.8 is similar optically to this lens. Bokeh is not quite as good, center sharpness is similar and corner sharpness is better in the prime.

Any first hand information you can offer on focus speed and accuracy will be greatly appreciated as will anything else that will sway me one way or another.

Cheers

William Cowan

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