Canon 85 f/1.8 vs Sigma 85 1.4: 2 pics

Started Apr 8, 2013 | Discussions
Doug_PS
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Canon 85 f/1.8 vs Sigma 85 1.4: 2 pics
Apr 8, 2013

I''ve had the Canon 85 f/1.8 for a few years now and it's been one of my most used primes first on my 50D and now on my 5D MKII.  I was interested in trying the Sigma 85 f/1.4 so I rented it this past weekend to compare against the Canon.  I've added a couple of pics below (shot moments apart, same lighting conditions and settngs...with the exception of aperture as noted below).  The first is From the Canon and the 2nd from the Sigma.

A few things I noticed:

  • The colors from the Sigma seem to be a "warmer" cast that the "Cool" cast from the Canon.  I think I prefer the Sigma here.
  • Both the Sigma and the Canon are very sharp.  The Sigma seems sharper at 1.8 than the Canon (and my Canon 85 is reasonably sharp at 1.8).  The Sigma at F 1.4 has good center sharpness.
  • The background blur at 1.4 from the Sigma would be the main selling point for me....there is noticably more blur than from the Canon at f 1/8.  The blur from the Canon and the Sigma both had a nice smooth quality to my eye..
  • The Sigma is noticeably heavier than the Canon.  The weight/size of the Canon was/is a big selling point for me.
  • Autofocus speed/accuracy:  Both did well on my tests.  I'd give the Canon a slight edge on both.
  • Sigma required +7 micro-adjust (was front focusing).   The Canon required +9!

Not sure that I'll sell the Canon for the Sigma, but an interesting comparison.

Canon 1.8 at F/1.8

Sigma 85 1.4 at F 1.6 (I thought I had the aperture set at F1.4.....oh well)

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Timbukto
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Re: Canon 85 f/1.8 vs Sigma 85 1.4: 2 pics
In reply to Doug_PS, Apr 8, 2013

You actually did a good job MFAing your lenses, they both have almost exactly the same focus point.  You can see this by comparing the purple green LoCA on the white/black transition on the shirt.  I agree the Canon 1.8 wide-open needs a little PP love.  My question would be are you able to PP the picture to your satisfaction on either.  If the answer is yes, I would personally pick the lighter/smaller lens.  The Sigma has more LoCA but its also wider open at f1.6.  It would be interesting to see 1.8 vs 1.8.

At wide open performances I think resolution is hard to judge subjectively as its CA and spherical aberrations that tend to take over.  I think both seem sharp enough for intended purposes.  If the Sigma AF is almost as fast as the Canon, it seems like it definitely is a pretty fast focuser for the extra weight in elements.  I believe Nikon's 85mms do not focus as fast as the Sigma.

I have some Canon 85mm 1.8 test shots in my gallery with a lot of symmetrical objects from 1.8 to f4.

When I compared the Sigma 50 1.4 to the Canon, one of the things I saw was the Canon started to really over-take the Sigma as you stopped down.  I wonder how the 85mms compare in that regard.

The warmer look to the Sigma seems pretty characteristic...its really strong in the Sigma 17-50, but also noticeable in the 50mm.  A little warmer slightly more yellow tone.  The Canons are very neutral in color IMO.

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Doug_PS
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Re: Canon 85 f/1.8 vs Sigma 85 1.4: 2 pics
In reply to Timbukto, Apr 9, 2013

Timbukto wrote:

You actually did a good job MFAing your lenses, they both have almost exactly the same focus point.  You can see this by comparing the purple green LoCA on the white/black transition on the shirt.  I agree the Canon 1.8 wide-open needs a little PP love.  My question would be are you able to PP the picture to your satisfaction on either.  If the answer is yes, I would personally pick the lighter/smaller lens.  The Sigma has more LoCA but its also wider open at f1.6.  It would be interesting to see 1.8 vs 1.8.

At wide open performances I think resolution is hard to judge subjectively as its CA and spherical aberrations that tend to take over.  I think both seem sharp enough for intended purposes.  If the Sigma AF is almost as fast as the Canon, it seems like it definitely is a pretty fast focuser for the extra weight in elements.  I believe Nikon's 85mms do not focus as fast as the Sigma.

I have some Canon 85mm 1.8 test shots in my gallery with a lot of symmetrical objects from 1.8 to f4.

When I compared the Sigma 50 1.4 to the Canon, one of the things I saw was the Canon started to really over-take the Sigma as you stopped down.  I wonder how the 85mms compare in that regard.

The warmer look to the Sigma seems pretty characteristic...its really strong in the Sigma 17-50, but also noticeable in the 50mm.  A little warmer slightly more yellow tone.  The Canons are very neutral in color IMO.

Interesting observation on the LoCA.  I wasn't aware that you could use this to help determine focus point.  The micro-adjustments are always a challenge.  However, I've found that all of my lenses need some (some more than others).  I try to set it once and "hopefully" be done with it!   You asked about the ability to PP the pictures to remove the purple fringing.  I use Lightroom 4, I"ll have to experiment a bit to see if I can clean up this effect.  If so, I agree with you...the Canon is tough to beat when you factor everything in: Price, size, weight, IQ, Autofocus speed/accuracy.....

I've added a photo of the same scene shot with the Sigma at f/1.8 (per your request).

You mentioned "When I compared the Sigma 50 1.4 to the Canon, one of the things I saw was the Canon started to really over-take the Sigma as you stopped down.  I wonder how the 85mms compare in that regard".  I found that to be the case with this test as well.  The Canon 85 1.8 stopped down is a "cutting" sharp lens (at least mine is).  I can try to add a pic taken from each lens at 5.6 if anyone is interested.

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kevindar
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Re: Canon 85 f/1.8 vs Sigma 85 1.4: 2 pics
In reply to Doug_PS, Apr 9, 2013

interestingly, canon is supposed to have a warmer, and nikon a cooler color.  Sigma is known for having bit of a yellow color to its images.  all can be corrected if you shoot raw.

when it comes to autofocus, make sure you check focus accuracy after mfa for both near and far subjects. an experience that I have had for sigma lenses. is that they tend to front focus on close subjects, and back focus on far ones.

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Timbukto
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Re: Canon 85 f/1.8 vs Sigma 85 1.4: 2 pics
In reply to Doug_PS, Apr 9, 2013

Sigma is showing more detail in the black knitting on the shirt.  At the same time the Sigma is more telephoto for whatever reason.  Do you know if you paid attention to shooting distance or do you think the Sigma was actually more telephoto in FOV?

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Suave
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Re: Canon 85 f/1.8 vs Sigma 85 1.4: 2 pics
In reply to Doug_PS, Apr 9, 2013

Somehow it seems that with Sigma you are closer to the subject.

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qianp2k
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Re: Canon 85 f/1.8 vs Sigma 85 1.4: 2 pics
In reply to Doug_PS, Apr 9, 2013

http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/Sigma-85mm-f-1.4-EX-DG-HSM-Lens-Review.aspx

Check above TDP review. Your observation seems complies with above review.

Then check TDP resolution test between two lenses. Sigma at F1.4 seems withstand 85/1.8 at F1.8 well.

http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/ISO-12233-Sample-Crops.aspx?Lens=756&Camera=453&Sample=0&FLI=0&API=0&LensComp=106&CameraComp=453&SampleComp=0&FLIComp=0&APIComp=0

Personally I don't own either lens. The future Sigma 85/1.4 Art if Sigma ever updates (that supports the USB dock) will be interesting to me. I will get Sigma 35/1.4 Art first later this year.

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Doug_PS
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Re: Canon 85 f/1.8 vs Sigma 85 1.4: 2 pics
In reply to Timbukto, Apr 9, 2013

Timbukto wrote:

Sigma is showing more detail in the black knitting on the shirt.  At the same time the Sigma is more telephoto for whatever reason.  Do you know if you paid attention to shooting distance or do you think the Sigma was actually more telephoto in FOV?

That was probably my fault. I bet that I stepped in a bit closer with the Sigma after the lens change!

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Doug_PS
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Re: Canon 85 f/1.8 vs Sigma 85 1.4: 2 pics
In reply to qianp2k, Apr 9, 2013

qianp2k wrote:

http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/Sigma-85mm-f-1.4-EX-DG-HSM-Lens-Review.aspx

Check above TDP review. Your observation seems complies with above review.

Then check TDP resolution test between two lenses. Sigma at F1.4 seems withstand 85/1.8 at F1.8 well.

http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/ISO-12233-Sample-Crops.aspx?Lens=756&Camera=453&Sample=0&FLI=0&API=0&LensComp=106&CameraComp=453&SampleComp=0&FLIComp=0&APIComp=0

Personally I don't own either lens. The future Sigma 85/1.4 Art if Sigma ever updates (that supports the USB dock) will be interesting to me. I will get Sigma 35/1.4 Art first later this year.

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Thanks for the feedback.  I rented the Sigma 35 1.4 a few weeks ago to test.  A very impressive lens.  I'm waiting until later in the yer too to see if the price drops a bit on this and the Canon 35 f2.0 IS.  I'm interested to compare results from these two lenses.

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William DIllard
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Re: Canon 85 f/1.8 vs Sigma 85 1.4: 2 pics
In reply to Doug_PS, Apr 11, 2013

Doug_PS wrote:

I''ve had the Canon 85 f/1.8 for a few years now and it's been one of my most used primes first on my 50D and now on my 5D MKII.  I was interested in trying the Sigma 85 f/1.4 so I rented it this past weekend to compare against the Canon.  I've added a couple of pics below (shot moments apart, same lighting conditions and settngs...with the exception of aperture as noted below).  The first is From the Canon and the 2nd from the Sigma.

A few things I noticed:

  • The colors from the Sigma seem to be a "warmer" cast that the "Cool" cast from the Canon.  I think I prefer the Sigma here.
  • Both the Sigma and the Canon are very sharp.  The Sigma seems sharper at 1.8 than the Canon (and my Canon 85 is reasonably sharp at 1.8).  The Sigma at F 1.4 has good center sharpness.
  • The background blur at 1.4 from the Sigma would be the main selling point for me....there is noticably more blur than from the Canon at f 1/8.  The blur from the Canon and the Sigma both had a nice smooth quality to my eye..
  • The Sigma is noticeably heavier than the Canon.  The weight/size of the Canon was/is a big selling point for me.
  • Autofocus speed/accuracy:  Both did well on my tests.  I'd give the Canon a slight edge on both.
  • Sigma required +7 micro-adjust (was front focusing).   The Canon required +9!

Not sure that I'll sell the Canon for the Sigma, but an interesting comparison.

Canon 1.8 at F/1.8

Sigma 85 1.4 at F 1.6 (I thought I had the aperture set at F1.4.....oh well)

I have the Sigma 85 1.4 and used with my 6D it is awesome. I like to do candids and portrraits and it blows the heck out of a background. Practically ALL of my wide open shots are in focus. BUT you need to lower the contrast by -1 and but all other should be neutral settings and you will the natural color look. I had seen some shots with this lens and they were too harsh. Lower the contrast !

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bhollis
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Re: Canon 85 f/1.8 vs Sigma 85 1.4: 2 pics
In reply to Doug_PS, Apr 11, 2013

Although I don't place a greate deal of stock in DXOMark scores, it's interesting to note that the Sigma 85 appears to have received the highest score of any lens yet tested with the 5D3.

http://www.dxomark.com/index.php/Publications/DxOMark-Reviews/Which-lenses-should-you-choose-for-your-Canon-EOS-5D-Mark-III/Canon-EOS-5D-Mark-III-vs.-Nikon-D800-Competition-is-closer-than-expected

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qianp2k
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Re: Canon 85 f/1.8 vs Sigma 85 1.4: 2 pics
In reply to bhollis, Apr 11, 2013

bhollis wrote:

Although I don't place a greate deal of stock in DXOMark scores, it's interesting to note that the Sigma 85 appears to have received the highest score of any lens yet tested with the 5D3.

http://www.dxomark.com/index.php/Publications/DxOMark-Reviews/Which-lenses-should-you-choose-for-your-Canon-EOS-5D-Mark-III/Canon-EOS-5D-Mark-III-vs.-Nikon-D800-Competition-is-closer-than-expected

Imagine if Sigma ever updated this lens with a USB-doc supported Art version that would be even better But I agreed not to treat DXOMark as a bible but for reference purpose. Real world photos are ultimately matter. Personally I'd pickup this lens over 85L, not only much cheaper but AF faster at F1.4. 85L is slightly better in bokeh and smoother in background blur that could be very important to pro(s).

Agreed on William's suggestion. I also found 'Neutral' profile setting is the best for portrait on my own experience.

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