Sigma 105mm macro test/comparison part 1

Started Oct 22, 2006 | Discussions thread
OP ankh Senior Member • Posts: 1,047
Sigma 105mm vs Zuiko 50mm

Test/Comparison of Sigma 105mm macro lens vs Zuiko 50mm macro at half life size:

All images taken in RAW and only processed to equalize the exposure. No sharpening or other PP at all.

Because the Zuiko 50mm macro goes only to half life size magnification I did this test at half size for Sigma too:

Here are the test images with the 100% crops areas indicated (both lenses were focusing on the letter X):

Center at f/2.8

Corner at f/2.8

Center at f/4.0

Corner at f/4.0

Center at f/8.0

Corner at f/8.0

Center at f/11.0

Corner at f/11.0

And one more sample from different test to see the contrast and color vibrancy:

What I observed:

I must say that the Zuiko 50mm is amazing lens. It just performs so well it is very hard to beat. (Can’t wait for the Zuiko 100mm macro!!!)

From the beginning I immediately noticed that the shots from the Zuiko had much better contrast and colors were more vibrant. Also the Sigma was slightly underexposing in almost all situations.

Also one note about the color, Sigma seems to have more yellow/green cast and the colors are different then from the Zuiko, also less vibrant. (Of course with PP they can be brought closer together.)

I do not know if Sigma also has a chip inside the lens like the Zuiko and if it has upgradeable firmware but I assume that it does not, so I do not know if that can be improved.

That doesn’t mean that Sigma is bad, not at all. The lens is very sharp, just not as sharp as the Zuiko. It goes all the way to 1:1 magnification for the same price as Zuiko.

But I am more and more amazed at the quality of Olympus Zuiko lenses and it seems to me that their 4/3 design is paying big dividends in optical quality of their lenses.

I will venture to say, that if they design the Zuiko 100mm macro with the same quality of the zuiko 50mm, it will probably be the best macro lens on the market period.

I will let you make your conclusions yourself, since pictures are better then words, but let me also mention another observation.

Both lenses are extremely well CA corrected, but Zuiko to unbelievable degree. Even on the metallic surface you can notice that the Zuiko has much less of the color reflections then the Sigma. In the real world both lenses have virtually no CA!!!!

Will I keep this new Sigma lens? Yes, it is quite lite, that is why I didn’t wait for the 150mm Sigma macro, I do not want heavy lenses. And it is very good lens for the money and very well built. Optical quality is excellent; it is just too hard to beat the excellent Zuiko. But in the real world you won’t see much difference, except maybe in PP, where the Zuiko is easier to deal with.

Next page Samples/comparisons of images of Flower with both lenses and some samples of shots with Sigma 105 macro.

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Arthur Ankh
http://www.pbase.com/aumnium
EVOLT E-330, 14-45, 50mm macro, 50-200mm, EC-14, Sigma 105mm macro

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