On Tap...

Started Oct 20, 2016 | Discussions thread
DAVID MANZE Veteran Member • Posts: 5,628
Re: On Sigma

anotherMike wrote:

The bigger question is, however, how many Sigma Art lenses have you *personally* used, and to what extent?

One of the (many) problems with TAP and others like him is this binary categorization of either awesome or garbage, and this seeming inability to like any modern lenses. A good reviewer (which TAP most assuredly not) understands that there are many levels of gradation between "horrible" and "amazing" and to also look at the lens within the context of the use cases for it.

So, as a Sigma owner who has *properly* done the testing and evaluation on them (meaning it takes time, multiple test runs, an open mind, and knowledge of what can skew result interpretation), I offer this:

My Sigma 35/1.4 Art is my most used lens in the studio. Purchased in 2012 when it came out, it's been used for more than 30,000 frames. With moving models, it rarely misses focus, as in, I can trust it completely. I tend to think I have (vastly) more experience with that lens than you, TAP, or the Sigma haters, so I think I can speak with some authority on that one.

However, lest you think I'm a Sigma-only fan boy, I'd tell you honestly that if I were valuing bokeh, it would not be my first choice - the Nikon 35/1.4G would be, and I have absolutely NO problem stating that. I am fully aware that the tool I chose over the Nikon 35mm options is not as good at some aspects - bokeh and size/weight, but I'm okay with that because I made the choice based upon awareness of what I need in the lens, and at 35mm, bokeh is a complete non issue.

I will go on: If I valued flare resistance more than I do, I'd pick the 35/1.8G FX Nikon over all of them. If I wanted the absolute best AF performance (speed and consistency), I'd choose NONE of the primes and instead would use 35mm on the new 24-70G VR.

Let's talk about the Sigma 50/1.4 Art. Amazing landscape lens - where it's used in live view focus so any AF issues aren't a problem. In the studio, it's equally good, but I will also tell you that it's AF consistency/accuracy is not quite as good as my 35. It's certainly good enough, but I know it's limitations so I check focus a bit more with it.

However, for what I do, it's optical virtues (better than any Nikon 50 or 58 for what *I* require), outweigh it's slightly worse (note the word slightly - not a binary good/bad, but slightly worse) AF consistency. Bokeh, again, I have NO problems advising others that if they are bokeh/OOF oriented shooters, the 58/1.4 Nikon is a *much* better choice. Stacey K, for example would *never* be happy with a Sigma 50 art. But I would be. Different tool to task matching.

Then there's the 20/1.4 Art. The worst AF consistency lens I've ever used, plus I'm not happy with the corners. So I didn't buy it, even though for landscape use it would be live view and the AF problems wouldn't matter. Still think I'm a Sigma fan boy, or, perhaps, am I taking an even keeled look at lenses as opposed to outright bashing of one brand or one era?

I agree with you but, what a paragraph, it's like the literary jungle, I got lost in there for hours, excuse me for editing it!

So if you just think about what I just wrote - you see that I've looked at the lens in totality (what it does well, what it doesn't), *matched* it to my needs to decide whether it's the lens for me, and made a decision. I can advise equally against the same Sigma arts I own as advise for them - but it depends on who I'm advising. And the same goes for any other brand I use/evaluate - Nikon, Zeiss or Tamron. It's about understanding that I am not the only valid use case for a lens.

This is, IMO, a far more mature and valuable approach than "all Sigma Arts are garbage", "All Sigma arts render flat" and all of the other nonsense that TAP and the others like him continue. I'm fully agnostic to the brand of lens I use - I know enough about the craft of photography technically, know enough about testing (I do it for a living), and I know you can't make quick judgements on lenses, so I evaluate and then choose what works for me, fully understanding it might not always be a match for the other guy.


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