Tamron 85 mm f1.8 VC vs Sogma Art 85 mm f1.4

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Photon Embargo Junior Member • Posts: 25
Tamron 85 mm f1.8 VC vs Sogma Art 85 mm f1.4
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Hi All,

I'm after a good autofocus portrait lens for event work that won't break the bank. I've done a lot of research and settled on an 85 mm prime, either from Tamron or Sigma, to complement my Voigtlander 58 mm f1.4 manual lens. I've ruled out the 135 mm length for the moment as I feel it has less utility for event work at this point (although I would love to own one again). Additionally, I intend to buy the Tamron 70-200 f2.8 VC which could in part produce something *similar* (i.e. go slightly longer focal length at f2.8 to get a similar look) for wedding work while providing the flexibility I need during the ceremony and covering romantic shots and sneaky candid shots.

Also, I wish to optimise resolution on my primary camera body (D850) at this point.

Based upon my research over recent weeks, I have compiled a pro/con list below comparing each lens and would invite comments based upon your experiences/thoughts/observations and point out anything I may have missed.

(I am being a little pedantic here - but as I am currently not working, this setup is coming from savings, so I feel correct decision-making is so more important and as I have the time, so why not?)

Tamron 85 mm f1.8 VC | Sigma Art 85 mm f1.4

Focal length

Testing seems to indicate that the Tamron has a slightly longer focal length than Sigma (which appears slightly short), increasing compression slightly. It seems that this difference makes up a little for aperture difference between them, providing quite similar out-of-focus look.

(winner: tie)

Bokeh

The Sigma has a little bit more noise in its bokeh balls (would anyone ever notice?), but can produce pretty much even bokeh balls across the image, the Tamron has cat eyes to each side. Due to its slightly longer focal length, the Tamron produces slightly larger bokeh balls from what I have seen. Otherwise, out-of-focus areas for full body shots look reasonably similar.

(winner: Sigma)

Flare

The Tamron appears to control flare really well, better than the Sigma.

(winner: Tamron)

Vignetting

The Tamron seems to suffer vignetting at wider apertures, but it goes away quickly when stopped down.

(winner: Sigima)

Chromatic Aberration

The Sigma appears to exhibit much more CA than the Tamron, which only exhibits minor amounts. The Tamron then allows preservation of contrast when correcting it in software where CA would occur on the Sigma.

(winner: Tamron)

Colour Rendition and Contrast (winner: Sigma)

The Sigma is warmer, and certainly lends itself out-of-camera to wedding and portrait work generally over the Tamron's cooler colours which I imagine will require more post-processing. Both appear pretty sharp edge-to-edge with good contrast, although I have read that the Tamron when stepped down is amazing edge-to-edge, which is great for landscape work.

Aperture

The f1.4 of the Sigma provides slightly higher shutter speeds when shooting wide open than the Tamron.

(winner: Sigima)

Shake Reduction

The Tamron has VC, the Sigma does not, allowing the Tamron to shoot in lower light conditions more easily (assuming no subject movement), additionally, using the D850, generally will help with shooting discipline and getting the best out of my primary body.

(winner: Tamron)

Sharpness/Detail

All discussion shows the Sigma as being a bit sharper than the Tamron, although the Tamron by all accounts is still very sharp.

(winner: Sigima)

Autofocus

Seems that both are very close, reading around, I believe that the Sigma is slightly faster, but a little less accurate - importantly, there are reports that using outer focus points with the Sigma can be more problematic.

(winner: Tamron)

Build, Handling and Weather Sealing

Seems both have great build quality, although the Sigma is much larger and much heavier. I don't mind the weight IF the Sigma is the superior choice. The Sigma does have a much larger filter thread size at 86 mm, as compared to the Tamron at 67 mm. The Tamron would fit my Hitech Formatt 100 mm filter kit (on the rare occasion I would use it on this lens). The Tamron would also preserve more space in my camera cabinet / gear backpack.

The Tamron also is listed has having moisture resistance/seals, while the Sigma is not.

(winner: Tamron)

Cost

Here in Aus, without going the grey import route, the Tamron retails at $1199 and the Sigma $1499, of which I would expect to get ~10% less on the street.

(winner: Tamron)

Other Bits

I already own the Tamron TAP-in console, so if I get the Sigma Art, I'd need to buy the Sigma console as well, which is additional cost (but I intend to buy eventually one day).

- FINAL THOUGHTS -

Honestly, my mind has been set on the Tamron for a while, as to me it seems the most logical choice for my needs, but something keeps nagging at me regarding the Sigma, causing me to hesitate. A lot of people do rave about the Sigma's IQ, and that has me second-guessing myself.

What are your thoughts? All feedback appreciated.

Nikon D850 Sigma 85mm F1.4 Art Tamron SP 85mm F1.8 Di VC USD
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