Nikon 1.8g's vs Sigma 1.4 Art Series

Started Aug 16, 2014 | Discussions
larrywilson
larrywilson Veteran Member • Posts: 6,582
Re: Nikon 1.8g's vs Sigma 1.4 Art Series, the 3D-look and real photos

Stacey_K wrote:

larrywilson wrote:

I just sold my Sigma 35mm f1.4 art lens to be able to purchase the Nikon 35mm f1.8 lens to take its place. I never enjoyed the Sigma because of its weight, auto focus required a lot of fine tuning and will not even work in live view for my new d810. I would have to send it in to Sigma so that they could upgrade it to work in live view auto focus or get another piece of equipment.

I have the Nikon 85mm f1.8g lens and love it, one beautiful lens. Yes Stacy it is cheap, but the images are pretty darn good.

Larry

I love the 85mm f1.8g, it's the 50 f1.8g I really don't care for.

Yes Stacy I tried the Nikon f1.8g and didn't keep it long, I think about 2 weeks ha ha!!!

Larry

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GlobalGuyUSA Senior Member • Posts: 2,016
Re: Nikon 1.8g's vs Sigma 1.4 Art Series

Nexu1 wrote:

Can't help you with the Sig's but I've been pretty happy with the 50mm f1.8G. It gets a bit of a bad rap IMO. I rented the 58mm hoping to see a huge improvement (especially bokeh) but didn't. Here are a couple test snapshots for your own perusal/judgment:

Very nice -- the years old Sigma 1.4 holds up very well against the Nikon 58mm.  Sad that their ART update offering doesn't work on the D810 without errors, has worse bokeh & that Nikon's 58 is fuzz wide open.  But this older lens and the 58 are very lovely renderings.  If the Noct 1.2 is the 58mm's father, then the Sigma 50/1.4 Mark I was certainly its mother.  I wouldn't be surprised AT ALL if Nikon was chasing the "cream king" intentionally and this the direction they chose over the Noct route, while keeping the heritage.  But this is getting too poetic, so I'll just say, if someone can't afford or justify a 58, you might just get a Nikon 1.8D & a Sigma 50/1.4 Mark I and swap between them.  Invest in an 85 (1.4 or 1.8), 28 (1.8) or 24 (1.4) and that's a nice set of primes.  You want something with technical sharpness, the 35/1.4 ART can't be beat, but you'll still have a 28 or 24 if you want something special.

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Sincerely,
GlobalGuy

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GlobalGuyUSA Senior Member • Posts: 2,016
Re: Nikon 1.8g's vs Sigma 1.4 Art Series, the 3D-look and real photos

anotherMike wrote:

Actually, regarding the warmth of the respective lenses, the Sigma 35/1.4 is a bit warmer than the Nikon 35/1.8G. The Nikon 28/1.8G however is warmer than the 35/1.8G. And I certainly wouldn't classify Sigma or Zeiss color as cold at all - if anything, they tend to be more accurate across the entire tonal range than Nikon in many cases.

-m

Hi anotherMike,

80-200/2.8 vs. 70-200VRII
You had mentioned the 80-200/2.8 vs. the 70-200VRII earlier, but it was such a brief statement that I couldn't understand which you preferred (you mentioned that your friend could see the difference). I noticed that Stacey uses the 80-200/2.8. Is this an endorsement of the older lens? For what particular qualities? Or did you mean the 70-200VRII is a significant upgrade for some particular reasons? I have the 70-200VRII and have enjoyed it, but I find myself using wide-lenses far more often. My 70-200VRII has developed a terrible squeak that's annoying me, and after I service it at Nikon, I'm considering swapping it for a 70-200/4. Just curious if a 80-200/2.8 might be an interesting alternative while pocketing the difference.

35/1.8 vs. 35/1.4G vs. 35/1.4ART
I also feel you are endorsing the Sigma. But it seems in contrast to the 35/1.8. I didn't see anywhere where you mentioned the 35/1.4G in this thread (I may have missed it). Of course, I don't expect you to have experience with every lens in existence, but I have been recently developing "taste buds" for photography, after about 5 years of light hobbyist activity & I feel very "not sure" about the 35/1.4G, apart from sharpness (which is weak), but I can't tell if what I'm seeing is good or bad. I love the 85/1.4G, which I feel is almost perfect excepts its AF wide open. I like the unique qualities of the 135/2DC, even though I consider it to have defects. I love the 24/1.4 in smaller prints and am always a bit sad its not sharper wide open for larger views. But I can't seem to pin down the qualities of the 35/1.4G. How would you describe the the Nikon 35 1.4 G? I respect your pallet distinction for image qualities -- color, etc, etc, not just sharpness. I've been disappointed using it wide open with busy foliage in the background, but its unique just the same, if soft with heavy chromatic aberration.

High Standard Lenses?
The way you've described your tastes, several times, I'm curious which lenses you rely on (Nikon or 3rd party) to meet your exacting standards, when on a Nikon DSLR? My first DSLR lens was the 50/1.4 SIGMA mark I, and I found it wonderful. But the damn thing wouldn't focus worth a damn. So I exchanged it for the 50/1.4 Nikon which was dead on every time and super reliable. But it lacked a lot of magic. In fact, I never liked 50mm since using the Nikon.  I always assumed this was my ignorance, but several years later, I realize, these are my tastes buds.  I haven't been able to make great photography, but I can appreciate the subtle differences and things of beauty, and strongly look for the tools to develop those skills over my lifetime. I may only be 5 years into it, but I've quite a few more years to go and will keep looking for the right tools and practicing.

There's some kind of quote that has haunted me since highschool (especially since I'm not the best looking person, not the best artist, not a great photographer -- but I do have a good eye for aesthetics), which sort of reminds me of your eye's pursuit for the look of the great masters: "I have always known what I wanted, and that was beauty... in every form."  Even if I am not great or never achieve anything wonderful, I don't doubt my intention to pursue it and hold even one work from my effort that meets my high standards for what is beautiful or have as much fun trying to as possible.

Thanks.

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Sincerely,

GlobalGuy

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(unknown member) Senior Member • Posts: 1,373
Re: 28, 35 and 85

I have the 28mm f1.8G and have used it on a D300s and a D800. I think it's excellent, and highly recommended. My favourite lens is the 85mm f1.8G. Most days I just take the D800 and those two lenses. It's a wonderful combination.

I also have the old (non Art) Sigma 50mm f1.4, and I am torn as to what to do with it. I love the lens, and the images it produces, but I don't use it very much, it's not a focal length I find myself attracted to, and it's big and heavy. I am highly tempted to trade it in for a 50mm f1.8.

There are rumours of a new Nikon 50mm f1.4, as the current one has been marked as discontinued by some sellers (Amazon?).

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HSway
HSway Veteran Member • Posts: 3,168
Re: Nikon 1.8g's vs Sigma 1.4 Art Series

GlobalGuyUSA wrote:

Nexu1 wrote:

Can't help you with the Sig's but I've been pretty happy with the 50mm f1.8G. It gets a bit of a bad rap IMO. I rented the 58mm hoping to see a huge improvement (especially bokeh) but didn't. Here are a couple test snapshots for your own perusal/judgment:

Very nice -- the years old Sigma 1.4 holds up very well against the Nikon 58mm. Sad that their ART update offering doesn't work on the D810 without errors, has worse bokeh & that Nikon's 58 is fuzz wide open. But this older lens and the 58 are very lovely renderings. If the Noct 1.2 is the 58mm's father, then the Sigma 50/1.4 Mark I was certainly its mother. I wouldn't be surprised AT ALL if Nikon was chasing the "cream king" intentionally and this the direction they chose over the Noct route, while keeping the heritage. But this is getting too poetic, so I'll just say, if someone can't afford or justify a 58, you might just get a Nikon 1.8D & a Sigma 50/1.4 Mark I and swap between them. Invest in an 85 (1.4 or 1.8), 28 (1.8) or 24 (1.4) and that's a nice set of primes. You want something with technical sharpness, the 35/1.4 ART can't be beat, but you'll still have a 28 or 24 if you want something special.

It seems like 58G and 50/1.8G samples on Dx.

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Stujomo
Stujomo Senior Member • Posts: 1,570
Re: Nikon 1.8g's vs Sigma 1.4 Art Series

Nexu1 wrote:

Can't help you with the Sig's but I've been pretty happy with the 50mm f1.8G. It gets a bit of a bad rap IMO. I rented the 58mm hoping to see a huge improvement (especially bokeh) but didn't. Here are a couple test snapshots for your own perusal/judgment:

I really expected to see more differences between the two lenses, the differences here are not very noticeable or very subtle at best. I noticed they are stopped down just a bit and these were shot on a DX camera.

Does anyone here have any comparison images between the 50 Art, the 50 f1.8 g and the 58 f1.4g shot at the same time , same subject with a full frame camera. I'm personally would like to see what either the 58 or the 50 Art would bring to the table over a 50 mm f1.8g.

These are from the 50mm 1.8g

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Reilly Diefenbach
Reilly Diefenbach Forum Pro • Posts: 13,232
Re: Nikon 1.8g's vs Sigma 1.4 Art Series, the 3D-look and real photos
1

A sharp focal plane that punctuates the action or artistic intent can heighten the importance of the subject within the scene, of course it has value, but it is so often abused and seems like a tired contemporary trope now, and, it's just technically bad photography in many cases - when only one eye is in focus, for instance, or once face between a couple, etc...

Shallow depth of field ruins more photos than it helps.

Good one Matsu.  Trope.  Or meme.  You've got to love the English language :^)

If I never see another fuzzy nose and ears portrait, it will be just fine.

As far as color rendition is concerned, give me those fat juicy Nikon nano coated items any day of the week over Zeiss or Sigma.  Far more important than any infinitesimal difference in sharpness.

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thelenspainter Senior Member • Posts: 1,894
Re: Nikon 1.8g's vs Sigma 1.4 Art Series

I just spent a couple of days shopping the older Sigma 50mm 1.4 EX against the Nikon 58 1.4G. Yes they are very different price points, but they actually have very similar rendering and similar performance.

My point: In my research the reviewers found that the 58 1.4 offers somewhat higher resolution wide open than the older Sigma, and much lower coma, but for creamy smooth bokeh the older Sigma is nearly as good.

So if you are calling the 58 soft, then the old Sigma must be a even softer! But I agree with you otherwise - I didn't realize it until the past few days, but the older Sigma is in the same spirit as the Nikon 58 1.4G, and photos from them actually look remarkably similar! I was thinking hard about getting the 58, but given the old Sigma is just now on rebate for $349 from B&H, it was hard to say no. I prefer the slightly wider FOV of the Sigma too.

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thelenspainter Senior Member • Posts: 1,894
Re: Nikon 1.8g's vs Sigma 1.4 Art Series, the 3D-look and real photos
1

Maybe I'm just getting old, but I find myself agreeing with you guys. The advent of high resolution digital cameras and high quality lenses (as in, almost any lens nowadays can do a high quality 8x10 print) means that the internet is filled to bursting with sharp, contrasty images with strong colors. I want my photographs to have something relatively unique, so going along with the trend for this razor sharp punchy look with shallow DOF is not something that interests me in the slightest.

As with everything its a matter of taste, so this is only an opinion... but I agree it has been done to death.

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HSway
HSway Veteran Member • Posts: 3,168
Re: Nikon 1.8g's vs Sigma 1.4 Art Series

thelenspainter wrote:

I just spent a couple of days shopping the older Sigma 50mm 1.4 EX against the Nikon 58 1.4G. Yes they are very different price points, but they actually have very similar rendering and similar performance.

My point: In my research the reviewers found that the 58 1.4 offers somewhat higher resolution wide open than the older Sigma, and much lower coma, but for creamy smooth bokeh the older Sigma is nearly as good.

So if you are calling the 58 soft, then the old Sigma must be a even softer! But I agree with you otherwise - I didn't realize it until the past few days, but the older Sigma is in the same spirit as the Nikon 58 1.4G, and photos from them actually look remarkably similar! I was thinking hard about getting the 58, but given the old Sigma is just now on rebate for $349 from B&H, it was hard to say no. I prefer the slightly wider FOV of the Sigma too.

Pardon me but where did you get this from? The previous Sigma 50 was highly rated but it’s quite different to 58G. If you are after more resolution then the new 50A will blow you away in terms of the bokeh, especially if the previous Sigma seemed good. Check them out side by side for bokeh comparison. It took me one or two minutes to find it.

http://www.francescospighi.com/sigma-50mm-f-1-4-art-nikon-mount-test-and-review/2014/05/

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thelenspainter Senior Member • Posts: 1,894
Re: Nikon 1.8g's vs Sigma 1.4 Art Series

HSway wrote:

Pardon me but where did you get this from? The previous Sigma 50 was highly rated but it’s quite different to 58G. If you are after more resolution then the new 50A will blow you away in terms of the bokeh, especially if the previous Sigma seemed good. Check them out side by side for bokeh comparison. It took me one or two minutes to find it.

http://www.francescospighi.com/sigma-50mm-f-1-4-art-nikon-mount-test-and-review/2014/05/

Thanks for posting the link - I didn't find that review. It actually confirms my conclusions about the background rendering of these various lenses. I don't have time to track down samples right now, but I would start off by looking at Nasim Mansurov's review of the 50 Art, where he posts bokeh samples too:

http://photographylife.com/reviews/sigma-50mm-f1-4-dg-hsm/3

I looked at literally hundreds of photos on Flickr taken by these lenses, and after a while a trend emerged. Now of course these are not controlled tests but I tried to identify what the trend in background appearance was depending on focus distances. This is what I found:

The 50 Art: It has the most consistent background rendering - it looks virtually the same at all focus distances. This is to be expected since it is such a highly corrected lens. Its bokeh disks are very uniform, with perhaps a very slight outline depending on the focus distance. The disks are quite hard and well defined.

The old 50 EX: At closer distances, bokeh disks are very soft - the outer edges are less 'opaque' than the center, probably due to SA. It gives a very mellow look at this distance. The disks towards the corner of the frame remain almost circular - very nice. At greater distances the disks tend to develop an outline, and towards the corner of the frame they lose their circular shape and become quite harsh triangles.

The Nikon 58: Pretty much exactly the same as the Sigma EX, except: at close distances its bokeh is even slightly softer, and towards the frame corners the disks become ellipses.

Perhaps in your 'Bokeh samples in context' thread I'll post examples of all these.

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OP pgeorges Regular Member • Posts: 266
Re: Nikon 1.8g's vs Sigma 1.4 Art Series, the 3D-look and real photos

Reilly Diefenbach wrote:

A sharp focal plane that punctuates the action or artistic intent can heighten the importance of the subject within the scene, of course it has value, but it is so often abused and seems like a tired contemporary trope now, and, it's just technically bad photography in many cases - when only one eye is in focus, for instance, or once face between a couple, etc...

Shallow depth of field ruins more photos than it helps.

Good one Matsu. Trope. Or meme. You've got to love the English language :^)

If I never see another fuzzy nose and ears portrait, it will be just fine.

As far as color rendition is concerned, give me those fat juicy Nikon nano coated items any day of the week over Zeiss or Sigma. Far more important than any infinitesimal difference in sharpness.

Well along those lines somehow I'm crazily happy with my 85mm 1.8g after being a Canon 85LII user for so long. There's just something sweet about the Nikon look (the 85 isn't Nano coated even - but that just affects the flaring I believe). Having it cost and weigh so much less is just a huge bonus!

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Tom Ames Senior Member • Posts: 1,345
Re: Nikon 1.8g's vs Sigma 1.4 Art Series

GlobalGuyUSA wrote:

Very nice -- the years old Sigma 1.4 holds up very well against the Nikon 58mm. Sad that their ART update offering doesn't work on the D810 without errors, has worse bokeh & that Nikon's 58 is fuzz wide open......

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Sincerely,
GlobalGuy

I just ordered the Sigma 50 ART, expect it to arrive on Friday. But that it has errors on the D810 is news to me. Any links where I can read about this?

I expect it to be minor details as it is possible to update the new Sigma lenses via the USB connection.

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Tom Ames Senior Member • Posts: 1,345
Re: Nikon 1.8g's vs Sigma 1.4 Art Series

Tom Ames wrote:

GlobalGuyUSA wrote:

Very nice -- the years old Sigma 1.4 holds up very well against the Nikon 58mm. Sad that their ART update offering doesn't work on the D810 without errors, has worse bokeh & that Nikon's 58 is fuzz wide open......

I just ordered the Sigma 50 ART, expect it to arrive on Friday. But that it has errors on the D810 is news to me. Any links where I can read about this?

I expect it to be minor details as it is possible to update the new Sigma lenses via the USB connection.

I tried to search about errors for the Sigma 50 ART on the Nikon D810, but didn't find anything. Is the statement above from GlobalGuy regarding the errors just air, or am I missing something?

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Vladi Stoimenov
Vladi Stoimenov Regular Member • Posts: 459
Re: Nikon 1.8g's vs Sigma 1.4 Art Series, the 3D-look and real photos
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Vladi

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anotherMike Veteran Member • Posts: 9,470
Re: Nikon 1.8g's vs Sigma 1.4 Art Series, the 3D-look and real photos
1

I'm not a member of the one-eye in focus club either, but just as a discussion item, I wonder if perhaps your reaction to the sharp/bright/colorful is not so much a product of lenses, but rather that most peoples post processing skills simply aren't that amazing. What I've seen (remember, coming from a background in the film days) is an over-use of edge sharpening, particularly on shots without real detail (it's easy to crank the edges so the thing looks "SHARP" while there really isn't any real detail to support it and the effect is that it's uncomfortable on the eyes since there is a lack of congruence between these hyped up edges and then something else missing), and also a bit of overdoing the color. I understand going for the Velvia + 10% look but these days you see these blown well past reality hyper HDR shots and they don't appeal to me at all either. Can't blame the lenses for either of those however....

-m

thelenspainter Senior Member • Posts: 1,894
Re: Nikon 1.8g's vs Sigma 1.4 Art Series, the 3D-look and real photos

Good point Mike. You're right that an element of it is due to the trend towards over-processed images with every single shot having the saturation/vibrance cranked up to 11 and a heavy pass of unsharp mask.

What I was trying to get at with my comment about lenses, is that as optical technology progresses and digital correction of images becomes better and better, perfectly sharp, colorful images become commonplace. There's nothing special about them. Hence why from an artistic perspective I'm starting to lean towards trying to find lenses that give the image something that can't be achieved with post processing. Maybe that's foolish but this is just a hobby to me so I do what gives me the most enjoyment

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xtm Senior Member • Posts: 1,155
Re: 28, 35 and 85
1

draculr wrote:

I'm much more concerned if the 28mm 1.8g doesn't live up to expectations. I really would love for something to go well with my 85mm 1.8g which is such a sweet lens - hoping the 28mm 1.8g is just that!

Are you kidding? The 28 1.8G is the best in the 1.8G series. I'm basing this on actual ownership and shooting experience. It's also the only 1.8G with NanoCrystalCoat. Rendering-wise, perhaps not as "3D" as the 24 1.4G, but I would take it anyday for focusing accuracy. This lens never misses, and is ultra-sharp.

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anotherMike Veteran Member • Posts: 9,470
Re: Nikon 1.8g's vs Sigma 1.4 Art Series, the 3D-look and real photos
2

Heavy Edit to my original reply...

I think what each photographer photographs has a huge bearing on this topic. Personally, I prefer in a general sense to have lenses that are more faithful to the scene as opposed to dramatically imposing their own coloration upon the scene, or more likely, erring by subtraction (lack of sharpness, lack of microcontrast, lack of veiling flare control) as it give more data to work with in post. I don't see post processing as inherently evil; like printing was back in the "old days", it's a skill, and just like printing, there are people who are okay at it, some who are good at it, fewer who are really good at it, and a select few who are excellent at it. While I love digital and love the era I'm in now compared to film (I would never go back), I can see at the same time that this whole topic of  post work is the bane of digital and many (particularly older, more set-in-their-ways) photographers struggle and prefer film because the post work is built in. Todays digital shooter has to be solid on two grounds; the artistic and the technical, or hire someone to do the technical, which many do. Not for everyone. The problems with post processing are that too many go over - the tools have so much power. Just like music, dance and other arts, it's not the intense/fierce/strong stuff that is hard, but rather the maturity to know the gradations between subtle and extreme, and particularly the ability to do the subtle. Good post processing is understanding your output medium (work for print always appears slightly over-sharpened on screen as you have to compensate for dot gain and bleed, etc) and knowing what level or strength of manipulation works best, always keeping subtle in mind.

Now, with lenses, some characteristics can't be emulated in post; bokeh is certainly one of those aspects, and it's far better to have a lens that does bokeh correctly than try to fake it in post, and there one may have to accept tradeoffs in lens performance to get to that bokeh. But at the same time, if one is trying to "jump formats" (my term for a DSLR user trying to get larger format results), having a lens that is more faithful to the scene is a plus while a lens that suffers and has several subtractive attributes but rocks in bokeh will prevent them from getting there.

But in general, I just don't see the point of only going for "character" lenses that suffer in the basics of optic design (due to age of when they were designed) just because one dislikes the modern look of images, other than if your work is strongly bokeh oriented. Get better at post is my usual recommendation - it's an area every single one of us can always grow in, myself included.

-m

MoreorLess Veteran Member • Posts: 4,650
Re: Am I the only one who feels this way?

enkindler wrote:

The little things may not be a conscious element in your evaluation of a photo but the little things are what differentiate an exceptional photo from a good photo. Most people wouldn't be able to call out an eye breaking the skin line or a slightly out of focus eye but it most defiantly effects the experience of the photo. A distracting busy bokeh will pull the eye from the portions of the picture you want to emphasize if your style of photo uses bokeh as a creative tool. That said I have seen some people use that more distracting bokeh quality to enhance the emotion of a photo. Quite often in life differences are not a matter of what is better or worse, they can just be different. Buy the tools that let you create what you want to create and ignore the chest puffing. If a lensbaby is "better" for you than an otus it really doesn't matter what anyone else thinks, unless you are trying to convince them to pay money for your work.

A big factor of course is that a lot of people viewing at image won't know exactly why they like it less than another. A distracting out of focus area may not automatically stand out as such for the average payman but they will notice the overall effect.

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