Nikkor 85mm 1.8 vs. Sigma 85mm 1.4

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by HalfOnWhole, Nov 7, 2011.

  1. HalfOnWhole macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 23, 2011
    #1
    Hey guys, I recently returned a Nikkor 85mm 1.8 lens that I bought new for $480. I found the low light to be worse than my 35mm 1.8 and overall the quality and sharpness was disappointing. Not to mention it had some trouble focusing.

    I use a D7000.

    I don't have a a huge budget, but I'm getting into commercial photography and need a good portrait lens. The Sigma seems to have good reviews (but so did the nikkor), and from my 5 minute trial at my local shop i found it to have a nice bokeh and seemed a bit sharper than the nikkor (even wide open). This lens is twice the price of the Nikkor at almost $1k.

    What are your thoughts on the upgrade? Is it worthwhile or bust? Any input is appreciated. The popular nikkor 85 1.4 isn't really a consideration, at about $1,350 its definitely a bit over my budget for such lens.

    Thanks!
     
  2. MattSepeta macrumors 65816

    MattSepeta

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    Jul 9, 2009
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    375th St. Y
    #2
  3. flosseR macrumors 6502a

    flosseR

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    Jan 1, 2009
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    the cold dark north
    #3
    Had the Sigma for a while.. LOVELY.. spectacular lens.. get it over the Nikon DEFINIETLY...
     
  4. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #4
    Extreme sharpness is not generally a primary criterion in a portrait lens[1]. However, Photozone's tests of the lens show it to have excellent sharpness at all apertures, so either you had a bad sample or your camera needed AF fine tune adjustment- did you adjust the camera for that particular lens?

    Additionally, you don't say what sort of portraits you'll be taking under what conditions, so it's difficult to give advice.

    Paul

    [1]Unless you have a top-line makeup artist and 16 year old models with perfect skin.
     
  5. mofunk macrumors 68000

    mofunk

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2009
    Location:
    Americas
    #5
    hmmm I've used the 85mm and found it quite sharp. The 105mm Nikkor was equally as sharp. I suggest you try before buying. Maybe it's user or setting in your camera? I know when I don't use the right shutter speed, my images lean towards soft side. But when I press and hold the AF lock, especially in low light, my photos are a lot sharper. Practice holding the camera steady also helps.

    I would suggest renting before buying. Check out www.lensrental.com I've rented several with them. This way I would know what to expect.

    On my D90 I've increased the sharpening in the custom setting. Bumped it up by 2. Before when I had my D50, I started using the AF/AE lock button. This way the focus is locked when I shoot. Also, practiced a lot with just pressing my finger or squeezing the shutter release button.

    I don't have a lot of shots using the 85mm online but here is one.

    [​IMG]

    Here is one with 105mm

    [​IMG]

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/77634324@N00/3009640408
     
  6. HalfOnWhole thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 23, 2011
    #6
    Thanks all, I appreciate the feedback. I happened to notice the lens also made Popular Photography Mag's favorite gear of 2011 which was cool. It's a big jump from the 1.8 i returned, but I've decided to go for it. I'll let you know how the lens shapes up after a few test runs.
     
  7. Edge100 macrumors 68000

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    May 14, 2002
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    Where am I???
    #7
    When I saw Tony's review a few months back, it was almost enough to make me sell my 85L.

    Almost.

    I just can't part with the Canon. It's such a sweet lens.
     
  8. HalfOnWhole thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 23, 2011
    #8
    Got the lens yesterday. Well worth the extra money over the Nikkor 1.8!
    It's certainly my new favorite lens. Here's a couple test shots from this morning- taken on my D7000.

    They were taken at f1.4. Pretty sharp with pretty low chromatic aberration (definitely better than 1.8, but not perfect!)
     

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