Sigma 85mm f/1.4 Art lens: “new benchmark” according to DxOMark, better scores than the Zeiss Ottus


DxOMark published their test results for the Sigma 85mm f/1.4 Art lens ($1,199) and called it a "new benchmark". Here is the updated list of the best 85mm lenses for Nikon F mount - the $4,490 Zeiss Otus 85mm f/1.4 lens is now at the #2 spot:


More 85mm lens comparisons:




DxOMark's conclusion:

With its Art series, Sigma has done much to improve its standing as a high-end lens maker. Until only recently, Canon and Nikon were on safe ground with their high-speed primes, but makers such as Sigma and Tamron (and Zeiss) are beginning to make inroads. While all the full-frame Art series lenses are excellent performers optically, the latest model in the range is also its best. It also happens to be the most expensive to date, but the $1,199 asking price seems reasonable. That it outperforms the Zeiss Milvus and outrageously expensive Otus equivalents probably says enough for most people — and that’s even before discussing the merits of autofocus versus manual on high-speed lenses like this.

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  • S Cargill

    Things that make you go hmmmm.

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  • Must be a glitch at DxO.

    • GMck

      Yes, it’s a glitch called being paid to give glowing, bogus review. Better than an otus…What a laugh. it’s like saying a Chevy is better than a Ferrari.

      • T.I.M

        Chevy IS better than Ferrari (they have more choices in colors)

        • ninpou_kobanashi

          Bigger cup holders and AM radio!

          • T.I.M

            in mine I even have PM radio ! (24h/24h)

        • CSIROC

          No they don’t. Ferrari offers customers the option for a factory paint job in any color they like…for a price.

          • karayuschij

            My GT4 is “à pois”

      • PabloNY

        Chevy is better than a Ferrari.
        Ferraris required engine change at 25k miles. Even a chevy metro goes 100k
        :p

        • sickheadache

          Chevy has Sold…more cars than Ferrari …but Chevy produces …Trailer Cars for them Trailer People.

          • PabloNY

            lol. I wouldn’t call the new Corvette a trailer car…
            And I’m a ford/pagani fan!
            Therefore I could say Ferrari produces trailer cars compared to Pagani.
            Oh wait!!! I forgot we were talking about lenses lol

            • sickheadache

              a V6 at 400G’s …Parked in HVTP Happy Valley Trailer Park.

            • John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmid

              Is that where your mom lives?

            • sickheadache

              Gurl, you so clever.

      • Ryan C

        That depends on your criteria, in my opinion a Chevy Tahoe or Silverado is far superior to any vehicle Ferrari has ever created on the simple grounds that they are actually useful and not just eye candy. 😉

      • Charles

        Whenever reality collides with your prejudices, reality must be wrong. I bet you´re a Trump voter.

        • Aldo

          It’s not that reality is wrong…. it is an alternative reality or alternative facts… get it right

        • Captain Insane-O

          It is called Cognitive Dissonance.

        • ZoetMB

          No, he’s probably an Otus buyer and can’t deal with the fact that he paid more than double.

          • Hysz

            This is basically what I see, when someone disagrees with objective measurements. I just see a person holding his Zeiss and crying, thinking he will not be superior anymore, because any ‘peon’ can have that quality [at 200% ofc].

            Others are just straight up fact deniers that don’t believe DxO is testing in objective manner. Truth is DxO tests few aspects only and these cannot be really uploaded with fake numerals. Anyone can test vignette for example if he has a little bit of brain.

      • 1741

        You can’t use cars as an eg, Try taking a Chevy for very fast lap time at a track day on the other hand try getting your family of four an luggage in a ferrari, yes they all have five wheels but very different uses, chalk an cheese as they say

      • Chevy is far better than Ferrari, depending on the criteria.

      • peter w

        Where does the Ferari come in? I’ld think it is about Mercedes, perhaps Maybach, versus Toyota, perhaps Lexus.

    • DxO is a glitch in its entirety.

  • tjholowaychuk

    Better than the Otus at f1.4 for CA? Hahaha not even close… what the hell

    • ronno

      Have you tested these side by side? If not, what is the basis of your comment? Does this Sigma lens show a lot of CA or something?
      Just curious.

      • tjholowaychuk

        I have the Otus, but I’ve been creeping plenty of Sigma reviews / images, it’s CA suppression doesn’t even begin to match the Otus. Not saying it’s a bad lens, but that part is so far off.

        • ronno

          It seems that without shooting the same exact subject at the same time, it’s hard to judge. Either way with the simple CA removal tools these days, CA is not a major worry for me. As opposed to AF, which for me means a lot more keepers than if I am manually focusing everything.

          • tjholowaychuk

            Yeah that’s fair, though I’ve shot the Otus for a few years now and I can’t recall a single time noticing any CA. From all the reviews and images I’ve seen the Sigma seems pretty bad that way, but like you say it’s not a deal breaker, more that it makes DxO look less reliable.

            • silmasan

              The worst examples I’ve seen are still much better than Nikon 85G or Canon 85L, but yes it’s definitely not an apochromat (nor was it designed to be one, I suppose) like the Otus.

              You do have a point about DxO reliability, but then again it probably still fall within margin error (esp. when you put into account the issue of sample variation).

            • Eledeuh

              I don’t know if it’s much better, this sort of CA https://3.img-dpreview.com/files/p/TS7952x5304%7Esample_galleries/1444131463/0531775609.jpg is at a level I’ve rarely seen.

          • ninpou_kobanashi

            I think CA is sensitive to overexposure, high contrast, slight out of focus, etc. It’s hard to compare apples and oranges unless you’re in a lab.

            • ronno

              Yes, that is my point exactly. Without actually shooting them side-by-side, who knows…

        • Captain Insane-O

          I don’t believe DXO tests for axial CA, and the CA score is for the lateral kind.

          The only thing lowering DXO’s credibility is the fact they haven’t published their actual methodology. That and 45% of American’s don’t believe in scientific research over anecdotal.

          I’m sure your Otus is better at 1.4, which is what it was really designed for (to be the best wide open lens bar none). That doesn’t mean that the 85art isn’t better at f2 or a more usable fstop.

          Could there be bias? I’m sure, but I also think you’re speaking logically.

          Honestly, the 85 1.8g is the best. No one buying your pictures will ever notice or care about the difference between a $500 plasti-prime and a $4000 “ground from chuck norris’ toe nails” optics.

          Someone mentioned a Ferrari vs Chevy. What they failed to realize was that once you park your car, no one will notice since you have arrived. As long as they both get you there without anyone noticing the massive difference, there won’t really be one.

          I’m sure the Otus and 85a trade blows with one another, which ultimately makes the 85a a better buy considering the steep savings and AF capability.

          • James Willerton

            Not necessarily. Build quality with Zeiss can deliver much longer usage (and enjoyment in the hand) for your investment. Probably hold price better too.

            Also, I prefer overall rendering of Zeiss. Sigma are exceptionally sharp. Horses for courses.

            Sigma AF can be a pain in the arse.

            • Captain Insane-O

              If one makes you happier than the other, then god bless. Nothing needs, or should be, purely utilitarian.

              But my point still stands. Both of those lenses are so good, no one else will tell the difference. Heck, I’m sure they couldn’t reliably discern the 1.8g from the bunch. For nearly everyone the art and 1.8g are far better buys.

              Not every girl needs a pure bred race horse to compete in jr. gymkhanna, but those at the highest level could benefit from one.

              It’s why I got the Tamron 70-200 over the Nikon version II. No one can tell the difference, and each has their own strength. Even my Zeiss loving, prime only, elitist professor loved the capabilities of my 70-200.

      • Eledeuh

        You should give a look at the Sigma samples, I have rarely seen such bad CA.

        There’s no free lunch, the Zeiss is expensive, but it’s not just the brand you’re paying, there’s also serious engineering behind to control optical aberrations in addition to the sharpness.

        • ronno

          My question is, does clicking the CA button during raw conversion remove 95% of it? If so, then who cares?

          • Eledeuh

            There’s a point at which it’s no longer the case, the level of CA exhibited here won’t be “95% removed” by softwares like LR for instance.

            You will obviously need to tweak the CA removal settings, probably much more than usual, and after that you’ll still have to deal with the ghosting-like effect that is left afterwards : with relatively low levels of CA, removing the color shift renders it mostly invisible, with CA like exhibited here you’ll still be left with weird fringing that needs to be dealt with by other means (or not, it’s up to you).

            • ronno

              Where are these samples people have seen? Are there RAW files to download?

    • GMck

      Sigma paid a lot for that rating. It all bullshit. The 85 is a price of crap. Focus problems all over the place. Returned 2 of them and got a Nikon 105 1.4.

      DxO is biased and total fiction. They should disclose just how much tweaking was done and if they got an off the shelf copy like the rest of us that have to put up with one bad copy after another that needs a shit load of micro adjustment. Sigma is crap.

      • Jim Huang

        Well, they only test the optics, not auto focus performance. I don’t think it’s fair for you to call them bias based on that.

        They most likely manual focus each lenses to give them the best possible chance.

        To be fair, micro adjustment is there for a reason and when if you can correct it through AF fine tune then it is within the factory tolerance (at least this is what the Nikon repair center in New Zealand told me).

      • T.I.M

        how do you like the 105mm f/1.4 ?

        • ninpou_kobanashi

          Love.

          • T.I.M

            sound just like my AF-i 400mm f/2.8 !
            :o)

            • Bob Thane

              Do you really have a 400 af-i? Curious as to how the autofocus holds up. I assume it’s slower than the new exotic primes, but is it fast enough for regular sports/wildlife (if it’s faster than the 200-500 vr, it’s fine for that in my books).

            • T.I.M

              The 400mm f/2.8 AF-i (only that one) is ultra fast (as fast as my 200mm f/2. af-s VR II)
              But the 300mm & 500mm AF-i are much slower.

            • T.I.M

              It’s very hard to find a good one for sale, I got mine 2 years ago from Hong-Kong dealer in like new condition for only $4800
              :o)

      • PabloNY

        If that is true it would be a shame that we can no longer trust reviews on lenses.

        • ninpou_kobanashi

          I mostly use DxO for comparing within a single brand (for my own equipment). Where is my 35mm sharpest? It is only in the center or across the entire field? How far can I to stop it down before losing sharpness to diffraction?

          Most people use it for some kinda brand based pissing contest, which is kinda retarded in my humble view.

          • silmasan

            Hehe that’s true, the real usefulness is not in the final numbers, but in the more specific graphics, but I think few people even bothered to check those out.

            • KnightPhoto

              I have a hard time navigating to the specific graphics in the DxO site – they don’t make it easy. That’s why I like PhotoZone (aside from the dearth of Nikon reviews to be found there).

      • Spy Black

        How much did Samyang pay to be better than the Planar T? LOL!

      • ninpou_kobanashi

        With your logic though, to be fair, the Otus AF is not all that (^_^).

      • silmasan

        (From our previous discussion) I saw one review on B&H which resembles your experience (with 3 Nikons D810/D750/D500) under the name “George”. Is that yours by any chance?

      • sickheadache

        Thanks Ken Rockwell.

        • GMck

          No problem. Maybe you can stick you super sharp ass pictures someplace.

          • Mike A

            GMck – Quite the troll aren’t you

          • sickheadache

            I can back up what I know, but you still can review and spill what the others say…without even picking up Art Line and doing your own Testing. For Real. You post those pics…when testing these Art Line Lenses.. Please.

        • T.I.M

          you could make a donation on his website.

          • sickheadache

            He loves to show off those Mercedes Benz that U guys send lil Ken. LOL

      • fanboy fagz

        really? lets see some images by the sigma art you shot for testing.

        I returned 2 otus lenses .decentering “all over the place” and got the sigma 85 art.

        • CBJ

          You who complain about the price of Nikkors bought an Otus?

          • fanboy fagz

            hell no. id be a sucker to pay nikkor lenses. but to buy a manual focus lens 1.4? thats just idiocy I traded my 85 1.4 AIS because I wasnt able to focus accurately at 1.4 making the lens useless to me.

    • Mike A

      If this poster actually owns the Otus, why is he busy trolling the new Sigma??? He’s probably looking to upgrade to the new Sigma king

      • tjholowaychuk

        I’m not trolling, Sigma makes amazing lenses, but the 85mm doesn’t appear to be a huge hit. From what I’ve seen the rendering isn’t overly pleasing, I love the 50mm though.

        • Eledeuh

          > but the 85mm doesn’t appear to be a huge hit

          I don’t know, I mean, recent Sigma primes have been more about sharpness than other parameters. It seems this one delivers on that specific metric too.

          It’s retarded to argue that the Sigma is “the superior” lens just because of that, and you will find (you already can actually) plenty of Sigma fanboys going all “It’s the best thing, it’s the best value, all the rest is shit” etc.

          But meanwhile this lens just looks like business as usual to me : it does well what other Sigma primes have done well in the past few years.

          • MB

            I am not a fanboy but I would really like to know what “other” parameters … according to DXo (if you believe it) it is superior in every parameter they measure … so what else do you propose they should measure …

            • Eledeuh

              I don’t “propose they should measure” anything more, at least not the way they do it right now. I really dislike the preponderance DxO has taken when it comes to lens/camera discussions, many people don’t know/understand how they work and put way too much trust in their conclusions or a handful of compiled numbers. Numbers are great if manipulated carefully and if everyone understand what exactly is being discussed, I find it’s far from being the case with DxO.

              As per your question, the two most often discussed are colors (some people like accuracy, some like a specific shift/character) and OOF areas rendering (there’s quite a bit that can vary here).

            • MB

              I mostly agree with you regarding DXO lens “scientific quantification” approach because if they really have scientific aspiration than their testing methodology should be well documented and repeatable or verifiable by others, and that is just not the case here and the numbers are given in take it for granted manner.
              As for color and OOF “appealing” factor they are actually difficult to measure and are subjective in nature … I for example really like Sigma 50 Art bokeh and find it great, Sigma 35 Art not so much because of visible onion rendering but I do prefer it to more uniform rendering of Nikon 35 1.4 because Nikon has more pronounced outlining in my opinion, but how to represent my findings in numbers and should others really care about what I find appealing is another matter …

            • Eledeuh

              > and that is just not the case here and the numbers are given in take it for granted manner.

              I mean… AFAIK they even test lenses with a sample size of 1. They wouldn’t be able to reproduce their own results.

              I totally agree with another user in here about the insight it can give regarding the general properties of lenses, like, at which focal length a given zoom is strongest, how’s the vignetting, some general patterns of that kind that are more related to the lens design. But it’s just nonsense to start comparing single instances of lenses from different makers and tested on different cameras.

              > As for color and OOF “appealing” factor they are actually difficult to measure and are subjective in nature

              Difficult to measure certainly, it’s certainly possible to think of a numerical model for describing their various properties… but I doubt that would result in something usable for comparing lenses in a productive manner. It’s much more effective to see image samples and be the judge for ourselves.

            • ninpou_kobanashi

              I personally wished they would take into account information such as:

              minimum focus distance / max reproduction ratio
              any focus breathing

              Some tricker things to measure would be:
              AF speed (racking and tracking times)
              AF Accuracy
              Rendering / Bokeh Quality
              Color Rendering
              Flair Control

              Instead of just focusing on pure sharpness, they could do more, but the difficulty comes when trying to assign a subjective score, that people can agree on.

    • Nikita

      so many childish reactions on this site. Lab tested facts denied because you don ‘t like the results. I don’t get it.

      • ninpou_kobanashi

        It’s also because of the other side saying equivalent stupid crap, and people just retaliate with an emotional response. I do it all the time (^_^)

  • ar

    Wonder how the (US$999) Samyang 85mm f1.2 will compare to all of that at DxO (at some point when they get to it…)

  • ronno

    Great that a company like Sigma is putting the fire under the arse of companies which charge as insane $4500 for a manual focus 85.
    In any case, once printed, no one in the world is going to know which lens shot which image…so yeah, I’ll take the one with autofocus.

  • Lee

    I’m not a particularly size-sensitive person (I carry around a 180/2 a lot), but I still think this is too big. At least the price is far more reasonable than the Otus.

  • vriesk

    Wonder if the focusing is any more reliable than the 50mm f/1.4 Art. :S

    • ronno

      It’ll be more reliable than the AF on the Otus, hands down 😉

      • Jeffry De Meyer

        I guess you could train your self to focus with your feet.
        But it sure would look weird

    • decentrist

      it won’t be much better, and many of these cinderblock turds will be quietly sold for 50-65 percent of what these frustrated numbers newbs paid when they realize they don’t have reliable equipment.

    • fanboy fagz

      3 things I have a concern with before buying

      1-the focal length is tested to 80mm. I wonder what the nikon is vs this. it matters to me, 85 is better then 80..for me.

      2-while it was tested to have much less purple fringing then the nikon in dxomark, one image stands out for me in dpreviews shoot which shows it having some quite heavy fringing

      its the 2nd image in this gallery

      https://www.dpreview.com/news/2895939821/sigma-85mm-f1-4-art-gallery-update
      if the nikon has more then im ok what this produces. though not sure.

      3-having manual override and holding the lens by the focus ring bring concerns for critical focus at 1.4. it can easily move a bit. seems like a huge design flaw. im not holding any of my lenses by their focus ring,

      • silmasan

        Yeah that’s bokeh fringing (LoCA/axial CA), you’ll need Otus/APO to eliminate that kind of fringing while shooting wide open.

      • 1 I can’t tell you about.

        2. The Nikon has enormous amounts of more fringing than the Sigma. It’s not even close, the nikon is horrible.
        Nikon 1.4: http://www.lenstip.com/upload2/37886_nik85_ca.jpg

        Sigma 1.4: http://www.lenstip.com/upload2/170045_sig85_ca.jpg

        3. The focus ring is very stiff (but nicely smooth) so you won’t accidentally turn it. You will be able to hold it without problems.

        • fanboy fagz

          Thanks a bunch for that. I read u can deactivate manual override throigh the dock that would be perfect. Ill send sigma an email to confirm. Much appreciated. Cheers

          • I would say pretty surely you can’t, sadly. :/ The Sigma has a mechanical coupling from the focus ring to mechanism. Only a lens with focus by wire would be able to turn it off like that. But then again I’m not sure, I don’t have a USB dock.

            • fanboy fagz

              Well see. Ive emailed sigma. Im certain it will ruin a few shots for me If im doing some closeups. Thats a fat phukin lens and my hand will be cupping it on the ring

            • fanboy fagz

              https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b23ce010fa606c34461531d96c05433eeb5e85edad335a2e17fea1d1c00314b2.png

              I read an article saying you can disable the manual override with the dock. And i will. Dont have an issue snapping it into mf with the switch if need be. Ill have piece of mind for micro adjustment accuracy with closeups

            • I’m interested, can you find that article again?

            • fanboy fagz

              No… Thats why I had it in my mind but couldnt remember where haha. Let me check

  • Spy Black

    I love how all the Zeiss zealots get all bent out of shape when their holier-than-thou toy gets shown up.

    • silmasan

      Zeiss Zealots… what a cool name for a villain organization! Anyone played Syndicate Wars?

      • Spy Black

        …or a band…

  • T.I.M

    ****** OUT OF SUBJECT (almost) *******
    So far (and for many years) I only used Nikon NC filters on my lenses (with great results) but I just bought a Hoya HD3 UV Filter (about $130 for 77mm size).
    Well, when you put the Nikon filter next to the Hoya HD3 you can see a real difference, the Hoya is more “clear” and I get better results, especially indoor with artificial light.
    I bought 2 of theses filters (it was on sale for $95 on Ebay)

    • silmasan

      Hoya HD filters are the best. Got it with my 105DC. They have no 86mm version (for this monster Sigma) unfortunately…

      • peter w

        considered B&W?
        there are other even more professional brands (which make you think your Nikkors are cheap).

        • silmasan

          As long as it’s at least as good as the Hoya HD… and costs considerably less than replacing the front element, I’ll consider it! (Well, my Nikkors are cheap… :-/ )

          So, OK, will check… B+W XS-Pro nano, I guess? I use filter only when outdoor and mainly for ease of cleaning.

          • peter w

            Until this summer I only used a polariser.
            This summer I found out the hard way that in rather dense, continuous rain (and near a waterfall) a neutral filter with fluorine coating may safe the journey. Happily, I had also made stitch-photo series with a 105 micro Nikkor with the nice and long hood. All – short hooded – wide-angle pictures had spots of water on them. (Well, those of the first day of rain).

            I never replaced a front element. Only once I got a very small scratch, which was only visible in backlight bokeh. Of a lens with a bad hood (80-400 af-d).

            • ninpou_kobanashi

              Last winter I was shooting in the rain wishing I had a longer hood suited to shielding rain fall from the front element. Sounds like a kickstarter waiting to happen.

            • peter w

              Well, long hoods and wide-angle lenses… there are rain covers availlable. Best would be an assistant holding an umbrella. All self supporting rain shields are / will be problematic in the wind.

    • BVS

      Yeah, the HD filters are so clear that if you hold it in your palm it looks like it’s just a metal ring with no glass in the middle.

      By contrast, I had some freebe protector/UV filters that came with my camera that were so bad that the camera was increasing ISO to compensate for the light loss.

    • Delmar Mineard Jr

      I use to only buy Nikon UV filters and after 5 years switched to Hoya UV filters, coated. Have moved up when new ones come out and I buy a new lens. Highly recommended.

  • sickheadache

    Will be test driving this Sigma 85mm Art next week…I have the 50mm art and 35mm art…they are excellent.

    • silmasan

      Serious question: what body are you going to use it with? I haven’t gotten around to testing one in the store. Also please, share your result (or I’ll nag at you). :p

      • sickheadache

        Nikon D810. Just with 50 art and 35 art…I have never ever, ever never had an issue with my art line on my Nikon D810. Sharp ass pictures…at all times.

        • fanboy fagz

          check af speed for us. also, do you shoot moving objects in low light with those lenses?

      • ninpou_kobanashi

        You’re at Nikon Rumors! (^_^)

        • silmasan

          Yes, but we’re still talking about F-mount lenses! :p

  • Adam Brown

    I’ll stick to the Tamron 85, for 1/3rd less weight, 1/3rd cheaper, the addition of VC, and just as sharp.

    • Spy Black

      Yeah, you’re not missing out on anything, I’ve seen what that Tamron can do, quite impressive.

      • fanboy fagz

        tamron or sigma, its quite amazing what both have been delivering. now if only tokina were to wake up

        • Spy Black

          The relatively new 24-70 f/2.8 is excellent.

        • CERO

          Whats wrong with tokina?
          I remember using that 11-16 2.8 on my D5100 and loved it.

          • fanboy fagz

            Great dx lenses that and the new 11-20. But the 24-70 and 70-200 not stellar but yet again the price is lower. Wish they would step up their game. If they made the 100 macro with rounded aperture blades i would have bought it over the 105vr

    • Bob Thane

      Though if you want pure image quality, the Sigma’s the one to go with.

      According to DxOMark, the Sigma’s significantly sharper in the centre wide open (thought the Tamron has sharper edges wide open), but as you stop down the Tamron closes the centre sharpness lead and even edges past the Sigma a tiiiiny bit, as the Sigma passes the Tamron in edge sharpness. Most people care more about centre sharpness wide open and edge sharpness stopped down, so I call that a win for Sigma even if there’s a photographer out there who has opposite needs.

      The Sigma also has no distortion (well, negligible to the point of being counted as 0%), whereas the Tamron does not.

      Additionally, the Tamron vignettes MUCH more than the Sigma. Maybe you like native vignette, but if not the Sigma’s a big winner.

      And finally, the Sigma has a bit less chromatic aberration.

      Plus the extra 2/3’s of a stop of light, which matters for bokeh lovers and low-light photographers.

      So the Tamron’s a great lens if need VC, want to save some money, want to save some weight, and don’t need the optics of Sigma. But they are definitely not interchangeable for everyone – the optics are decidedly different and they serve different markets.

      • decentrist

        according to DXO mark

      • Spy Black

        I think the difference will be completely negligible. Price aside, the Tamron will be easier to handle. There happened to be an article here a while back on the 105 Nikkor where the Tamron was use as a reference. It held out quite well.
        https://nikonrumors.com/2016/12/25/nikon-af-s-nikkor-105mm-f1-4e-ed-lens-review.aspx/

        • Ande Notos

          I don’t really like Tamron. My 24-70 is ok, but it’s got issues with decentered optics. The repair/replacement people tried to convince me there was no issue even though it was obvious, and it would be a big fuss to replace it after all, so I thought whatever, I can live with it.

      • Adam Brown

        Looking at DXO, other reviews and my personal experience, the differences in vignetting, chromatic aberration and distortion are all negligible. You’re talking about the difference between a grade of A and A+.
        The Sigma may be a tad sharper in the center wide open.
        For low light performance, you’ll get more benefit from VC than 2/3rds of a stop of aperture.
        So in my mind, the only significant advantage of the Sigma is the 2/3rd stop bokeh advantage. For me personally, the pros of the Tamron outweigh the pros of the Sigma. Great to have so many options. .

    • Allen_Wentz

      And I will stick with Nikon, for reliability.

      • Adam Brown

        Not sure what makes you suspect the Nikon is more reliable. I’ve had the Nikon 85/1.8g, and the build quality of the Tamron is better.

  • TwoStrayCats

    I had an Uncle named Otis. He wasn’t very sharp at all.

    • silmasan

      Must be sample variation issue! Lemon! :p

  • BVS

    Kind of funny how 0% distortion still doesn’t get a full blue bar. Kind of hard to do better than 0%, lol.

    Yes, I know it’s probably just due to rounding though.

    • RC Jenkins

      You’re forgetting about negative distortion, where the lens is so amazing that it even straightens lines that are curved in real life. Footballs appear as cubes, and people look like Minecraft characters.

  • New Yoko

    I regret buying Sigma 50 Art Lens, it’s sharp but horrendous rendering of out of focus busy areas like water, trees, annoying bokeh, highlights are all blown out and AF is useless indoors. Also, I can’t move the stiff Sigma focus ring with one finger for vide shoots like Nikon focus rings which I can move with tip of my finger. I never use Sigma for professional photos and never fall for that sharpness data again.

    • fanboy fagz

      get the 58mm 1.4 it wont be sharp till 2.8 and the bokeh is pleasing. the price is not bad. only $1700

      • New Yoko

        I had 85 1.4G, 58G & 50 1.4G, like them and sold them all for 105E & 50 1.8G. Nikon 105E makes addictive photos, so good.

        • fanboy fagz

          the 50 1.8g is nice for the money. I tried the 105. not for me.

      • Michiel953

        The 58 is great. Really sharp (in the center, where you need it) from 2.8. The ultimate close-up portrait lens. Such gorgeous rendering!

        • fanboy fagz

          from 2.8. thats what I have with my 85 1.8d now. its ok in the center from 2.8. im not going to spend $170 for a lens that has nice rendering but horrible sharpness and slow af as well. the sigma has all the right deatures I need thats better then my 85 1.8D it has it better then the 85 1.4g as well. the cats eyes are gone by f/2

          • Michiel953

            Yes, sharp from 2.8, and gorgeous rendering as a bonus. I used it today on my mentor Ringel Goslinga, had a first glance at the results just now. AF (2.8 indeed) a little iffy but the rendering is just great. It’s not cheap bi then, spread out over ten years or so (I’ve had it for over three years now), who cares?

  • Noor

    I understand that everyone’s milage will vary. But I just. can’t. with Sigma.

    I purchased three 35mm Art lenses (we have three photographers at our studio) and they are our most used lens by far. In 18 months of ownership, all three had to be sent into Sigma three times each (yes – nine repairs.) The repairs were for focus issues (the dock couldn’t fix nor micro adjustment) that were so off they were unusable or mechanical/body issues – literally mount screws falling out or plastic pieces just coming loose. And I certainly don’t abuse my gear! To qualify that, I own 31 lenses (mostly Nikon) and only once sent in a 70-200 for a repair to replace the worn rubber. That is over eight years.

    It’s been 12 months without any Sigma glass and all three Nikon 35mm lenses are humming along problem free. Each lens has it’s quirks, but the reliability of the Nikon glass is worth it’s weight in gold. Plus, I prefer it’s OOF smooth bokeh, as I always felt the Sigma was a bit nervous and even bland (almost clinical). I’d like to like this lens, and I’m sure it’s quick and sharp out of the box. But there is just no way I can ever trust the Sigma build quality. 🙁

    • Bob Thane

      Weird. I know contrary anecdotes aren’t much to go on, but for what it’s worth I’ve owned two Sigma lenses for 2-3 years each, and neither have ever given me any issues. One was bought used, and I dropped it hard enough to crack the screen over the distance scale – still works perfectly.

      • If it makes you pause, he is not the only man on the interwebs with Sigma issues. I’ve seen a great many complaints about their gear over a long time period, and I want one of those 50-100mm zooms but I just can’t justify the potential long term issues, I use a 300mm F4 AF-D from I believe the 80’s…it works with excellence goes everywhere with me and will keep on working well past the lifespan of any if my bodies. It’s bulletproof. Sorry, but I want bulletproof.

        • Bob Thane

          True, but I’ve also heard of plenty of issues with Nikon, Canon, and Tamron glass. Sometimes you get lucky, and sometimes you don’t. If a lens works for you, worry about getting great shots with it, rather than worrying about if it will still work in 20 years.

          • Allen_Wentz

            It is not just about whether a piece of gear “will still work in 20 years.” It is about whether or not a piece of gear will crap out on you in the middle of a job.

            Those of us who use gear hard and in often difficult locations put a high value on tough equipment. Certainly higher value than some miniscule difference in a lab analysis by DxO.

            The odds of gear failure of any given piece of gear is small, but we use lots of interacting gear, so we must look at the cumulative probability of all gear as used.

      • CERO

        perhaps the issue is only on the newer models? aka cheapening of materials.. or the opposite.. their systems are so fine now and delicate that any variation/effects kills them.

    • Bradley Sissins

      Hi Noor, same experiences especially with all the ART lens. I used them on TV shoots for an outdoor TV show I work for, the gear is out in the elements everyday and does get a severe work over. But all Sigmas have died, misfocused or simply fell apart within a few months of use. Even though they are not weather sealed we use many Nikon’s that are not sealed too, its not their sealing that’s the issue, its the unreliability of focusing and build quality

      The 50mm ART was replaced by Sigma three times and all failed. The worse was the 120-300, that was replaced 3 times and also had three motors replaced , in the end we had to go legal against the distributor as they wanted to charge us for repairs and refused to help us at the end. This was all within 8 months of purchasing.
      I own 8 pro bodies inc D5, D810 and D500’s, plus 25 Nikon lenses, none have ever had issues.

      The last thing I would ever rely on for my work is Sigma, yes they produce some seriously sharp lenses but when your livelyhood depends on images I cannot trust their products.

    • Carleton Foxx

      Wow, thanks. Now I don’t feel like such a sucker for only buying Nikkors.

    • ninpou_kobanashi

      BTW, you can replace the worn rubber easily for the 70-200 (and other Nikon lenses).

      Very cheap and easily DIY. No tools needed.

  • Aldo

    The purple/green fringing on the 85mm 1.8g is giving me replacing thoughts. I really love the lens otherwise. I would jump on the sigma but but I’m not sure I’m ready to dismiss the horror stories people are sharing… and I’m not really into ‘trying’ lenses and then returning them like half the people seem to do like no big deal.

    • fanboy fagz

      doesnt the nikon bodies hide some of that fringing?

      • Aldo

        I know they control lens distortion… but since I process raw files I start from scratch. I think I’m just gonna invest on a 70-200mm and just deal with the fringing. I really like the 85mm field of view… narrower fields of view grab less background to blur out… and something like a 50mm grabs too much… 85mm seems like a sweet spot. Are you considering this sigma?

        • fanboy fagz

          Yes. Wanted the 85 1.8g to replace D. Many sales on it. But waiting for may when it will come down 100 on a sale then get it . The purple fringing is killing it for me

          The other is issue is the focus ring which is manual override but id probably use it to hold the lens and minor adjustments will happen inevitably. Although i know the dock allows one to disable override in csettings

          Seems like the only reasonable 85 1.4 for nikon

          • Aldo

            Yeah the fringing is a turn off for me also. As for the focusing ring, I had that issue with my 35mm 1.8 nikon so I know exactly what you mean. One more thing to be concious about while shooting. Sometimes I just end up flipping the hood so I can hold it without worrying about touching the focusing ring.

            • fanboy fagz

              flipping the hood-thats an idea right there!

            • So, you guys are a bunch of Hood Flippers? I’ve heard about you and….

            • Aldo

              You know I talk so much crap about hood flippers myself… but it seems that newer lenses have huge focusing rings it really leaves very little room to comfortably hold the lens. I don’t think your average hood flipper does it because of this reason though lol. I still poke fun at them.

            • Eledeuh

              I flip the hood when I have a CPL on and if the hood is too deep, otherwise the filter is pretty much unusable. I still keep the hood at hand because it’s needed relatively often.

              And I use CPL filters often enough to probably fall in your target demography.
              People who have a reaction towards that sort of thing stand out to me as people who pretty much have never used a filter of their life :p

            • Aldo

              It’s all good… I mean it’s our gear to do as we please, but if you go by the book there is really no reason why we should be flipping the hood. It is often seen as an amateurish move. The hood improves contrast and eliminates potential (unwanted) flares (even indoors). It becomes all too silly especially with zoom lenses. I often see people struggling to zoom because the reversed hood is in the way. The lens hood also protects the lens, from bumping it around and even dropping it. This is particularly important to me because I don’t use protective filters…. as I try to milk every drop of optical quality out of my lenses. Protect it with a filter for who anyway? for the next user/owner? I rather enjoy it myself and use the lenses to their full potential. Of course this is just my opinion.

            • fanboy fagz

              Haha nice

    • silmasan

      if it’s for eliminating bokeh fringing (the purple/green in the unfocused areas in front and behind), you’ll want a proper APO lenses (…for 85mm, I think there’s only Otus now?). This Sigma isn’t going to be much of an improvement there. :-/

      • Aldo

        Yeah… that seems to be the case unfortunately. I dont really need a sharper lens.

        • See my reply to silmasan above, the Sigma is a huge improvement.

          But I’m in the same situation as you, the fringing of my 85 1.8 G is driving me nuts. Textured things that are actually grey get colored from all the fringing.
          So let me help you: If you want to get rid of the fringing but don’t need 1.4, Tamron 85 1.8 VC actually has even less fringing than the already excellent Sigma. And you get a fantastic stabilizer as a bonus.

      • Not much of an improvement? What? A tip: Don’t get stuck in technical terms on paper (APO) but look at actual tests, there are many out there.
        Nikon: http://www.lenstip.com/upload2/59664_nik85_ca.jpg

        Sigma: http://www.lenstip.com/upload2/170045_sig85_ca.jpg

        Speaks for itself.

    • Spy Black

      That kind of stuff is simple enough to fix in Lightroom or Capture One, I wouldn’t worry much about needing to replace it. If it does bug you out enough, have a look at the Tamron, that lens is totally impressive, is decently priced, and has stabilization to boot.

      • Aldo

        I fix the fringing on the photos that go in the photo books… but sometimes it’s so thick and nasty it leaves a horrible trace. Also sometimes there are so many color shades involved you can’t really fix all of it, you have to pick and choose which parts of the photo you want to fix.

        I’ll look into the tamron to see if it has improved fringing.

    • ninpou_kobanashi

      I hate returning stuff. It seems so wasteful and a detriment to all.

  • Peter Depkat-Jakob

    I am just wondering repeatedly why all those (not only but also) high class lenses have a transmission that is about 1/3 stop worse (without proper calculation) than promised and noone cares?!

    • Lee

      Because f stop isn’t a measurement of transmission. It’s just a mathematical ratio of focal length to the size of the entrance pupil. For measured t stop to match the f stop, all lens elements would have to have perfect 100% transmission which is physically impossible. For the lenses DXO lists as matching their f-stop, such as many Sony’s, I suspect there are built-in vignetting correction profiles DXO doesn’t know how to turn off

      • Peter Depkat-Jakob

        But then I wonder why it is possible to fit with f2.8 or higher…. For me it tastes like they claim to have a f1.4 but actually deliver a f1.7. Ich mean SUCH a big difference cannot just bei an incident or standard deviation…..or can it? 😉

        • EnPassant

          That is because the loss of transmission is greater with a bigger aperture opening.
          The diameter of a f/1.4 aperture is twice as big as the diameter of a f/2.8 aperture.
          The area of the f/1.4 opening is therefore four times bigger than for a f/2.8 opening.
          With a 50mm lens that is about 1000 square mm for f/1.4 but only 250 square mm for f/2.8.

          In practise this means the light rays get more concentrated and pass through less glass with a smaller aperture opening and therefore ar less affected by transmisson than light passing through a very big opening and more glass.
          I hope my explanation is helpful.

          • Peter Depkat-Jakob

            Yes. Thanks a lot 😉

          • Max

            Thanks. It’s surprising how much resistance even in top quality glass

  • silmasan

    Exactly what I clarified in my post above, what you see in front and behind the focus are longitudinal (or axial) CA. if you pixel peep at the focused subject (the bicycle sculpture), the lateral CA is actually quite well-controlled. Try using a 85/1.4G or Sigma 85 EX on a similar scene (this one does make a pretty good CA torture test).

    Btw, scenes like this will also highlight the advantage of true apochromats. If you shoot jewelry for example, an Otus will undoubtedly be a better choice (though I’ll go for the 135 Apo instead) It’ll also be interesting to see Canon incorporate their “BR” optics in their new teles.

  • DonD

    Finally an affordable lens you might see some benefit to on the 48 mpx body, unless it ends at 37mpx, which I doubt.I’m guessing 42 – 43. Too bad I rare shoot anything close to 85.

    • Tony

      Effective final image resolution depends upon both the lens and the sensor. In fact many lenses (and not just the sharpest) will benefit from a higher resolution sensor. You seem to be suggesting that a lens has an “absolute megapixel resolution” which is independent of the sensor. This is not the case. Note that the DxOMark statistics quote the body (and hence the sensor) on which a lens was tested.

      • DonD

        Yes, the sensor resolution provides a top end or max of the paring. Back in the days of AA filters there was more of a compinedible result. I blur is a blur is a blur. You can see the blur with a 1000 mpx and you just get a very detailed view of the same blur.

        • Tony

          All blurs are not equal – some blurs are bigger than other blurs. Given a sufficiently small blur, an increase in sensor resolution will increase effective image resolution. But, sure, increased sensor resolution is not going to help you with a big blur.

          So increased sensor resolution can be beneficial for a good lens, even if it is not as sharp as an Otus/Sigma Art. But it is not going to help you if you take photographs through the end of a bottle.

  • Aldo

    is that the sigma 85 1.4 art?

    • Eledeuh

      Yes.

      • Aldo

        That is pretty bad… I think the 85 1.8g is worse though.

        • Eledeuh

          I’m not too familiar with the 85 1.8G, I know the 50 1.8G is not quite good on that front either, but I’ve yet to see something like that.

          In any case, whether it’s a real problem or not is pretty subjective imho.
          I’m almost inclined to put it with the other even more subjective properties like color rendering, bokeh/OOF areas characteristics, etc.

          …but at this point I guess we could also argue that sharpness may not be that important, I don’t know. 😉

  • Tim Reeves

    Still not as good as the sony though eh.
    I like the way you edited the list to not compare to any non nikon mount lenses.

    • Mato34

      Yeah, I like that too, as it gives us (Nikon shoters) a more practical view about the best lenses really available for us.

    • Shutterbug

      Lol, how is a Sony mount lens relevant to those of us here on a *Nikon* forum? Who cares what Sony is doing with their lenses if we can’t even use them. Notice Canon isn’t on the list either. Why not compare it to MF and Leica lenses too?

      • I don’t see Cooke as well. What’s WITH that?

    • BVS

      Sigma score = 51
      Sony score = 49

      How is it not as good?

  • TwoStrayCats

    I guess the only real solution is to buy a Sigma and then glue a Zeiss label on it and use the Ferrari lens cap.

  • I shoot in the REAL world NOT a lab

  • Mike

    T/1.7 at this bulk and weight, no thanks.

    • fanboy fagz

      I know right! damn zeiss! what the hell were thinking. no af mechanism and such a bulky heavy lens with 1.7T. no thanks.

    • silly question what is a good T value? (not being a smart ass either)

      • BigEater

        T1.7 is about what I’d expect from an f1.4 lens. Every lens gives up at least one third to two thirds of a stop from its f/value. For instance from what I’ve seen, most 2.8 lenses are around T3.2.
        That’s the problem with reality, it is never as fantastic as the theoretical or the predicted.

  • What “practical worth” are DxO marks

    • CERO

      benchmark comparisons between lenses.

    • Not sure there ARE “practical” values established by ANY lab test. Best to rent a lens and see if it gives the kind of rendering you like.

    • Allen_Wentz

      Exactly. Overall goodness or badness of any given lens is a function of dozens, perhaps hundreds, of different parameters all interacting, including the individual photog and the individual camera.

      Individual DxO test results of a single parameter are not meaningless for a particular tested lens. However using DxO rankings is just wrong.

  • James R Mercer

    Interesting. I know my Art 50 is a fantastic lens. Copy issues notwithstanding (Amazon makes returns and exchanges incredibly easy), I might give this a shot.

  • nukunukoo

    Hmmmm… let’s see the real world reviews. These numbers are only as good as references. Still, good for Sigma to get that far.

  • Nikita

    Looks like the Tamron is the value champ.

    • all this did was make me say yep to the tam 85 and maybe the 35 as well

  • ronno

    For the record, I downloaded two of these dpreview RAW files people are discussing here, and after a 2 second CA removal tweak, saw no such grave CA issue. Almost completely removed. So set that to Camera Raw Default, and it should be fine indeed.

  • @DXO – So, now that the Sigma 85 Art has been “measured”, when will we start seeing stickers that say “nice lens, sorry about your penis”?

  • The Oti are not for everyone.

    They have a bundle of characteristics that give them unique, but subtle abilities. The provide a smooth and continuous image at any f stop. Microcontrast is excellent and consistent. The colors are pure, and the image undistorted. None of these things mean all that much in and of themselves, but combined they have educated me about photography and the qualities of all my other lenses.

    Besides their price, they really only make sense for the minority of photographers who are willing to put in the work to go deeply into the esthetics of the image.

    There are so many other lenses that are easier to use and understand. It’s not even easy to explain why the Oti stand alone. And if I could explain it well, it wouldn’t mean anything to most photographers who are not into these esthetic characteristics. I only use it for a tiny minority of my work, since I usually am not looking for these characteristics.

    If you are the kind of person who is into this kind of photography, you know who you are. If you’re not, then duh the Otus is underspeced and overpriced. And we Otus lovers are just suckers.

  • silmasan

    1. Well, I said “for eliminating”. But I did underestimate how bad the Nikon 85/1.8G is in that respect.

    2. I’ve seen a lot of these comparisons from Lenstip, but I also look for real-world sample images. As has been pointed out by others. you can also find samples where the bokeh fringing can still be quite pronounced. So for whatever reason, I won’t oversell it on this aspect.

    Re: a real APO vs this Sigma, check Roger Cicala’s comment on recent Lensrentals’ blog article and the discussion around it. (Thanks for the tip though.)

    It doesn’t bother me anyway, I still want one, and I hope I get a stellar copy like what Lenstip got. And the Tamron will probably suit Aldo better.

  • J-Man

    Good for Sigma.
    It will be interesting to see where Nikon’s 105/1.4E ED compares, also Canon’s rumored 85/1.4L.

  • raziel28

    Why this lens perform better on D800E than D810?
    D800E – 51
    D810 – 50
    Regards

  • Neopulse

    Would like to see how it performs on a higher res sensor like the Canon 5DS-R

  • Mitchell P

    <— Grabs some popcorn, it's about to go to down lol

  • Franko

    it also has Autofocus unlike the otus..

    but both are just too big for a prime

  • BigEater

    The irony is that the last quality you want in a portrait lens is sharpness…

  • Julian

    Damnit! looks like Sigma have done it once again! Still loving my 50mm
    1.4 Art, and still shooting with a Nikkor 85 1.8d – so maybe its time to
    upgrade pretty soon…

  • sickheadache

    it does..this is why I use SIgma Art, because Nikon refuses to grow up and replace their 50’s. I don’t like Purple…Nikkor.

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