Big price drop on the Zeiss 15mm, 18mm and 135mm lenses after Sigma’s announcement



Just a few hours after Sigma announced their new Sigma 14mm f/1.8 and 135mm Art lenses, Zeiss introduced a big price drop on their own 15mm, 18mm and 135mm ZF.2 full frame DSLR lenses for Nikon F mount:

Related: a few weeks ago DxOMark tested the Sigma 85mm f/1.4 Art lens ($1,199) and placed it at the #1 spot pushing the $4,490 Zeiss Otus 85mm f/1.4 lens to the #2 spot.

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  • masterac

    holy… thats not a price drop…thats a cliff

    • Greg Timms

      Zeiss really need to explain what justifies the price difference though marketing. I’m down for price drops, but they’ve got to be weary of the message their sending

      • Davo

        I’m a bit doubtful the price drop is a direct response to Sigma’s announcement. Maybe something’s in the pipeline? Maybe the 135’s getting the Otus treatment?

      • Zeneti

        If they can afford to drop the prices this much, and still make profits, makes you realise how much people are being ripped off for buying their products in the first place.

        • Fifi

          Zeiss Classic are just being phased out, they will be entirely replaced by Milvus lenses.

      • Umano Teodori

        I don’t want to be a dick nor a zeiss fanboy but you need to try them in comparison to justify the price, dxomark score is technical and cannot show us the whole “picture”.
        Like the 58 nikon. Some ppl doesn’t like it but some loves it. The difference from the 50s is clear and to me it is worth the price. I am a digitech I don’t shoot I have vintage lenses I bought when I studied photography.

        I did not try the sigma 85 but I know well the otus 85, milvus 85, otus 55, milvus 50 and I tried the sigma 50.

        Dxomarks score says there is no much difference between the 50 sigma and the otus 55, but trust me there is a whole world between them.

        Colors, abberations and most important focus field transitions, the sigma one is not smooth it is forced to lose focus really fast, because it is what most of the market wants, the subject in focus it is super sharp and everything else is out of focus even stopped down, in a rude way. The picture looks so digital and fake where the subject look likes a 3d rendering or with a strong unsharp mask applied on it.

        This is good for some areas of photography like street or some documentary ph or low budget product ph (sorry but for me tilt-shift is mandatory for good still life ph) but it wrong for portraits and editorial fashion.

        I don’t need to tell you that the otus 55 is good for everything except the situations where af is required.

        It is not a sigma fault but a market strategy, which is a win win for wide angle lens where there’s no need or possibility of long out of focus transitions, except in video.

        I expected the same from the 85 art, but seeing the samples images, it is a lot better than the 50art in that aspect, but still, when you go close to the subject something looks wrong, un-natural, too digital.

        But for contemporary street ph and other stuff it is amazing, it’s a steal for the price I am sure.

        Sigma for the art line has a strategy similar to the new blu line lenses from schneider for phase one. After 2-3 shooting every ph I work with doesn’t want the new 80 anymore, they prefer to go wider, or shorter where the medium format size helps with focal plane transitions.

        This is not bad it is just knowing your equipment and the eq u want to buy.

        Personally I like the nikon approach they trade off a bit of techie stuff for aesthetical rendition, I do not mean only bokeh. This happens on 58, 85 (which it was also incredibly good also in techie stuff when it went out) but the new 105 1.4 the subject is too sharp compared to the background but it a coating approach not lens design/focal plane transition, so i fix this removing a bit of contrast and clarity on d5 and d810, but it looks very good with d4 and d750.

        Another long story would be the rendition related to subject distance, but the point now I think it’s clear, before trashing nikon, canon or zeiss lenses try them in comparison with your environment and your photography, because from lens flaws, manual focus mistakes and so on a ph and team can learn so much.

        I am not ofc a lomo guy, but managed imperfections can give a lot in photography

  • fanboy fagz

    and yet the prices are too high

    • Eric Calabros

      But timing of this is embarrassing. They just praised the rival.

      • fanboy fagz

        NICE!I exactly!

    • dslrforever

      Plus still no autofocus.

      • It’s nice to have some good manual focus alternatives on the market. Autofocus really sucks for some applications.

        • And, I should add, nothing manually focuses better than a manual focus lens. 🙂

  • Pablo And-Jennifer Gabetta

    Good, that means Sigma are up to something that’s scaring the big guys.
    Competition is good for us.
    ps, maybe dxomark was right about being sharper than the otus…

  • MB

    Whow … Otus line progenitor … Legendary Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar T* ZF.2 … at $1,499.00 … that’s almost affordable …

    • DFogle

      If only you focus it… LOL

  • Michael Wright

    Wow Thats a lot. I wonder what will happen to the used market on those lenses.

  • Rick Johnson

    Still missing the fact that their 135mm is a manual-focus lens, and the big attraction to the Sigma 135 is the high-torque AF motor. It works well enough on the 85mm for indoor sports. Between that, and the “better” MTF chart on the upcoming Sigma 135mm f/1.8, I’d take the Sigma any day for how I’d use it!

    • Owen Perry

      AF matters at that focal length, especially for portraits and shooting shallow depth of field. I’ve had the Zeiss 85mm 1.4 for years and I miss a ton of shots when shooting portraits…. The build quality of the Zeiss is better than any Nikon or Sigma and that won’t change.

      • fanboy fagz

        so when you show the client the missed focus, soft image, you can say “this is what I could only do. its only a manual focus lens, but the build is better then any nikon or sigma.”

        I had the nikon 85 1.4 ais. I suffered years of badly focused images. now I have a simple 85 1.8d which is decent but getting the 85a.

        • Owen Perry

          Ha, I’m not arguing. Learned my lesson pretty quickly. I don’t shoot weddings or anything w/ a manual focus lens anymore, I have AF lenses too. The Zeiss is better when you have time and you just want to enjoy the process of taking photos. I have the original ZF version, which means the aperture is fully manual, too. I use it for landscapes and shallow depth of field shots. It has a certain quality that I love.

        • MRomine

          Get the 85mm f1.8G and your issues will be gone

          • fanboy fagz

            getting the 85 art. 1.8g is sloooow as fck. i got the 1.8d. did a swap with the 1.4 ais

            • MRomine

              The Nikon 85 f1.8G will run circles around the Nikon 85 D.

            • fanboy fagz

              try again..twice as slow as the d. all the g prime lenses are slow

              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ataDgMph_wI

            • So the 1.8D is noticeably faster at failing to focus on its lens cap (is this a useful test? I assume it shows the speed of the focus mechanism if nothing else) and then produces clearly inferior results. I’m happy with the 1.8G but I can imagine finding it frustrating if I shot a lot of moving targets with it and expected it to snap to focus (models twirling their hair or something? I imagine that would be manual focus)

            • MRomine

              If you want to believe that silly little test be my guest. In my real world use, the the entire D series line of lenses can not hold a match to to the G series line. I currently own eight G series lenses (used to be ten) and I still have three D series, I used to have more but sold them. The D series are no where near as fast in either focusing (moving the elements) or in acquiring a focus lock as the G series.

            • Craig John

              Sold all my G lenses because the AF was slow and inaccurate (The 24, 50 and 85/1.4G lenses especially so). I’d rather have fast and inaccurate. LOLOL

            • RC Jenkins

              Doesn’t this depend on the body?

              The G lenses use in-lens autofocus motors. The D lenses use in-body autofocus motors. Completely different mechanisms. The D speed will depend on the speed / power of the body’s autofocus motor.

              I also have several G & D lenses, though no ‘equivalent’ lenses between them for a direct test.

              I’d assume the G’s are faster in most cases, but I don’t know that I’d go with absolutes in all cases.

            • jonebize

              The 50 G has faster AF than the D

        • TwoStrayCats

          You have to imprint the photograph: “Taken With a Milvus” to have that effect on clients.

      • Craig John

        Pop that Zeiss 85/1.4 on a Sony a7rII with an adapter, and kiss missing focus on portraits goodbye.

        • koenshaku

          When your cramp from such a front heavy monstrosity on your skinny body you will still miss focus ^^

      • DFogle

        Please check out the new Tamrons, better build than both I’d say. Due to the weather sealing, fluorine coating, VC in a prime, etc, etc… 🙂

  • TheInconvenientRuth

    That’s not a discount, that’s like that crush who always felt he was too good for you suddenly sending you d*ckpicks when he sees you flirting with another man…

    • silmasan

      (auto-translate for the other preference)

      That’s not a discount, that’s like that crush who always felt she was too good for you suddenly sending you (sry cant find sth that rhymes)****picks when she sees you flirting with another woman…

      • TheInconvenientRuth

        Flapsnaps?

        • silmasan

          wow thx had to check that out. enlightened.

          • nwcs

            You learn something new every day. Today Nikon Rumors taught me something…

            • silmasan

              well that one quickly led me to “blue waffle” so I got even. :-/

        • Pete L.

          And now I have a new vocabulary word

    • DieMusik

      Bahahahahaha!

    • FountainHead

      Shot with a 15mm 2.8…

    • Mike

      He was finally able to afford a macro lens perhaps. Give him a 2nd chance!

  • 120_300 OS for nikon

    Still 2000 us but a big drop true for zeiss but still F2:8 and not F1:8 and 15 not 14 with AF.

  • Erick Tessier

    This price drop was to expect but not because of the Sigma launch but because of the introduction of the new Milvus… I would like a Milvus price drop.

    • silmasan

      Well that’s also true, but in case of the 135, is there any advantage to the Milvus version (other than longer focus throw iirc)? I thought they’re the exact same optically.

      • Erick Tessier

        It looks like they’re the same optically and that’s why the drop should also apply to the Milvus. The old version has been replaced (with a better weather protection I think) and should be priced lower because of this upgrade.

        This is a disguised drop. Timing might just be the wrong one and I think it might have been misinterpretated.

        • silmasan

          Oh right, the blue gasket.. well there’s that… :-/ Yeah it seems like clearing the stock. Could be bargain for some.

  • fanboy fagz

    so we know if they can drop such huge amounts from the price tag with a snap of the finger, these fhuckrs are profiting like pimps!

    goes to show the price hike bs with nikon not profiting is a lie.

    if sigma can do it at normal prices (although not cheap) then the rest are ripping everyone off with such extreme price differences.

    • Robert Bell

      Yeah they all peddle out the same r&d cost excuse. We’ve all been getting ripped off for years by all manufacturers some more than others. It’s probably the only think keeping them afloat though.

    • Aldo

      With NO AF on these overpriced lenses.

      • fanboy fagz

        I know all the zeisser supporters try to defend mf. and btw, focusing manual on them feels great, but bottom line, the af does it better and more consistent.

    • Allen_Wentz

      I disagree. I consider the AF, build quality and abuse-tolerance of Nikon glass worth the extra cost.

      And did I mention great AF that changes everything?

    • koenshaku

      I believe all the Zeiss glass is handmade and the some of the coating were applied with the tongues of virgins that is the secret to their creamy bokeh that no one else can match.

  • The day Sigma release an FX mirrorless with trustful AF, I will probably go full Sigma as their range and quality of optics is amazing. For now, I will remain away from them (and have just sold my last Art lens) because of AF issues with Nikon …

    But no one can deny the amazing quality of Sigma optics for sure.

    • Ivo Hula

      Same story for me, a Canon user. Only about 80% of wide open shots are properly focused when camera confirms focus is good in SingleShot mode. Sigma says it is due to complex autofocus in Canon camera and there is nothing they can do. They say to stop down and fix problem with depth of field.

    • Paul Monaghan

      Depends on what your shooting.. i do most of mine at base iso so the Sigma sdQ-H is my goto (has been showen to out resolve a 5dsr) and I slap the mc-11 and Sigma lens into my sony when I need high iso.

      • Jeffry De Meyer

        Have a public place where you have some of your work to view?

        The few reviews that are out aren’t exactly telling with their sample images.

      • silmasan

        You’re back! I enjoyed your sd Quattro review. Very useful examples. 🙂 Are you going to do an update with the sdQ H?

        • Paul Monaghan

          Sorry man didn’t see this, had some changes lately which kept me busy + had an operation.

          Glad you enjoyed the sdQ rewview, the sdQ-H is exactly the same but with a 30% increase in resolution due to the larger sensor (same sensor tech).

          New updates such as Liveview in teathering over usb and DNG both of which will come to the sdQ via a firmware.

          Also one of the limitations of 3rd party flash support past sync speed might have a solution soon :).

          Find me on FB if you want.. happy to talk :), I always seem to miss Discuss.

    • jstevez

      Same here, my 1st generation 120-300 F/2.8 was the worst lens ever, sharp but super unreliable. The Sigma fanboys only care about sharpness. They can keep their Art.

  • PRICE WAR!!!, come on sigma, bring the prices down some more =)

    • Eric Calabros

      Be careful what you wish for. Race to the bottom just discourages other makers to stay in this market (as what happening to HTC in smartphone industry). We want competition, not replacing a monopoly with another.

      • wishing!!!, htc didnt really go down, they just done right and joined up with google. its marketing bro. they make the products. google sells them. $$$ cha ching going and going. its now more easier on there end. htc isnt that great at what to sell or invent. google gave them the idea and htc making profit from google. win win. =)

        • Agree with most of your post. Except for that part where htc doesn’t have good inventions.. they were the first to come up with the dual lens system (m8) as seen on the iPhone 7 and also stereo speaker sound, also seen on the iPhone 7.

          I’m typing on a 3 year old htc m8, and it still has the same battery life when I first bought it over 3 years ago. No problems on this phone, only reason to upgrade would be for video and more storage – which Google offers with their phones via cloud, so good move for them teaming up together.

          • it is a super good move. and i still have my apache phone from htc.

  • bgbs

    It’s about time, because these big boys were becoming too cocky with their Orwellian prices

  • Mike Smith

    Would anyone be able to give an approxiamate price in UK pounds for the new Sigma 100-400 please?

  • TwoStrayCats

    Now this I can sink my teeth into.

  • Viktor_Suhov

    #feelsgoodman Who would ever think (like 6 or so years ago) that sigma will act in such a cool way, redefining 3rd party lenses, that are actually better than some 1st party ones (Maybe this separation isnt actual anymore) Even their usb dock is amazing idea, why no response from CaNikon?

  • Lee

    Oh c’mon. Silly headline. These are closeout sales on leftover stock of the old pre-Milvus versions. Nothing to do with Sigma whatsoever.

    • The Mimvus is what, over an year old and they coincidentally decided to drop the prices today?

      • Erick Tessier

        Not a year old. The announcement maybe but the 135mm was not in stock before the end of novembre 2016.

      • Kevin

        I believe the Milvus 135 has only been available for a couple of months. I was checking in mid December and no one had them yet (in US).

    • Plus why don’t we see disocounts on all old Zeiss lenses? They dropped the prices only on the focal lengths close to the new Sigma lenses.

      • Lee

        And the 35/2 and 50/2…and the old 100/2 seems to already be sold out…

        It is odd that the 21 and 85 don’t have discounts; they did a few months back.

      • Whoosh Whoosh

        There is a distinct reason why potential customers will still go for the new Milvus over the discounted older (Distagon) versions even with the price drops on old stocks – at least on the 15mm and the 18mm. The new 15mm has a removable hood and can take regular albeit big (95mm) filters without any modifications. The 18mm is a complete new design (f/2.8 vs f/3.5) – more importantly the older one was not very recognized optically. Not sure about the 135mm differences. So the price drops for the older models make sense – since they must not have been selling at all after the arrival of the new Milvus lenses.

  • Aldo

    Outch…premium loss when you buy premium items….

    • TwoStrayCats

      Its only a loss if you sell it.

      • Aldo

        Not according to economic principles… but I get you

    • nwcs

      Just like a Mercedes or Audi.

      • peter w

        You can’t take pictures with either. Better invest in a nice and crispy af-s nikkor 600mm f/4e fl ed vr, or whatever. You’ld have a full professional working set around this lens for 1/3 of the price of one of those cars.
        Chances are that you make as much money, as when a taxi-driver in one of the cars… Choose what you like most… 😉

  • dabug91

    Just goes to show how absurdly overpriced Zeiss lenses are to begin with.

  • Balivernes

    Those discounts are for the old “classic” Zeiss line, now being retired anyway and replaced by the Milvus line.

    • Captain Megaton

      Get ’em (ZF.2) while you can, I say.

  • Carleton Foxx

    So as a video dude, I should scoop these up?

    • Captain Megaton

      There are worse ideas. After all there is more to a lens than DxO points per dollar and Zeiss lenses are soooooooo nice.

  • Matt Comerford

    Figures, just bought a 15mm f2.8 ZF.2 Distagon from eBay last week :/

  • Originaru

    Zeiss was evidently stealing people for all those years…
    Go Sigma!

    • Sigma had a very nice comeback and they are making money at the same time. Nikon should take a notice.

      • Bob Thane

        The crazy thing is Nikon should have gained a heck of a lot more market share over the past few years. Until the t6i came out, Nikon had the best entry level cameras for the price. The D600 trounced the 6D, but they screwed up with the oil spots. The D800 was legendary. The D750 beat the 5DIII for a fraction of the price.

        But they just had little weaknesses here and there that added up. The 50mm f1.8G being $100 more than the Canon version lost them entry level business. No 135mm f2. 35mm f1.4, 70-200, and 24-70 lenses that cost as much as the Canons or more but weren’t as good.

        Now they’re putting out great cameras and lenses, but at very premium prices. The 19mm tilt-shift might be great, but at $1400 more than the Canon 17mm tilt-shift and less wide, it’s just crazy. Likewise the 70-200 and 24-70 e lenses are fantastic, but priced out of the market for most people.

        Hopefully the success of the 200-500 will encourage Nikon to look at ways to bring great optics out without crazy prices.

      • Originaru

        I don’t know what to do in Nikon’s position today, they need to clean the brand name before doing anything.
        Nikon’s in Sony’s hands if they want to go mirrorless. i really don’t think they have much time left to react, Sony already occupied their position i guess.

        • silmasan

          It’s not too late. Btw if there’s a proper Nikon FX mirrorless, Sigma could then make a MC-11 converter for Nikon as well…

  • Eric Calabros

    gonna be king sword sharp, but referencing to official website marketing content is just.. dumb. Your 50mm f/1.8 is also able to resolve 50MP.

  • Dan Hart

    Has anyone done/seen a comparison btwn the Zeiss 15mm and Irix 15mm? Curious if the faster and 1/5 of the price glass is in the same ballpark (and both can work with my lee big stopper)

  • Dino Brusco

    As usual in Europe nothing is like that. What you pay in dollars we pay in Euro and we can’t ever have such a price drop, no way !

  • HD10

    Zeiss dropped the prices on its ZF.2 series of lenses when the Milvus series was introduced. The price cut was ended after Christmas but has again been restored. To suggest that the price cut occurred because Sigma introduced these wonderful new lenses is not accurate.

    • I disagree, If I remember correctly the Zeiss rebates from last year were up to $250 off and were not even close to the almost $1000 price drop we saw today.

      • Whoosh Whoosh

        There was less of a reason to buy the older Zeiss lenses – especially 15mm (improvements: filter thread + removable hood) & 18mm (optical quality). Hence they must not have been selling – hence are on a discount.

  • Mr Majestyk

    If it focuses correctly. I love Sigma and have some of their lenses, but they can be hit and miss in the focus department

    • Julian

      The new art series are compatible with a usb docking station, so that you can fine tune them. Mine was quite a bit out of focus when I bought it across the range with my D800. An hour or so’s work with the fine tuning, and this is my best lens yet.

  • Mr Majestyk

    Alas Nikon and Canon did not drop the price of their 500 f/4 superteles in response to Sigma’s offering. These two seem impervious to competitive pricing from rivals except maybe at the very entry level stuff. Have a look at the cost of the Canon 14 f/2.8 and it won’t budge a cent even if the Sigma smashes it IQ. Canon would rather sell 10 lenses a year at $2K than 100 lenses at $1.2K

    • Bob Thane

      I don’t think they can afford to drop the price on those lenses much, at least not yet. Nikon’s just started using fluorite which must be costing them a fortune, and Canon’s 500mm is already getting older and reduced in price.

  • HD10

    OK Sigma, time to get to work on a 300mmf f4.
    But please make it light and compact.

    Then perhaps you can also start work on a 15mm Tilt and shift?

    Then how about some small and light f2.8 primes to supplement the big and heavy f1.4/f1.8 primes?

    • nhz

      I would also like to see what Sigma can do with smaller tele lenses like 300mm. I was tempted to move to Nikon just because of their 4/300 PF lens, but the still unsolved issues regarding IS and shutter/mirror shock on some bodies made me reconsider.

      Unfortunately, Sigma doesn’t have a reputation for light/compact tele lenses, and AFAIK they don’t have technology available like PF/DO. Their new 500mm is very good, but heavier than the competition.

      I think there also is a market for high quality, compact/light and reasonably bright APS-C SWA primes. There is almost nothing available in that category, it’s either very slow zooms, slow and hardly wide primes or bright but heavy MF primes. And using a 1 kg FF SWA prime on APS-C body doesn’t make much sense …

      • On APS-C SWA: There is a huge lack of these kind of primes, because the focal plane – mount distance is the same as on a FX body, but the lens have to ‘project’ to a smaller area. It’s definitely the most complex job to do. You’ll get better results using any kind of mirrorless or FX camera and matching lens.

        • nhz

          Yes I know such a SWA lens isn’t easy because of the flangeback on DSLR, but it isn’t impossible either; maybe accept f/2.8 instead of f/2 to keep the size/weight decent. Buying and carrying an additional (mirrorless) camera with its own dedicated SWA lens is not a very attractive solution.

          There are good, small/light and affordable DSLR SWA zooms like Canon 10-18mm, but f/5.6 at the long end is too dim for general use. The Nikon 16-80mm standard zoom is f/2.8 at its widest setting and still decent size/weight, you get all the extra zoom range as a bonus. So a good and relatively compact f/2.8 14-16mm prime should be possible, maybe f/2.0 like in the Samyang 16mm (good optics but heavy and only MF) is asking a bit too much.

  • It will be interesting to see what kind of visual image quality these lenses have. The 50mm ART seemed a little cold and industrial for my taste. How much do these lenses cost?

  • dslrforever

    Does the price drop magically add auto focus to these overpriced lenses using old technology? I ain’t going to manually focus at f/2.

  • steven8217

    Or there is a typo error on Sigma website, should it be 9.5 inches in length and 5 inches in diameter for the 14m F/1.8 insead?

  • DFogle

    Exactly, they are still pricing their lenses like they’re still made in Germany. Well here’s the news, they’re made in Japan. Which is a fantastic place to make quality products, but not Germany which is what I believe many would like to assume. Another fact, the new Tamrons are better than the Zeiss and Sigma arts IMHO. Never used a better 85 or 35 than their VC SP series.

    • RC Jenkins

      Define ‘better’.

      Yes, Zeiss are priced high (and dare I say, ‘overboard.’) You can see this most clearly in their pricing for lenses like the Zeiss Planar 50mm F/1.4: Clearly milking the brand for a mediocre, ‘fake’ Zeiss.

      But Zeiss (and others) do also offer some aspects of image quality beyond cartoony sharpness. For example, I don’t want clinical sharpness for portrait shots–I want tonality, pop, contrast, and bokeh. I couldn’t care less about things like corner sharpness (which tests measure) in these scenarios–my corners are blurry in these shots. If I’m shooting Astro? May be a different story.

      Different character lenses for different shots. ‘Better’ is subjective.

      • Banan Tarr

        Pop and contrast, eh. Sound like a Zeiss fanboy trying to make two points from the same exact thing.

        • peter w

          I think your response is unfair.
          ok, so pop and contrast could be the same. But then, three instead of four arguments is quite sufficient.
          Also, from the start, RC is clearly not a fanboy.

          • Michiel953

            Some people here (not a lot fortunately, not like DPR) are just waiting for a chance to call someone else a fanboy.

        • RC Jenkins

          No, not a Zeiss fanboy–I don’t even own any Zeiss lenses and don’t intend to. If you noticed, I also started by talking about how they’re overpriced and milking the brand…

          I do own other lenses though. Pop & contrast are related (‘pop’ is really a subset), but not 100% synonymous. The main difference is in the radius or area one is looking at, but the perceptual effects can be different.

          Some lenses (eg. those without coatings) easily lose overall contrast in higher dynamic range scenes. An easy way to see this is to shoot with a cheap filter on the front or shoot through a glass window. You’ll note dark areas don’t get that dark because of glare on the glass. Physically, this is due to reflections.

          “Pop” is related but deals with more localized, adjacent tonality and results primarily in texture & transitions. There are limits to where this looks good, since sensors with Bayer filters smear details anyway. You can often see this ‘pop’ with older vs newer lenses; while newer lenses tend to have great coatings and do excellent (often better) in overall contrast. Physically, this is due to both reflections (as above) & from refraction due to the types of glass and corrective elements.

          Eg. a piece of clear plastic may have the similar contrast but different pop than a large piece of glass because the plastic will smear the detailed tonal shifts. Also, cartoons have very high contrast. They also convey very little depth & texture.

      • DFogle

        Put sharpness aside because yeah that’s subjective. I’m also no fan of overly sharp lenses, especially portrait primes. The Tamron’s bokeh for instance is astonishing in how it is so smooth with no hard edges. Even at smaller apertures the contrast in the bokeh is very low, and the quality is there. Pop and contrast, try them out to see for yourself. Add on top of that the VC, weather sealing, fluorine coating, weight, AF, they are objectively better in many respects – subjectively in others. Please go to your local camera store and compare them. You may be very surprised, and will save a lot of money. Don’t forget, all of these lenses are made in Japan now. So Zeiss can’t even hold on to their Made in Germany reason for their crazy ultra premium prices.

      • peter w

        What is ‘pop’? Not just contrast. I think it could be considered a combination of the other three factors. Perhaps with added detail or sharpness. If being a combination of factors, would it be legitimate as a factor in itself? Perhaps not ;). But it helps in a description.

        • RC Jenkins

          If I’m honest, I’m surprised at the questioning of ‘pop vs contrast’ but not a single mention of my use of ‘tonality’ as well… 🙂 They’re all related (as is resolution), but they are distinct characteristics as far as I’m concerned. I didn’t mean to cause confusion, but to clarify, here’s how I’m using these:

          -Tonality: Ability to project a wide range and precise, subtle shades and colors in an appropriate fashion and strongly (so they’re well saturated). Eg. sunglasses (any color or gray) alter tonality. Some tones can be altered more than others.

          -Pop: Ability to project distinct tones in adjacent areas. Eg. Dusty glass (or wax paper) can reduce ‘pop’–it creates a smeared or diffused image, where colors bleed into one another. So can diffraction.

          -Contrast: Ability to project a wide range of tones–dark to bright. Eg: the backside of a one-way mirror or looking through a glass window reduces contrast. So do the other examples above except diffraction. Contrast is often lower when a lens is wide open (away from diffraction), unlike pop, which suffers in both extremes.

          -Bokeh: the quality of out of focus areas. How distracting are they? Is the blur sharp-edged, neutral, or faded?

          My point earlier was that these are just a handful of characteristics I’m sometimes interested in beyond clinical sharpness. And some of these are subjectively ‘better’, so I wouldn’t use ‘better’ to describe lenses without qualification.

          Nor would I say something like “Fact: these lenses are better IMHO”. Is that a fact or opinion…? And saying ‘it is a fact that it is my opinion’ is just weak…It’s opinion. 🙂

          • peter w

            Thanks a lot ;). I am not schooled at this, but it makes sense to me. In the frequency and wavelength domain this can be understood much better. Well, if you had some physics.

            • RC Jenkins

              I actually do have a background in physics, including my university degree. 🙂

              In terms of practice, frequency and wavelength are effectively the same concept. But these aspects I described above are along the lines of:
              -Frequency / Wavelength (color)
              -Amplitudes per Frequency / Wavelength & range of amplitudes (intensity of light – brightness / contrast / tones)
              -2-dimensional area of the sensor (where one is looking)

              All of these things are affected by different aspects of the system. Eg., refraction through glass is acceleration, which alters direction, speed, & amplitude per frequency–effectively hitting every one of those bullet points. Blur is just additive amplitudes of light rays decreasing over a 2-dimensional area caused by focus, diffraction, & refraction. etc.

            • peter w

              Off topic on:
              I studied amplitudes of long wavelength seismic waves passing through the lower mantle somewhere below Mexico. Hoping these might give sight on eventual structures therein, which travel time-delay by nature of the fresnel zone with a width of 2000 km could never resolve. Nope, only noise from upper mantle disturbance. Strong noise around California, and somewhat lesser on the east coast. Canada and Alaska were rather quiet… But comparing that to a Zeiss… My sensor had about 12 pixels, I had about 40 “flashes”: South American deep earthquakes.
              (Twenty years later another student of the same professor modelled the deep mantle plume below Iceland, using a waveform inversion technique along a banana-donut path through earth: Yes.)
              Off topic off.

  • Viktor

    The thing is that the whole Photo gear market is still very unhealthy. It used to be kind of “dual monopoly” or how to say it. It is a little better now, but not really competing market. Nikon has his mount, Canon has his mount and people cannot switch between them. Once you buy one you are stucked with the manufacturer (or you have to sell your whole equipment or buy 3rd party gear).

    Look at other markets:
    Hi-Fi – you can buy Denon CD, Yamaha Amplifier, Rotel Radio, LG TV, B&W speakers and all fit together (cinch, jack, HDMI…. universal “mounts”)

    PC – you can buy HP notebook, Epson printer, Eizo screen – again all connected by universal connectors

    BUT PHOTO?@! :O It is like someone forcing you to buy XY jam with XY butter and XY bread because only they fit together…….. !

    If there were universal mounts the competition would work on the market and the prices of Nikkor and Canon lenses would be 30-50% down.

    • Get an Olympus OM-D and buy whatever four thirds lenses you want.

      • Viktor

        Thanks for advice 🙂
        However I was more willing to demonstrate the lack of healthy competion in this market. 5 and more years ago, there has been no Sony mirrorless, Sigma Art or premium primes from Tamron…. (or Olympus or Fujifilm) doing this competitive staff…..
        Eventhought it is much better now, I still feel that this market is still not healthy enought and lacking the healthy competion and standards as other industries do have…..

        • Well, I think you are wishing for something that will never happen. You can’t put a Canon lens on a Nikon without a quirky adapter. So, it really isn’t feasible. It never was and never will be. It’s like trying to put the fuel injection system from a Volkswagen on a Toyota. It doesn’t work. You can’t run Apple software on a PC. Google Play apps don’t work on iPhone. My neighbor’s been trying to have sex with my wife and she’s having none of it (I don’t think).

          • peter w

            Hey, I see your neighbour is trying to prove you wrong, he is messing with a Toyota…

  • robmgen97

    Sickening. Just bought the 135 Apo
    Thanks Zeiss:(

    • Ande Notos

      I feel sort of sorry for you, but at the same time I find it funny…

    • Return it or ask for a price adjustment.

    • ken

      That sucks. You should have waited for the price drop.

      Jk. hope you can get an adjustment.

  • nhz

    I owned that lens years ago: not really light/compact, sensitive to flare, unreliable AF on Canon 450D and disappointing corner sharpness for landscape style pictures unless stopped down to f/8. Maybe recent version is better as quite a few owners seem to like it 😉

    • ‘not really light’ — Due to f2.8. A lens that is lighter is not so bright or made for smaller sensor.
      ‘sensitive to flare’ — Due to DSLR design. Try a MFT lens, you will be surprised. No flare at all. One of my friend bought MFT body and SWA lens (some 7mm I think) just to spare the tremendous time spent patching flares of bright lights. (He shoots hotel interiors regularly.)
      ‘unreliable AF’ — TBH I do not see the point of AF at SWA. But the mistakes were probably because of the poor IQ at the corners. It’s common. You should use the center AF point maybe, and recompose. I don’t think it’s a big deal.
      ‘disappointing corner sharpness’ — While it’s definitely not for 24MP bodies, I do not have any sharpness problem (have the 1st version without AF motor for Nikon.) Maybe you had a bad sample? AFAIK the newer version is not so good as the 1st one.
      But overall we agree, there is absolutely a space for a very good prime in this focal range. It’s not SWA range, but I am happy to see that Nikon started to produce cheap, lightweight primes at the wide angle range (20&24mm/f1.8) these lens are great for astro, too, beacuse of the very low coma.

  • paulski

    Well, the 135 at least has been replaced with a Milvus equivalent, so it’s not like they’re discounting their latest and greatest. Seems more like they’re trying to clear old inventory…

  • Jeffry De Meyer

    Yes thanks, combo is a detail monster

    • Paul Monaghan

      It is good 😀

  • RC Jenkins

    You’re arguing something subjective as if it’s an objective fact. It’s pointless to do so, and I’m not going to argue this. Someone else said something about fanboys, and what you’re doing here is acting like a fanboy for these Tamron lenses.

    Sometimes lens imperfections are their best attributes. One can’t just automatically say that one entire brand of lenses is better than another.

    Eg. despite being technically worse, I’ll sometimes pay more for a lens that manually focuses smoother and renders beautiful starburst as a consequence of diffraction from straight aperture blades if I’m using it for night-time landscapes.

    I’m not then going to list down the spec sheet to try to justify to everyone that this lens is superior or that other lenses aren’t worth more.

  • decisivemoment

    Nice one, Sigma, with the 100-400. Will seriously consider ordering. But seriously, would it have killed you to put a 77mm filter on the 135?

  • I’m sure all those who purchased these lenses last month are thrilled to bits to know that their expensive glass needn’t have been so expensive.

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