Sigma 85mm/1.4 Art

PeachBlackPeachBlack Posts: 141Member
edited December 2016 in Other Manufacturers
So... It would seem that one of the mods in his great wisdom has chosen to ban my previous account... not surprising. I thought I would give my thoughts on the new 85mm/1.4 Art from Sigma. Quite Simply, it's the best lens I've ever used. I've owned the Nikon 85mm/1.4g for years and honestly, this lens is much better. Those of you who might remember know that I used to complain vociferously of the chromatic aberration found in the Nikon lens, but that is almost entirely absent in the Sigma. Additionally, it appear to be slightly sharper and it renders colors better. I have nothing but good things to say about this lens. It's even better than my 200mm/f2.0 and my Sigma 50/1.4 Art.

For those of you who don't know me, I left this site a couple of years ago because I believed that it had devolved into a series of meaningless discussions. Still, I am driven to comment on this lens, despite the mods and the drivel, because it's just that good.

These photos are all shot with the new Sigma: https://markcrislip.squarespace.com/gallery85 ... maybe the mods will clear it, but I tend to doubt it given their spiteful, small nature.
Post edited by PeachBlack on
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Comments

  • vtc2002vtc2002 Posts: 364Member
    @PeachBlack Welcome back. Beautiful photos. I own the 85 1.4 D and G and your are absolutely right about the chromatic aberrations. They rarely make it into my camera bag. The Sigma will be in my soon. Thanks for the post.
  • WestEndFotoWestEndFoto Posts: 3,318Member
    Yes, the chromatic abberations bother me to. I have held off on buying Sigma because I feel that Nikon will get its act together and not let Sigma eat it's lunch. They seem to have done that with the 105 1.4E. Do you have any views on that lens? It is competing against the new 70-200 and 19 PC as the lens I buy after the 400 2.8E. Remember our previous discussions on the "Medium Format Look"?

    It is good to see you back in the forum Pitchblack.
  • flipflip Posts: 139Member
    We all wondered why the extended silence from Pitchblack for so many months.

    I guess the controversy was offline since I didn't notice any negative comments about your posts. Perhaps something to do with promoting Sigma products on a Nikon forum??

    A few comments available for nonsubscribers by Diglloyd including one example show suggest strong purple fringing in extreme backlighting and focus shift. But depending on the purpose of usage (i.e portraits), neither may interfere with quality results.

    Some have mentioned significant focus issues on Nikon cameras even after calibration, and of course there is slight color differences to the core Nikon look which to me are less attractive, not more.

    I think we can continue to see Nikon slowly improve its lenses to meet demand albeit at a premium to comparable Sigma products.

    Good luck with your purchase.
  • PeachBlackPeachBlack Posts: 141Member
    edited December 2016

    I have held off on buying Sigma because I feel that Nikon will get its act together and not let Sigma eat it's lunch.

    I think this is an... unwise... position to take. These lenses by Sigma are simply outclassing and out-engineering those by Nikon by leaps and bounds. Nikon is making an inferior product and charging much higher prices, and there's just no reason to accept it. My guess is that this 85 is likely to strongly compete with the Zeiss for 1/4 the price, and as I've said before, shooting moving models without autofocus just doesn't work. I had a discussion with an experienced model, and she told me she hates it when photographers use manual focus lenses since it decreases spontaneity and forces her to awkwardly hold poses while the photographer focuses. And for what? 1% sharper photos on those that you happen to nail? No thank you. At ƒ1.4 I can shoot 10 photos of the model in the time it takes to manually focus 1 photo, and as any pro will tell you, the more photos you shoot, the more likely you are to end up with a great photo.

    As for the 105/1.4 from Nikon, it's $2200. Seriously? $2200? For that price you can get any two Sigma Arts and have a lot of money left over. I have no interest in the 105 since, in practice, it's not all that different from an 85mm focal length. It's much more similar to an 85 than an 85 is to 50, in terms of the look it gives photos.

    All three of my Sigma Arts (35, 50, and 85) have perfect focus, but my Nikon 85/1.4g has a -7. All lenses have potential problems and that's why we can calibrate.

    As for fringing... maybe there was a tiny bit in some photos, and it was easy to eliminate. The fringing on the 85/1.4g was horrible. Remember, I eventually completely stopped using the 85/1.4g on outdoor shoots because of the massive problems with chromatic aberration, opting instead for the 50mm Art. The Nikon uses more than century-old double-gauss design whereas the Sigma uses a modern, more Zeiss-like design. It's simply a better lens in almost every way, including focus. The Sigma doesn't hunt as much as the Nikon.

    As I've said before, Nikon is General Motors in the 1980s getting its ass kicked by Honda and Toyota. Sure, most people continued to buy GM since they were convinced that somehow the Japanese imports had to be worse, but eventually people became sick of paying more for less.

    I also really like that I can send my Sigma lenses back to the manufacturer and have their mount changed. If Nikon doesn't do something to compete with the new Sony mirrorless, I may dump Nikon altogether, as I dumped Canon several years ago for falling behind Nikon's technology.

    I don't care about the name, I care about taking the best pictures that I can.
    Post edited by PeachBlack on
  • starralaznstarralazn Posts: 201Member
    Huh, maybe I don't shoot 85/105 enough, (I think >80% of my portraits are 50/58), but I felt that the 85 is much too similar to the 50 range, and that the 105 is just enough different from 50.

    But I'm still learning portraiture, so take my though with a grain of salt
  • PeachBlackPeachBlack Posts: 141Member
    edited December 2016

    Huh, maybe I don't shoot 85/105 enough, (I think >80% of my portraits are 50/58), but I felt that the 85 is much too similar to the 50 range, and that the 105 is just enough different from 50.



    But I'm still learning portraiture, so take my though with a grain of salt

    I think if you are shooting torso/head shots, 85 & 50 tend to be quite similar, but for headshots, they are quite different. If you are shooting headshots outdoors and have a very strong desire to shoot at ƒ1.4, maybe there's a reason to get the 105/1.4, but other than that, I don't see how it makes a lot of sense. In studio, I often shoot the 105/2.8 macro for headshots, but I usually shoot at ƒ8 or usually higher because, well, they are almost always beauty shots and lots of depth of field is important. To me, 50mm is still by far the most versatile focal length for shooting people outdoors. At 105mm, unless you're just shooting the head, communication with the subject becomes increasingly difficult, especially if there's the least bit of noise.

    Look here: even the difference between 85 & 200 isn't that great on a headshot, whereas between 50 & 85 it's pretty significant: http://photoh.com.au/images/lindsay_adler2.jpg
    Post edited by PeachBlack on
  • Vipmediastar_JZVipmediastar_JZ Posts: 1,708Member
    I agree on the communication issue from very far away. I have my eye on the 105 and have not considered the 85 ART yet. I sent my 85 1.8g to nikon for inspection and it came back great. I like it but at 1.8 its not my best.

    I wont buy anything new until maybe 3 months from today unless I have to but I am looking forward to see more photos of both lens.
  • starralaznstarralazn Posts: 201Member
    @PeachBlack Yeah, I do a lot of torso+head shots, so thats probably why haha. Need to up my hs game.
  • PeachBlackPeachBlack Posts: 141Member

    @PeachBlack Yeah, I do a lot of torso+head shots, so thats probably why haha. Need to up my hs game.

    Listen, don't limit yourself. There are "right" and "wrong" lenses, but only if you're speaking in terms of traditional looks. There's a Russian photographer whose work I strongly admire, named Tatiana Mertsalova, and she almost always shoots portraits "incorrectly." Her work is amazing. Here's an example of something shot wrong: https://drscdn.500px.org/photo/148797907/q=80_m=1500/6f56582b61b6db7071e229b8c8bfc2b8
  • Vipmediastar_JZVipmediastar_JZ Posts: 1,708Member
    I saw the gallery. The closeups looks great. The full body reminds me of the 50mm look.
    Do you have more with waist up with busy backgrounds?
  • PeachBlackPeachBlack Posts: 141Member

    I saw the gallery. The closeups looks great. The full body reminds me of the 50mm look.

    Do you have more with waist up with busy backgrounds?

    No. The lens just came out last week and I've only had one shoot. The full body shots were shot more closed down to ƒ4 to ƒ6.3 because we were mostly doing motion shots, and it's almost impossible to nail focus and composition together on a jumping model at ƒ1.4. When Nikon gives us a decent mirrorless with good facial recognition in the viewfinder, we'll talk then.
  • WestEndFotoWestEndFoto Posts: 3,318Member

    Huh, maybe I don't shoot 85/105 enough, (I think >80% of my portraits are 50/58), but I felt that the 85 is much too similar to the 50 range, and that the 105 is just enough different from 50.



    But I'm still learning portraiture, so take my though with a grain of salt

    I think if you are shooting torso/head shots, 85 & 50 tend to be quite similar, but for headshots, they are quite different. If you are shooting headshots outdoors and have a very strong desire to shoot at ƒ1.4, maybe there's a reason to get the 105/1.4, but other than that, I don't see how it makes a lot of sense. In studio, I often shoot the 105/2.8 macro for headshots, but I usually shoot at ƒ8 or usually higher because, well, they are almost always beauty shots and lots of depth of field is important. To me, 50mm is still by far the most versatile focal length for shooting people outdoors. At 105mm, unless you're just shooting the head, communication with the subject becomes increasingly difficult, especially if there's the least bit of noise.

    Look here: even the difference between 85 & 200 isn't that great on a headshot, whereas between 50 & 85 it's pretty significant: http://photoh.com.au/images/lindsay_adler2.jpg
    For me, the farther to the right, the better in this example.
  • WestEndFotoWestEndFoto Posts: 3,318Member

    @PeachBlack Yeah, I do a lot of torso+head shots, so thats probably why haha. Need to up my hs game.

    Listen, don't limit yourself. There are "right" and "wrong" lenses, but only if you're speaking in terms of traditional looks. There's a Russian photographer whose work I strongly admire, named Tatiana Mertsalova, and she almost always shoots portraits "incorrectly." Her work is amazing. Here's an example of something shot wrong: https://drscdn.500px.org/photo/148797907/q=80_m=1500/6f56582b61b6db7071e229b8c8bfc2b8
    I like her as well. I sometimes wonder how important "the look of the model" is vs the technique of the photographer in achieving this style.
  • PeachBlackPeachBlack Posts: 141Member

    I saw the gallery. The closeups looks great. The full body reminds me of the 50mm look.

    Do you have more with waist up with busy backgrounds?

    Wait. I was wrong. This is essentially full-body distance
    [i]https://static1.squarespace.com/static/53a95f50e4b08d033962f76d/584701bebebafb624c08114e/584768bf197aeadd86ecc7f4/1481074885382/Bailey-Boho-Beach-(1149-of-196)-Edit-copy.jpg?format=500w{/i]
  • Rx4PhotoRx4Photo Posts: 1,200Member
    edited December 2016
    Good to see you here PitchBlack!! Stimulating conversation no doubt ...
    I used to think about selling my Nikon 85 1.4 but being that it was a gift I've have a hard time pulling the trigger. I have taken some amazing images with it though. It does hunt more than my Sigma 50 1.4 does and that's always a nagging issue because once it locks on - sometimes it's not "really" on your spot.

    @WestEndFoto , you hit on something up there regarding "the look of the model." I recently watched an interview with .. I believe Lara Jade or Lindsay Adler, I forget, who basically said that for important shoots she will sift through hundreds of model profiles to find that one model that provides the look she's looking for. Looking at that image in the link the model has a progressively slim jawline. I don't think you'd get the same result at all if she had a more oval face even with the same pose and lens. So my guess is that model was chosen with purpose.
    This is also a lesson that I was recently taught first hand!!!
    Post edited by Rx4Photo on
    D800 | D7000 | Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8 | 24-70mm f/2.8 | 70-200mm f/2.8 | 35mm f/1.8G | 85mm f/1.4G | Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art | Sigma 50mm f/1.4 Art | Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM | Zeiss 100mm Makro-Planar ZF.2 | Flash controllers: Phottix Odin TTL

  • vtc2002vtc2002 Posts: 364Member
    I rarely shoot portraits these days but PitchBlack made a point that for portraits in my opinion is critical for success and that is communication. I agree with his comment about 105mm in the studio and (given the situation) 50 or 85mm outside are the limits. Being close enough to have a conversation with the model or being able to reach out a move a stray hair helps but the model at ease and gives them a sense that you are working as a team to get the best shot. The model shoots that Pitchblack shoots are different from what I have shot in the past and would enjoy his feedback.
    @WestEndFoto your comment is a little general but I tend to agree with you on the look of the model but I believe you have to have the technical skills as well. Being able to capture the right expression and with a well executed image yields a great image. @Rx4Photo I agree with your interpretation of @WestEndFoto comment. The models features certainly play a important role in the overall appeal of the photo. However, in the past I was often asked to do a headshot for a concert and obviously did not have a choice of choosing the model or a model with a certain look. I have posted the following a couple of times but I think is a good example of a portrait that were I was using a 85mm and in a make shift studio. The 85mm allowed us to have a conversation and develop a connection.

    Portrait Color
  • Vipmediastar_JZVipmediastar_JZ Posts: 1,708Member

    I saw the gallery. The closeups looks great. The full body reminds me of the 50mm look.

    Do you have more with waist up with busy backgrounds?

    Wait. I was wrong. This is essentially full-body distance
    [i]https://static1.squarespace.com/static/53a95f50e4b08d033962f76d/584701bebebafb624c08114e/584768bf197aeadd86ecc7f4/1481074885382/Bailey-Boho-Beach-(1149-of-196)-Edit-copy.jpg?format=500w{/i]
    Lovely. I want to see more like this.
    I remember when you were shooting with the 200-400 lens when I first join here.
    300mm its ok for the bokeh but it seems that at FL it flattens facial features.
  • Rx4PhotoRx4Photo Posts: 1,200Member
    Vip, you should revisit the 85mm more often (assuming you've shot portraits with it in the past). Depending on which model you have you can shoot it with wider apertures to render that creamy bokeh in the background. In bright sunlight you definitely want to keep a 3 stop ND filter in your bag just in case.
    That keeps you relatively close to your subject and able to communicate more calmly. Perhaps you're used to it but it would seem that shooting a head/torso shot using a 300mm lens would place you pretty far away thus requiring you to yell for subtle changes in the pose.
    D800 | D7000 | Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8 | 24-70mm f/2.8 | 70-200mm f/2.8 | 35mm f/1.8G | 85mm f/1.4G | Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art | Sigma 50mm f/1.4 Art | Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM | Zeiss 100mm Makro-Planar ZF.2 | Flash controllers: Phottix Odin TTL

  • Vipmediastar_JZVipmediastar_JZ Posts: 1,708Member
    @Rx4Photo Yes good points. That is particularly why im consider the 105mm. I did mostly events this year and hardly used the 85 for portraits. I want to do more portraits in 2017. They are more fun to do vs events. The 300mm has come in handy but not necessarily ideal for every session and I gave up on trying to do BIF and sports. Im sticking to Portraits, events and architecture.
    I'lll shoot the 85 in the next few months.
  • PeachBlackPeachBlack Posts: 141Member
    edited December 2016

    @PeachBlack Yeah, I do a lot of torso+head shots, so thats probably why haha. Need to up my hs game.

    Listen, don't limit yourself. There are "right" and "wrong" lenses, but only if you're speaking in terms of traditional looks. There's a Russian photographer whose work I strongly admire, named Tatiana Mertsalova, and she almost always shoots portraits "incorrectly." Her work is amazing. Here's an example of something shot wrong: https://drscdn.500px.org/photo/148797907/q=80_m=1500/6f56582b61b6db7071e229b8c8bfc2b8
    I like her as well. I sometimes wonder how important "the look of the model" is vs the technique of the photographer in achieving this style.
    Nah. All of her shots are wide angle, no matter the model. Check it out: https://500px.com/notename

    As I said and will reiterate: 85mm and up gives you the "classic" portrait look. It's safe and works well with, umm, difficult subjects. If you are willing to experiment and willing to fail in order to accomplish something edgier and more interesting, trying a wider lens could yield cool results... or yield ugly mush.

    Let's be less focused on the right and wrong way to do things, and more on being creative. Truth be told, I got the 85/1.4 Art for my commercial work, and the truth is that it's an extraordinary lens. Because of the more controlled chromatic aberration, it's going to make my life a LOT easier, especially in post, but it's not going to make me a better photographer.

    I recently did a completely NSFW photoshoot with my favorite model Ilvy entirely in 35mm, including the portraits, and they are some of the best photos I've ever taken. You don't need 85mm to shoot a cool portrait.

    Link is here.. NSFW! You've been warned.
    https://markcrislip.squarespace.com/treats
    Post edited by PeachBlack on
  • GjesdalGjesdal Posts: 277Member
    Still waiting for Sigma to deliver it to anyone in Norway, so great to read your experiences with it.
    D810 | D7100 | Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art |Nikon 70-200mm F2.8 G AF-S VRII ED | Nikon 105mm F2.8 AF-S IF-ED VR II Micro | Sigma 17-50 f/2.8 EX DC OS HSM | Sigma 150-500mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM | Coolpix P6000 IR converted | http://gjesdal.org
  • donaldejosedonaldejose Posts: 3,351Member
    edited December 2016
    Welcome back pitchblack. I have been following you on facebook and noticed you started using the new Sigma Art 85 f1.4. Have you tried a D500? I remember you wanted focus spots closer to the edge of the screen and it offers that. It would make the 50mm 1.4 Art into a 75 mm equivalent and the 85 mm 1.4 Art into a 127.5 mm equivalent. You also get more fps than a D810. Might be an option to try.
    Post edited by donaldejose on
  • vtc2002vtc2002 Posts: 364Member
    @PeachBlack Looking at the work of Tatiana and yours IMHO there is no comparison. Her work is good but you can tell that the images you took were by a skilled and talented photographer (not trying to blow smoke up your). I think you are selling the skills of the person behind the camera short. Choosing the right lens and having great equipment and having the right skills to execute leads to great results. I agree with you that you do not a 85mm for portraits. You are right it is a safe lens and you can get predictable results and there are many other lens that can be used. Knowing the look that that you are trying to achieve and picking the right lens to achieve the desired look is a skill that either takes time to develop or that you know your equipment well enough that you pick the right setup. I see so many photographers (many here) that are afraid to step out of their comfort zone and try something edgy that you doing. Granted it may not be their style and they are happy with the direction they are developing. In 5 years their photos will look the same. They may grow technical skills but they will not grow as a photographer. It is good to have you back on the forum to challenge all of us to push ourselves and take risk.
  • PeachBlackPeachBlack Posts: 141Member
    edited December 2016

    Have you tried a D500? I remember you wanted focus spots closer to the edge of the screen and it offers that.

    No, I have not. I can put a D810 into crop mode and achieve the same results; indeed, I can have more coverage with the D810 because I can compose as far to the edge as I can, and then crop in post. In some cases I will have to throw away megapixels, but in others no. In the case of a D500 I will always have to throw away megapixels, relative to a D810.

    Nikon says that they can't put the focus points more towards the edges, but, of course, they are lying. There is no technical limitation, just a lack of desire to do the R&D. Of course in the last several years, Nikon has done little but disappoint me. What has Nikon done since the D800? I'd say little and less. The 58mm/1.4? A terrible lens. The new 24-70/2.8? They made it bigger, bulkier, and more expensive, and it's still no better than the Tamrom that's half the price. The D810? A minor update. The 105/1.4? Nice, but far too expensive, and of questionable utility. The D500? It's just a fast DX camera with lower image quality than the D7200 (according to Dx0). The D4/D5 line? That's a very, very, very niche camera.

    Been a long time since anything Nikon has done has excited me.
    Post edited by PeachBlack on
  • PeachBlackPeachBlack Posts: 141Member
    vtc2002 said:

    @PeachBlack Looking at the work of Tatiana and yours IMHO there is no comparison. Her work is good but you can tell that the images you took were by a skilled and talented photographer (not trying to blow smoke up your).

    That is kind of you to say, but I think she is better. I find her compositions and stylings to be far more interesting than mine, as well as the ideas that are inherent in the photos. I think mine are boring in comparison.

    Of course we all get lazy and are unwilling to do anything different. Tomorrow I am doing a shoot where I am forcing myself to just use the 14-24/2.8. Of course there is nothing on the line except my price, and I think that's good advice for everyone. Find a photo that you think is cool but utterly different than your own, break it down, and try to duplicate it. It's a good exercise and keeps it from getting stale. :)
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