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.
It is good to see you back in the forum Pitchblack.
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.
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.
But I'm still learning portraiture, so take my though with a grain of salt
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
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.
Do you have more with waist up with busy backgrounds?
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!!!
@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.
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.
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.
I'lll shoot the 85 in the next few months.
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.
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.
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.