November 21, 2017, 09:03:57 AM

Author Topic: Comparison: Sigma 135mm f/1.8 Art vs Zeiss Milvus 135mm f/2  (Read 4289 times)

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F-Stoppers has posted a comparison of two new and higher end 135mm lens options. While the classic Canon EF 135mm f/2L is getting long in the tooth, other manufacturers have stepped forward, and in the case of the Sigma, perhaps even stepped up from the 20 year old Canon lens.

There are two big differences between the Sigma 135mm f/1.8 Art and the Zeiss Milvus 135mm f/2.

  1. Price, the Sigma is $1399 and the Zeiss is $2199 (The Canon is $999)
  2. Autofocus, the Sigma has it, the Zeiss does not.

Right off the bat for me, the manual focus 135mm f/2 from Zeiss would be out of the running, especially once you consider the $800 premium above the Sigma for it. Yes it’s built well and optically it’s stellar, but the Sigma is built pretty well, optically it’s great and the autofocus seems to be fast and accurate by most accounts. The $999 Canon 135mm f/2L should also be considered, because it is still a great lens, even if it was announced back in 1996.

From F-Stoppers:

In the end, I would be hard-pressed to tell you should absolutely buy the Zeiss over Sigma, despite the Zeiss being a phenomenal piece of glass. I believe Zeiss veterans will pick their champion without hesitation, mostly because the Big Z fanbase is quite the fanatic, devoted bunch and are attuned to the micro-details that make Zeiss lenses, well, Zeiss lenses. But anyone who simply wants a step up from the Canon 135 2.0L should almost certainly go with the Sigma. Read the full comparison

In Stock at B&H Photo: Sigma 135mm f/1.8 Art | Zeiss Milvus 135mm f/2 | Canon EF 135mm f/2L

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dash2k8

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Re: Comparison: Sigma 135mm f/1.8 Art vs Zeiss Milvus 135mm f/2
« Reply #1 on: May 17, 2017, 12:29:58 AM »
I actually think my Canon 135/2 is still doing quite well and see no reason why I should switch. Obviously I haven't used the Sigma version so I am a little curious as to why a first-time 135mm buyer would consider it over the much cheaper and already excellent Canon version? Anyone?

tiggy@mac.com

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Re: Comparison: Sigma 135mm f/1.8 Art vs Zeiss Milvus 135mm f/2
« Reply #2 on: May 17, 2017, 01:42:12 AM »
Because it is rather radically better in sharpness. See link below comparing apples to apples from The-Digital-Picture.

http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/ISO-12233-Sample-Crops.aspx?Lens=108&Camera=979&Sample=0&FLI=0&API=0&LensComp=1122&CameraComp=979&SampleComp=0&FLIComp=0&APIComp=1

My own copies bear this out.


To give you a sense of scope about the difference, there is roughly the same IQ difference as what you'd see in the Canon kit lens 70-300 (non-L) versus the 70-200 f/4 L, as seen here:
http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/ISO-12233-Sample-Crops.aspx?Lens=1077&Camera=979&Sample=0&FLI=0&API=0&LensComp=404&CameraComp=0&FLIComp=0&APIComp=0

If you're happy with the Canon, you may indeed find now reason to switch. You may find sharpness over-rated. But the rendering of the Sigma is quite magical too. In terms of the subjective qualities of these lenses, it may be a matter of taste which one you'd prefer for transitions, etc., but you'd have to give the Sigma a try to know.

An image from a few hours ago with the Sigma...


9VIII

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Re: Comparison: Sigma 135mm f/1.8 Art vs Zeiss Milvus 135mm f/2
« Reply #3 on: May 17, 2017, 03:21:14 AM »
They list "colour saturation" as a "negative" on the Sigma 135A?
Is that even possible?
A lens can "reduce" different wavelengths, but as far as I know there is no such thing as "boosting colour saturation" across the full spectrum with glass.
If someone can point to a scientific explanation of a lens boosting colour saturation I'll be happily shocked.

The only logical conclusion is that the Zeiss lens has poor colour transmission in comparison with the Sigma, and F-Stoppers has gone totally loony trying to make excuses to like more expensive things.

That they think the Sigma Art lenses are "utility looking" screams negative bias as well.
They clearly like the lens, but it also seems like they're trying really, really hard to justify the existence of Zeiss lenses.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2017, 03:32:41 AM by 9VIII »

SecureGSM

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Re: Comparison: Sigma 135mm f/1.8 Art vs Zeiss Milvus 135mm f/2
« Reply #4 on: May 17, 2017, 05:04:03 AM »
I found this explanation in comments on the review page:

"...- I dispute that a lens can give you an image thats "too saturated". Even glass absorbs light and the more glass sits in front of the sensor, the less colour rendition and contrast..."


They list "colour saturation" as a "negative" on the Sigma 135A?
Is that even possible?
A lens can "reduce" different wavelengths, but as far as I know there is no such thing as "boosting colour saturation" across the full spectrum with glass.
If someone can point to a scientific explanation of a lens boosting colour saturation I'll be happily shocked.

The only logical conclusion is that the Zeiss lens has poor colour transmission in comparison with the Sigma, and F-Stoppers has gone totally loony trying to make excuses to like more expensive things.

That they think the Sigma Art lenses are "utility looking" screams negative bias as well.
They clearly like the lens, but it also seems like they're trying really, really hard to justify the existence of Zeiss lenses.

Larsskv

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Re: Comparison: Sigma 135mm f/1.8 Art vs Zeiss Milvus 135mm f/2
« Reply #5 on: May 17, 2017, 05:33:55 AM »
I actually think my Canon 135/2 is still doing quite well and see no reason why I should switch. Obviously I haven't used the Sigma version so I am a little curious as to why a first-time 135mm buyer would consider it over the much cheaper and already excellent Canon version? Anyone?

I agree. The 135L is adequately sharp at f2, even on my 5Ds, and pretty much perfect at f4. The 135L has more benefit from IS,, than increased sharpness, for real world shooting.

I am shure the Sigma and Zeiss lenses are even better, but I doubt it will show up in a picture, if viewed at less than 50%.

reginaldwalton

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Re: Comparison: Sigma 135mm f/1.8 Art vs Zeiss Milvus 135mm f/2
« Reply #6 on: May 17, 2017, 07:35:32 AM »
I actually think my Canon 135/2 is still doing quite well and see no reason why I should switch. Obviously I haven't used the Sigma version so I am a little curious as to why a first-time 135mm buyer would consider it over the much cheaper and already excellent Canon version? Anyone?

I would have to agree. I own the Canon 135 and borrowed the Sigma version and it's a great lens. I just don't see replacing my Canon for it. Even if someone offered me an even swap, I'd keep the Canon. The Sigma is sharp and fast, but so is the Canon and the only slight difference I can tell in them is the bokeh, but other than that, they both hold their own, but I'll keep what I have.

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Re: Comparison: Sigma 135mm f/1.8 Art vs Zeiss Milvus 135mm f/2
« Reply #6 on: May 17, 2017, 07:35:32 AM »

Luds34

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Re: Comparison: Sigma 135mm f/1.8 Art vs Zeiss Milvus 135mm f/2
« Reply #7 on: May 17, 2017, 09:56:01 AM »
I actually think my Canon 135/2 is still doing quite well and see no reason why I should switch. Obviously I haven't used the Sigma version so I am a little curious as to why a first-time 135mm buyer would consider it over the much cheaper and already excellent Canon version? Anyone?

I agree. The 135L is adequately sharp at f2, even on my 5Ds, and pretty much perfect at f4. The 135L has more benefit from IS,, than increased sharpness, for real world shooting.

I am shure the Sigma and Zeiss lenses are even better, but I doubt it will show up in a picture, if viewed at less than 50%.

As as fellow 135L owner I would have to agree, sharpness isn't lacking with this lens. One can make a valid point that CA is a little annoying to deal with at times.

I personally just couldn't imagine not having AF at this focal length, thus ruling out the Zeiss. And I'm sure the Sigma is an excellent lens, but the Canon is light, compact, and focus speed is fast and accurate. While I've heard nearly nothing but positives on the Sigma in this area as well, it just doesn't seem like you'd "upgrade". In short, if it ain't broke...

mackguyver

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Re: Comparison: Sigma 135mm f/1.8 Art vs Zeiss Milvus 135mm f/2
« Reply #8 on: May 17, 2017, 02:10:40 PM »
I like Nino's work, but lost all respect for FStoppers recently with their ridiculous left-slanting articles like this drivel: Pepsi Created the Worst Advertisement I've Ever Seen, but I lost all respect for them when they acted like the crappy Manfrotto RC2 system, which most of us have used and realized was lousy, is the greatest thing ever: The Cheapest and Most Convenient Tripod System for Photo and Video.

I'm glad CR is still around to provide good info and quality reviews :)


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Re: Comparison: Sigma 135mm f/1.8 Art vs Zeiss Milvus 135mm f/2
« Reply #9 on: May 17, 2017, 02:35:07 PM »
I like Nino's work, but lost all respect for FStoppers recently with their ridiculous left-slanting articles like this drivel: Pepsi Created the Worst Advertisement I've Ever Seen, but I lost all respect for them when they acted like the crappy Manfrotto RC2 system, which most of us have used and realized was lousy, is the greatest thing ever: The Cheapest and Most Convenient Tripod System for Photo and Video.

I'm glad CR is still around to provide good info and quality reviews :)

I liked Fstoppers for the first couple of years too, since then, not so much.

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Re: Comparison: Sigma 135mm f/1.8 Art vs Zeiss Milvus 135mm f/2
« Reply #10 on: May 17, 2017, 02:58:56 PM »
The comparison would have been more interesting if they had added to the mix the Rokinon/Samyang 135mm f/2, which is optically superior to the Canon, more-or-less as good as the Zeiss and Sigma, and can often be bought, new, for well under $500.  The question for someone interested in the Zeiss (and who is thus presumably willing to MF) is not so much why buy the Zeiss when you can buy the Canon and Sigma for much less, but why buy the Zeiss  when you can get essentially the same optical quality from Rokinon for $450.

BeenThere

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Re: Comparison: Sigma 135mm f/1.8 Art vs Zeiss Milvus 135mm f/2
« Reply #11 on: May 17, 2017, 03:30:15 PM »
The comparison would have been more interesting if they had added to the mix the Rokinon/Samyang 135mm f/2, which is optically superior to the Canon, more-or-less as good as the Zeiss and Sigma, and can often be bought, new, for well under $500.  The question for someone interested in the Zeiss (and who is thus presumably willing to MF) is not so much why buy the Zeiss when you can buy the Canon and Sigma for much less, but why buy the Zeiss  when you can get essentially the same optical quality from Rokinon for $450.
Rokinon isn't spelled with a Z🤔

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Re: Comparison: Sigma 135mm f/1.8 Art vs Zeiss Milvus 135mm f/2
« Reply #11 on: May 17, 2017, 03:30:15 PM »