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Author Topic: Sigma 85mm vs. 70-200 II  (Read 7189 times)

chrysoberyl

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Sigma 85mm vs. 70-200 II
« on: February 23, 2015, 07:52:55 AM »
I have both and except for a better T stop, the fact that it is less intrusive and lighter, I see no advantage to the 85mm over the 70-200 II.  And the 70-200 II has IS and is better in the sides and corners.

I see no advantage to f/1.4 because I have to stop down to f/2 at least, to get a decent DOF.

I am very close to selling the 85mm, but before I do, I would like expert opinions as to what am I missing, please.

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Sigma 85mm vs. 70-200 II
« on: February 23, 2015, 07:52:55 AM »

chrysoberyl

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Re: Sigma 85mm vs. 70-200 II
« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2015, 07:27:00 AM »
It appears that I am missing nothing.  Hmm...my post must not be interesting enough.

muchakucha

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Re: Sigma 85mm vs. 70-200 II
« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2015, 08:53:23 AM »
1) You should learn how to shoot at 1.4. You don't have to shoot at the minimum focus distance all the time, step back a bit and it gives excellent subject isolation at a distance. If you're not going to shoot at 1.4 it defeats the purpose of that lens.

2) The big difference between the two lenses is the 2 stop advantage. IS is awesome but it's not going to help you when you want a 1/500 shutter speed to catch action in low light. If you're already at iso 6400 those 2 stops of light is a huge difference.
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dafrank

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Re: Sigma 85mm vs. 70-200 II
« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2015, 09:01:45 AM »
I have both and except for a better T stop, the fact that it is less intrusive and lighter, I see no advantage to the 85mm over the 70-200 II.  And the 70-200 II has IS and is better in the sides and corners.

I see no advantage to f/1.4 because I have to stop down to f/2 at least, to get a decent DOF.

I am very close to selling the 85mm, but before I do, I would like expert opinions as to what am I missing, please.

In my opinion, you are quite right about you not missing much, if and when you sold the 85, due to the awesome performance of the Canon (I assume) 70-200 f/2.8 II. One reason you might want to not sell the 85 is the financial loss and the loss of using two camera bodies simultaneously, as in a situation where an assistant or associate would use one while you use the other. And, if you can learn to get the occasional shot focused well at f/2.0 or f/1.4, and don't need sharper corners, well then, that is just the marginal opportunity the lens was designed for.

I am able to use f/1.6 fairly often with my Canon 85 f/1.2, as this picks up just barely enough depth of field for my focus to be more often within the very narrow depth of field. However, the 85 is pretty much limited in strength to its wide open, or near wide open, aperture use, usually as a portrait lens, while the 70-200 is amazingly sharp wide open and can be used for portraits at a variety of focal lengths, plus every other use when a short to moderate telephoto is required. Most of my head shots are done with focal lengths longer than 85mm and shot at apertures from f/4 to f/11, depending on the position of the client's head in the image. On less tight portraits, my 85 comes out of the bag about half the time, but I still shoot mostly in the f/2 to f/5.6 range much more often than wide open, or even at the more forgiving apertures between f/1.2 and f/2. I'd say that my use of the 85 at apertures wider than I can get out of the f/2.8 is at about 20% of the time at most.

Yes, I could sell my own 85 and hardly ever miss it, but, for those rare times, it really does produce some wonderful narrow aperture effects and bokeh, the two areas where it definitely eclipses the otherwise superior 70-200.

Regards, David
« Last Edit: February 24, 2015, 09:04:19 AM by dafrank »
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Machaon

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Re: Sigma 85mm vs. 70-200 II
« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2015, 09:07:50 AM »
It appears that I am missing nothing.  Hmm...my post must not be interesting enough.

If you were making the same points against the Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II you'd surely get a rise.  ;)

bmwzimmer

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Re: Sigma 85mm vs. 70-200 II
« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2015, 09:49:19 AM »
Lately I've been using my 85 more for environmental portraits.  Step back 20' and you have 1.4' of dof at f/1.4 so it's easy to get your subjects in focus.  From the distance, the foreground and backgrounds are not that blurry and you can make out what's in the background.  Its a very nice look the 70-200 can't match.
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drmikeinpdx

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Re: Sigma 85mm vs. 70-200 II
« Reply #6 on: February 24, 2015, 11:36:49 AM »
chrysoberyl,  You might get more and better advice if you would tell us what kind of photography you are doing.     :)
Current bodies:  5D4, 5D3, 77D, T5i, S100, S90
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Re: Sigma 85mm vs. 70-200 II
« Reply #6 on: February 24, 2015, 11:36:49 AM »

chrysoberyl

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Re: Sigma 85mm vs. 70-200 II
« Reply #7 on: February 24, 2015, 12:02:50 PM »
drmikeinpdx: portraiture is my goal and why I bought this lens.  I tried it for astro, but too much coma.

David, bmwzimmer and muchakucha: Thanks - this is the kind of imput I hoped for! 

Machaon: Ha - exactly right!

My conclusion is that I will forego the financial loss and practice more.

wickidwombat

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Re: Sigma 85mm vs. 70-200 II
« Reply #8 on: February 26, 2015, 01:49:08 AM »
i dunno about you but at f2 my sigma 85 is noticably sharper than either of my 70-200 mk2 are at f2.8
and in very low light the 1.4 is a god send
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bholliman

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Re: Sigma 85mm vs. 70-200 II
« Reply #9 on: February 26, 2015, 11:03:20 PM »
i dunno about you but at f2 my sigma 85 is noticably sharper than either of my 70-200 mk2 are at f2.8
and in very low light the 1.4 is a god send

I've never used the Sigma 85, but my 70-200/2.8 II is extremely sharp, if the Sigma 85 is noticeably sharper, it must be really, really good.  The TDP crops show the 70-200 to be slightly sharper in the corners, but that is comparing 70mm and 100mm to 85mm, so not quite apples to apples.  Of course, your 70-200's and S85 are different copies so results will vary.

http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/ISO-12233-Sample-Crops.aspx?Lens=687&Camera=453&Sample=0&FLI=0&API=0&LensComp=756&CameraComp=453&SampleComp=0&FLIComp=0&APIComp=3

Lately I've been using my 85 more for environmental portraits.  Step back 20' and you have 1.4' of dof at f/1.4 so it's easy to get your subjects in focus.  From the distance, the foreground and backgrounds are not that blurry and you can make out what's in the background.  Its a very nice look the 70-200 can't match.

It took me some time to lean this lesson with fast primes.  When I purchased my first f/1.4 lens, I was often frustrated by the razor thin DOF but finally learned to back up unless I was going for that look. 
« Last Edit: February 26, 2015, 11:11:51 PM by bholliman »
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Re: Sigma 85mm vs. 70-200 II
« Reply #9 on: February 26, 2015, 11:03:20 PM »