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Author Topic: Canon 85 1.8 vs. Sigma 85 1.4  (Read 30619 times)

helpful

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Re: Canon 85 1.8 vs. Sigma 85 1.4
« Reply #15 on: May 03, 2012, 06:31:06 PM »
The Canon is good for small prints and focuses like the wind--in the highest class of fast focus. But it's not useful as a picture-making machine below f/2.8 due to the low sharpness, low contrast, not to mention the purple fringing (I don't really care about that, since it is for the out-of-focus areas--I just care that the in focus areas are extremely sharp, and they are not sharp below f/2.8 ).

There are a lot of inaccurate reviews of the 85mm f/1.8 saying it is sharp, but they're using it in a variety of circumstances shooting on automatic and most of their review photos are f/2.8 or above, lots of f/5.6 shots, etc. For those the 85mm lens is world class. For this reason I own two copies, and two copies of the similar 100mm f/2.0 as well. The same comments apply to the 100mm f/2.0 lens, despite the fact that Ken Rockwell says the 100mm f/2.0 has 5.0/5.0 perfect optics. He is talking about photos that are not near f/2.0.

But when I need those apertures below f/2.8, then the Canon f/1.8 is simply not an option. Occasionally a picture is good enough at f/2.0 that I think there is hope, but it just isn't possible to call it sharp. The fast focusing sometimes makes up for it. To be fair, I made a 20x30" enlargement for someone two weeks ago that was shot at f/2.0 with the Canon f/1.8 lens. It can be done, but it's not pretty.

The Sigma on the other hand is three steps backwards in terms of focusing speed, but that still puts it far ahead of the 85mm f/1.2L in that area. The one problem that I hate about my copy of the Sigma (I've had it for 1.5 years and shot hundreds of events with it) is that it just doesn't do focus tracking properly. It focuses plenty fast enough even to take basketball photos, but it doesn't track movement after focusing, but waits for a moment. So I have to keep my finger off the shutter, and then push it at just the right instant so that when it is locking on it will actually track the motion in order to lock on, and then I get a perfectly focused shot.

It has no trouble locking on to a moving object, but it would be a lot easier if it would keep on tracking it so I didn't keep having to lift my finger up and down. I think there is something messed up with the algorithm in my first lens. I have another one arriving this week (20% off from Amazon with the purchase of a Canon body that I ordered) and I am hoping that it will be different.

Image quality from the Sigma f/1.4 is unbelievably good. That's all there is to say. Some tests have shown that it is better at f/1.4 than the Canon 50mm f/1.4 lens is at f/5.6.

In theory that's possible since the effect of diffraction is much more negligible at f/1.4, but in lens manufacturing it's pretty hard to make a diffraction limited lens faster than f/5.6. (Diffraction limited means that the lens design is so good that the only factor limiting resolution is diffraction. If this were the case with an f/1.4 lens, then it would have resolution 16 times higher than an f/5.6 lens.)
« Last Edit: May 03, 2012, 06:34:12 PM by helpful »
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Re: Canon 85 1.8 vs. Sigma 85 1.4
« Reply #15 on: May 03, 2012, 06:31:06 PM »

elflord

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Re: Canon 85 1.8 vs. Sigma 85 1.4
« Reply #16 on: May 03, 2012, 06:51:55 PM »
I am about to buy a 85mm, and the 1.2 is out of the question due to the price, and also out of the question are the manual focus only lenses. The Photozone.de rates the Canon very highly, and the Sigma low, while the digital picture gives the Sigma a high score.

Don't just go by scores alone -- dig deeper. Photozone says "It was about time to get some serious competition (with AF) for the Canon EF 85mm f/1.2 USM L II. The Sigma lens is capable of matching the performance of its Canon counterpart although it doesn't beat it. "

The Sigma is not comparable to the Canon f/1.8, it is comparable to the f/1.2. You can also see this in the sample pictures on tdp's website -- the Sigma and Canon 85mm f/1.2 are fairly closely matched, and leave the other two (Zeiss and canon 85mm f/1.8) in the dust.  lenstip also has a glowing review and suggests that it is better than the top of the line brand lens among the non-Canon brands. 

Regarding filter sizes -- there is a slight disadvantage to having a filter size that is different from your other lenses because you can't share filters. Other than that, I wouldn't read too much into it. A faster lens is generally more likely to need a larger front element and hence larger filter size, but as far as performance is concerned the focal length/aperture spec is more relevant. The 85mm f/1.2 is definitely a faster lens and yet it has a smaller filter.

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Re: Canon 85 1.8 vs. Sigma 85 1.4
« Reply #17 on: May 03, 2012, 08:37:03 PM »
I had the Canon 85 1.8 and took it back for the Sigma.

The worst thing about the Sigma is that it focuses slower than the Canon 85 1.8 (but faster than 85 1.2); in every other way (except price!) it is better for me than the Canon 85 1.8.

I couldn't stand the purple and green fringing on my Canon 85 1.8 in high contrast areas of the pictures; the Sigma has some fringing as well but nowhere near as bad as my Canon was.

DJL329

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Re: Canon 85 1.8 vs. Sigma 85 1.4
« Reply #18 on: May 03, 2012, 08:39:37 PM »
I  bought a Sigma 85/1.4 just last week in addition to my new 135/2. I find the combination very workable. IQ of the sigma is fantastic. It is sharp with a MA of -3. DoF is so flat that I need to be careful how my objects' faces are positioned... Or go to f2.
I tested it against the canon, must admit only with the comparison tool on my 5D3 at the shop but at pixel level and full and found that you wouldn't take the canon if you see the sigma. You would be happy with the canon if you don't see the sigma.

Lol, maybe I should not go to the shop tomorrow:) A stupid question of mine, but the Canon has a filter thread of 58, and the Sigma 77. Does that matter at all? One would intuitively think that more glass would be better?

Not necessarily.  The larger front makes it easier for Sigma to create a faster lens; this alone doesn't mean it's a better design.  They do the same with their 50mm f/1.4, which is also 77mm.  The Canon 50mm f/1.4 is 58mm, just like their 85mm f/1.8.

Canon's 85mm f/1.2L II, which is a third of a stop faster than the Sigma, is actually smaller than the Sigma at 72mm.
« Last Edit: May 03, 2012, 08:41:19 PM by DJL329 »
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Re: Canon 85 1.8 vs. Sigma 85 1.4
« Reply #19 on: May 03, 2012, 10:09:41 PM »
I'd put in a vote for 85/1.8. It is one of, if not the best value lens in the Canon line-up. Yes, it will give you fringing wide-open and a little smaller, but this can be corrected. I disagree with others above who have claimed that this lens is not sharp wide, as I have found it to be usable all the way to 1.8 and very sharp thereafter, though there may be some copy variation, given it is not an L.

The AF is pretty quick, too. For this reason, I usually throw it in the bag with the 35L for streets, which gives me plenty of extra reach without having to run toward my subjects, scaring some of them off and also works well for grabbing the "anomaly in the crowd" shot.

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Re: Canon 85 1.8 vs. Sigma 85 1.4
« Reply #20 on: May 04, 2012, 07:19:57 AM »
Thank you all for the input. It has helped a lot.
I went to the store today to test them on my 5D II, and I kind of liked both, although I have to say that the Sigma has some heft to it - nice weight that lies good in the hand, and gave excellent pictures. Both lenses had a very creamy nice bokeh. The problem with green and purple fringing was very evident on the samples I took with the Canon, - see attached pictures.
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spinworkxroy

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Re: Canon 85 1.8 vs. Sigma 85 1.4
« Reply #21 on: May 04, 2012, 11:36:35 AM »
I guess the 5D3's CA lens correction thing really helps the 85m f1.8 then…
i personally don't use the 85mm much so i couldn't justufy getting the Sigma when i got the 1.8 at about USD300 used and even at 1.8 (which is use very often when i use the lens), i don't get the purple or green tint..I wouldn't say it's a super sharp lens but it's very worth the money and unless you are going to use 85mm alot..i don't see how spending so much more for the Sigma or the 1.2 makes monetary sense

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Re: Canon 85 1.8 vs. Sigma 85 1.4
« Reply #21 on: May 04, 2012, 11:36:35 AM »

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Re: Canon 85 1.8 vs. Sigma 85 1.4
« Reply #22 on: May 04, 2012, 11:37:46 AM »
Adding also a shot and a 100 percent crop with the Sigma of the guy in the store.
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Re: Canon 85 1.8 vs. Sigma 85 1.4
« Reply #23 on: May 04, 2012, 11:46:11 AM »
I guess the 5D3's CA lens correction thing really helps the 85m f1.8 then…
i personally don't use the 85mm much so i couldn't justufy getting the Sigma when i got the 1.8 at about USD300 used and even at 1.8 (which is use very often when i use the lens), i don't get the purple or green tint..I wouldn't say it's a super sharp lens but it's very worth the money and unless you are going to use 85mm alot..i don't see how spending so much more for the Sigma or the 1.2 makes monetary sense

I've also heard that the 5D III does correct for a lot in the camera. As far as monetary sense or not (this is not my occupation, but I do some small jobs now and then) I think for me all camera expenses are justified for my utter joy of taking pictures.  I was shooting a wedding (after the paid photographer had taken the official shots during the ceremony), and I did it as a favour to a friend (I was also a guest). I had brought my 135 F2.0, 70-200 F2.8 II, 16-35 F2.8 II, 24-70 F2.8, and finally my 50 F1.4. Everything was fine, but I sensed that the 135 was too long for many of the shots, and afterwards I felt that 85 would be a good range lens while moving between people.
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risc32

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Re: Canon 85 1.8 vs. Sigma 85 1.4
« Reply #24 on: May 05, 2012, 11:44:57 PM »
I would love to be shadowed by a guy with all that gear while shooting a wedding ;)

 Is it just me or is that sigma shot have nothing in focus? it's just that i'm on my laptop, and usually everything looks really great, even when it's not, yet that... 
 Not that it matters really, as that lens has gotten lots of good press for sharpness, when in focus, and there doesn't seem to be any debating that. Apparently it's easy to make a good 85mm 1.4 lens. One that focuses well seems to be a different story. Brian at the-digital-picture has had problems with LOTS of sigma gear. read his reviews. They always start with something like," i had to go though 4 of these to get one that even focuses repeatedly". he's not alone, the lens rental guy(who probably has much more real data about these things than anyone) and other places have the same problem. 
Personally i wouldn't even consider a sigma after the 2months of BS they did to me one time while they had my lens in for focus issues. i mentioned it once before on this site, but they had my lens, and told me they where waiting on a part from japan that was coming over by SHIP, sometime. After they scratched up my new 24mm 1.8 (while also in for major focus issues)and then that other mess, it would have to be one VERY compelling reason for me ever look at them. I was running minolta/sony gear mostly at that point, and as it turned out while sigma was busy wasting my time I got my hands on a 5d and 70-200mm f4IS at a local store, and that was that... :)

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Re: Canon 85 1.8 vs. Sigma 85 1.4
« Reply #25 on: May 06, 2012, 02:15:16 AM »
I would love to be shadowed by a guy with all that gear while shooting a wedding ;)

LOL, I hear you. I did not start shooting before the official photographer was done, and I actually had to make a point of it to the groom, pointing out that it would be rude to the professional if I kept shooting over their shoulders:)


Is it just me or is that sigma shot have nothing in focus? it's just that i'm on my laptop, and usually everything looks really great, even when it's not, yet that... 

I think that might have been the shooters; - me, fault.

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Re: Canon 85 1.8 vs. Sigma 85 1.4
« Reply #26 on: May 06, 2012, 04:15:17 AM »
I have the 85 1.4 sigma and if its in your budget then Its a fantastic lens
It is my favourite portrait lens 9 circular aperture blades make for excellent bokeh and blur
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Re: Canon 85 1.8 vs. Sigma 85 1.4
« Reply #27 on: May 06, 2012, 11:43:33 AM »
I have the 85 1.4 sigma and if its in your budget then Its a fantastic lens
It is my favourite portrait lens 9 circular aperture blades make for excellent bokeh and blur

I think I am ordering it tomorrow:) On the photozone.de page they write in the conclusion that: " The amount of bokeh fringing (LoCAs) is on the high side though so you may spot some colored out-of-focus halos in critical situations. ". Someone in here suggested that this might be solved by the use of a good UV filter. In your experience, would an expensive UV filter like one from B&W help with this? And finally, have you had any problem with this, and if so, is it an easy fix in photoshop? (I have the CS5 extended).
1Dx, 5x600 EX RT, ST-E3Canon:16-35L II,  24-105L , 70-200L IS II, 135L, 100L, 2x III TC, EF 25II, 40 F2.8 STM, Sigma 35 F1.4 Art, Sigma 50 F1.4 Art, Sigma 85 F1.4, Sigma 150-500.
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Re: Canon 85 1.8 vs. Sigma 85 1.4
« Reply #27 on: May 06, 2012, 11:43:33 AM »

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Re: Canon 85 1.8 vs. Sigma 85 1.4
« Reply #28 on: May 06, 2012, 12:11:37 PM »
Love my Sigma 85mm 1.4 I would say it's the one lens with the highest IQ and I ven never get enough of it. That said I have not tried the Canon 1.8 in comparison, but from the reviews I read I was confident that the Sigma was simply the better option. So far I have certainly not regretted it.
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Re: Canon 85 1.8 vs. Sigma 85 1.4
« Reply #29 on: May 06, 2012, 02:23:42 PM »
I am about to buy a 85mm, and the 1.2 is out of the question due to the price, and also out of the question are the manual focus only lenses. The Photozone.de rates the Canon very highly, and the Sigma low, while the digital picture gives the Sigma a high score. Buying the Canon is much cheaper.

Has anyone tried both these lenses, and which would you go for?

My use will mainly be portrait on a 5D II.

Photozone without question got a bad copy of the Sigma 1.4. They show the boarder and corner performance to be lower than almost any Canon lens out there, yet if you look at any of other comparison online it has fantastic corner performance. For example they show the Sigma has worse boarder performance than the 24-105mm yet it has substantially better performance.

The Sigma 1.4 is an earth shatteringly fantastic lens, it is unimaginably sharp and has some of the best bokeh out there. Also a big plus is that it has much lower purple fringing than the Canon 85mm 1.2 II L, on top of that it is noticably sharper wide open, and is sharper overall stopped down (mid frame sharpness) , and focuses noticably faster. The only downsides are slightly higher lateral CA and slightly worse extreme corners stopped down (though overall sharpness is better stopped down again), and vignette that creeps up slightly quicker, though the corner darkening is equal.

I got the Sigma 1.4 over the Canon 1.2 II - Purple fringing and wide open sharpness were the main motivations there. The Sigma 85mm 1.4 is also better than the Canon 85mm 1.8 in every single little way except for focusing speed and some very minor additional lateral CA which is a non-issue.

Simply put the Sigma 85mm 1.4 is one of the best lenses out there and is on another level compared to the Canon 85mm 1.8, 1.2 or 1.2 II.

Also I highly recommend getting DxO's software to correct purple fringing, you have to turn the settings to maximum but this lens has just enough purple fringing to be corrected at maximum settings by the DxO software. The Canon 1.2 II had more than the maximum that DxO could correct.

I have seen some very significant copy varriation though but I got lucky with my first copy. Even if you have to return a few it's more than worth it though, this lens will impress you.

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Re: Canon 85 1.8 vs. Sigma 85 1.4
« Reply #29 on: May 06, 2012, 02:23:42 PM »