This test is a side-by-side comparison of the above lenses – meaning you will actually be able to see the exact differences in an A/B comparison. And well, C and D and E, too. This review is for anyone who is interested in seeing facts, instead of “Look-how-great-this-lens-is” images of lamps on bedroom ceilings. Speaking of this, I also wanted to use images that I’d actually shoot, and not pictures of the mess on my office desk or the storage in my back yard. Or stuff like that. You get the idea.
Interested? Good, let’s do this.
No introduction, kids, because if you’re reading this, you don’t need no introduction. I’ll give you a summary instead:
- Let’s start with this one, because it’s so simple to sum up: The Nikkor 58/1.4G is a plain joke.
- The Zeiss Otus as well as the Sigma Art are unbelievably great and yes, they do live up to their marketing hype. Tack sharp wide open, and I mean tack sharp: Sharpness doesn’t improve substantially when stopping down, they are really that sharp, wide open. This is the most impressive feature, but there’s lots more, of course.
- The Zeiss is heavier than the Sigma and lacks the auto focus, which is a complete downturn for me. Let’s face it, as much as you can get used to manual focussing, with a f/1.4 lens, you produce a lot of missed-focus shots. Why? Because the focusing screens aren’t made for loving you, baby. Not anymore. They’re optimized for brightness and don’t provide you with the right amount of un-sharpness to judge focus properly. Seriously, forget manual focus if you need to rely on good shots outside a still life situation.
- What’s the weakness of the Sigma, then? There are some small ones (BTW: bokeh is not one of them), outweighed by several big pluses. Read the review or jump to the summary on the last page to hear about them.
- The 50mm Nikkors are great little gems that perform well, although of course they’re nothing in that wide-open sharpness league of the Sigma and the Zeiss. The rest is actually pretty impressive. Same thing here: Some issues, especially with the 1.4G, and most of them are fixed with the aspherical 1.8G. Read on or read the summary for details.
This is a long review, because it’s five lenses to be compared, and many aspects. Don’t worry, you’ll manage. If not, you can just jump to the last page and read the summary. Here’s what’s on offer:
Page 1: You are here.
Page 2: Perceived sharpness, focus shift
Page 3: Bokeh quality
Page 4: Sensitivity to bright light inside/outside the frame
Page 5: Vignetting, Coma, Sunstars, Color Rendition
Page 6: Handling & Quality
Page 7: Summary