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D5000 - Nikkor 35mm f/1.8 or Sigma 30mm f/1.4?

Discussion in 'Nikon DX DSLR Forum' started by iandroo888, Apr 30, 2011.

  1. iandroo888


    Oct 15, 2010
    Las Vegas, NV
    Hello everyone. Technically quite new to this forum and i wanted to ask a question i am facing currently right now.I started photography in Nov 2009 after about 2 years of "playing with once in a while" with someones DSLR... To the limit of my current equip, I want a fast prime lens. Current setup is shown in my signature. As setup shows, even the "fastest" is only up to f/3.5... which is eh... a little "blurred" background but u can tell quite easily what it is still....

    i want a fast prime to not only have a faster shutter speed to work with in lower lighted conditions and to have the "same focal length as normal human sight..." or somewhere close to it, but i want that ooo so nice bokeh that blurs to the point that you cant really tell whats behind the object of focus...

    I have borrowed and used the Nikkor 35mm f/1.8 a few times.. and read a few reviews on it. It has been said the AF-S 35mm f/1.8G DX lens is a low price prime lens which is unbelievably sharp. AF speed seems quite slow, like the 18-105mm, and lastly, "eh" in the bokeh area. As for the 30mm f/1.4 by Sigma, its 1/3? 2/3? stop faster, most solid, sturdy build, HSM for fast speed AF, But some reviews had said its a bit soft wide open but the bokeh is "super creammmmyyy" (what does that mean anyway ??? :confused:  )

    Considering the shortage on the 35mm now due to the recent japan earthquake, was considering the 30mm by sigma. i have used it once, on a d40, way before i started photography myself with my own DSLR. if i remember correctly, it looked pretty good. snappy AF speed. but thats about all i can remember, esp since i was a "noob" xD

    What are your "professional" opinions on this dilemma?? nikon or sigma? and iunoe that little dinky 52mm size kind of annoys me considering i have like a 67mm on the 18-105 and 77mm on 12-24... but tryin to not let that be a factor in this decision haha


    uhh wot... my signature didnt show up *copies and pastes temporarily*

    Nikon D5000 (Nikkor AF-S 12-24mm f/4G IF-ED (B+W F-Pro 77mm UV) | Nikkor AF-S 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR (Hoya HD 67mm UV) | Speedlight SB-800 | LowePro SlingShot 100AW | TimBuk2 Snoop Camera | Crumpler Industry Disgrace) | Picasa
  2. GH41


    Nov 18, 2008
    Buy the 35-1.8 used. I am still seeing them for 175-200. I personaly will not play the Sigma lottery! I don't want to open the with or without filter argument but why would you use a UV filter on a lens with a hood like the 35? You would have to try hard to damage that lens with the hood in place. It's all you can do to get the cap on and off! If you shoot without the hood just get a step-up ring and use the 62mm filter you have if you think you need protection. GH
  3. Patrick


    Jan 14, 2011
    I'm also in between those two lenses... De "Creamy" Bokeh means every thing out of focus is soft and "creamy" read more about it here for a better and full explanation and examples.

    Here are my pros and cons:

    Nikkor 35mm 1.8 DX
    + Cheap (around €180-190)
    + Nikkor vs Sigma
    + QC is better
    - 1.8 vs 1.4 Sigma
    - Plastic (I "USE" my lenses... harsh environments and stuff)
    - 52mm (a 77 -> 52 step down is almost impossible to find)
    - I like it a bit wider (although 24mm is too wide)
    - Worse Bokeh

    Sigma 30mm 1.4
    + 1.4 vs 1.8 Nikkor
    + Metal barrel
    + 62mm vs 52mm (easier stepdown ring in case I want my ND filters on it)
    + 30mm is better than 35... (24 too wide, 28-30 is my fav out of the 35 vs 30)
    + Better Bokeh
    - It's a Lottery (Quality Check misses lemons more than at Nikon)
    - it's €380.- vc €180.-
    - "Sigma" vs "Nikkor"
    - Heavier

    I've seen incredible results from the Sigma but also some terrifying pictures of AF accuracy...

    I'm leaning towards the Sigma, but not sure right now...
  4. I owned both the Sigma 30/1.4 and the Nikon 35/1.8 concurrently for several months and was able to compare the two. FWIW, I also owned the Sigma 50/1.4 and Nikon 50/1.4G concurrently for 20 months.

    My own impressions from my own usage ...

    Sigma 30/1.4:

    + Bokeh that is noticeably softer, creamier, and more "ethereal" than the 35/1.8. There is a major exception, below.

    + Less annoying CA than the 35/1.8.

    + Somewhat wider field of view than the 35/1.8. It's quite noticeable and usually more useful.

    + 2/3 stops faster than the 35/1.8.

    + Better build quality -- metal barrel underneath.

    + Faster initial focus acquisition with its HSM.

    - Ugly bokeh for point light (specular highlight) sources at f/2.8 and smaller. Point light sources at f/2.8, f/4, etc. are, to me, ugly hexagons and not circles. Not a problem at f/1.4 and f/2.0, but even fast f/1.4 primes are at times shot at f/2.8.

    - While I think my copy was good and focus was usually accurate, I didn't think it focused as consistently as the 35/1.8.

    - Bulkier and heavier, noticeably so.

    - Softer in the sides and corners than the 35/1.8.

    - Colors are less accurate -- a distinctive warmer tone to the lens, especially in the red channel. While some people like it, I much prefer a neutral lens that lets me add warmth in post-processing as necessary.

    - I dislike the "old" Sigma EX finish that can show rub marks easily and, in more extreme cases, peel or flake off. I don't know if Sigma has gone to the "new" EX finish with this lens, as they have with the 50/1.4 and 85/1.4.

    - There's the "Sigma roulette" factor and plenty of horror stories of getting a bad copy with this lens. It is now the oldest of the current Sigma 1.4 primes. I suspect Sigma has made improvements in design over time. DO NOT buy this lens without a good return policy, or unless you're willing to send it in to Sigma to get it calibrated under warranty (though you have to pay to ship it to them).

    - Not guaranteed to work with all current and, for quite some time, future Nikon bodies. Will the 30/1.4 AF in Live View on the D7000?

    - Not usable at all on full-frame.

    - More expensive.

    Nikon 35/1.8:

    + Sharper on the sides and the corners in general, and in the center at some apertures.

    + Focus is consistently accurate.

    + Significantly smaller and lighter. Truly a "lightweight prime."

    + Point light sources (specular highlights) in bokeh are nicely rounded across the aperture range.

    + "Somewhat usable" on full-frame depending on aperture and subject distance.

    + Colors are more accurate.

    + Cheaper.

    + Guaranteed to AF properly with all current, and, for quite some time, future Nikon bodies.

    - Bokeh ranges from good to "meh" depending on the background -- of course bokeh is subjective. Too much CA in specular highlights.

    - Initial focus acquisition is noticeably slower.

    - 2/3 stop slower than the Sigma.

    - Plasticky, feels cheap.

    - Currently hard to fine at a normal price.

    In the end, the less consistently accurate focus of the Sigma and the ugly (to me) hexagonal specular highlights at f/2.8 offset the ethereal bokeh. I liked the Nikon's sharpness and light + compact nature as a "standard prime." So I sold the Sigma and have not regretted it since.

    FWIW, I actually prefer the Sigma 50/1.4 over the Nikon 50/1.4G. The Sigma 50/1.4 corrects a number of issues of the 30/1.4, especially the hexagonal specular highlights at f/2.8.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 30, 2011
  5. iandroo888


    Oct 15, 2010
    Las Vegas, NV
    Wow very detailed reviews. if i were to buy the sigma 30mm used, would it be a good idea to get sigma, with the certainty of knowing what u are getting from previous owner? or still not worth it?
  6. Patrick


    Jan 14, 2011
    Bill, on what body did you test the lenses? Because 1.4 requires an even better af senspr than 1.8...

    I think I'll go with the sigma if I can find a good copy... Currently using a 24 2.8 sigma (old analog age) and this still shoots great except for the af which had it's time (and bumps/hits to the lense over the 7 or 8 years...

    Thanks for the comparison :) ...
  7. I would only buy the Sigma 30/1.4 used from someone I trust, or a seller offering a good return policy. Sending it in to Sigma for calibration outside of warranty would wipe out any savings in buying it used. And causes stress.

    Some sellers might claim that they'll include the original blank warranty card and original receipt, but I don't think the Sigma warranty is transferable?
  8. D90 and D300.

    I'd see the inconsistent focusing even at smaller apertures than f/1.4. I hate brick wall tests, but just for giggles one time I put the camera on the tripod with the lens and took ten shots in broad daylight. I made it reacquire AF with each shot.

    Sure enough, there were focus differences in some of the shots. I thought, "that explains it!"
  9. Patrick


    Jan 14, 2011
    hmmm the D300(s) AF unit is a very good one... hmmm makes me think, I'll test it even better in the store...
  10. This is just a snapshot I took with the 30/1.4. . Apologies if some folks don't like photos of kids eating (there was a thread about it a while ago). My daughter was trying to use chopsticks for the first time.

    I used f/2.8 because I wanted more of her eyelashes and the chopsticks in focus. The sharpness is blunted a bit because of the higher ISO I had to use.

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    On the positive side, the lens is quite sharp (eyelash detail) and the background is soft. On the negative side, the specular highlights (point light sources) are showing a hexagon shape. Not as noticeable with a smaller print or smaller monitor resolutions. But once I started noticing them, I couldn't help but notice them!

    Also - not as visible in this size, are signs of "onion bokeh" - structures within the specular highlights.
  11. I have a D5000 & the Nikon 35mm ƒ1.8g if this helps any...
  12. Patrick


    Jan 14, 2011
    Onion-rings are not that a big-deal as long as they are not far-apart, hexagons are a bit more... Although I'll be coming from a the 24mm f2.8 (which is too wide for me and 35 seems too long, having set my zoom lens on 35mm) which has both too (worse than the 30mm 1.4).

    I'm set. I'm going for the 30mm 1.4 as long as I can find a good sample: good AF and one with good IQ (for a 30mm1.4
  13. iandroo888


    Oct 15, 2010
    Las Vegas, NV
    it will be from a credible forum (FredMiranda).. bought and sold there a lot. have not had anything bad at all. think ill try out the 30mm f/1.4. maybe ill get lucky :] at least it wont be too much of a lottery buying used and having someone test it already.
  14. Patrick


    Jan 14, 2011
    Unless they sell it because of that reason ;) ! (the reason: focus problem or something like that)...

    I'm going to test one new tuesday in town and will pull the trigger then and there :) . The Nikon prices (in town) are already around 250 now.. Online they're more like 190-200... So have to "decide" soon if the sample is bad tuesday.
  15. iandroo888


    Oct 15, 2010
    Las Vegas, NV
    i dont think some people would risk their reputation for misinforming those things =3

    but the 30mm seem to be scarce lately.. haven't seen much of it.. :(  mostly if any, the canon counterpart. wish i knew of other forums like FM with buy n sell forum so i can maybe look for it in some other place.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 1, 2011
  16. FWIW, I purchased my Sigma 50/1.4 from someone on Nikon Cafe who happened to be selling it on eBay. I know the member would have noticed any issues and wouldn't knowingly sell a bad copy without at least mentioning it, so I was confident. Sure enough, good copy and I really like that lens.

    Good luck! And post samples!
  17. iandroo888


    Oct 15, 2010
    Las Vegas, NV
    wish i had enough posts to use this forum's market thread.. guess ill just try to get it some other way or wait.. D: lol
  18. No worries ... this forum's sale thread is nowhere near as active as FM, and it's not the focus anyway. You rarely see a Sigma 30/1.4 up for sale here.
  19. iandroo888


    Oct 15, 2010
    Las Vegas, NV
    oh. im tryin to be more active here since this is a nikon based forum. but still during school so gotta wait until after finals before i can be active. xD

    oh well.. thanks everyone for your opinions and experiences with the two lenses in question. will see which one ill be able to pick up ! maybe will update this thread when i can xDD
  20. Patrick


    Jan 14, 2011
    I bit the bullet, the Nikkor is nowhere available (2-3 some even saying 4 weeks in back-order!!!) I tried a sigma 30 1.4 in the store which was sharp at 1.4 but had FF close range and BF in long range...

    Ordered a 30 1.4 online, with a 10 day no-fee and free-shipping return policy, can't go wrong there. Would already order a Sun-Sniper "Steel and Bear" there so :) .

    We'll see tomorrow! Had luck with my 70-200 which rocked for almost 3 years steady, hoping for the same thing ;) .
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