1. Welcome to NikonCafe.com—a friendly Nikon camera & photography discussion forum!

    If you are thinking of buying a camera or need help with your photos, you will find our forum members full of advice! Click here to join for free!

Mythbusters--Cafe Edition!

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by 2nd Trick, Jul 19, 2007.

  1. 2nd Trick

    2nd Trick Guest

    The Nikon 180 2.8D is a highly regarded lens, and rightly so. Some call it the Married Man's 200 2.0, I agree. So it was quite a surprise to me when compared to my Sigma 50-150 at 150 (where, by the way, the internet gossip says this lens is at its poorest)

    And now for the images and 100% crops...all on a sturdy tripod...

    First the 5.6 test:


    and the crops:


    And now for the surprising 2.8 tests:


    And the crops:


    I did find that the Sigma was at its poorest at 150 but it actually beat the Nikon at 2.8 there. At any focal length below 150 the Sigma was unbeatable, in fact at 50mm it bested the Nikon 50 1.4 that I tested it against at 2.8 and above.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 19, 2007
  2. Jonathan P.

    Jonathan P.

    Jul 10, 2007
    I guess I'm just not seeing what you're seeing.

    In the first two images, the 180mm lens appears to have better contrast, micro-contrast, and sharpness, though oddly I find it harder to see a difference in the 100% crops.

    In the last two images, the trunk of the tree appears sharper with the 180mm lens, which again shows better contrast. (I'm assuming you focused on the tree trunk, since the birdhouse looks a little OOF in both images).

    I don't know how far away you were from the tree in the last few images, but at similar apertures, the 180mm f/2.8 would have significantly less depth-of-field than the Sigma at 150mm, which could explain the lack of focus on the birdhouse in the case of the former. From what I can see, though, it really does appear that the two lenses focused on different places in the tree test at f/2.8.

    Not saying that the Sigma isn't for real, just testing your methodology. ;-)
  3. cotdt


    Jul 14, 2007
    Bay Area, USA
    yes the 180 is bettar
  4. sweet - but why does the 100% crop of the sigma look noisier (bird house shot)

    Also, the 3rd party lenses seems like they have more sample variations, over the course of owning several copies of Sigma 70-200 F2.8, I can say they are definitely not the same, or close to be the same.
  5. cwilt


    Apr 24, 2005
    Denver, CO
    I would call the 135/2 DC the married man's 200 on a DX body.:wink:

    What camera was this test done with? If this was done with a D2x or 2xs then the Sigma did very well but from what I can see the 180 still wins. When I was doing resolution tests the difference was not that noticable on a D70, but when it was a different story when tested with the D2x. I do print and usually poster size. At that size I can tell a difference between the 180 and the 70-200vr.

    Just my opinion.:smile:
  6. Brent M

    Brent M

    Aug 13, 2006
    The focus point on the birdhouse shot is fairly different. The stick behind the birdhouse is much sharper in the Sigma shot.
  7. Tosh


    May 6, 2005
    I think Brent is right. The focus point differs markedly between the two birdhouse images, as shown by the differing sharpness of the vertical branch above the birdhouse and the foliage to the right of the tree trunk.

    Still, what's in focus in the non-cropped shot is sharp. It does look like the 50-150 performed admirably.
    But to pronounce one lens the sharpness winner, you'll need another comparison test with identical focus points.
    I'd be interest in seeing those results.
  8. dgh3


    Mar 13, 2006
    Syracuse, NY
    I've also been extremely impressed with my Sigma 50-150. I find that it is very sharp at f/2.8 and beyond. I did comparisons between it and my 85 and 50 1.8's, and find the Sigma sharper.
  9. yamo


    Jun 28, 2007
    Santa Cruz, CA

    Greetings. So is it just my eyes or does the 50-150 f5.6 image of the brick wall show substantial pincushion distortion?


  10. yamo


    Jun 28, 2007
    Santa Cruz, CA
    Ah, testing my eyes... a hint (maybe, a hint of a glimmer?) of pincushion on the right so the left is the 180?


  11. Give up!
  12. DABO


    Jan 13, 2006
    Steve - based on your newest test, I'm willing to agree that the two lenses are equal at f/5.6 in the center. How about at f/2.8 and how about the corners?

    I just have to shake my head a bit. My 180/2.8 is really sharp and it's hard to believe that a third party zoom could match it.

  13. Chris101


    Feb 2, 2005
    Regardless of who "wins" it's good to see quality, alternative lenses coming from Sigma!
  14. The 180 is a nice lens but those two shouldn't be mentioned in the same ROOM, much less in the same sentence. They both have glass in them. They both will hook to a Nikon camera. That's about it.

  15. I personally don't own any of the lenses and have too little experience at lenses at all to be a judge. But, I do like guessing games! :smile: 180 is on the right.

    Anyway, 50-150 looks promising!
  16. It is hard to believe cuz I have a 180/2.8 myself and I'm a Sigma fan. I shoot only Nikkor and Sigma (so far) and have used Sigma lenses on my Pentax film cameras in the past. I have watched them become world class lens designer and builder and those Nikon/Canon/Pentax/etc-phobes among us are really missing out by not giving the Sigma EX series a chance. I have the good fortune to have a great relationship with a privately owned camera store that lets my try any lens they have when it's in inventory. So ... understanding that I have very little empirical evidence to back what am about to write (just impressions from using them for a short time in some cases), a few thoughts:
    1) You'd be hard pressed to find a definitive winner between the Sigma 30/1.4 and Nikkor 35/2. Shop price.

    2) The large size and weight of some Sigma primes is a negative. My take is that Sigma had a reason for it (even if I don't know what it is) and if I think the Sigma 28/1.8 is a better all around choice for me over the Nikkor 28/2.8 (and I do), then that's what I'll buy.

    3) I prefer the Nikkor AF 300/2.8 over the Sigma version by a wide margin. Sigma has an excellent performer here but the Nikkor, in all its versions, is just superb all around.

    4) If you can find a better all purpose zoom in the range of the EX 100-300/4, buy it.

    5) Stickin my neck out a bit here but what the hell. I have used several versions of the Nikkor AF/AF-S 80-200/2.8 and a few examples from friends of the marvelous 70-200/2.8 VR. A good example of the Sigma EX 70-200/2.8 HSM is as good end to end from f4 to f11. My example was sharp at f2.8 but not quite on par with the competition. It does focus faster than the other two AF-S lenses though.

    6) I can't tell the difference between close-up and macro shots with the AF Nikkor 200/4 and the Sigma EX 150/2.8. As an all-purpose lens the Sigma is the better of the two but just a tad. The Nikkor needs to be stopped down a bit when shooting at a distance. I haven't compared performance with TCs.

    7) The Sigma 150/2.8 and AF Nikkor 180/2.8D are both so good I am hard pressed to tell the difference in big prints from them. As a telephoto, the 150 matches the 180 stop for stop and it works better with the Sigma 1.4 TC than the 180 does with the Kenko Pro 300 1.4 TC, the only AF TC I could compare it against. Would not want to part with either one.

    8) The Nikkor 20/2.8 AF or MF is much better than the Sigma EX 20/1.8. Too bad too cuz I love the close focus feature of the three Sigma 1.8 WAs.

    9) Between 70mm and 135mm, no Sigma lens, except for the 70/2.8, comes close to the Nikkor 85/1.8, 85/1.4, and 105/2 DC. Do you think Sigma might be intimidated by the 85/1.4 and so has never produced one? I wonder how the Canon 85/1.2 stacks up?

    10) The Sigma EX 24-60/2.8 has no real match for its odd range but it is a world class wide to normal zoom that stacks up well againt any competition in its range including the AF 35-70/2.8.

    11)That said: No Sigma zoom similar to the Nikkor 17-35/2.8 really comes close to it. Same for the 17-55/2.8. I have never used the Beast so I can't comment on any similar Sigma. I will say that I think my best with my 24-60/2.8 rivals what I see from the 28-70/2.8. The Sigma 24-70/2.8 and 28-70/2.8 are not quite in its class, the 24-70 being the better of the two.

    12) Sigma v. Nikkor 14mm - a toss up.

    13) Sigma 12-24 has the best rectilinearity and lowest CA of anything and everything in its class. My choice hands down.
  17. DABO


    Jan 13, 2006
    Wow, Mike. That's quite a manifesto.

    I'm not a Sigma-phobe myself. I have two at the moment - the 70mm macro and the 100-300 f/4.

    I had the Sigma 30/1.4 and sold it. I also had the Sigma 24-60 and sold that as well. They were okay, but they didn't do it for me.

    I also had a Sigma 70-200 and it was really sharp, shouldn't have sold that one. Then I had a Sigma 70-200 DG macro. That one wasn't as sharp and it's gone.

    Just seems far-fetched to me that a 3rd party zoom, even if it was one of Sigma's best, could match the 180. Not impossible, just unlikely.

    Why do you keep both the Sigma 150 and the Nikkor 180?

  18. Much as I suspected.
    I love my Sigma 70-200 macro, 10-20 and 30 1.4.
    I'm sure the comparable Nikons are great lenses, but because I already own the Sigmas I see no need to switch them.
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.