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FORUMS Canon Cameras, Lenses & Accessories Canon EF and EF-S Lenses 
Thread started 26 Aug 2012 (Sunday) 03:30
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Zeiss 85mm f/1.4 or Sigma 85mm f/1.4?

 
Xalanx
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Aug 26, 2012 03:30 |  #1

Hello all,

I need to make a decision between these two, since they're about the same in regard to price. I can't afford the 85L, it's out of the question.

I got the Zeiss for testing a few days and I'm simply blown away by the images it produces. I have a good keeper rate, because I have experience with manual focusing. I don't shoot sports or fast action, the lens will be used for portraits and lifestyle (which implies normal everyday movement of people, I'm good with that).

The build quality of the Zeiss doesn't require any introduction, the focusing ring is superb as well.

However... I have not tested the Sigma, yet. I may not be able to get it for a few days, to make a difference against the Zeiss - I'll probably just test it in the store.

I am interested in:

- is Sigma prone to AF issues? Because as I understand, using it MF is out of the question, can't be accurate because of the short focus path
- for those who got the Sigma and it was spot-on, did this change over time? Or is it reliable?
- Zeiss is phenomenal with the color tones, how is the Sigma? How are the images in post processing, are they easily to work on (DR, etc), any problems?

My guts tell me to get the Zeiss, because the image is fantastic and the lens will last forever. But the lazy part of me would like to have the Sigma.


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Earwax69
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Aug 26, 2012 04:29 |  #2

Do you already have the ef85mm f1.8?


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Xalanx
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Aug 26, 2012 04:47 |  #3

Earwax69 wrote in post #14907707 (external link)
Do you already have the ef85mm f1.8?

I have tested that and it's out of the question for many reasons. I only have to choose between Zeiss and Sigma now.


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n1as
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Aug 26, 2012 06:13 |  #4

Subscribed!

I had a Sigma for a while. I needed an 85 for basketball and wanted something sharper at f/2 than my prior 85 f1.8. It also had to AF well to keep up with the action. I also wanted it for general photography.

I found the lens to be rather nice optically. It was sharp at f/1.4 through f/2 with a very smooth bokeh. Contrast was good and colors were good. In the time I had it, I never got a 3D image out of it though (didn't expect to) so it is not exactly a Zeiss. The down-fall was AF.

For action shooting, the lens did surprisingly well on my 1D IIn (no MA). On my 7D it required +18 MA for most stuff but +10 for indoor shooting. I figured the indoor lighting was throwing it off. Odd. I ended up sending my 7D in for focus calibration as all my lenses required +7 to +18 MA. After the calibration, all my other lenses were between +3 and +10 MA but the Sigma needed +20. Hmmm. I ended up buying an 85 f/1.8 and found it was sharper than the Sigma. You had to go to 100% to see it but it was there. I think I got lucky with the 85 f/1.8.

Manual focus of the Sigma wasn't terrible. The AF ring does not have much throw but it was fairly tightly coupled to the focus mechanism so you didn't have to deal with a bunch of backlash. No was near as nice as a dedicated MF lens like the Zeiss.

I assume you know about the significant focus shift with the Zeiss 85, right?

If I were to buy one today, I'd be getting the Zeiss. My Canon is my AF 85 choice. A Sigma or Zeiss would be solely for non-action shooting and I'd be looking for as much IQ as possble.


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omegaone
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Aug 26, 2012 06:23 |  #5

If you don't mind to do manual focusing. Try Zeiss 100.

Last year I confused between Canon 85L and Zeiss 100. I know the Zeiss produce better color and detail but since I'm lazy to do manual focusing and I shoot wedding then I choose Canon 85L


Canon 5D3 | 17-40 f4L | 24-105 f4L IS | 70-200 f2.8L IS II | 85 f1.2L II | 100 f2.8L IS
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Xalanx
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Aug 26, 2012 06:26 |  #6

Thanks, n1as!

Yup, the Zeiss has focus shift. But it's only for closeup shots and the workaround is to shoot with Live View. However the closeup shots are a minimal part in what I shoot and well... who needs f/1.4 for a closeup, really? I took several headshots and it's best at around f3.5 - f4 with a very nice bokeh for a reasonable distance background. No focus shift in this case.

To be honest, I have some Sigma experience, but not with the 85. I have the 50 "Sigmalux" as it's called. It's unreliable and I usually overshoot some scenes if I'm playing around with large apertures. In the future will be replaced with Zeiss 50, for sure.


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Xalanx
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Aug 26, 2012 06:29 |  #7

omegaone wrote in post #14907856 (external link)
If you don't mind to do manual focusing. Try Zeiss 100.

Last year I confused between Canon 85L and Zeiss 100. I know the Zeiss produce better color and detail but since I'm lazy to do manual focusing and I shoot wedding then I choose Canon 85L

Yea I thought of the 100 makro planar. But first of all, it's quite more expensive, second it's not as fast and third - I want an 85, I already have the Canon 100 macro.


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Aug 26, 2012 06:58 |  #8

I rented the Zeiss once and was simply blown away by the quality of the images. Growing up with Manual focus made it not such a big deal to me. With portraits and fast primes you have to be careful even with AF that it doesn't focus on the nose and such short DOF that eyes are soft. I think your heart is telling you to get the Zeiss ;)


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Maverique
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Aug 26, 2012 08:25 |  #9

What's focus shift?


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omegaone
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Aug 26, 2012 08:33 |  #10

Xalanx wrote in post #14907866 (external link)
Yea I thought of the 100 makro planar. But first of all, it's quite more expensive, second it's not as fast and third - I want an 85, I already have the Canon 100 macro.

Canon 100 macro vs Zeiss 100 is very different if we compared the details

Why don't you try to rent the Zeiss 100?


Canon 5D3 | 17-40 f4L | 24-105 f4L IS | 70-200 f2.8L IS II | 85 f1.2L II | 100 f2.8L IS
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Xalanx
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Aug 26, 2012 09:11 |  #11

omegaone wrote in post #14908088 (external link)
Canon 100 macro vs Zeiss 100 is very different if we compared the details

Why don't you try to rent the Zeiss 100?

Even the 85 ZE is different in details, not only the 100. But I want an 85, for the reasons above.


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Aug 26, 2012 09:41 |  #12

Maverique wrote in post #14908065 (external link)
What's focus shift?

Focus shift of the Zeiss is where you focus on a subject at F1.4(wide open). You are actually taking the image at F8 but the camera allows you to focus on the object wide open (all lenses do this unless you change it). It then reduces the aperture to F8 when it takes the picture. The focus is off at the F8 aperture.


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Xalanx
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Aug 26, 2012 14:40 |  #13

C'mon, proud Sigma owners!
I saw a lot of people having this lens on this forum, was hoping for more input regarding AF reliability.


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jerbear00
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Aug 26, 2012 21:04 |  #14

Sigma is a great lens. Personally I am too blind to shoot zeiss reliably. Also, even using LV I was never convinced they are any better though I have never shot the 85. I own the L and IMHO it's the best and when I owned the sigma I got very similar results


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Aug 26, 2012 21:28 |  #15

Xalanx wrote in post #14909302 (external link)
C'mon, proud Sigma owners!
I saw a lot of people having this lens on this forum, was hoping for more input regarding AF reliability.

Apart from needing +12 MA, mine is reasonably reliable. Most of the time it is fine. Just occasionally I get a scene that with the 5DII, I just can't get a good AF lock. It's not as smooth as some of my other lenses in Al-servo, but it does OK with the center point on the 5DII and with the outer points in decent light.

IQ I think is good, I'm perfectly happy with it anyway. It's not tack-sharp at f1.4, but definitely not soft either. I don't have any Zeiss lenses to compare though. Contrast is good/high. First lens that I actually noticed a contrast difference when PP and it seems higher than my other lenses.


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Zeiss 85mm f/1.4 or Sigma 85mm f/1.4?
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