Get your FREE Photography Guide

A guide to "Capturing Motion" in low light situations

NIKON 105mm f1.4 vs SIGMA 105mm f1.4 | SHOCKING RESULTS!

This is a side by side review of the Nikon 105 f1.4 vs the Sigma 105 f1.4 ART Bokeh Master. I personally own the Nikon version and had the Sigma version on loan directly from Sigma. I can honestly tell you I was shocked by the results so much so that I had to re-do some of the test three times to make sure they were actually correct.
Nikon 105 f1.4 at Adorama
Sigma 105 f1.4 at Adorama

Below you will find numerous ZIP files that have RAW DNG’s from both the Nikon and the Sigma tests
Nikon RAW’s 01
Nikon RAW’s 02
Nikon RAW’s 03
Nikon RAW’s 04

SIGMA 105mm f1.4 RAW FILES
Sigma RAW’s 01
Sigma RAW’s 02
Sigma RAW’s 03

Like Is said above, I personally own the Nikon 105 f1.4 and have found since owning it that I have major trouble getting the eye in focus while shooting at f1.4. I’ve even found myself at 2.2 or 2.5 still having trouble getting the eyes in focus. Now, with the Sigma lens I am time and time again nailing focus on the eye wide open at f1.4.

In my side by side images I noticed the sigma is CLEARLY sharper time and time again. The Nikon is sharp when you nail it but the Sigma nailed it almost every time and was sharper.

But it’s not all rainbows and butterflies for the Sigma. The Nn is clearly brighter, as in it lets in more light vs the Sigma based on the same exact exposure and same image. Where the Nikon was reading 1/160th of a second at f1.4, the Sigma in the same lighting conditions at f1.4 was reading 1/100th of a second. For whatever reason, the Nikon transmits light better through the elements to the image sensor.

There’s always talk about focus breathing when you compare lenses. The Nikon seems to be slightly longer than the Sigma. In my locked off on the tripod tests, I could clearly see that the Sigma was wider because it showed more of the bokeh balls on the right side of the frame. Could this be one of the reasons it nails focus more often than the Nikon? Is it truly a 105mm lens or is the Nikon possibly longer?

I am sure some of you would like to see more testing in regards to focus speed beyond the portraits I was shooting. What I can tell you is both of these lenses did not hunt or take long to focus at all. I tend to compare most fast glass and focus speed to the extremely slow focusing Canon 85 f1.2. Both of these lenses focused extremely fast for what I was shooting.

Hand Hold Ability.

The SIGMA is a massive lens that comes with a lens collar. The Nikon on the other hand does not have a lens collar and is pretty much weights a pound less. The first thing I did with the Sigma was remove the collar since I don’t ever shoot with one. Both lenses felt great in the hands and even at a pound heavier the Sigma didn’t feel off balance.

The SHOCKING RESULTS part for me is the fact that the Sigma was sharper time and time again. Both had nice color but at the end of the day if an image isn’t sharp it’s not really usable for me.