Saturday, May 2, 2015

Bokeh Blur Comparison Sigma 85mm f1.4 Vs Canon 85mm f1.8

This is not a lens head to head test and I will not be doing any details comparison of sharpness at every aperture.  My experience of lens sharpness is it does not make a huge difference unless it is really bad or you're printing "big".  No one has ever told me the photo would be so much better if it is shot with a sharper lens.  This lens comparison came about because of the recent change of direction to taking portraits with my 85mm f1.8 lens wide open.  I wondered what photos would be like with the Canon 85mm f1.2.  Having seen a few reviews of the 85mm f1.2 and knows it is slow to focus and sharpness is not better than the 85mm f1.8 @ f1.8.  I’ve decided it is not an option for me.  I then saw a Sigma 85mm f1.4 on eBay, made a bid and won it.  It is in great condition and I started to shoot with it straight away and love the bokeh it produces.  Now I have two very similar lenses and one has to be sold.  The decision on which lens to keep will be based on bokeh fully open.

Before I start, the Sigma lens is heavy, noticeably heavier than the Canon.  It uses 77mm filter against Canon which has 58mm filter thread.  When mounted on my 6D, I do notice the weight.  Also the focus speed on the Canon 85mm is faster.  The Sigma is fast but the Canon is just faster.  For portrait work, it is no problem.  From tests I’ve seen it is significantly faster than the Canon 85mm f1.2.

Canon 85mm f1.8 Vs Sigma 85mm f1.4

Here are comparison photos of the lovely Viktorija shot with both lenses.  Both lenses vignette.  If you are a jpeg shooter, the Canon may be the better option for you.  Lens illumination is not available for the Sigma lens, but with the Canon lens it can be corrected in camera automatically.  As you can see, the background is smoother with the Sigma lens.  Looking at 100%, sharpness is very similar between them.  There is really nothing between them.  The Canon 85mm f1.8 made a decent job of smooth background, the Sigma is only a little smoother.  Both lenses will do a very decent job of creating background blur.  Both of these photos were processed the same way but the Sigma lens seems to render the image warmer.

Sigma 85mm f1.4 100%

Canon 85mm f1.8 100%

Based on this test, I will be keeping the Sigma lens and will be selling my Canon 85mm f1.8.  It will go some way to offset the cost of purchasing the Sigma lens.  Here are a few more images shot with the Sigma lens all wide open.  These images were processed in Lightroom without any lens correction or retouching.

Model: Esha Arain

Model: Viktorija Dapsyte

Model: Viktorija Dapsyte

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