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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    God's Country - Australia
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    Sigma 150mm VS Nikkor 105VR

    ok, i've had the sigma for a while now and have recently had the pleasure of using the 105VR which i subsequently bought. There have been alot of questions about macro lens' in here and i've always recommended the sigma so i thought i'd give people a rundown of the tests i've been doing in numerous side by side comparisons so i can give people a better idea on the performance of these 2 lens' for macro work.

    i'm not going to post any pics cos there's just too many of them, and quite frankly, i'm too lazy, so you'll just have to take my word on it. lol

    AF speed: Nikkor wins by miles.
    it's actually a very fast AF lens which surprised the hell outta me. its faster than the 50mm f1.8 which is pretty darn quick. thats amazing really considering all the glass in there and the fact that its a macro lens. especially if you manually focus first to get roundabout the point then use the AF, it locks on instantly. so this is can double as an ideal portrait lens while the sigma is just too cumbersome to use for that. the sigma takes a while, frustratingly so at some points. it feels sluggish and downright pedestrian by comparison.

    AF accuracy: Nikkor hands down.
    it just didnt miss a beat. even really low contrast items, it locks on almost every time. the sigma worked much better on my d300 than my d80 but still, not in the same league. this is particualrly evident using the extreme AF points. on say 50% of occasions in dim light or low contrast the sigma will hunt first.

    Sharpness at small apertures: Even
    couldn't pick any difference even at 100%. they are both amazingly sharp. however, if you are planning on using the 1.7tc then expect to lose a significant amount of sharpness. much more so than when i use the TC with the 70-200VR.

    Sharpness at large apertures: Nikkor by a whisker
    very marginal differences when viewed at 100% at f2.8, f4 and f5.6. but normal viewing, even 50% crops, no differences evident at all. TC result as above.

    Contrast: Sigma by a country mile
    one thing i've always loved about the sigma is its awesome contrast. it resoundingly smacks the nikkor's butt here. at every aperture the sigma is better and more vibrant. this is especially evident in crops, but even in full size, the sigma is noticeably more contrasty which personally, i like. this is really frustrating for me cos it means i will have to add astep in my PP with the nikkor where i never had to touch it with the sigma.

    Colour: Even
    the sigma's colours always appear more saturated and vivid, mainly due to the contrast i suspect. the nikkor's were neutral every time and more accurate. depending on the shot, one lens will outperform the other. for shots where the colour saturation is important the sigma is the winner. for shots where the colour accuracy is more improtant then the nikkor is nicer. an important thing to note here is that with the nikkor you can bump up your sauration and retain alot of detail in the colour, the sigmas contrasty nature sometimes removed all the detail in bold colours which you cant ever get back.

    Lens Handling: Nikkor by miles
    its just beautiful to use. MF ring is huge, its light enuf to handhold comfrotabley. it fits in the hand nicely and has perfect balance. the sigma has always felt a little clunky to use and i've never been really that comfortable shooting with it handheld. and of course, the nikkor has VR so its handholdability is increased again cos the VR works perfectly allowing you to get shots at insane shutter speeds that are still sharp. this is really useful, much more so than i expected...even with flash.

    Build Quality: Nikkor by a decent margin
    both very well built lens' but the nikon has the edge in finish and it just feels like it can never bust. the lens hood is also superb on the nikkor. it's just about as nice as the 70-200 and thats really saying something.

    Manual Focus: Nikkor by a whisker.
    the damping of the MF ring is just right making it easy to MF with one finger. the position of the MF ring, (due to the size of the lens i suspect), is right where you need it aswell. the sigma is a bit harder, is damped a little too much and you need to move your hands to MF just a tad which can make or break a shot.

    Focal Length for bugs: Sigma by a good margin.
    bit of a no-brainer. you can get much closer and the success rate is much higher for the sigma cos you dont need to be so close to fill the frame and get the shot.

    Focal length for other stationary objects: Nikkor comfortabley.
    again, a no brainer cos its lighter, smaller and more comfortable to use making flower shots etc easier and less taxing.

    Bokeh: Sigma by a small margin
    cos of its longer focal length you can get the nicer dof and can isolate particular items better by removing distracting backgrounds much easier and more effectively. the bokeh is just beautiful and creamy on the sigma, the nikkor is no slouch and given the right circusmtances its just as good but shot for shot, the sigmas bokeh was always just a nose in front.

    so there you go, thats my review of both of them. i bought the nikkor cos i want 2 macro lens'. i want one for stationary stuff and its smaller size and weight will let me take it in my kit far more often. but for bugs i want a longer focal length. so i will be getting the nikkor 300mm f4 afs and using it with extension tubes for my bug shots and then selling the sigma.

    hope you get something out of the review and it helps in any decisions you make. its hard to pick a winner here really, the nikor is certianly a better lens all round and wins in almost every respect; but its lack of contrast in comparison to the sigma and shorter focal length lets it down if its your only macro lens and you want to shoot bugs.

    D800e l V3 l AW1 l 16-35 l 35 l 50 l 85 l 105 l EM1 l 7.5 l 12-40 l 14 l 17 l 25 l 45 l 60 l 75
    flickr

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Thousand Oaks, CA
    Posts
    17
    Rooz....Thanks for taking the time for the review(s). Since getting the D300 w/ the 18-200. I've missed the macro capabilities...I've balked at spending another $700-800 on a lens for close ups, but maybe it's time...Thanks again.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    752
    I definitely appreciate this post, as I've been considering a 100+mm macro in recent months.
    Jason
    http://www.jmodzikphoto.com
    Save $5 on Zenfolio using RKS-T9C-M8G
    Flickr
    D200 - Tokina 12-24 - Sigma 30/1.4 - 50/1.8 - 55/3.5 Ai Micro w/PK-13 - 70-300 VR - SB-600 - Gitzo GT2530 + Markins M10

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Atlanta, Georgia
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    3,650
    Thanks for the most excellent review.
    I thought about who I am... and realized I was an
    unformed, unreconciled imagery, without "GOD"


    NikonD?
    and some other Nikon stuff

    0.0%

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Posts
    442
    Rooz - great comparison! Thank you! I think the 105 is going to be my next lens.
    Nikon D70 | 18-70 | 50/1.8 | 70-210
    Pentax Optio W20
    Film
    Nikon F100: 5 fps, weather-sealed, full frame 'sensor' and VR & AF-S compatibility

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Terra Australis Incognita
    Posts
    3,874
    Thanks Rooz. Same as Firedog, down the track I'm going to want to blow some more cash on a general macro setup whether it's reverse rings, extension tubes or a lens and every bit of info you kindly post helps me and others out.
    D800, D300, D90, 24-70 f2.8, 70-200VR f2.8, 300 F4, 105 micro, 16-85VR, 50mm 1.8, Tammy 90 macro, 70-300VR, SB900, 2xSB600, MB-D10, 055XPROB 322RC2. New computers to run photoshop faster. C&C always appreciated. PhotoGallery
    Pressing the shutter is the start of the process - Joe McNally ... Buying the body is the start of the process - Dread Pirate

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Delfgauw, The Netherlands
    Posts
    2,207
    Thanks for posting the comparison, Rooz. Also, congratulations on getting the new lens.

    I'm also looking at getting a 90-105mm macro lens some day, so this is very helpfull. By the way, how does the Nikkor compare to the tamron 90 you used to have?
    Nikon D-50
    // Nikkor 70-300 f/4-5.6 VR // Nikkor 50 mm f/1.8
    // Sigma 17-70 f/2.8-4.5 ...// Nikon SB-600
    // Sigma 10-20 f/4-5.6......// Nikon Series E 135 mm f/2.8
    // Kiron 105 f/2.8 Macro....// Manfrotto 190XPROB + 488RC4
    // Nikkor 35 f/1.8..........// Sigma 500 mm f/8

    My website: http://www.dennisdolkens.nl

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    God's Country - Australia
    Posts
    10,424
    both are a bit sharper than the tamron. both AF faster, both are easier to MF over-ride, both are IF which is a big advantage for bugs and both are built significantly better.

    having said that the tammie is a cracker of a lens for its price. i loved it cos it was super, super light.
    D800e l V3 l AW1 l 16-35 l 35 l 50 l 85 l 105 l EM1 l 7.5 l 12-40 l 14 l 17 l 25 l 45 l 60 l 75
    flickr

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Provo, Utah
    Posts
    67
    Rooz,
    I'm bowing down at your feet. I've been priming my wife for a new lens for my birthday and I've been vacillating between those two lenses wondering if I would ever be able to decide in time. It looks like I'll be going for the Nikkor. Thanks for the clear information. Of course I was intrigued by your comment about having two micro lenses. Now that's something I haven't thought about. Maybe I'll get the Sigma 180mm micro in the future.

    Urf
    Urfslam

    Dubai, UAE
    _________
    Stuff I Got:
    Nikon D80; Nikkor 18-135; Sigma 300mm; SB800; Nikon 50mm 1.8; Sigma 180mm micro; Sand

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Terra Australis Incognita
    Posts
    3,874
    I've just re-read your post and you mention the 300mm for standoff from the bugs. Standoff makes perfect sense.

    What about the magnification using a non micro lens for bugs?

    Am I looking at the right lens here ($1,100 USD):

    Nikon Telephoto AF-S Nikkor 300mm f/4D ED-IF
    Filter Size 77mm
    f/Stop Range 4-32
    Minimum Focus Distance 4.8'
    Magnification 1:3.7
    Zoom/Focus Control Not applicable
    Angle of View 8 Degrees
    Groups/Elements 6/10
    Tripod Collar Yes
    Length 8.8"
    Maximum Diameter 3.5"
    Weight 3.10 lb
    Usable Nikon Teleconverter TC-14E II (maintains autofocusing)
    TC-20E II, TC-14b & TC-301 (both manual focus only)
    D800, D300, D90, 24-70 f2.8, 70-200VR f2.8, 300 F4, 105 micro, 16-85VR, 50mm 1.8, Tammy 90 macro, 70-300VR, SB900, 2xSB600, MB-D10, 055XPROB 322RC2. New computers to run photoshop faster. C&C always appreciated. PhotoGallery
    Pressing the shutter is the start of the process - Joe McNally ... Buying the body is the start of the process - Dread Pirate

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