Forums > Photography Talk > Zeiss and Sigma -- competitors?
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Photographer

Robb Mann

Posts: 10690

Baltimore, Maryland, US

Zeiss is planning a new range of high-resilution lenses designed specifically forbfull-frame cameras of 30mp+.

http://photorumors.com/2013/08/06/the-h … -the-year/

Sigma has been on a tear lately with their new 'art' and 'sport' lenses, which are drasticaly outperforming OEM glass by Canon, Nikon and Sony. 

So, have Sigma and Zeiss rendered OEM glass irrelevant? Can OEMs compete?

Strange days.

Aug 07 13 06:59 pm Link

Photographer

Jose Deida

Posts: 1174

BLANDON, Pennsylvania, US

Win Win smile

Aug 07 13 07:01 pm Link

Photographer

Chuckarelei

Posts: 9566

Seattle, Washington, US

Robb Mann wrote:
Zeiss is planning a new range of high-resilution lenses designed specifically forbfull-frame cameras of 30mp+.

http://photorumors.com/2013/08/06/the-h … -the-year/

Sigma has been on a tear lately with their new 'art' and 'sport' lenses, which are drasticaly outperforming OEM glass by Canon, Nikon and Sony. 

So, have Sigma and Zeiss rendered OEM glass irrelevant? Can OEMs compete?

Strange days.

Sigma outperforms OEM like Canon and Nikon? First time I heard it.

Zeiss, may be? But I really doubt Sigma has.

Aug 07 13 07:03 pm Link

Photographer

ChanStudio - OtherSide

Posts: 5340

Alpharetta, Georgia, US

Robb Mann wrote:
Zeiss is planning a new range of high-resilution lenses designed specifically forbfull-frame cameras of 30mp+.

http://photorumors.com/2013/08/06/the-h … -the-year/

Sigma has been on a tear lately with their new 'art' and 'sport' lenses, which are drasticaly outperforming OEM glass by Canon, Nikon and Sony. 

So, have Sigma and Zeiss rendered OEM glass irrelevant? Can OEMs compete?

Strange days.

The way I see it, it is a win win for us consumers.  If Zeiss makes extremely sharp lenses, then OEM would have to step up.  If Sigma make extremely sharp lenes, OEM would have to step up.. If Zeiss and Sigma both perform almost the same and Sigma is 1/3 or even 1/5 the price?  Zeiss would have to do something about it even more..

   Let those guys compete, it is win/win for us all.... smile

Aug 07 13 07:09 pm Link

Photographer

AJ_In_Atlanta

Posts: 12837

Atlanta, Georgia, US

Chuckarelei wrote:
Sigma outperforms OEM like Canon and Nikon? First time I heard it.

Zeiss, may be? But I really doubt Sigma has.

Then you would be wrong.  Sigma targeted the OEMs much neglected prime lens (specific ones) and created a much better product.  Now that isn't saying they will beat the latest 24-70L lens but their 35 and 50 are better than what Canon had.

As far as competitors, sure they always have been.  Every product faces that, it doesn't matter if there is a quality difference or price difference.  Even more so now during this depression; they are all fighting for camera buyers dollars.  Some may be unwilling to spend as much as they used to or not at all unless you really entice them.

Sure "logo buyers" will always be around to buy high end products, but that is a small part of any market.

Aug 07 13 07:11 pm Link

Photographer

ChanStudio - OtherSide

Posts: 5340

Alpharetta, Georgia, US

Chuckarelei wrote:
Sigma outperforms OEM like Canon and Nikon? First time I heard it.

Zeiss, may be? But I really doubt Sigma has.

Sigma 35mm 1.4 "Art" series is awesome.. It is even better than Nikkor's 35mm f1.4.  Canon's 35mm f1.4L is worse.. And yet the sigma is cheapest.. smile


Not to mention the new Sigma's USB docking.

Aug 07 13 07:12 pm Link

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Photographer

Robb Mann

Posts: 10690

Baltimore, Maryland, US

I have the Sigma 35 f1.4 art. I may buy the f2.8 120-300 sport. Ive previously hated sigma lenses, but its like they suddenly woke up one morning and realized they were making 100% made in japan hand assembled products, and that they shouldnt suck. Curious how the new Zeiss products will compare -- sigma is 1/2 OEM cost, zeiss will be 2x OEM cost. Both should outperform OEM.

Aug 07 13 07:23 pm Link

Photographer

R.EYE.R

Posts: 2837

Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan

The win of Zeiss is not sharpness alone but control of sharpness faloff, colour reproduction and LoCA/CA as well as distortion.
For the large part OEMs dominating in DSLR market seems to be blissfully ignorant of all these factors in this day and age with few exceptions to the rule.

Aug 07 13 07:45 pm Link

Artist/Painter

The3LivingAndThe3Dead

Posts: 963

Los Angeles, California, US

ChanStudio - OtherSide wrote:
Sigma 35mm 1.4 "Art" series is awesome.. It is even better than Nikkor's 35mm f1.4.

I didn't think so after I watched this:

http://www.thatnikonguy.com/gear-talk/i … y-all-that

Aug 07 13 09:31 pm Link

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Robb Mann

Posts: 10690

Baltimore, Maryland, US

de0rbit wrote:

I didn't think so after I watched this:

http://www.thatnikonguy.com/gear-talk/i … y-all-that

It is the first negative review Ive seen of it. Im suspicious of his testing methods, particularly the final series of images in which the Sig was obviously OOF. Im guessing he went negative with his review because he was late to review the lens and had to do something to stand out from the crowd. It was also pretty weak to compare a fast prime to a standard zoom, the Sig is best at 35 f1.4, comparing it to a 24-70 really makes little sense.

Aug 08 13 02:27 am Link

Photographer

Photos by Lorrin

Posts: 6988

Eugene, Oregon, US

Zeiss's only problem for me beside price is that they do not auto focus.

Aug 08 13 02:44 am Link

Photographer

Hugh Alison

Posts: 2121

Aberystwyth, Wales, United Kingdom

Chuckarelei wrote:
Sigma outperforms OEM like Canon and Nikon? First time I heard it.

Zeiss, may be? But I really doubt Sigma has.

Sigma 50/1.4 is very significantly better than the Canon 50/1.4.

First time I've bought a non-Canon lens for about 20 years.
I shouldn't have needed to.

Aug 08 13 04:09 am Link

Photographer

Camerosity

Posts: 5317

Saint Louis, Missouri, US

Photos by Lorrin wrote:
Zeiss's only problem for me beside price is that they do not auto focus.

And thing thing that killed the Contax line of cameras (is that the Zeiss lenses on them didn't focus at all. The lens was stationery, and the film plane moved in and out. Hard to do with a chip though.

Aug 08 13 04:42 am Link

Photographer

Jerry Nemeth

Posts: 28014

Dearborn, Michigan, US

Photos by Lorrin wrote:
Zeiss's only problem for me beside price is that they do not auto focus.

I have no trouble using manual focus.

Aug 08 13 04:47 am Link

Photographer

Marin Photography NYC

Posts: 7253

New York, New York, US

I have several Sigma lenses.

That Sigma 35mm 1.4 is fantastic!

http://photos.modelmayhem.com/photos/130728/05/51f50b002c53f_m.jpg This was taken with the 70-200 2.8 second generation Sigma, half the price of the Canon. Works fine for me. It's not better than Canon's L but who has that kind of money? Not me...with that kind of savings I bought two other lenses. Canon version is slightly faster, better bokeh but it's 2800...not worth it to me. That slight difference for a non professional is meaningless.

Aug 08 13 05:01 am Link

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GRMACK

Posts: 2216

Bakersfield, California, US

Robb Mann wrote:
Zeiss is planning a new range of high-resolution lenses designed specifically for full-frame cameras of 30mp+. ....

Something bothers me about that Zeiss statement.  So what were they producing before high-resolution?  Low-resolution lenses being made and sold as "Good enough?"

I really never got behind Zeiss lenses as I used to work on microscopes made by them for a couple of decades.  Their mechanics were fine, probably the best out there, but if you were to look through a Nikon microscope and a Zeiss, the Nikon always won for sharpness and contrast on slides.  I don't know if Zeiss sat around on their name and Nikon took off on optics or what.

Same for Schneider back when they were being billed as the "Best enlarging lenses out there" (i.e. Componon).  I never owned a sharp one even though Ansel Adams like them, but he was printing large format and not enlarging much from 35mm so it wasn't a big magnification push for his lenses.  Mine were always a bit soft, imho.

Aug 08 13 05:24 am Link

Photographer

Ruben Sanchez

Posts: 3509

San Antonio, Texas, US

Robb Mann wrote:
Zeiss is planning a new range of high-resilution lenses designed specifically forbfull-frame cameras of 30mp+.

Sigma has been on a tear lately with their new 'art' and 'sport' lenses, which are drasticaly outperforming OEM glass by Canon, Nikon and Sony. 

So, have Sigma and Zeiss rendered OEM glass irrelevant? Can OEMs compete?

I've never heard that Sigma outperforms Canon or Nikon lenses.

As for Zeiss lenses, they are in a different league of their own, having used Canon, Sigma, Tokina Pro, and Zeiss lenses on my cameras.  But who knows, it could happen some day, but who would buy a Sigma lens for their own Hassleblad or Rollieflex?

Aug 08 13 05:44 am Link

Photographer

Isaiah Brink

Posts: 2119

Charlotte, North Carolina, US

Robb Mann wrote:
Zeiss is planning a new range of high-resilution lenses designed specifically forbfull-frame cameras of 30mp+.

http://photorumors.com/2013/08/06/the-h … -the-year/

Sigma has been on a tear lately with their new 'art' and 'sport' lenses, which are drasticaly outperforming OEM glass by Canon, Nikon and Sony. 

So, have Sigma and Zeiss rendered OEM glass irrelevant? Can OEMs compete?

Strange days.

Wait, Sigma outperform Zeiss?  Riiiiiiiiigggghhhhtttt and if you believe that one, I have some beachfront property in Arizona that I'm dying to sell you.

Aug 08 13 05:49 am Link

Photographer

Mcary

Posts: 1803

Fredericksburg, Virginia, US

Data insert error.

Aug 08 13 06:56 am Link

Photographer

Jeanloup De Loupe

Posts: 117

Calgary, Alberta, Canada

de0rbit wrote:
I didn't think so after I watched this:

http://www.thatnikonguy.com/gear-talk/i … y-all-that

Wasn't that harsh he just feels it's over-hyped. I would have liked to see it tested against a 35mm Nikon or Canon lens not the 24-70 zoom and by someone who actually wants and knows what a 35mm 1.4 would be used for. Shooting landscape wide open is not one of them. I know my copy has better center sharpness than any other lens I own. The hype is based on quality/price and within that context the hype is well deserved..

Aug 08 13 07:45 am Link

Photographer

Cool Hand Mike

Posts: 613

Jacksonville, Florida, US

Very happy that Sigma and Zeiss are putting pressure on the OEMs.

Sigma's 35mm 1.4 is on my wish list (full frame is next large purchase though).

Zeiss' aren't a reality for me based on the manual focus and the price ( if I switch to Sony where they Auto Focus I'd probably be on their staples : 24-70 2.8, 85 1.4, etc.).

Aug 08 13 11:13 am Link

Photographer

TheStarvingArtist

Posts: 27

Jefferson City, Missouri, US

Karl Zeiss lenses are on my Hasselblad film cameras. They are so good that I bought  the conversion mounts to use them as prime lenses on my canon 1d. How can you even compare a sigma to a Zeiss?

Aug 08 13 11:34 am Link

Photographer

Jeanloup De Loupe

Posts: 117

Calgary, Alberta, Canada

TheStarvingArtist wrote:
How can you even compare a sigma to a Zeiss?

I think they have their own unique sellings points and the camera manufacturers are likely feeling pressure from both fronts. I don't think the original post was meant to be a direct comparison.

The Sigma 35m Art is no slouch and my need to have autofocus and quality at a good price point made it a no brainer. First Sigma that I have liked.

Aug 08 13 12:18 pm Link

Photographer

michael___

Posts: 303

New York, New York, US

Ruben Sanchez wrote:
But who knows, it could happen some day, but who would buy a Sigma lens for their own Hassleblad or Rollieflex?

Those that buy Cosina lenses for their Leica M's, maybe.

Aug 08 13 01:48 pm Link

Photographer

Untitled Photographer

Posts: 1203

Dallas, Texas, US

Cool Hand Mike wrote:
Very happy that Sigma and Zeiss are putting pressure on the OEMs.

Sigma's 35mm 1.4 is on my wish list (full frame is next large purchase though).

Zeiss' aren't a reality for me based on the manual focus and the price ( if I switch to Sony where they Auto Focus I'd probably be on their staples : 24-70 2.8, 85 1.4, etc.).

I'm a Sony shooter and other than the CZ 135 f/1.8 few of the Zeiss lenses for Sony *seem* to justify the price, at least based on the reviews I've read.  The 85mm f1/4 gets great reviews but it doesn't seem to justify being 4-5 times more than the cheaper Sony made 85 f/2.8. 

Maybe I'm reading the wrong reviews but as a Sony owner and someone who's itching to get his feet wet with some of these high dollar, specialty lenses, I'm looking at Sigma and not Zeiss.  I like the CZ 135, though, but not the near $2,000 price tag.

I want to buy the Sigma 18-35 f/1.8  and I could afford that one, I just haven't figured out what I would do with it.

Aug 08 13 02:02 pm Link

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Robb Mann

Posts: 10690

Baltimore, Maryland, US

Wow. Lots of people have been asleep for months!

Sigma makes good lenses now. Not all of them, but certain ones (35 f1.4 Art, 120-300 f2.8 Sport, 18-35 f1.8 Art).

Zeiss admits the D800 outresolves their current glass, hence the new line.

Both the new Sigma lenses and the yet-to-be-released Zeiss lenses shoukd outperform most OEM glass. Yes, this is embarassing for Nikon and Canon.

No, I am crazy or making this up. I have previously been disgusted with Sigma glass, but I got to call em like I see em. Their new stuff is good.

Aug 08 13 02:52 pm Link

Photographer

Bob Helm Photography

Posts: 18213

Cherry Hill, New Jersey, US

Robb Mann wrote:

It is the first negative review Ive seen of it. Im suspicious of his testing methods, particularly the final series of images in which the Sig was obviously OOF. Im guessing he went negative with his review because he was late to review the lens and had to do something to stand out from the crowd. It was also pretty weak to compare a fast prime to a standard zoom, the Sig is best at 35 f1.4, comparing it to a 24-70 really makes little sense.

I found his report to be pretty good and to assume the image is OOF as opposed to aberration  is a big assumption and that at F8 he suddenly discovered how to focus it. He says the lens is well made and a good value, just overhyped. Comparing it to a zoom is IMO not weak as if the lens is half as good as it is hyped to be it should blow the zoom out of the water as all the "internet experts" "KNOW" that primes are better than zooms.

Years ago I was a guest of Leica for a special edition of their Leica Schule (School) for dealers. Everyone attending was either a camera store owner, GM or in the case of the big NYC stores a senior sales person. One day was spent in the Optics lab where we watched how they tested lenses. On that day they were testing a Sigma 28mm and we were all shocked that they would test a Sigma as, well they did not have a good reputation. The reason was that Germany's biggest photo magazine rated it better than Leica's at one fifth the price. Now this test involved projecting a test pattern thru the lens to 8x 12 FEET and measuring for sharpness and contrast in both static and by rotating on its optical axis. In the static test the contrast and sharpness fall off was obvious to the naked eye. When rotated the pattern had an elliptical arc. They then shifted to their lens, which they admitted was one of there poorer designs and they were working to make it better. The contrast and sharpness, to the human eye, appeared the same from center to corners and they skipped the static test and there was no movement at all in the image as the lens rotated. The explanation was that the Sigma lens was not a good design and it was not well made (the reason for the shift during rotation was a loose element). Was it a good lens for the money? Yes. but BETTER than Nikon or Canon. I doubt that, maybe almost as good as and a better value for most.

Sigma's problem in the past was quality control, they din not have any, and now it seems that they are making it a priority and with 34 and 36MP cameras (and presumably higher coming someday) they need good QC to stay in business

Most lens tests, even when done by people who know what they are doing, are somewhat subjective and on the internet that is highly influenced by price. Even when reviews are from experience photographers they are subjective and in the end few of us photography test charts.

Would I buy this lens? Possibly as I normally have no use for a 35 no less a fast one and I am sure I could not justify the Nikon/ Canon price difference of $1000.

Aug 08 13 02:58 pm Link

Photographer

Digitoxin

Posts: 13345

Houston, Texas, US

I have read a number of reviews that feel that the sigma 35 1.4 art lens is a superior lens that is at, or above, the canon 35 L.

I am thrilled that sigma and Zeiss seem to be ratcheting up the pressure on the big boys.  It is good for us consumers.

Aug 08 13 03:40 pm Link

Photographer

Digitoxin

Posts: 13345

Houston, Texas, US

TheStarvingArtist wrote:
How can you even compare a sigma to a Zeiss?

The OP didn't. He said that certain lenses from BOTH companies may be outperforming OEM glass.

Aug 08 13 03:43 pm Link

Photographer

Tomi Hawk

Posts: 1649

Las Vegas, Nevada, US

Hugh Alison wrote:

Sigma 50/1.4 is very significantly better than the Canon 50/1.4.

First time I've bought a non-Canon lens for about 20 years.
I shouldn't have needed to.

Let's not forget the Sigma 15-30 !!!!!! BAM! Now there's a lens that IMHO compares to L glass! Yeah, it's a lil slow, but I'll sacrifice that speed, or lack thereof, for the quality that lens puts out for me .. time after time .. after time!

Aug 08 13 03:56 pm Link

Photographer

j3_photo

Posts: 19875

Las Vegas, Nevada, US

Chuckarelei wrote:

Sigma outperforms OEM like Canon and Nikon? First time I heard it.

Zeiss, may be? But I really doubt Sigma has.

First time?  WHere have you been?  Guess you didn't keep an eye on the Sigma 35 thread here.  The new Sigma's (35 and 85) are amazing and beat out Canon on quality and cost in comparison.

Aug 08 13 04:28 pm Link

Photographer

Cool Hand Mike

Posts: 613

Jacksonville, Florida, US

Untitled Photographer wrote:
I'm a Sony shooter and other than the CZ 135 f/1.8 few of the Zeiss lenses for Sony *seem* to justify the price, at least based on the reviews I've read.  The 85mm f1/4 gets great reviews but it doesn't seem to justify being 4-5 times more than the cheaper Sony made 85 f/2.8. 

Maybe I'm reading the wrong reviews but as a Sony owner and someone who's itching to get his feet wet with some of these high dollar, specialty lenses, I'm looking at Sigma and not Zeiss.  I like the CZ 135, though, but not the near $2,000 price tag.

Start renting some of those high dollar lenses so you get more a feel for them instead of just reading about them smile

Honestly I'd probably go Sony or 3rd party 28-75 2.8 I think I saw for ~$400-600. I'd test out the CZ 85/1.4 and compare that against the older Minolta 85/1.4 and 100/2.
CZ 135/1.8 is good and I'd have to rent the 135 STF Bokeh lens just because its a specialty. Sigma 35/1.4 fits nicely in the group as well.

Aug 08 13 05:23 pm Link

Photographer

Virtual Studio

Posts: 5858

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

I mostly shoot micro 4/3. Spoilt by the really nice Olympus lenses but I've come to love some of the Sigma lenses. The 60mm 2.8 is just lovely. Throughly heartily recommend.

Aug 08 13 06:02 pm Link

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Robb Mann

Posts: 10690

Baltimore, Maryland, US

Digitoxin wrote:

The OP didn't. He said that certain lenses from BOTH companies may be outperforming OEM glass.

Yep. The Zeiss glass in question is still under development, and hasnt been reviewed by anyone yet, but according to their PR hype it is all that.

Aug 09 13 07:04 pm Link

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Robb Mann

Posts: 10690

Baltimore, Maryland, US

And more reasons to love Sigma? I bought my 35 f1.4 on July 4th, 2013. On Aug 1st 2013 Sigma announced that all their lenses bought after July 1st 2013 were covered by a new 4-year warranty, superceeding the 1-year warranty it had when I bought it. Nice.

http://www.sigmaphoto.com/article/sigma … ra-systems

Aug 09 13 07:15 pm Link

Photographer

R.EYE.R

Posts: 2837

Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan

Robb Mann wrote:
And more reasons to love Sigma? I bought my 35 f1.4 on July 4th, 2013. On Aug 1st 2013 Sigma announced that all their lenses bought after July 1st 2013 were covered by a new 4-year warranty, superceeding the 1-year warranty it had when I bought it. Nice.

http://www.sigmaphoto.com/article/sigma … ra-systems

Nice. I bought mine in May....

Aug 10 13 03:13 am Link

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Robb Mann

Posts: 10690

Baltimore, Maryland, US

R.EYE.R wrote:

Nice. I bought mine in May....

Id call 'em and ask for an extension.

Aug 10 13 02:09 pm Link

Photographer

j3_photo

Posts: 19875

Las Vegas, Nevada, US

Robb Mann wrote:
And more reasons to love Sigma? I bought my 35 f1.4 on July 4th, 2013. On Aug 1st 2013 Sigma announced that all their lenses bought after July 1st 2013 were covered by a new 4-year warranty, superceeding the 1-year warranty it had when I bought it. Nice.

http://www.sigmaphoto.com/article/sigma … ra-systems

Whew!  I got mine July 10th big_smile

Aug 10 13 03:39 pm Link

Photographer

j3_photo

Posts: 19875

Las Vegas, Nevada, US

Digitoxin wrote:
I have read a number of reviews that feel that the sigma 35 1.4 art lens is a superior lens that is at, or above, the canon 35 L.

I am thrilled that sigma and Zeiss seem to be ratcheting up the pressure on the big boys.  It is good for us consumers.

Having owned the Canon 35 and now the Sigma 35- yes it does outperform the Canon.

Aug 10 13 03:40 pm Link

Photographer

liddellphoto

Posts: 1801

London, England, United Kingdom

Not sure af lenses and heavy metal mf lenses compete directly outside of landscapes and product

Aug 10 13 03:43 pm Link