With Zeiss’s new 85mm f1.4 Otus reviewed, we took it upon ourselves to do an informal comparison of two of its biggest and closest competitors: the Rokinon 85mm f1.4 and the Sigma 85mm f1.4. Now granted, neither of these lenses are said to be targeted at the higher end photographer. But with Sigma’s offering being a couple of years old and Rokinon’s not being so old either, we decided that it would be great to see just how the three perform against one another.
Editor’s Note: Again we are saying that this is an informal comparison to see how the three stack up against one another. We’d like to remind our readers though that each offering is pretty darn solid, but if anything this is more of a measure of how the technology has progressed.
When it comes to what each looks like, the Zeiss 85mm f1.4 Otus is by far the largest. It is this large because of the elements inside and all the glass that it takes to make the lens super efficient at what it does. Next largest is the Sigma 85mm f1.4 with the Rokinon being the smallest offering.
While the Otus has a metal exterior, both the Sigma and the Rokinon have a plastic exterior. Sigma also put autofocus algorithms into their lenses while the other two are manual focus with AF chipping integrated.
Of all three of these lenses, the Zeiss is by far the best built. Granted, again, it’s a significantly more expensive offering. I’m a personal owner of Sigma’s 85mm f1.4, and really am glad with its build and size.
None of these lenses are weather sealed–and for the price point the Zeiss should indeed have sealing. The Sigma and Rokinon lenses don’t have sealing at all, but they’re arguably on the more affordable side.
Ease of Use
Mount any of these lenses onto a camera body and you’ll see that Sigma’s is the easiest to use because of the autofocusing capabilities. If this were a three way wide angle comparison, then that wouldn’t matter as much. But this is a telephoto lens comparison, and manually focusing a telephoto lens and keeping a subject in place is difficult.
For what it’s worth though, manually focusing a lens makes you put more thought into each image and also forces you to be more careful overall.
In order to do this test, we mounted each lens to the Nikon D810. Each lens was set to f2 with the camera at 1/80th, ISO 100, and a LumoPro LP-180 flash set to 1/8th power. Each lens was also focused on the same area for fairness. Afterwards, they were all taken in Adobe Lightroom and converted to JPEGs.
Each lens was manually focused to the same point.
Here’s what we’ve got:
From what we compared, here’s what we’ve found:
– Zeiss’s offering is the sharpest followed by Sigma’s then Rokinon’s. Granted, this was only at f2 and when stopped down to f5.6 or f8 the test would yield results that are much more comparable.
– Zeiss’s lens lets in slightly more light at f2 (which is a T stop issue)
– Zeiss’s bokeh is the creamiest
– There is something about Sigma’s red rendition that we really love
– Rokinon has the best rendition of greens.
Again though, this is an informal test, but albeit one that gives us some insight into how these lenses work against one another.