Sigma has been on an absolute tear with their lenses the past several years, especially with their new 85mm f1.4! They have been making child’s play of OEM brand lenses from Canon and Nikon, but one brand that still always managed to best them (granted at a considerable premium in price) was Zeiss. But that is no more, at least according to the these just released DXO test results.
According to DXO Mark’s testing of the [amazon_textlink asin=’B01M1I17IV’ text=’Sigma 85mm F1.4 Art’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’thephobl-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’8d9d577b-e7d8-11e6-8427-37289bef9bde’], this lens has surpassed both the Zeiss Otus 55mm and the [amazon_textlink asin=’B00NGEE4O0′ text=’Zeiss Otus 85mm’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’thephobl-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’a0dfea4b-e7d8-11e6-ad5b-5ddb013efbbc’] as the top lens on DXO Mark’s ranking. This is big news people, this is the first time that Zeiss has not been the top dog on that list. Sigma’s 50mm did well, but was still beat out by the Otus lenses, but with the 85mm, Sigma pulled out all of the stops, and beat out both Otus lenses, as well as Sony’s new 85mm F1.4 – for less money than those other options as well.
So now the question, at least for this 85mm focal length, is what point is there to buying one of those more expensive brands? The Sigma is better in terms of image quality, has really good build quality, and actually has autofocus (a nice upgrade over the manual focus nature of the Otus lenses). Oh, and it’s not just a little bit cheaper, it’s thousands of dollars cheaper than the Zeiss lens, and hundreds cheaper than the Sony (though the Sigma doesn’t come in the FE mount).
Now, lab tests should always be taken with a grain of salt. While they are interesting talking points, as we and others have pointed out in the past, their results often differ from real world results, and the subjective preferences of one photographer to another. But still, this is very noteworthy and a nice feather in the cap for Sigma.