One of my most popular blog posts is my showdown between the Nikon and Sigma 85 lenses. With all this spare time i’ve had on my hands, I knew I wanted to do another, but with another one of my favorite lenses. Here’s my showdown between the Nikon 35 mm 1.8G vs Sigma 35 mm 1.4 ART. I’ll also throw in the Nikon Z mount 35 f1.8 for fun- because why not.
I know some might say “Misty, you’re not comparing apples to apples with these lenses.” And you’re right. I could rent the Nikon 1.4 and compare that to my Sigma 35, but I don’t think that’s necessary. Why? Nikon made some KILLER 1.8 lenses. If you go back and read my 85 mm comparison, my 85 definitely held it’s own. I’ve been so impressed by the f1.8 lenses by Nikon, I didn’t think it was necessary to go to the f1.4. No that’s taken care of….moving on.
Here’s my first impressions of these lenses. The Sigma is huge. If you haven’t gotten a hold of any of the ART line, you’re missing out. You can tell they are sturdy lenses, but some people don’t like that. With all the mirrorless smaller lenses coming out, this one is a monster in comparison. The Z mount comes in at the middle, with the Nikon F mount at the tail end. It’s small, but it’s mighty.
Sigma 35 mm F1.4 ART
I’ve used the Sigma 35 mm for years now. It was one of the first prime lenses I ever bought, and though I definitely wouldn’t say it’s my work horse like a lot of photographers out there, I have a soft spot for it. The 35 mm length isn’t for everyone, and I have to think more about it when I use it. I can’t necessarily have my clients in the corners of the rule of thirds like normal, but this lens usually looks best with them right in the middle. I’ll use it when I want to mix things up, or show more of the scene (like on the dance floor), but I don’t use this lens 90% of the time like some do.
One thing to note, similar to the 85, I HAVE to calibrate this lens. I should probably do it more often than I do. It’s not always tack sharp. It can be a soft focus, and because of it, I rarely if EVER shoot it as f1.4. I did for comparison with these though, so we’ll check that out later. This is definitely the biggest downfall of the Sigma line, without a doubt.
Nikon 35 mm f1.8 G
I’m always surprised when I get to hold one of Nikon’s f1.8 line. They’re smaller, not as heavy as other lenses, but they still do a killer job. This was the first time I’ve ever shot with the 35 f1.8 and I was surprised. The good- it’s relatively fast. There’s less glass than the Sigma lens so it was actually a little faster than the Sigma. It was small so I could see myself using it for more personal things. The color was more “on” than with my Sigma. All my Sigma lenses shoot warmer than my Nikon lenses, and if you know me, i’m all about being more efficient when it comes to editing.
Nikon Z 35 mm f1.8S
One of my favorite purchases last year was my Nikon Z6. I really should do a whole blog post on it because I love it so much. For a while, I toyed with the idea of making the switch to Sony, but their lack of lenses always made me hesitate to do that. When I heard Nikon was going mirrorless too, I held out and I’m happy I did. While the Z mount lenses are very nice to use, my F to Z mount adapter does a killer job of letting me use my F mount lenses, and i’ve been so happy. The more video I shoot, the more I realize how much better the Z mount lenses are though. The are almost silent to focus, and they’re SO fast. When I bought my Z6, I got the 50mm f1.8S to go with it, but i’ve wanted the Nikon Z 35 mm 1.8S for a while. I figured this was a good time as any to rent the lens and see if it was something I’d even use.
First impression was I love the size. It fits well on my Z6 and I really like the way in felt in my hands. The extra field of view compared to the 50 gives you more of the scene, and I loved that with video. First impression shooting was this lens is FAST. Faster than a lot of my F mount lenses. I think i’m in love. I might have to keep this one. HA.
Nikon 35 mm f1.8G vs Sigma 35 mm 1.4 ART
These comparisons are always fun for me, but while i’d normally find a couple to go shoot, COVID-19 made that impossible, so I had to get a little creative. My models were extra stiff, mute, and I had a hard time really getting them to connect. They also wouldn’t stand up on their own, and Ken INSISTED on getting a spray tan right before the session, so we did what we could.
Let’s see if you can figure out which lens was which.
Did you decide which was which? Here’s the answers.
If I had to pick which lens I liked most between the Nikon and the Sigma, I’d probably pick the Nikon. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve loved my Sigma from the second that I calibrated it correctly the first time, but that’s also the problem. I have to calibrate is SO often. I don’t like going to shoots and not knowing if that’s the day it’s going to need to be calibrated. SO, if i had to pick, i’d go with the Nikon. The Sigma also has a tendercy to hunt for focus. The Nikon seemed faster when it came to finding the correct focus point.
Between the three lenses though, I’d choose the Z mount. Honestly, the Z line IS SO FAST. AND it’s quiet. I’m always blown away when I use my Z6 and together with that Z 35 mm f/1.8, I feel like nothing would get in my way. It makes me even more excited for Nikon to get the point that they roll out their f1.4 Z mount lenses. Hopefully it’s not just hype like the 58 mm Noct. Wah wah wah….
SO, the real question comes down to this…..Do you shoot at 1.4 often? Can YOU justify the extra money for the ART line when you can get something similar from the Nikon f/1.8 line. I’m starting to reconsider this myself. Let me know what you think below in the comments!!
Depending on your take on this info, here’s some links to Amazon! *Note: When you click the links, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you.