35mm f1.4: a classic rules again:Sigma, Rokinon compared: 100% crops and a few 100% crops from the Fuji X100s

35mm f1.4: a classic rules again:Sigma, Rokinon compared: 100% crops and a few 100% crops from the Fuji X100s

Model of the day, shot with Nikon D800E, Sigma 35mm 1.4 at f7.1

As promised-if haven’t seen part one, click here, check out the brick-wall shots from the Sigma and Rokinon 35mm 1.4 and if you are curious how the 35mm equiv on the Fuji X100s compared to these very impressive 35mm FF lenses on the D800E, check the last three shots-yeah, I know it’s not fair, couldn’t help it. ;). Check it all out after the break

Click on the image to get to the full size files:















Processed in LR at default settings, distortion correction disabled. Chromatic aberrations weren’t a problem with either lens during this test, this might change in challenging lighting situations.

The Sigma won this comparison with the best center resolution and lowest distortion. Vignetting was very pronounced wide open, something we have learned to live with on high speed lenses. I was a bit surprised that the corners on the Sigma were softer then on the Rokinon. We can probably attribute this to field curvature at this particular test distance because it never made a negative impact during regular shooting, regardless of af point selection (center or edge). All shots were properly focused and tack sharp. As usual, I tested these lenses at the distance most common for my work. Labs test lenses at infinity because most lenses perform best at infinity.

I already knew what I could expect from the Samyang from having shot with it on Canon bodies, again, excellent performance, this time on the unforgiving D800e. The main difference to the Sigma, softer wide open and lower in contrast (high contrast wide open sets this new Sigma apart from most other 1.4 lenses), however, the corners on the Rokinon were sharper throughout. Take a close look at the crops, the tripod had not been moved, same distance from the wall for the Sigma, Rokinon and the X100s. The Rokinon showed a tighter FOV then the Sigma and the 23mm (35mm equiv) on the X100s. Less wide, probably a 37mm, probably the reason for lesser field curvature and sharper edges throughout.

Aside from the slightly narrower FOV on the Rokinon, it is very close in optical performance for half the price. If you can live with manual focus only and if you shoot video, the Rokinon is a no brainer. It is available in Canon, Sony and Nikon mount. Another bonus, in Nikon mount, the focusing direction has been reversed to fit right in with the rest of the Nikon lens line up. You won’t find yourself turning it the wrong direction. This is really the only draw back on the Sigma, too bad they didn’t reverse the focusing direction for the Nikon mount. (If Tokina can do it, so should Sigma).

The biggest argument for the Sigma is precise auto focus performance, wide open. Indeed, this is far more important then resolving a few additional lines on a test chart because if it ain’t sharp its garbage.

The second biggest argument for the Sigma is of course, the high resolution, center sharpness, and contrast at 1.4.(only an advantage if you get precise af in the first place). The lack of distortion is another bonus and will save time during post processing.

Overall, for photographers looking for a high speed, high performance 35mm lens in Canon, Nikon or Sigma mount, the Sigma might just be the best lens in your bag.

You can get the Sigma 35mm 1.4 in Canon mount from Adorama or BHphoto.
Or in Nikon mount from Bhphoto or Adorama.
Or preorder in Sony Alpha mount from Bhphoto or Adorama.

You can get the Rokinon 35mm in Canon mount from BHphoto or Adorama.
Or in Nikon mount from BHphoto or Adorama.
Or in Sony mount from BHphoto or Adorama.

And now for us Fuji fanatics, I had the X100s with me because, well, I always have it with me :)
Check the last three images, ignore the slightly darker exposure settings, all my Fuji’s are set to -1/3 to protect highlights. F2 shows nice center sharpness, the edges however are soft, something to keep in mind for critical applications, personally, I don’t worry too much about it since 90% of my shots are shot wide open. Sharpens up nicely stopped down. Pronounced lens distortion, easily corrected in post.
Sigma 35mm mounted on the D800E:



Rokinon 35mm mounted on the D800e



Fuji X100s brick wall shots, at f2, f4 and f8.




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3 thoughts on “35mm f1.4: a classic rules again:Sigma, Rokinon compared: 100% crops and a few 100% crops from the Fuji X100s

  1. Chas

    I hope you do…I’ve been shooting with it for a couple of days with a Nikkor 35 1,8 (199) and I’m seeing that Leica POP…WOW! Siggy 1,4 will arrive tomorrow. The D7100 is every bit as sharp as my RX1 with better colors.

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