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Thread: Who is going to win the ultra wide angle battle? D800E vs Sigma SD1 Merrill...

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    Senior Member vieri's Avatar
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    Talking Who is going to win the ultra wide angle battle? D800E vs Sigma SD1 Merrill...

    As we all know all too well, since the advent of APS-C digital cameras one of the main problems with these have been the lack of good wide-angle and ultra-wide-angle options compared to full frame cameras. Recently, though, things have changed. Sigma, in particular, in recent years developed quite a lot of WA and UWA lenses for APS-C cameras; though much slower than their FF counterparts, some of these lenses are really good. Since Landscape photographers aren't as concerned with speed as other kind of shooters, I thought it worth to test the D800E with the 14-24mm against the Sigma SD1 Merrill with the 8-16mm, despite the differences in specifications.
    The results have been nothing short of astonishing, especially considering that the Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8 AF-S is considered by many as the best UWA lens ever made. Unfortunately, the whole article is too long and it has too many images to copy it here, you can read the comparison and my user review on my blog

    HERE

    with all my findings and a lot of test images as well. I hope you'll find it as interesting as I did.

    Best,

    Vieri
    Vieri Bottazzini
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    Senior Member Tim's Avatar
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    Re: Who is going to win the ultra wide angle battle? D800E vs Sigma SD1 Merrill...

    Thank you for an interesting article Vieri - it was an enjoyable read. I felt that you reported the lenses seemed to perform their best at f5.6 - f11 in many instances. Overall this was the feeling I got. If you are serious about eeking the best from these optics, that is where you would have to be for aperture.

    For the end result I think you'd have to be doing large prints to make use of either of these two. I suspect both will look great.

    After reading this I am now wondering what is the optimum aperture for my DP2 Merrill to operate at for maximum IQ yield? f8-f11? I would only consider this based on that it will be tripod mounted.

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    Re: Who is going to win the ultra wide angle battle? D800E vs Sigma SD1 Merrill...

    did you ever do a comparison DP2m and D800E with 50mm Nikkor?

    Regards
    Martin

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    Subscriber Member Jorgen Udvang's Avatar
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    Re: Who is going to win the ultra wide angle battle? D800E vs Sigma SD1 Merrill...

    Excellent work, Vieri. I'm not surprised. The Sigma 8-16 seems to be an exceptionally well designed lens. Even for a Nikon shooter like myself, this can be an interesting option for low ISO shooting on a tripod. SD1 + 8-16 + 18-35 is much cheaper than D800 + 14-24 + 24-70.

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    Senior Member biglouis's Avatar
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    Re: Who is going to win the ultra wide angle battle? D800E vs Sigma SD1 Merrill...

    Vieri

    I always follow your posts with interest. Once again I am tempted to get the SD1m after reading your experiences.

    LouisB

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    Re: Who is going to win the ultra wide angle battle? D800E vs Sigma SD1 Merrill...

    Interesting, I could also be tempted by this combo, but - sorry to say - there are bad sample variations, and you have to test it carefully

    Camera and Photography forum | Cameralabs • View topic - Sigma 8-16mm F4.5-5.6 DC HSM: A Real World Review

    Even Photozone had to write in the test: "highly recommended (if you can find a good sample)! (my bold)

    Sigma AF 8-16mm f/4.5-5.6 DC HSM - Lab Test / Review - Analysis

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    Re: Who is going to win the ultra wide angle battle? D800E vs Sigma SD1 Merrill...

    A couple of points regarding 'bad samples'. The 8-16 mm has had a pretty good track record of quality (much better than the 10-20/both versions, as far as I can tell). In addition, Sigma has stepped up their game regarding testing their lenses recently—and both these reviews are in 2010. I hope that they're getting better, but I wouldn't be too worried about this particular lens.

    Jim

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    Senior Member vieri's Avatar
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    Re: Who is going to win the ultra wide angle battle? D800E vs Sigma SD1 Merrill...

    @ Tim: indeed, f5.6 - f11 is where I would shoot for best results, with both systems; of course, stop down further for DOF if needed. That is valid for the DP2M as well of course, provided you have a tripod or enough light.

    @ foveon: unfortunately not, and I have sold my DP2M at this point. However, the DP2M and its lens are incredible performers for a compact, so I'd say that my results HERE would hold true, at least if not better.

    @ Jorgen: I feel the same too, this is why I went the Foveon road and this is why I am keeping the SD1M and a trio of lenses for the moment being. It really shines for landscape work, both for the money and in absolute terms.

    @ Louis: thank you very much, glad you enjoyed the read. The SD1M, if one is aware of its limitations and works around them, is truly an exceptional photo taking machine for the money (SD1M + 8-16 costs $2.300 US LESS than the D800E + 14-24, is easier to filter, lighter, etc) if you don't need the speed: both camera speed and lens speed, that is. Add Live View and perhaps an electronic level, make it decently faster and I would be sold. As it is, I need to keep my Nikon system as well...

    @ Kyndel: I hear you, but Kofronj's reply says exactly what I would have said. Don't judge the new products through the glass of the Sigma of old: they are completely different things.
    Vieri Bottazzini
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    Re: Who is going to win the ultra wide angle battle? D800E vs Sigma SD1 Merrill...

    My understanding is that one of the reasons the DPXM's, are such fabulous performers is that the lens is matched to the sensor ( see also Sony RX1). It therefore seems to me that the performance of the SD1M plus lens is likely to be (somewhat) inferior to it's compact bretheren. Has anyone compared the DP2M to the SD1 with the 30 or 35mm, and are the differences obvious under 'real world' conditions? I just love the thought of being able to couple a telephoto like the 120-300 with a Foveon sensor.....

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    Re: Who is going to win the ultra wide angle battle? D800E vs Sigma SD1 Merrill...

    Vieri,

    Thank you for an interesting article. I would, however, disagree with the following:

    ...if you already have one, just keep your D800E, get a Zeiss 15mm f/2.8 Distagon...
    I rented and tested the Zeiss 15mm against the 14-24mm at 15mm and found the following:

    1. The Zeiss was marginally sharper in the extreme corners
    2. The Zeiss was significantly poorer along the long edges of the frame (worst midway along)

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    Senior Member vieri's Avatar
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    Re: Who is going to win the ultra wide angle battle? D800E vs Sigma SD1 Merrill...

    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisSearle View Post
    My understanding is that one of the reasons the DPXM's, are such fabulous performers is that the lens is matched to the sensor ( see also Sony RX1). It therefore seems to me that the performance of the SD1M plus lens is likely to be (somewhat) inferior to it's compact bretheren. Has anyone compared the DP2M to the SD1 with the 30 or 35mm, and are the differences obvious under 'real world' conditions? I just love the thought of being able to couple a telephoto like the 120-300 with a Foveon sensor.....
    I didn't do a systematic comparison between the two, but in my experience I'd take the SD1 Merrill with the 35mm f/1.4 against the DP2 Merrill any day. Of course, it's a much bigger package; however, you get an optical viewfinder, f/1.4, a battery that last long enough to not have to buy and carry 4 to get through a day shooting. Optical quality is definitely higher on the SD1 Merrill + 35mm f/1.4 combo (unless you get a lemon 35mm, which is possible, but I guess that can happen with the DP2 M as well).

    Quote Originally Posted by AreBee View Post
    Vieri,

    Thank you for an interesting article. I would, however, disagree with the following:



    I rented and tested the Zeiss 15mm against the 14-24mm at 15mm and found the following:

    1. The Zeiss was marginally sharper in the extreme corners
    2. The Zeiss was significantly poorer along the long edges of the frame (worst midway along)
    This is an interesting point, thank you. I tried the 15mm briefly and found out that at my working apertures (f8-11) there is no compare, the 15mm was sharper over the frame than the 14-24mm. However, I also noticed that the 15mm has quite a bit of field curvature, so if you shoot it WO or if you don't choose your focus point carefully, you get un-sharp areas around the frame, the closer to wide-open, the more evident.
    Vieri Bottazzini
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