Nikon 105mm f/1.4 Vs. Sigma 105mm f/1.4 Art: Which Is the Best?

When it comes to portrait lenses, the Nikon 105mm f/1.4 is possibly one of the best choices. At the time of its release, it was the first of its kind and was met with much praise. Since then, however, Sigma released their own version of this lens and many, including myself, wanted to know which lens is actually better.

In his latest video, photographer and YouTuber Jared Polin compares the Nikon 105mm f/1.4 to the Sigma 105mm f/1.4 Art to see which one is better. Even before we look at the image quality, there are some obvious and major differences between both lenses. Firstly, the Sigma is much more affordable compared to the Nikon with a price difference of almost $600. Secondly, the size and weight differences between the two are pretty significant. The Sigma weighs almost double that of the Nikon and for many, this in itself might be a bit of a deal breaker. I was pretty surprised at the weight of the Sigma when I was handling the lens and it's one of the main reasons why I'm hesitant to buy it. Regardless, I'm sure most of us only really want to know about the image quality and Polin has run both lenses through a series of tests. In my humble opinion, I'd say both lenses perform at a very high level and other factors like price and weight may have more of an impact when deciding between the two. 

Check out the video to see the comparison. You can also download the raw files directly from Polin's website.

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14 Comments

Han Seoul-Oh's picture

"Since then, however, Sigma released their own version of this lens and many, including myself, wanted to know which lens is actually better."

why not go rent them and try them out yourself? surely you don't trust Jared over yourself, because really, Fro don't know you or give a shit about you.

Usman Dawood's picture

Mostly because renting costs money and many reviewers online perform their tests with a lot of integrity and honesty. Also, many people just want to know because we're interested not because it's a lens we're going to buy or use. Some people just enjoy technology.

Bobby Ellis's picture

You should just do a review of the lens yourself. I'm not giving Jared Polin and his clickbait titles and pointless sniff tests/feuds any of my views.

Michael Jin's picture

Sharpness, sharpness, sharpness, sharpness, blah, blah, blah...

On the real, though. Is it really "SHOCKING" that the Sigma ART Lens outperformed the Nikon in terms of sharpness? Look at Sigma's entire ART series of primes. They're ALL sharper than their Nikon counterparts. Frankly, I would have been shocked if Nikon won the sharpness test at this point.

Usman Dawood's picture

I'd love to, unfortunately, I don't own any digital Nikon gear, but, this lens is one I've admired from afar.

I like Jared's reviews he has a particular style which I appreciate and there's an entertainment factor to his videos. In any case, thank you for sharing your thoughts.

Usman Dawood's picture

I agree the Sigma art lenses have been kicking a bunch of butts, I'm not surprised either, but, still good to see how well the Sigma lenses perform.

I wish Sigma could find a way to make them lighter but considering the performance I know that might be somewhat of an unreasonable request.

Michael Jin's picture

Well, they could use plastic barrels instead of whatever metal they're using and that would go a long way, but then people wouldn't gush over their build quality anymore. It's not like the barrel would affect the optics.

I don't know about these specific lenses but sometimes there are other factors that are more important than the relatively small sharpness difference between competing lenses. That, and Sigma aficionados annoy the shit out of me! ;-)

Michael Jin's picture

I dunno.. That Sigma camera article a while back had me thinking of those Foveon sensors for a few days. But yes, Sigma lenses are incredibly sharp, but rather clinical in their rendering. I wouldn't say that they're the best option for all situations, but for people who like to zoom in 3:1 in Lightroom to appreciate how sharp the eyelashes on a photo are, you can't really get much better than Sigma lenses.

For people looking for a less clinical approach to rendering in their photography, it's a constant annoyance to hear about how Sigma lenses are so great at shooting test charts because apparently we're idiots for thinking that it's ok for a lens to not be hyper sharp...

Sigma lenses are technically excellent, but they just never seem to have the character than I'm looking for. They also happen to be rather excessive in the size and weight department, but that's another issue entirely.

Andress Kools's picture

One would almost start thinking there's a career in shooting test charts... I agree that a lens' character and 'flaws' often make for creative portraiture that's difficult to achieve in post-processing.

Terry Henson's picture

Good for Sigma. But for me, that's just too heavy of a lens to try shooting wide open(or near about) without image stabilization. If you were to combine the weight of the Nikon 105 1.4 and the Nikon 85 1.4g, they would STILL be lighter than the Sigma.

Also, I use those lenses for comparison because I own them and they are excellent for portraiture. However, even the Nikon 105 can get heavy after shooting for a few hours.
Either way, Sigma has seriously stepped up their game the past few years with the Art lineup.

John Sammonds's picture

Sigma v Nikon V Tamron V every other lens maker is a complete nonsense, just take the lens you have get out there or in the studio and take pictures.

Sigma, till it breaks halfway through a baptism after 6 months of use.

Being a teacher, it bugs the heck out of me when people don't know how to use "verse" vs "versus." Jared, a verse is "writing arranged with a metrical rhythm, typically having a rhyme." (online dictionary) Versus means "as opposed to; in contrast to" or "against." (online dictionary) Please, learn to use verse and versus correctly.

(teacher hat off)