Sony GM vs Sigma Art: Which 135mm f/1.8 Lens Is the Best?

Portrait lenses are getting more and more ridiculous these days with their oversized glass elements and their super wide apertures. It's like every year a company will come out and try and outdo everyone by producing the most over the top lens they can and honestly, I couldn't be happier. 

It this type of competition that really benefits the photography industry. The kind of performance we're now seeing in full-frame lenses is pretty much unprecedented. Lenses like the 135mm f/1.8 Art from Sigma is one of the sharpest lenses on the market. In my testing I found that it performed incredibly well and on par with the Zeiss 135mm f/2.0. This is saying a lot because the Zeiss lens comfortably beats almost any medium format portrait lens when it comes to sheer detail and sharpness. In a recent comparison by Tony and Chelsea Northrup, they put the Sigma 135mm lens up against the new Sony 135mm f/1.8 GM lens. When it comes to sharpness this lens may not be quite as good as the Sigma or the Zeiss version, but, it does have a few tricks up its proverbial sleeve. The Sigma is a much more affordable lens between the two but Northrup does discuss several reasons as to why you may want to pay extra for the Sony.  

Check out the full comparison to see how both lenses perform. 

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47 Comments

Sorry, no interest on any Tony and Chelsea video. Too many hack jobs and his videos tend to have numerous errors.

Usman Dawood's picture

I'm sorry you feel that way, do you have any examples of the errors, please?

Thomas H's picture

Oh my god, are you serious?
Tony Notorious, as many call him, is infamous for sensationalists claims, such as lies which photography companies tell, ISO is a fake, shoot jpeg (long feud with Jared the Fro), "The Truth about NNN," whatever NNN might have been, single card slot is not for pro's, Z6 video is unusable, and many many more.

It almost does not make sense to waste time of life to find out all these faux-pas in his videos.

I agree, life is precious and we cannot buy more time. I'm just here for the comments, a nice quick read and comedic relief.

Chip Kalback's picture

His video about the FAA Part 107 drone test single handedly helped me pass the test my first time 🤷‍♂️

Gerald Bertram's picture

I know Tony browses this site so I hope he sees this. The 107 video also greatly helped me. Tony is actually a great educator but unfortunately he hasn't been doing much of that anymore. I know it doesn't get the views that review videos and the like do but man I'd love to see him do more of that.

You should see his video review hack job of the Panasonic S1r entitled “The Truth about the Panasonic S1r”. To his dismay, Tony wasn’t included with the vast majority of popular photo bloggers at the marketing launch; thus, Tony claims in his “review” that the camera is “over rated” and hammers away at it, urging users not to buy one or use one...all without Tony ever using the camera or testing it. He even misleads less knowledgeable viewers into thinking he has the camera in front of him in his video and that he used it for testing, by placing an older version Panasonic on his table tilted just so that a viewer can’t make it the model easily.

I was a fan of his before I saw that video review and witnessed the spite. The comments there are pretty much all in agreement that the video review was not credible and deliberately misleading.

His two videos defaming photographer Steve McCurry were easily the most disgusting videos I've seen on YouTube this year. Northrup based them on Northrup's own ignorant blunders and clickbait-y lies, smugly presented as righteous "true story" journalism.

25 to 50 percent images out of focus? Sounds like eye-af is doing a terrible job? Is that on a moving object wide open in afc?

Toney Smith's picture

I’ll take Rogers opinion and reviews any day over this guy.

https://m.dpreview.com/articles/1478096987/roger-cicala-tests-new-sony-f...

DP Review has been owned by Amazon since May of 2007. While I find them useful for straight tech specs, their reviews have been and always will be suspect as a result.

Usman Dawood's picture

I’ve had quite few people say something similar to me about DPR and their reviews but I’m not seeing anything wrong. Is there anything specific you think that makes you suspect their reviews?

Usman, first off- I'm not trying to flame or start any kind of fight. Were you familiar with DPReview before Amazon bought them? I found their reviews to be far more honest in regard to the actual quality/usability of the products. Back then they had no fear not recommending a product if it wasn't good enough.

After Amazon purchased them, every single product they reviewed was "Recommended" so that was enough for me to question their credibiltiy.

Usman Dawood's picture

Having an opinion doesn’t mean you’re necessarily trying to start a fight i just wanted to know your thoughts on the matter. You’re welcome to share tour thoughts :-)

I didn’t follow their reviews prior to them being bought by Amazon so I have no point of reference unfortunately. It is interesting if they recommend every single product.

Usman, thank you. Its so easy to misinterpret forum posts (anywhere online) that I just wanted to be clear.

Toney Smith's picture

Fred, Roger has nothing to do with Dpreview.

I believe Tony’s bias is evident here. In this video he determines the Sigma is sharper by comparing the lenses with pictures taken with pixel shift mode. Pixel shift is notorious for a lack of reliability and extreme sensitivity to camera movement. He should have used an easily repeatable method of shooting for comparing the two lenses, such as a single shot taken at a relatively high SS single shot. As a pro, he may know this, but if not then either he is deliberately misleading or unintentionally inaccurate.

Roger at lens rentals used reproducible testing methods, which thus approaches scientific in its method. Roger claims the Sony resolves at a much higher level. In fact, the highest MTF he’s ever seen in a consumer lens.

Usman Dawood's picture

Fair points against someone are fine but come on man. Really taking the.... with your pixel shift comment and somehow Tony using that to confirm his preferred choice as being better lol.

Maybe his use of pixel shift is not evident of bias, but he shouldn’t determine lens sharpness with pixel shift shots.

In your article above you say “when it comes to sharpness this lens may not be quite as good as the Sigma or Zeiss”. Was this line just a summary of Tonys video or was this your conclusion as well?

Sharpness or resolution can be objectively measured, Tony doesn’t do that here but he does in fact come to a conclusion. That’s just plain misleading or inaccurate.

Usman Dawood's picture

Summary of the video, that’s why I used the words “may not” because personally I haven’t drawn any conclusions.

I think I definitely need to compare these two lenses myself.

David Penner's picture

Does it really matter if one is even like 5% sharper than the other? Nobody is gonna even notice that. IMO the only things the majority of people need to look at is their budget and for a portrait lens how it renders the out of focus areas. If you can afford the Sony but prefer the look of the Sigma bokeh or just how it renders the image just go with the Sigma. Sharpness will barely matter since it's easy enough to give it a bit more of that punch when post processing.

Usman Dawood's picture

Well yes, it does because it's kind of my job to compare lenses and write about gear lol.

David Penner's picture

So it matters to people that review gear but it doesn't really matter to the people actually using the gear

Usman Dawood's picture

Well that entirely depends on the individual. Do you value better CA performance or do you prefer a sharper lens. If a lens is slightly sharper but costs a lot more do you think it’s worth it to pay the extra? What if the more expensive lens is not as sharp as the cheaper alternative would that help you decide how to spend your money.

Gear reviews help people decide what to buy its not about what’s good enough but what’s good value. Some people want the sharpest lens and some people want character in their lenses and don’t particularly care about sharpness. Some people can’t stand CA.

You’re coming at this in the complete wrong way

Usman Dawood's picture

Rogers findings don’t disagree with Tony’s findings.

But they do, if only in regards to sharpness. Roger’s testing found the sony to be the sharpest lens he’d ever tested. He even specifically compared it to the sigma 135mm which was the previous sharpest. One of your fellow Fstoppers authors Ryan Mense even wrote an article about Roger’s findings. I don’t know about you but I’d certainly call that disagreeing with Tony’s findings.

Usman Dawood's picture

I must have missed that. Looking at the article from Roger I didn’t see anything compared to the Sigma. I’ll look further into this and see if I can do a direct comparison too.

It may not get mentioned in the DP review article about his tests that got linked earlier but he talks about it in his article for Lensrentals.

https://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2019/03/sony-fe-135mm-f1-8-gm-early-mtf...

Usman Dawood's picture

Thank you, Cecil. Lots of interesting stuff here and lots of awesome new lens options :).

I would prefer if the Sony is better because it's a proper native option.

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