Sharpness comparison part 2: Sigma 100-400mm vs 135mm F1.8 Art


Like with my prior Sigma 100-400mm C vs 135mm f/1.8 Art comparison, where I was comparing their respective sharpness at close-up range, I’ve decided to not only shoot at the same aperture but to shoot photos with the prime lens at those apertures which the zoom is lacking and compare the results to the zoom’s largest aperture. Since, as I said already, the first part was about performance at close-up range, in this one we are going to examine the performance of the two lenses at long distances. 🙂

But before we take a look at the crops, a few words regarding the test arrangement and modus operandi.

  • The zoom lens was set to 135mm (à largest aperture at that FL is f/5.6).
  • A tripod was used as well as 10s self-timer.
  • The Sigma 135mm f/1.8 Art is always on the left.
  • Lenses were focused at the center of the frame
  • You can find the full res photos on Flickr.

 

Center

Sigma 135mm f/1.8 @ f/1.8 vs 100-400mm @ f/5.6

Sigma 135mm f/1.8 @ f/2.8 vs 100-400mm @ f/5.6

Sigma 135mm f/1.8 @ f/4 vs 100-400mm @ f/5.6

Sigma 135mm f/1.8 @ f/5.6 vs 100-400mm @ f/5.6

Sigma 135mm f/1.8 @ f/8 vs 100-400mm @ f/8

Sigma 135mm f/1.8 @ f/11 vs 100-400mm @ f/11

 

Upper right corner

Sigma 135mm f/1.8 @ f/1.8 vs 100-400mm @ f/5.6

Sigma 135mm f/1.8 @ f/2.8 vs 100-400mm @ f/5.6

Sigma 135mm f/1.8 @ f/4 vs 100-400mm @ f/5.6

Sigma 135mm f/1.8 @ f/5.6 vs 100-400mm @ f/5.6

Sigma 135mm f/1.8 @ f/8 vs 100-400mm @ f/8

Sigma 135mm f/1.8 @ f/11 vs 100-400mm @ f/11

There are no surprises this time around. Even at f/1.8 the 135mm f/1.8 Art is as sharp in the center, if not even a bit sharper than the 100-400mm Contemporary at f/5.6. Stopped down to f/2.8 it is quite a bit sharper than the zoom lens at f/5.6 ad it remains sharper all the way to f/11, where it seem a bit less crisp and identical to the zoom, no doubt due to diffraction. The results are a bit different in the corners. Here at f/1.8 the 135mm f1.8 Art appears to be a tiny little bit softer than the 100-400mm C at f/5.6. Stopped down to f/2.8 it is as sharp as the zoom. It manages to overtake the zoom only when stopped down to f/4 and remains sharper all the way, including when both lenses are stopped down to f/11.

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