Nikon 15mm f3.5 AIS v Sigma 12-24mm f3.5-4.5
[published may 2006]
As King Solomon advised: “Don’t say: ‘Why were the olden days so much better than these?’ It is not due to wisdom that you have asked this.” Proverbs were so much better then.
Yet for Nikon users it’s true: in many cases the classic AIS series manual focus primes are unsurpassed by modern designs. You can point the finger at company politics, cost and corner cutting, or the appetite of the convenience generation for AF zooms, but the fact remains unaltered that – ironically – the best partner for a state of the art digital SLR (Canon or Nikon) is often a 20 year old lens.
Here then, head to head, is the very shiniest of the nu-skool up against a relic of the cold war era: the Nikon an exotic vintage throughbred, the auto everything Sigma 12-24mm zoom freshly fêted as Lens of the Year, mass produced by a third party manufacturer with bleeding edge tech and the cheapest possible materials. Plastic? Yes. Fantastic? We’ll see.
All images shot in RAW focus bracketed in constant daylight (wind almost nil) with a Canon 5D, processed into 8 bit TIFFs via C1 and converted for web with BoxTop Pro.