Updated: Aug 20, 2021
A few months ago, we did a first impressions review on the Sigma 105mm f2.8 macro lens with the Sony E mount and L mount and since then, a lot of questions came in asking about the difference between Sigma’s macro lens and Sony’s 90mm f2.8 Optical SteadyShot (OSS) macro lens and which of the two is better.
We decided to shoot a side-by-side comparison of the two lenses’ performance by taking pictures with these lenses at the Flower Dome at Gardens by the Bay. We have the L mount variant of the Sigma 105mm f2.8 macro lens on the S1R while we tested both the E mount variants of the Sigma 105mm f2.8 and the Sony 90mm f2.8 OSS macro lens on the Sony A7R IV. The images were captured without a tripod and there’s a slight difference in temperature in some images due to the intermittent weather at the time of the test.
The captured images seem almost indistinguishable from each other. The image of the first item photographed by both lenses showed no difference from each other, although if you’re really splitting hairs, the image from the Sigma lens did seem a bit sharper here. The second item photographed showed Sony’s lens to be a bit sharper but the major difference you’ll see when comparing photos from these two lenses is that Sigma’s lens will capture a slightly tighter image due to the 15mm focal length difference than Sony’s lens.
All in all, both lenses performed relatively similar in terms of sharpness. They really are neck and neck.
OSS definitely comes in handy on the Sony lens, and it would be nice if Sigma could implement it in some of their future cameras. It’s not a dealbreaker, but if you’re shooting in a low-light environment handheld, the OSS will definitely be going to help.
The sharpness of both lenses is so close that the decision will most likely be made depending on whether you want OSS: if you don’t need stabilisation in your lens, go with Sigma. If you want to have OSS, take Sony’s lens.
Many people have been asking what the differences between the two lenses are, but their performance is so close that the only difference is your preference. Both lenses are neck-in-neck in terms of performance and overall image quality. People would find it hard to identify which lens was used in the images we took unless we pointed them out beforehand.
However, the focal difference is a minor difference between the two lenses because you can get an extra 15mm on Sigma’s lens compared to Sony’s. OSS on the Sony lens is highly appreciated, especially since having some sort of stabilisation in your lens will come in handy when you’re doing handheld macro photography.
We did notice a little camera shake when pairing the Sigma lens on the Sony camera because their in-body image stabilisation (IBIS) isn’t the best as of yet. Hopefully, Sony will improve on their IBIS this year, but as of right now, the OSS on the lens makes a notable difference.
Which camera lens will we recommend? If you need the extra 15mm, take Sigma’s 105mm f2.8 lens. If not, go for Sony’s 90mm f2.8 OSS macro lens. For L mount users, Sigma’s lens is their only option – and that isn’t a bad choice. It performs great, it’s sharp and we highly recommend it.
Written by John Paul Joaquin