When choosing lenses for your Nikon DSLR, you have a choice between Nikon lenses and other brands, such as Sigma. When shopping for Nikon lenses, don't be confused by the brand name. Nikon lenses are not called Nikon lenses but NIKKOR lenses. While there are differences between Sigma and NIKKOR lenses, the ultimate decision on which brand to buy comes down to your preferences and your shooting style.
Where They Are Made
All NIKKOR lenses are made in Japan. Sigma lenses are made in Japan also at Sigma's own factory in Aizu, Japan.
NIKKOR lenses come with a five year warranty in the United States. Sigma lenses come with a three year warranty in the U.S. Make sure you buy your lenses from a reputable U.S. dealer to receive the warranty. The U.S. warranty is void for all NIKKOR lenses bought outside the U.S., otherwise known as grey market lenses.
The top-end ED NIKKOR lenses use ED (extra-low dispersion) glass elements to minimize chromatic aberrations. The top-end APO Sigma lenses use Special Low-Dispersion (SLD) glass and Extraordinary Low Dispersion (ELD) glass elements to minimize chromatic aberrations. Chromatic aberrations are blurry details as a result of the lens being unable to focus all of the colors sharply. While Nikon and Sigma use different names for their glass elements in their top-end lenses, they are all very similar in the fact that they improve the quality of the pictures.
Different Apertures & Focal Lengths
Many of the comparable NIKKOR and Sigma lenses, while having the same focal length, have different maximum apertures. And some lenses may have the same maximum aperture but differ slightly in focal lengths. For instance, NIKKOR's smallest wide-angle lens is 10.5mm while Sigma has an 8mm lens.
Even when a NIKKOR and Sigma lense have the same maximum aperture and same focal length, they may still be different when it comes to the number of glass elements the lenses contain. The NIKKOR 50mm f1.4 has 7 glass elements in 6 groups while the Sigma 50mm f1.4 has 8 glass elements in 6 groups. While you may not see a difference in the picture quality of these lenses, you will notice improved picture quality when the number of glass elements is notably different between two lenses.
- Photo Credit "i like to shoot stuff!" is Copyrighted by Flickr user: erin MC hammer under the Creative Commons Attribution license.
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