Lenses are like glasses; if you’re seeing the world through a bad set, everything you see is going to look like crap. Fortunately, the DZOFilm Pictor 20-55mm, Angenieux Optimo DP 16-42mm, and the Sigma Art 18-35mm lenses are all a fantastic choice to keep things looking pretty.
Sigma’s Art series lenses, especially the 18-35mm, have a reputation for producing some amazing images and you can find one in almost everyone’s kit. Angenieux’s lenses are high-end, professional tools that capture enviable pictures and are a model for every cinema lens manufacturer.
DZOFilm is a newcomer to the pack and since their impressive Pictor zooms have started shipping around the globe, cinematographers have found themselves stunned by their astonishing artistic look, and their very affordable price. Finally, Film Jams has pitted these three metal cylinders full of glass against one another to see which stands out on top.
TRANSPARENCY STATEMENT: None of these companies have ever paid me a penny to write about them (not that I wouldn’t take their cash), but I recently picked up a DZOFilm Pictor zoom for myself, and I absolutely love it. I loved it so much that I sold my Sigma Art 18-35mm, and I don’t miss it at all.
Angenieux Optimo DP 16-42mm Specs
- Mount: PL (fixed)
- Focal Length: 16-42mm
- Max. Aperture: T2.8
- Image Coverage : S35 Full (31.4mm diagonal)
- Weight: 4.2 lb (1.9 kg)
- Front Outer Diameter: 114mm
- Price $18,500
Sigma Art 18-35mm Specs
- Mount: EF, F, E, SA, or K (stills, fixed) / EF, PL (cine, fixed)
- Focal Length: 18-35mm
- Max. Aperture f1.8
- Image Coverage: S35 / APS-C
- Front Outer Diameter: 95mm (Cine Version)
- Price: $719 (stills), $3,999 (cine)
DZOFilm Pictor 20-55mm Specs
- Mount: PL & EF included (user swappable)
- Focal Length: 20-55mm
- Max Aperture: T2.8
- Image Coverage: S35
- Front Outer Diameter: 95mm
- Price: $2,289
With such a massive disparity in the prices of these 3 lenses, it’s frankly amazing that we’d want to compare them at all. Good glass costs money, and if you told the businessperson in me that the Sigma ($719) could even be compared to the Angenieux ($18,500), I’d obviously go for the cheaper option.
Using the URSA Mini Pro G2, the team tests all 3 lenses to compare their Sharpness, Color, Flare, Bokeh, and Parfocal characteristics.
Interestingly, the Sigma 18-35mm is the sharpest lens in this category but even though it delivers a super crisp image, its almost too clean and clinical looking. The Angenieux and DZOFilm cameras also delivered fantastic sharpness that was almost too close to compare.
One thing I noticed with the Angenieux was some extreme and weird distortion on the edges of the image in the chart, and it’s color characteristics made white look more like tobacco (but we’ll discuss that more in a sec).
All three of these lenses reproduce fantastic colors, with the Angenieux having a warmer look. Personally, I prefer the look of the DZOFilm Pictor over the look of the Angenieux, which looks far too warm for me here.
The Sigma also captures fantastic colors, but there is just something about the quality of those colors that I just don’t like.
Again, I’m a DZOFilm Pictor 20-55mm owner, and I immediately sold my Sigma 18-35mm the minute I tested against the Pictor specifically because of the color.
For what it is, the Sigma is fantastic but once I saw the look and color of the Pictor, I realized I never wanted to film on the Sigma ever again. It was one of the fastest decisions I’ve ever made in my life.
This is where the lenses show their most contrast, but still they all scored really highly. The Angenieux had the most character with a really pleasing rainbow flare. The DZOFilm Pictor had a very unique, star-like lens flare that was also full of character and very pleasing to the eye. Sigma presented the most natural flare but it lacked any real character.
Personally, I don’t find it to be such a bad thing that the flare on the Sigma lens was a little flat. Flare isn’t something I really hone in on with lenses unless it’s absolutely distracting. All of these lenses have phenomenal flare.
Both the Sigma and the DZOFilm lenses have a very circular bokeh while the Angenieux has a crescent bokeh. All of these cameras have a very pleasing look to their bokeh, but I personally prefer a circular bokeh as I find it the least distracting.
The gold standard Cooke ‘stop sign’ hexagon bokeh is just too distracting for me when I’m watching a movie and takes me completely out of the scene. I find myself staring at the weird hexagon patterns instead of listening to what people are saying – this is why I find a circular bokeh to be best because I don’t notice it.
I’d say these lenses are fairly evenly matched for the bokeh, but I feel as though the focus rolloff on the DZOFilm lens is the best. It is very subtle and pleasing to the eye. The Sigma’s focus rolloff seems very harsh to me.
A zoom lens is parfocal when you can zoom in or out without the focal point changing. Unfortunately, the Sigma is not parfocal so it loses in this category, but it is very close to being parfocal and some shooters often claim that it is parfocal or believe they have a parfocal copy of the 18-35mm. None of this is rooted in truth.
There are no parfocal Sigma 18-35mm lenses. Both the DZOFilm Pictor and the Angenieux Optimo are both parfocal.
So Who Wins?
As a said at the start of this piece, I hands down find the DZOFilm Pictor to be the winner in this comparison. It edges over the Angenieux Optimo thanks mainly to its price point, and I find the colors to be more accurate on the Pictor.
It would be nice to have a little more space on the wide end to zoom out, but interestingly the Tokina 11-20mm lens pairs surprisingly well with the DZOFilm Pictor.
At $2,289 for the Pictor and $2,479 for the Tokina 11-20mm ($529 for the stills version), the pair still completely annihilates the Angenieux’s high sticker price. With a $13,000 total savings, I’m not going to whine about having to bring a second lens along.
[source: Film Jams]
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