LensTip.com

Lens review

Sigma 85 mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM

20 December 2010
Arkadiusz Olech

11. Summary

Pros:
  • high build quality,
  • excellent image quality in the frame centre,
  • good image quality on the edge of the frame,
  • slight lateral chromatic aberration,
  • negligible distortion,
  • well-corrected astigmatism,
  • the lowest vignetting in this class of equipment,
  • good work against bright light,
  • quick, silent and accurate autofocus,
  • rich selection of standard accessories,
  • three years of guarantee with the possibility of extending it by next two years.

Cons:

  • coma in full frame corners is a bit too high,
  • manual focus ring not very precise,
  • noticeable longitudinal chromatic aberration.

When it comes to the image resolution the Sigma can compete on equal terms with the new Nikkor 1.4/85 and the expensive Canon 1.2/85 and it fares better than the Zeiss 1.4/85 and the Samyang 1.4/85. In the case of the chromatic aberration, distortion, vignetting of the work against bright light the tested lens defeats most of competitors hands down. Only in the category of coma it fares a bit worse. The autofocus, a thing often considered to be the Sigmas’ problem, here works beyond reproach – it is quicker than that of the Nikkor and the Zeiss and not less accurate. In our tests we had two Sigma 1.4/85 lenses at our disposal with two different mounts and they were attached to four bodies in total. On none of them the lens needed any micro calibration – it sharpened exactly where we wanted it to.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - advertisement - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

We rarely publish uncompromising opinions in our summaries but here it would be difficult not to include one. Providing you own a Nikon or Sony reflex camera I personally don’t see any reason why you should buy any brand-name 1.4/85 lenses. The Sigma is cheaper, better and it comes with a longer guarantee – as simple as that. You must be really very infatuated with “Zeiss” or “Nikkor” magical words to prefer their lenses to the Sigma.

In the case of the Pentax reflex cameras the Sigma can find a serious competition in the shape of the Pentax smc FA 77 mm f/1.8 Limited which has been assessed very well. It provides excellent build quality, very good optics and it is significantly cheaper than the Sigma. It has one serious flaw, though – its aperture is only f/1.8 fast, not f/1.4. That’s why I don’t doubt the Sigma will find a wide group of fans in that system too.

The situation remains the most interesting for the owners of Canon reflex cameras because they have the biggest choice now. For an amount of money of 350 $ they can either buy a well-known and popular EF 85 mm f/1.8 USM model or a manual Samyang 1.4/85. If you have a bigger budget at your disposal and you want to own something better you should get interested in the Sigma for sure. If the f/1.2 aperture is a necessary feature for you and you want to have a wider manual focus range you can always opt for the most expensive device of all, the Canon EF 85 mm f/1.2L II USM. Of course it may be disputable whether it is worth spending two times more money just to upgrade from f/1.4 to f/1.2, especially in a situation when there are many testing categories in which the Sigma still fares better than the expensive L-series Canon lens. Such a discussion, though, fits a thread on a forum better than the summary of our test.


Sample shots

Additional gallery of sample shots taken by the Sigma 85mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM lens mounted to the Canon EOS 1D Mk IV camera You can find here.

Sigma 85 mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM - Summary
Sigma 85 mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM - Summary
Sigma 85 mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM - Summary
Camera: Nikon D3x
Parameters: 85 mm, f/4.0, exp. 1/1000 s, ISO 100
File: JPEG, 6048×4032 pix, 6.61 MB
Camera: Nikon D3x
Parameters: 85 mm, f/5.6, exp. 1/500 s, ISO 100
File: JPEG, 6048×4032 pix, 6.67 MB
Camera: Nikon D3x
Parameters: 85 mm, f/8.0, exp. 1/250 s, ISO 100
File: JPEG, 6048×4032 pix, 6.43 MB
Sigma 85 mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM - Summary
Sigma 85 mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM - Summary
Sigma 85 mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM - Summary
Camera: Nikon D3x
Parameters: 85 mm, f/1.4, exp. 1/2500 s, ISO 100
File: JPEG, 6048×4032 pix, 4.59 MB
Camera: Nikon D3x
Parameters: 85 mm, f/2.0, exp. 1/1250 s, ISO 200
File: JPEG, 6048×4032 pix, 6 MB
Camera: Nikon D3x
Parameters: 85 mm, f/1.4, exp. 1/2000 s, ISO 100
File: JPEG, 6048×4032 pix, 5.71 MB
Sigma 85 mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM - Summary
Sigma 85 mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM - Summary
Sigma 85 mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM - Summary
Camera: Nikon D3x
Parameters: 85 mm, f/2.0, exp. 1/200 s, ISO 800
File: JPEG, 6048×4032 pix, 9.83 MB
Camera: Nikon D3x
Parameters: 85 mm, f/1.4, exp. 1/160 s, ISO 800
File: JPEG, 6048×4032 pix, 8.22 MB
Camera: Nikon D3x
Parameters: 85 mm, f/2.2, exp. 1/100 s, ISO 400
File: JPEG, 6048×4032 pix, 9.08 MB
Sigma 85 mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM - Summary
Sigma 85 mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM - Summary
Sigma 85 mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM - Summary
Camera: Nikon D3x
Parameters: 85 mm, f/4.0, exp. 1/1250 s, ISO 100
File: JPEG, 6048×4032 pix, 5.81 MB
Camera: Nikon D3x
Parameters: 85 mm, f/2.8, exp. 1/1000 s, ISO 100
File: JPEG, 6048×4032 pix, 4.75 MB
Camera: Nikon D3x
Parameters: 85 mm, f/4.0, exp. 1/640 s, ISO 200
File: JPEG, 6048×4032 pix, 7.49 MB
Sigma 85 mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM - Summary
Sigma 85 mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM - Summary
Sigma 85 mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM - Summary
Camera: Nikon D3x
Parameters: 85 mm, f/5.6, exp. 1/160 s, ISO 100
File: JPEG, 6048×4032 pix, 7.3 MB
Camera: Nikon D3x
Parameters: 85 mm, f/2.5, exp. 1/80 s, ISO 400
File: JPEG, 6048×4032 pix, 6.22 MB
Camera: Nikon D3x
Parameters: 85 mm, f/2.0, exp. 1/100 s, ISO 400
File: JPEG, 6048×4032 pix, 6.12 MB



Next chapter