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Sigma 85mm F1.4 EX DG HSM

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Reviews Views Date of last review
33 68610 Feb 14, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
97% of reviewers $872.85
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.15
9.39
9.2
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Specifications:
Designed for use with full frame digital cameras. May also be used with smaller APS-c size sensors with a corresponding effective increase in focal length to about 127.5mm with most cameras
HSM (Hyper-Sonic Motor) ensure a quiet, high speed autofocus and full-time manual focusing capability
SLD (Special low Dispersion) glass element and glass mold elements for superior optical performance
Minimum focusing distance of 33.5

Lens Construction 11 Elements in 8 Groups
Angle of View 28.6
Number of Diaphragm Blades 9
Mininum Aperture f16
Minimum Focusing Distance 85 cm / 33.5 in
Filter Size (mm) 77mm
Maximum Magnifications 1:8.6
Dimensions
(Diameter x Length) 84.7x87.6 mm/3.3x3.4 in


 


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PrisonerDilema
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Registered: Oct 30, 2011
Location: Singapore
Posts: 0
Review Date: Feb 14, 2014 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $660.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Creamy bokeh, very sharp at 1.4. Much cheaper than the Keg II. Fast autofocus.
Cons:
HSM unit may not last

I bought over a very mint looking, scratch-free, user-mark-free lens from someone who bought first hand in Nov 2011 from Hong Kong with 1 year Sigma International warranty. Tested on the spot was ok. Paid cash and placed it in the car boot. In the evening, I got off from work and after dinner, took out the lens to mount it and lens could hardly autofocus and took 10s to focus on anything. Next morning, i brought it to Sigma Marketing in Singapore and surprisingly, the lens started autofocusing.

Intermittence issues I guess with the HSM. Was quoted $170 to replace the lens barrel that housed the HSM unit.

Thank goodness the seller agreed to foot $125 of the repairs whilst I did all the leg work. Took only 3 business days to repair and the lens is now as good as new, cleaned, re-calibrated.

Performance-wise, lens is super sharp, produces pics with a 'wow' look from that super creamy bokeh with a '3D' pop. Lens focuses way faster on my 6D than the Canon 85 f1.2L v1 (keg I) I first had in 2007 and on my 1dmk2, i mean really way faster.

At just slightly more than 1/3 the price of the Keg II, I would take this lens anytime over the Canon, which i missed a lot of shots indoors due to the AF.

Picture quality-wise, the Keg I's bokeh equal if not just slightly better. Sharpness-wise, the Sigma is sharper at 1.4 than Canon at 1.2, but slightly.

The Sigma does produce warmer colors out of cam and I need to correct the green color channel vs the Canon's more neutral colors.

But for the cost, practical use, the Sigma wins hands down and my heart. Perhaps it has won me over to consider the Sigma 35 f1.4 ART over the Canon 35L.



Feb 14, 2014
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Unlimited85
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Registered: Jul 24, 2012
Location: Spain
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jan 9, 2014 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $900.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Wondeful bokeh, decent sharpness wide open, price, decent focus accuracy/speed, construction.
Cons:
Longitudinal CA (color fringing purple in front and green in back) @ F/1.4 and F/2

Thats is, without duby, one of the best portrait/wedding lenses. The bokeh is simply awesome, and the IQ is very decent @f/1.4, great at f2 and excellent at f2.8. The compromise price/performance is very good.

The only significant problem might be the differences on the AF quality between samples (I feel lucky to get a great sample) and the longitudinal CA, but this can be corrected with lightroom/camera raw in just a few seconds.


Jan 9, 2014
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rbussmann
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Registered: Apr 11, 2013
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: May 14, 2013 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $799.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp, built, weight, fast AF
Cons:
Hood could be better

Until recently I have been rather critical with Sigma lenses, especially the built quality and sharpness were often rather poor. Sigma seems to have made great progress in recent years. This is a great lens, built like a tank (just the hood could be a bit better), very sharp center wide open, corners can be a bit soft, but for main application this matters little. AF is very fast, and I have experiences very little hunting, even under difficult light conditions. Great price!

May 14, 2013
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Photonic
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Registered: Apr 24, 2003
Location: United States
Posts: 669
Review Date: Mar 7, 2013 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharpness equal to Canon 85mm f/1.2L II, focus speed, weight, price.
Cons:

Over time the ratio of Sigma to Canon glass that I own has been steadily inching upwards. It all started with the Sigma 150mm f/2.8 macro (which I have since sold and moved back to the Canon 100mm f/2.8L IS macro) and continued with the 120-300mm f/2.8 (which replaced my Canon 300mm f/2.8L IS), 300-800mm f/5.6 (which replaced my Canon 500mm f/4 IS, and 50mm f/1.4 (which replaced both my Canon 50mm f/1.4 and Canon 50mm f/1.2L). This lens has just displaced my Canon 85mm f/1.2L II which I have sold. To my eye, the Sigma is optically every bit the equal of the Canon with much faster auto focus and much lower weight at a substantially lower price point. I strongly suspect that Sigma will give this lens an exterior only make-over and add USB firmware update/micro focus adjust in the near future. I am also guessing they will raise the price. If they keep the same optical formula, as was the case when they updated the 120-300mm, I think this version may remain the best value in the 85mm market if your primary consideration is IQ.

I hope Canon sits up and takes notice. Sigma seems to have gotten their quality control act together and is starting to offer some really compelling value propositions.


Mar 7, 2013
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rpavich
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Registered: Feb 13, 2013
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Feb 13, 2013 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Very nice lens...sharp wide open, and built like a tank.
Cons:
None.

I have to say that I was hesitant to play the Sigma lottery for an older lens like this...I just bought their 35mm (new design) and I was so impressed, I thought I'd try this lens.

I'm also impressed with this great lens....tack sharp wide open...great saturation...just a great lens.

I'm an "L" lens freak and I also own a 135mm f/2 so I have a good idea of what good IQ and sharpness looks like...and this really rivals it.

When they revamp this lens to the new standards...I'm buying that one too!


Feb 13, 2013
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jonbrach
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Registered: Dec 22, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 896
Review Date: Aug 30, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $779.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: build,AF speed,sharp,fair price
Cons:
none to speak of

I have not been a big fan of Sigma lenses until I tried this lens.I bought an outstanding copy from a trusted member here and have been very impressed.The lens is extremely sharp wide open and focuses faster than the great Canon 85L...I suppose those who got copies with focus problems might disagree but I think this is an outstanding value lens.If Sigma could do away with the consistency issues they seem to have from lens to lens I think they might well make inroads into the market on a greater scale.That said,if you get a good copy of this lens it is a big winner!

Aug 30, 2012
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Fulcrum
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Registered: May 23, 2008
Location: Finland
Posts: 3
Review Date: Jul 25, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: Very sharp form f/2.0 onwards. Fastest focusing 85mm I have met. Bokeh is awesome at large apertures.
Cons:
AF hunts too much.

This one is a winner from Sigma. The AF is very, very fast. And the lens is a lot sharper @ f/2.0 than the AF-S Nikkor 85mm 1.4G!

Sure, the AF misses sometimes and hunts a bit too much even in good light, but at least that is something you can fix with a flick of the wrist. Full time manual focus override is very nice indeed.

And this one is very nice in bad weather as well. Very well sealed, very sharp lens with an extremely pleasing bokeh at large apertures.


Jul 25, 2012
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ryan aguas
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Registered: Dec 7, 2006
Location: Philippines
Posts: 42
Review Date: Jul 14, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $960.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Very Sharp starting @ f1.4, solid build and feel, fast and accurate AF
Cons:
front element can get scratched easily, colors are not as good as the Canon L

I bought this lens to replace my Canon 85 1.2L which I sold last year to a friend who insisted on buying it. The Canon 85L was optically spectacular, but I find it too bulky, cumbersome and too slow for everyday use. And also it feels somewhat fragile because of the exposed rear element.
I read a lot of good reviews about the Sigma 85 1.4 and decided to give it a try. I used it with my 5Dmk3 and here are a few observations and comparisons vs the Canon 85L:

1. The lens is very sharp wide open, optically it is as good as the Canon 85L at the same apertures.
2. The colors are slightly muted and warmer compared to the images from the 85L.
3. The build feels solid and does not have an exposed rear element
4. The AF is accurate and I did not experience any compatibility issues with my 5Dmk3.
5. It focuses faster than the 85L
6. It is cheaper (cost $1200 less than the 85L)
7. The bokeh is comparable to the 85L (although IMHO the Canon is slightly better)

I would have rated this lens 10 if not for one major glitch I encountered with it during field use: the front element of the lens can get scratched easily (I don't use protective filters as they can degrade image quality). It happend one day when I was changing lenses, I was in a hurry so I just put the lens in my bag without a lens cap - unfortunately it hit the bottom part of my 580EXII flash - the metal part brushed against the front glass of the lens causing a very small scratch that I cannot remove. I have have had a similar scenario with my other L lenses and did not have the front element scratched so easily (I guess canon L-series glass are also more durable).

Nonetheless, even with the tiny scratch in the front, the performance of the lens was not affected and it is still very sharp. The lens is a good value for its price and performance.
But then, should anyone consider buying this lens, they just have to be careful with the front element (or just use a protective filter).


Jul 14, 2012
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Kevin Sanders
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Registered: Jun 4, 2010
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 5
Review Date: Jun 2, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Pin-sharp focus at maximum aperture. Good build quality and solid feel. Silent and fast AF. Excellent bokeh.
Cons:
None.

I love this lens. For candids or formal portraits I can't imagine there is anything better. I haven't tried the Canon counterpart, but I have studied images taken with it and, apart from the weather sealing, I doubt it has anything I would pay an extra 700 for.

Good Sigma glass is terrific value for money, but their QC leaves a bit to be desired. That said, I don't understand people giving a 2 just because they have a faulty copy. It would be much more helpful to get it fixed first (and it must be a faulty one judging by all other reviews) and then review it properly and, perhaps, the service?


Jun 2, 2012
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Mike Mahoney
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Registered: Mar 8, 2004
Location: Canada
Posts: 5442
Review Date: Jun 2, 2012 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 2 

Pros: Build quality
Cons:
Inconsistent focus

This is a well made lens and the images are very nice if and when you get one in focus.

And the inconsistent focus cannot be fixed by micro adjusting because the lens does not focus consistently. So even if you do adjust it to be good focus it will still be out-of-focus on the next shot, or the one after. Basically a useless lens for anyone who needs to have accurately focused shots.


Jun 2, 2012
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markshelby
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Registered: Sep 28, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 578
Review Date: May 21, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $900.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp!, excellent contrast, well-constructed and fast-focus
Cons:
None

This is my sharpest lens; with fast, quiet and accurate autofocus; solid construction and freakishly awesome contrast.

Anyone in the market for an 85mm should definitely take a look.


May 21, 2012
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Kevin Sherman
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Registered: Nov 11, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 1045
Review Date: Jan 19, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Bokeh, Sharpness, Price, Focus speed
Cons:
Build quality

Canon mount.

Excellent value. Significantly better all around than the Canon 85 f1.8 USM. Gets you comparable image quality to the 85L II (which I have used several times) but with much much faster focusing speeds, all at a significantly lower price point compared to the 85L II.

Build quality is pretty good, I do not like the soft touch finish at all. The copy I rented was really good, except at one point towards the end of a two day outdoor shoot the focus got stuck. So it's not designed for work in rougher weather conditions. Not unexpected, really.

At the end of the day, I was impressed with this lens enough that I plan to purchase my own copy very soon (buying primes!).


Jan 19, 2012
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Chestnut
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Registered: Feb 1, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 692
Review Date: Dec 11, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $799.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Great image quality, sharp, great bokeh, fast AF, price compared to Nikon equiv.
Cons:
No weather sealing (but no big deal), ever so slightly less pop (contrast) compared to Nikon's new 85G

This lens is 90-95% of the newer Nikon 85 f/1.4 G. But at half the price.

Great optics, fast and silent AF, dreamy bokeh. I had the Nikon 84 f/1.4 AF-D, and needed the upgrade for faster focusing... Researched a long time, and tried both... the Sigma give me 200% more bang for my $$.

It does lack weather sealing, but my use of this lens will not coincide with foul weather anyways, so it's a non-issue for me.

The price has gone up by a good bit since I bought it, but even so, it's a very great lens for the price, esp when comparing with the Nikon 85G.

I'm very happy with it.


Dec 11, 2011
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martsmith42
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Registered: Feb 25, 2005
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 300
Review Date: Nov 3, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Good build quality, excellent sharpness, colour and contrast. Much lighter than the Canon!
Cons:
none

I've had mine for nearly a year, and used it all through the wedding season on my 5d classics with great results. I don't use it wider than F2, but even at this apperture you can get fantastic 3d type images. The colour and sharpness always makes me smile.

Nov 3, 2011
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dealaddict
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Registered: Jun 11, 2009
Location: Canada
Posts: 31
Review Date: Sep 3, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $850.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: smooth bokeh
Cons:
inaccurate focus

I first tried the Canon 85 1.8, somehow, the color and contrast is not good. then bought the 85L MK I, color and contrast are excellent, but the focus is too slow to take picture for my kids. And I don't want to spend $2000 on the 85L MK II so give this lens a try. the color and contrast are good, better than the Canon 85 1.8, 90% of the 85 L. Focus speed is very good. Bokeh is smooth comparable to the 85 L. My copy is front focus by 2-3mm at MFD at F1.4. This is not a big deal in real life unless I shoot at a poster, because at f1.4 at MFD, taking picture of my kids at an angle, the DOF is so thin that focus on the right eye the left eye will be out of focus anyway, so front focus by 2-3mm is not noticeable in real life. Overall, I am happy with this lens. At least 90% picture quality of the 85L with less than half of the price.

Sep 3, 2011
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edatc
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Registered: Jul 17, 2009
Location: N/A
Posts: 45
Review Date: Aug 24, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: The bokeh, feel, focus
Cons:
none

Tested focus in store using 5dii and outer focus points at my preferred portrait distances..... wow, dead on.

This lens really works for me. Use it a lot. Really like its drawing style..... Focuses quickly enough that I never use the Canon 85 1.8 anymore.


Aug 24, 2011
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Sigma 85mm F1.4 EX DG HSM

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
33 68610 Feb 14, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
97% of reviewers $872.85
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.15
9.39
9.2
image_copy


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