WHAT WE LIKED
The lens is capable of capturing
razor-sharp details, and its internal
construction creates a lovely, soft bokeh
that’s particularly appealing at f/1.4.
Autofocus is responsive and quiet,
bordering on silent—perfect for wedding
ceremonies. The body is extremely well
built and very sturdy. Its “squeeze-able”
lens cap is convenient, and the lens hood,
padded case and shoulder strap are a
bonus, as is the four-year limited warranty.
WHAT WE DIDN’ T LIKE
Remove the lens from its case
and the size and weight of this beast
are intimidating, especially when paired
with a pro-size DSLR. Unless you have a
very steady hand, the weight might be
an issue since the lens—like most of the
competition—lacks image stabilization.
It’s not weather-sealed either, which
may be a concern if you’re out in the
field a lot.
HOW IT COMPARES
The $1,200 Sigma 85mm f/1.4 DG
HSM may be the sharpest lens in its class
and certainly the least expensive. Head to
head, the Zeiss OTUS 85mm may beat the
Sigma in sharpness but it’s also more than
twice as expensive and only has manual
focus. If you rely on AF, the Sigma is an
I love my NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4 G lens—it’s
exceptionally sharp, smaller and lighter than
the Sigma—but at $1,600, it’s also pricier than
the Sigma. If image stabilization and price are
more important than a super-fast aperture,
Tamron’s 85mm f/1.8 Di VC USD will get you
very sharp images for a mere $750.
There’s no doubt that a fast, sharp
prime 85mm lens belongs in a pro wedding
or portrait photographer’s kit. Despite
its size and weight, Sigma’s 85mm f/1.4
DG HSM Art lens meets or exceeds the
competition when it comes to sharpness,
beautiful bokeh and, of course, price.
Theano Nikitas has been covering
photography for over 20 years. Although
she loves digital, she still has a darkroom
and a fridge filled with film.
The lens delivers
sharpness, virtually no
distortion and no real
even on a cropped
ABOVE: The subject’s left eye came
out razor sharp using the Sigma
85mm on a Nikon D500 at f/1.4.
The Nikon SB800 provided fill flash.
MEMBERS ONLY COMPETITION