Sigma EX 85mm 1: 1.4 DG HSM Review

According provided by Sigma EX 85mm 1: 1.4 DG HSM lens (for Nikon cameras, second version) many thanks to the reader of Radozhiva - Ruslan Ruzhansky.

SIGMA AF 85 mm f / 1.4 EX DG HSM

SIGMA AF 85 mm f / 1.4 EX DG HSM

The Sigma EX 85mm 1: 1.4 DG HSM is a good fast prime lens mainly for portrait photography. There are very few lenses of 85 / 1.4 class with autofocus, and I am glad that Sigma was able to create something similar.

The Sigma 85mm f / 1.4 was introduced at the beginning of 2010 and became the first 85 mm fixed-lens for Nikon cameras, which had a built-in focus motor. Native lens Nikon AF-S Nikkor 85mm 1: 1.4G SWM N was introduced only in August of the same 2010, and the version Nikon AF-S Nikkor 85mm 1: 1.8G IF SWM I had to wait another 2 years. For users of Nikon non-powered cameras, the ability to use 85 / 1.4 was good news, and the price of the Sigma 85mm f / 1.4 was and is much lower than that of Nikon 85 / 1.4G.

Canon Camera Ownersthat came to me to Radozhiv, where the Sigma EX 85mm 1: 1.4 DG HSM version for Nikon cameras is described, it will be interesting to read the reviews and tests of the Sigma EX 85mm 1: 1.4 DG HSM for the Canon system on the websites vlador.com и evtifeev.com.

SIGMA AF 85 mm f / 1.4 EX DG HSM

SIGMA AF 85 mm f / 1.4 EX DG HSM

Main technical characteristics of Sigma EX 85mm 1: 1.4 DG HSM:

Review Instance Name Sigma EX 85mm 1: 1.4 DG HSM 14122871
Basic properties
  • DG (for DiGital SLR Cameras) is a lens designed for full-frame digital cameras.
  • EX (EXcellent) is a top quality professional lens.
  • HSM (Hyper Sonic Motor) - built-in Hyper Sonic Focusing Motor (the word 'Hyper' is indicated in the manual).
  • SLD glass (Special Low Dispersion glass) - the use of low-dispersion elements in the optical scheme.
  • Aspherical - use of aspherical elements in the optical scheme
  • Sigma Super Multi-Layer Coating  - super multi-coated optics.
  • AF-M - focus mode switch.
  • Internal focusing.
  • Manual focusing in 'AF' mode.
  • APS-C HOOD HA850-02 - special adapter-extension for the hood, which can be used when shooting with cameras with an APS-C sensor
  • 3 years official warranty (optional)
Front Filter Diameter 77 mm
Focal length 85 mm, the EGF for Nikon DX cameras is 127.5 mm
Zoom ratio 1 x
Designed by for digital cameras Nikon FX
Number of aperture blades 9 rounded petals
Labels focusing distance in meters and feet. IMDF scale for F / 16, bayonet mount label and hood mount label.
Diaphragm From F / 1.4 to F / 16. The lens does not have an aperture ring (G - lens type)
MDF (minimum focusing distance) 0.85 m, maximum magnification ratio is 1: 8.6
The weight 725 g
Optical design 11 elements in 8 groups. The scheme includes 1 low dispersion element (shown in blue on the optical diagram) and 1 aspherical element (shown in pink on the optical diagram).Optical design Sigma 85 1.4The image of the optical circuit is clickable.
Lens hood SIGMA Lens Hood LH850-03, the lens can use the SIGMA APS-C HOOD HA850-02 adapter (serves as an extension for the lens hood for cameras with APS-C sensor)
Manufacturer country LENS MADE IN JAPAN
Period  From February 2010 to the present
Instruction (multilingual) Download, mirror 2
Price

Please note that the lens was produced in two versions, which differ in the body finish. The first version of the lens had a body covered with the characteristic Sigma rough velvet. The second version has a more classic matte black finish and is shown in this review.

Also, note that the lens comes with different mounts: Nikon, Canon, Pentax, Sigma, and Sony.

SIGMA AF 85 mm f / 1.4 EX DG HSM

SIGMA AF 85 mm f / 1.4 EX DG HSM with adapter

Assembly

The lens is well built and the 'Sigma EX' (top-of-the-line lenses) lettering is backed up by an impressive weight. The focusing ring is rubberized, wide and easy to use. Of course, such a fat man has a metal mount, but, unfortunately, the Sigma 85mm f / 1.4 is not waterproof or dustproof. Relatives Nikon 85 / 1.4G и Nikon 85 / 1.8G have at least a rubber gasket on the side of their mount.

Personally, I would find fault with the focus mode switch. The switch is plastic and awkwardly switches from 'M' mode to 'AF' mode. And also, while focusing on the MDF, the internal electronics of the lens can be seen from the side of the rear lenses; cute velvet sigmo girls should be very ashamed! :).

It's nice that complete with the lens comes a special case, lens hood and an additional adapter for the main lens hood. The adapter itself is a small lens hood and is installed between the lens and the main lens hood and serves as an extension of the main lens when shooting on cameras with an APS-C sensor (i.e. Nikon DX). Sigma adds such a small and useful thing to owners of cropped cameras in the kit to many of its lenses. I saw a similar adapter, for example, in Sigma 70-200mm f / 2.8 APO DG HSM EX OS.

The main hood can be installed in the opposite position (transport mode), only in this position will access to the focus ring be completely lost. If you install the adapter, then the main hood can also be worn in transport mode, in this case access to the focus ring will be only slightly limited.

Important: The front protective cover can be put on the adapter, which is very convenient. At the same time, filters cannot be installed in the adapter. During undocking of the hood, the adapter itself is removed, which can sometimes be annoying.

SIGMA AF 85 mm f / 1.4 EX DG HSM

SIGMA AF 85 mm f / 1.4 EX DG HSM

Diaphragm

The lens uses aperture on 9 petalsthat form a fairly even hole. Unfortunately, in some situations, polyhedrons can be seen in photographs on very closed apertures. The aperture closes down to f / 16, aperture control is performed using the camera controls. The Sigma 85mm f / 1.4 does not have an aperture ring and is analogous to Nikon Nikkor 'type' lensesG '.

On covered diaphragms you can get 18-ray star effect (example).

SIGMA AF 85 mm f / 1.4 EX DG HSM

SIGMA AF 85 mm f / 1.4 EX DG HSM

Focusing

Sigma 85mm f / 1.4 uses HSM (Hyper Sonic Motor) - built-in ultrasonic focusing motor, and therefore the lens will work on any Nikon digital SLR camera. During auto focus, a characteristic small hum is heard.

Auto Focus Speed ​​- highcloser to the middle. There are no complaints about the focusing speed. Live View on Camera Nikon D700 It works slowly, as with any other lens.

During focus front lens remains stationaryThe Sigma 85mm f / 1.4 uses rear lens group focusing. In fact, with the lens attached to the camera, we get internal focus (visually, during focusing, nothing moves).

There is a focus mode switch on the lens body AF-M... In autofocus mode 'AF', the focus ring remains stationary and can be used to hold the lens. In manual focus mode 'M' the ring rotates approximately 90 degrees, when reaching the end positions it does not rest against it, but continues to slide without affecting focus. Manual aiming is not a problem due to the large lens diameter.

The Sigma 85mm f / 1.4 has a window with a distance scale in meters and feet. There is also a depth of field scale, but only for F / 16, but there is no mark for working in the infrared spectrum. The minimum focusing distance is 85 cm, while the maximum zoom ratio is not particularly pleasing and is as much as 1: 8,6.

Sigma 85mm f / 1.4 suffers slightly from the 'Focus Breathing' effect, which changes the viewing angle during focusing.

Lens supports continuous manual focus even if 'AF' is on. But this is only a very distant semblance of the native function Nikon 'M / A'... Here the Sigma 85mm f / 1.4 grazes the rear. Unfortunately, manual focusing in 'AF' mode is only possible if the camera is using focus mode 'AF-S'and only after successful focusing (a detailed description is in the instructions). In focus mode 'AF-C'I had to fight with the lens for focus control. Unlike the regime Nikon 'M / A', the Sigma 85mm f / 1.4's 'AF' mode does not disable autofocus when you start rotating the focusing ring manually, which causes various incidents. But not all bad, users who use the button focus method AF-ON (or buttons programmed for this function) may not feel the lack of a full mode Nikon 'M / A'.

Real-time focusing:

On camera Fujifilm FinePix S5 Pro (uses focus module Nikon Multi-CAM 1000) The lens often misses during auto focus. Nikon 85 / 1.8G on the same camera it behaves much more confidently. In focus mode 'AF-CThe Sigma 85mm f / 1.4 is constantly scouring for targets and is often wrong. Working in 'AF-S' mode becomes easier. Also, it's a pity, but the copy from the review on S5 Pro there is a small front focus (focusing in front of the subject).

On camera Nikon D700 (uses focus module Nikon Multi-CAM 3500FX) everything is exactly the same, only there is no pronounced front focus. For the review, I took about 400 portrait shots in cloudy weather, after viewing it on a computer, it became clear that about half of the photos had poor focus. I understand that focusing on a high-aperture lens is a delicate and complicated matter, but with my native lenses, I always had much more successful shots at the exit.

I want to note that on different cameras different specific instances of the Sigma 85mm f / 1.4 in different situations will be behave differently. And my experience with this lens cannot be the ultimate dogma.

SIGMA AF 85 mm f / 1.4 EX DG HSM

SIGMA AF 85 mm f / 1.4 EX DG HSM

Image quality

Sigma 85mm f / 1.4 is doing great. Lens shows confident sharpness at f / 1.4 in the center of the frame, only at the edges and corners does the sharpness drop noticeably and vignetting increases. If you cover the aperture to F / 2.8, then the edges of the image return to normal, and at F / 4 the corners are also tightened. On F / 5.6-F / 8 and in the landscape picture, you can see any small details throughout the image. The lens creates a contrast picture at any value of F.

In addition, the Sigma 85mm f / 1.4 does not have any noticeable distortion, which is the very thing for portrait shooting and also behaves well in back and side light.

Chromatic aberrations in the zone of sharpness they are very well compensated, but in the zone of blur, the freezing is very noticeable. I would single out refrigeration as the main drawback of this lens.

And, of course, as befits a fast aperture telephoto lens, the Sigma 85mm f / 1.4 has nice drawing.

SIGMA AF 85 mm f / 1.4 EX DG HSM

SIGMA AF 85 mm f / 1.4 EX DG HSM Front Lens

Examples of photos on a full-length Nikon FX camera:

You can download RAW source files at this link (34 files in the '.NEF' format, 480 MB). All photos were shot on Nikon D700 (using a hood and using protective filter HOYA HD UV 77mm Made in Japan).

SIGMA AF 85 mm f / 1.4 EX DG HSM

SIGMA AF 85 mm f / 1.4 EX DG HSM Lens Dimensions with Mounted Adapter and Hood

Examples of photos on the camera with the Nikon DX APS-C sensor:

You can download RAW source files at this link (27 files in the '.RAF' format, 340 MB). All photos in this gallery are on-camera JPEG. All photos were shot on Fujifilm FinePix S5 Pro (without using a hood and using protective filter HOYA HD UV 77mm Made in Japan).

SIGMA AF 85 mm f / 1.4 EX DG HSM

SIGMA AF 85 mm f / 1.4 EX DG HSM with hood attached

My experience

Sigma EX 85mm 1: 1.4 DG HSM i frankly likedeven despite a bunch of misses focusing. If we discard the adventures with focus, then the Sigma 85mm f / 1.4 turned out to be absolutely working and reliable lens, for which it’s not a pity to give your blood products. Negative experience in focus accuracy is probably my personal experience and should not extend to the overall picture of this lens.

Many users puzzle themselves in choosing portrait lens under your Nikon camera. Among the available aperture 85-current for the Nikon system, I would adhere to this sequence in the selection: Nikon 85 / 1.4G -> Nikon 85 / 1.4D -> Sigma 85 / 1.4 HSM (I, II) -> Nikon 85 / 1.8G -> Nikon 85 / 1.8D -> Nikon 85 / 1.8AF.

If you delve into some abstract and subjective things, for example, such as 'drawing', then most of all I like Nikon 85 / 1.4D and old Nikon Nikkor 85mm 1: 1.4 AI-S. Sigma 85mm f / 1.4 is just good, no more.

SIGMA AF 85 mm f / 1.4 EX DG HSM and Nikon AF-S Nikkor 85mm 1: 1.8G IF SWM

SIGMA AF 85 mm f / 1.4 EX DG HSM and Nikon AF-S Nikkor 85mm 1: 1.8G IF SWM

Price

Prices for the Sigma EX 85mm 1: 1.4 DG HSM lens in popular online stores can look at this link.

In the comments, you can ask a question on the topic and they will answer you, as well as you can express your opinion or describe your experience. For the selection of photographic equipment, I recommend large catalogs, for example E-Catalog. Many little things for the photo can be found on AliExpress.


SIGMA AF 85 mm f / 1.4 EX DG HSM

SIGMA AF 85 mm f / 1.4 EX DG HSM

All autofocus 85s

Choosing a good portrait lens with a focal length of 85 mm is very important for a large number of photographers. I pay a lot of attention to this issue, because I prepared this list of all such autofocus lenses for full-frame cameras:

Nikon (F, Z mounts)

  1. Nikon 85mm 1: 1.8 AF Nikkor
  2. Nikon 85mm 1: 1.8D AF Nikkor (Thailand or Japan)
  3. Nikon 85mm 1: 1.8G AF-S IF SWM Nikkor
  4. Nikon 85mm 1: 1.4D AF Nikkor
  5. Nikon 85mm 1: 1.4GN AF-S Nikkor SWM IF Nano Crystal Coat
  6. Nikon Nikkor Z 85mm 1: 1.8 S

Canon (EF, RF mounts)

  1. Canon LENS EF 85mm 1: 1.8 USM
  2. Canon LENS EF 85mm 1: 1.2 L USM
  3. Canon LENS EF 85mm 1: 1.2 L II USM
  4. Canon LENS EF 85mm 1: 1.4 L IS USM
  5. Canon lens RF 85mm F1.2 L USM
  6. Canon lens RF 85mm F1.2 L USM DS (DEFOCUS SMOOTHING)

Yongnuo (different mounts)

  1. Yongnuo YN85mm F1.8 (YN85mm F1.8) [Canon EF, February 2017]
  2. Yongnuo YN85mm F1.8 (YN85mm F1.8N) [Nikon F, May 2019]
  3. Yongnuo Ynlens YN85mm F1.8S DF DSM (YN85mm F1.8S) [Sony E, Aug 2020]
  4. Yongnuo Ynlens YN85mm F1.8R DF DSM (YN85mm F1.8R) [Canon RF, May 2021]

Meike (Canon EF, Nikon F)

  1. MEIKE 85mm AF 1: 1.8 [review] (Canon EF / Canon EF-S, April 2018)
  2. MEIKE 85mm AF 1: 1.8 [review] (Nikon F, Aug 2020)

Samyang / Rokinon (different mounts)

  1. Samyang AF 75 / 1.8 FE (for Sony E)
  2. Samyang AF 85 / 1.4 [EF or F] (for Canon EF, Nikon F, diagram 9/7)
  3. Samyang AF 85 / 1.4 FE (for Sony E, Canon RF, diagram 11/8)

Tamron (different mounts)

  1. Tamron SP 85mm F / 1.8 Di VC USD Model F016 (for Canon EF, Nikon F, Sony A [no VC function])

Tokina (Sony E / FE mount)

  1. Tokina atx-m 85mm F1.8 FE (for Sony E)

Sigma (different mounts)

  1. Sigma EX 85mm 1: 1.4 DG HSM (two sub-versions with different body coatings, for Canon EF, Nikon F, Pentax K), 2010
  2. Sigma 85mm 1: 1.4 DG | A [Art] (for Canon EF, Nikon F, Sigma SA, Sony E, Leica L)
  3. Sigma 85mm 1: 1.4 DG DN | A [Art] (for Sony E, Leica L)

Sony / Sony Zeiss ZA (E / FE, A mount)

  1. Sony FE 1.4 / 85 GM (SEL-85Z)
  2. Sony FE 1.8 / 85 (SEL-85F18)
  3. Sony SAL85F14Z / Carl Zeiss Planar 1,4 / 85 ZA T*

Minolta (A mount)

  1. Minolta AF 85mm 1: 1.4 (22) (AF lens 85) / Minolta Maxxum / Dynax / G / G + RS and other versions of the same lens

Zeiss (Sony E / FE mount)

  1. Zeiss Sonnar 1.8 / 85 T * (Batis 1.8 / 85)

Pentax (K mount)

  1. SMC PENTAX FA 1: 1.8 77mm Limited 1997
  2. HD Pentax-FA 1: 1.8 77mm Limited 2021
  3. SMC Pentax-FA * 1: 1.4 85mm IF AUTO FOCUS PENTAX 85 1992
  4. HD PENTAX-D FA * 85mm 1: 1.4 ED SDM AW 2020

Contax (Contax N mount)

  1. Carl Zeiss Planar 1,4 / 85 T * (Contax)

Viltrox (different mounts)

  1. Viltrox PFU RBMH 85mm F1.8 STM (Fujifilm X, Sony E / FE)
  2. Viltrox AF 85 / 1.8 II XF STM ED IF (Fujifilm X, Sony E / FE, July 2020)
  3. Viltrox AF 85 / 1.8 Z STM ED IF (Nikon Z, Dec 2020), all versions on the same optical design

Leica (L-mount)

  1. LEICA APO-SUMMICRON-SL 1: 2/90 ASPH.

Panasonic (L mount)

  1. Panasonic LUMIX S 1: 1.8 / 85mm

Results

The Sigma EX 85mm 1: 1.4 DG HSM is a great lens. Almost everything in it is at a high or very high level. Sigma 85mm f / 1.4 can easily compete with native lenses Nikon 85 / 1.4G и Nikon 85 / 1.4Dand there are simply no other similar autofocus alternatives :)

On the topic, I advise you to visit portrait lens selection page Among the Nikon Nikkor’s native autofocus lenses

UPD: in September 2016 a new similar model was presented - Sigma 85mm 1: 1.4 DG HSM | A (Art).

Material prepared Arkady Shapoval... Look for me on Youtube | Facebook | VK | Instagram | Twitter.

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Comments: 59, on the topic: Sigma EX 85mm 1: 1.4 DG HSM review

  • Andrei

    Misses in focus on the Canon 5d m3, just not there, I don’t know, maybe it’s on Nikon and misses.

  • Peter

    I have a nikon d5600 and recently bought a sigma 85mm f1.4 hsm NOT an art series, and the camera is not going to focus (that is, it sees the lens, but does not want to focus), but at the same time, my old nikon d40x sees the lens perfectly and focuses. and the combination of my old nikkor 18-200 and nikon d5600 works great,

    • Novel

      Well, here they write about something similar for 5500 - https://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/3959834

      In theory, it is treated by updating the firmware, but these old lenses are updated only in service centers, the Sigma dock does not work with them. Take an interest in services, maybe someone will do it.

    • Alexey

      Try rolling back the camera firmware to an older one, it helps some.

      • Ksenia

        Hello. I will add a comment for those who may encounter such a problem and will look for answers here, as I was looking for) Yesterday I bought a sigma 85 1.4 and it turned out that autofocus does not work with the nikon d800. I was looking for it and there were two ways out: update the sigma firmware (you need a docking station) or return the old firmware to Nikon. I had a firmware version on the camera 1.11, on the Internet I found an old version 1.10, updated the firmware and autofocus worked properly :) On the nikon d3200, by the way, everything worked. And there the firmware version was generally 1.01

        • Victor

          For ex sigma, there are no docking stations commercially available.

          And so yes, if the camera is not too new, it usually helps to rollback the firmware on it to earlier versions. I would not update the firmware on Nikon at all unless absolutely necessary, given that all updates are usually minor.

  • Igor

    Hello! I have a question. I own Tamron 90mm f2.8, does it make sense to switch to Sigma 85mm f1.4 as a portrait? Who has experience using these lenses, as in the picture, are very different? Is it worth going over?

  • Dante Alighieri

    Thanks for the review Arkady!
    I have a question for you, how will this lens work on Nikon's line of mirrorless cameras?

  • Yuliya

    Arkady good afternoon! I am a beginner and I really count on your help! Can you please tell me on Nikon d 7100 is this sigma suitable and do I need the adapter so? If you choose between her and my native 85 Coy 1.8, I understand that this one draws better? Thanks a lot! I look forward to hearing from you!

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Yes, the Nikon version of this Sigma is suitable for d7100. But if such questions arise so far, I still recommend the native 85 / 1.8G. It's too early to talk about "drawing"

    • Victor

      Suitable only if the firmware has not been updated to 1.04 or newer. If not, you will have to roll back.

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