Sigma 85mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art review: Introduction

Towards the back end of last year, we were inundated by a flurry of new releases from lens manufacturers. This included Sigma, who presented three full-frame optics for us to get excited about.

In recent months we’ve reviewed the Sigma 12-24mm f/4 DG HSM Art and the monstrous Sigma 500mm f/4 DG OS HSM. Now, it’s time to turn our attention to the third lens we’ve been longing to test.

Sigma 85mm f:1.4 DG HSM Art

The Sigma 85mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art is a longer lens than the 85mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM it replaces

It was widely reported that Sigma would launch a new 85mm f/1.4 prime to replace the company’s ageing 85mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM, but what was less well known was how the Sigma would improve it.

With the Sigma 85mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM looking rather dated alongside the company’s latest lenses in the ‘Art’ lineup, we assumed its replacement would receive similar treatment in terms of its styling. Something we didn’t predict was a radically new optical design, which has resulted in it being a considerably larger and heavier lens.

Full-frame users specialising in portraiture have always had a fondness for the 85mm focal length. While some photographers may be tempted by the affordable f/1.8 alternatives out there, this lens falls into the high-end f/1.4 camp where paying a premium gets you a faster aperture with stellar optical quality.

The fact it comes with a four-figure price-tag of £1,199 doesn’t make it an easy pill to swallow, but when you start to compare it with its closest competition you appreciate it costs less than the Nikon AF-S 85mm f/1.4G (£1,349), Zeiss Milvus 85mm f/1.4 (£1,379) and Sony FE 85mm f/1.4 G Master lens (£1,500). It also has to compete against the Canon EF 85mm f/1.2 L II USM as Canon doesn’t offer a 85mm f/1.4 in its EF lens lineup.

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