I don’t know about you, but this winter is killing me. I know that it’s technically spring, but it sure doesn’t feel like it in New England. It really takes a lot for me to bundle up and get my butt outside to shoot when it’s cold. Luckily, I’ve been having a blast using the Sigma 85mm F/1.4 so the cold is no longer an excuse to stay inside.
- Canon 5D
- Sigma 85mm F/1.4 EX DG HSM
- Black Rapid RS-7
- Hat, gloves, jacket, winter coat…I hate cold weather
Editor’s Note: The only post processing done to these images was either minor exposure adjustment or crop/straighten.
If you take a look at my Flickr photostream, you’ll notice that I shoot a wide variety of subjects but I’m mostly fond of city and still life. A lens of this length is a bit too long for what I usually shoot but I figured I’d give it a try around town. As I stated in my last post, the Sigma 85mm F/1.4 feels balanced mated to my Canon 5D. The combination of the Sigma 85mm and the Canon 5D makes for a slightly heavy setup but it was hardly noticeable when slung across my chest with the Black Rapid RS-7, I love this strap.
While I would personally prefer to shoot with something slightly wider (e.g. 50mm), the Sigma 85mm F1/.4 was actually a joy to use. Shooting at focal lengths that you’re not used to forces you to think differently about your composition. When I get in a slump, I’ll often rent or borrow a lens that I have never used just to see things from a different perspective. Because my Canon 50mm F/1.8 is basically glued to my 5D, I kept instinctively wanting to take a step back to get into my 50mm frame of mind. After shooting for awhile my brain adjusted and the 85mm length became more natural. I found that instead of focusing on something large, like an entire building, I would focus on a specific part of the building like a door or a window.
As you’ve probably noticed, most of these images are shot at a pretty wide aperture and that was done for a two reasons:
- Personally, if I was going to buy a lens like this it would be too shoot it wide open as much as possible and I’m guessing the photographers reading this would most likely agree. Why drop a bunch of money on fast glass if you’re going to shoot it at F/5 or F/8 all of the time? The Canon 85mm F/1.8 is probably just as sharp at F/5 so why not just save yourself some money and go for that if you don’t have a need for F/1.4. It’s like buying a Ferrari and never getting it out of 2nd gear.
- This lens shines at F/3 and wider. While it does look good when stopped down, I feel like the engineers that designed this lens to really shine when shot at wider apertures.
Observations On the Sigma 85mm F/1.4
As you can see from the shots above, this lens is no slouch. Again, the only edits done to the photographs in this post were basic exposure adjustments and/or crop and straighten.
- Color, saturation, sharpness and contrast are all excellent. I did notice some color fringing in areas of extreme contrast but it was hardly noticeable, even when reviewing images at 1:1. Color fringing seems to be all but gone by F/2.2. Anyway, it’s nothing a little post processing can’t fix.
- I haven’t noticed any hints of distortion, even when shooting brick walls and buildings.
- Noise from the AF system is hardly noticeable when shooting, especially when out on the street. This is key when trying to capture a candid moment. I would put it on par with Canon’s USM lenses as far as noise goes, Canon still has the edge on Sigma when it comes to AF focus speed.
- For all of the Lightroom users, the latest version of Lightroom does have a lens profile for the Sigma 85mm F/1.4. I tried applying the profile with the default corrections to a few images and from what I can tell it is only corrects vignetting.
Please Support The Phoblographer
We love to bring you guys the latest and greatest news and gear related stuff. However, we can’t keep doing that unless we have your continued support. If you would like to purchase any of the items mentioned, please do so by clicking our links first and then purchasing the items as we then get a small portion of the sale to help run the website.