First Impressions: Sigma 85mm F/1.4 Art

The big announcement from Sigma recently for the still imaging world was definitely the introduction of the long rumored and long awaited 85mm F/1.4 Art lens. We had a chance to take a look at Sigma’s new beastly portrait lens here at PhotoPlus 2016 and today we have our initial impressions for you.

Tech Specs

Specs taken directly from Sigma’s website, here.

Lens Construction 14 Elements in 12 Groups
Angle of View 28.6º
Number of Diaphragm Blades 9 (Rounded Diaphragm)
Mininum Aperture f16
Minimum Focusing Distance 85 cm / 33.5in.
Filter Size (mm) 86mm
Maximum Magnifications 1:8.5
Dimensions
(Diameter x Length)
94.7mmx126.2mm / 3.7in. x 5.0in.
Weight TBD
Corresponding Mounts
Sigma DG
HSM
Nikon DG
HSM
Canon DG
HSM

Ergonomics

Sigma 85mm F/1.4 Art

So in terms of size, this lens is honestly one of the largest and heaviest lenses under 100mm that I have held in a long time. The product photos of this lens don’t really convey just how large it is, even compared to other large 85mm lenses like the Canon F/1.2 and the Nikon F/1.4.

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As far as the the lens style and feel goes, this lens is right in line with the rest of the Sigma Art line. The jet black with white accent color scheme has become expected from Sigma, and this lens doesn’t disappoint. If you have ever held or felt a Sigma Art lens then you know how the Sigma 85mm feels.

Sigma 85mm F/1.4 Art

The front element of this lens is impressive, band when used with the hood is well covered with the leaf petal style hood design. The focus ring grip feels essentially like many of the other Sigma Art lenses. It was smooth to turn and had a good amount of resistance (some may think too much, but we didn’t feel it was too bad).

Sigma 85mm F/1.4 Art

Build Quality

This lens is built incredibly well, and is exactly what you would expect it to be if you have any experience with the other Sigma Art prime lenses. One thing we did notice is that Sigma put a rubber gasket at the base of the lens around the lens mount, and while the company was not willing to say the lens was weather sealed, it is nice to see a little more effort from Sigma in that regard. (Again, the lens is NOT weather sealed, but the extra gasket at the base of the lens mount does provide some extra protection vs the Art lenses without it).

Sigma 85mm F/1.4 Art

The heft and weight of this lens is proof enough of the insane amount of glass within it. As well, the hand painted buttons on for the AF switch is nice and clicky with enough resistance to avoid accidental switching of the focus mode, but easy enough that it could be done with minimal effort and without looking.

So to sum that up, if you have been a fan of the build quality of Sigma’s Art line up until now, you will be a fan of this lens in terms of its build quality and the attention to detail put into building it.

Autofocus

TBD, We were not able to shoot any images with the lens this time around.

Image Quality

TBD, We were not able to shoot any images with the lens this time around.

First Impressions

Overall, our first impression on this lens is that Sigma has a beast of a portrait lens on their hands. The size will likely be an issue to anyone with smaller camera bodies and anyone who has issues with lugging around heavy gear. But for those looking for a well built lens to add to their Sigma portrait prime kit, this looks like it will be a great addition.

Obviously we did not get to test it from an autofocus or image quality standpoint yet, so these thoughts are based solely on holding the lens, feeling it, and giving it a thorough once over. Stay tuned for our full review once we can get our hands on one.

Anthony Thurston

Anthony is a Portland, Oregon based Boudoir Photographer specializing in a dark, moody style that promotes female body positivity, empowerment, and sexuality. Besides The Phoblographer, he also reviews gear and produces his own educational content on his website.