Sigma AF 85mm f/1.4 EX HSM DG (EOS) - APS-C format Review / Lab Test
Lens Reviews - Canon EOS (APS-C)
Sunday, 03 April 2011 07:38
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Review by Klaus Schroiff, published February 2011

Note: we reused some portions of the corresponding full format article due to obvious similarity in some aspects.


Recently we have had a look how the Sigma AF 85mm f/1.4 EX HSM performed within its native full format scope but there're surely also lots of interested APS-C DSLR users out there who want to get an idea about the quality on the crop format. The lens behaves roughly like a "135mm f/2" lens here in terms of field-of-view and depth-of-field. As such it remains a short tele lens with typical applications such as studio- and portrait photography. Sigma is entering a market segment which has been traditionally dominated by the genuine manufacturers. In Canon land we are talking about the mighty Canon EF 85mm f/1.2 USM L II. The Sigma is obviously a tad slower than the Canon but consequently also significantly more affordable at roughly half the price.

The build quality of the Sigma lens is excellent. It is a member of Sigma's professional grade "EX" (excellence) lineup. However, unlike previous EX lenses it does no longer feature a crinkle finish but a smooth rubber coating on top of a metal body. The new finish seems to be a better approach in our opinion - it doesn't collect as much dust for instance. The rubberized focus ring operates smoothly. It has a constant physical length regardless of the focus setting. Sigma provides a petal shaped lens hood. Interestingly APS-C users can mount an extra extension barrel for even more efficient light shading. The Sigma has a rear focus group so its length remains constant regardless of the focus setting and the front element does not rotate. Using a polarizer is therefore no problem.

The HSM ("Hyper-Sonic-Motor") AF is very fast and virtually silent. The tested sample was spot-on in terms of accuracy. Full-time manual focusing in one-shot AF mode is supported. Manual focusing is a bit on the delicate side because the focus path is rather short (which is, on the other hand, also a reason for the fast AF).

Equiv. focal length136 mm (full format equivalent)
Equiv. aperturef/2.2 (full format equivalent, in terms of depth-of-field)
Optical construction11 elements in 8 groups inc. 1x aspherical and 1x SLD elements
Number of aperture blades9 (circular)
min. focus distance0.85 m (max. magnification ratio 1:8.6)
Dimensions86 x 88 mm
Weight725 g
Filter size77 mm (non-rotating)
Hoodpetal-shaped, bayonet mount, supplied
Other features-