Sigma 85mm f/1.4 HSM DG ART ( Canon ) - Review / Test
Lens Reviews - Canon EOS (Full Format)

published February 2017

Introduction

Ever since Zeiss announced their Otus lens lineup, a race of catching up is on by the other vendors. The game started with the 50mm class and it moved on to 85mm lenses. This time we’ll have a look at the latest contender here - the Sigma 85mm f/1.4 HSM DG Art. Unlike its (manual focus) Zeiss counterpart, it is a relatively affordable lens at around 1200-1300 US$/EUR … which sort of raises the question whether it’s up to the task? Anyway, a more realistic target is the Canon EF 85mm f/1.2 USM L II which is obviously a bit faster and not all that more expensive actually. The bottom feeder in terms of pricing is the new Tamron SP 85mm f/1.8 VC which we'll test at a later stage. These 85mm lenses are all pretty versatile. Portrait photography is certainly a popular application but they have friends among street photographers and they are even interesting for landscapes.

The first thing you notice when unboxing the Sigma 85mm f/1.4 HSM DG Art is the weight and size. It is not for the weak faint-hearted really. It is substantially bigger than its Canon counterpart and also the old Sigma 85mm f/1.4 EX HSM DG. The build quality is superb and easily capable of handling professional requirements. The lens body is made of a combination of Sigma’s Thermally Stable Composite (TSC) material combined with metal parts. The construction is also weather-sealed. The very broad focus ring operates smoothly. A deep petal-shaped lens hood is also part of the package. It's worth mentioning that the Sigma requires expensive 86mm (!) filters.

Sigma claims to have increased the AF speed by 30% over its predecessor and we can certainly confirm that it’s fast and silent. AF accuracy could be a little better though (more on this later). Full time manual focusing is possible in single-shot AF mode. The AF is live-view mode is decent (by DSLR standards).

Specifications
Optical construction14 elements in 12 groups including 2xSLD and 1x aspherical elements
Number of aperture blades9 (rounded)
min. focus distance0.85m (max. magnification ratio 1:8.5)
Dimensions94.7×126.2mm
Weight1130g
Filter size86mm
Hoodpetal-shaped (bayonet mount, supplied)
Other featuresweather sealing