Sigma 135mm f/1.8 DG HSM ART (Canon) - Review / Test
Lens Reviews - Canon EOS (Full Format)

published June 2017

Introduction

Sigma is currently having a run. Unlike CaNikon, who seem to have slowed down their activities lately, they are providing a continuous stream of highly interesting new lens designs and not only that - they are pushing their product quality to a level that is now truly threatening the original manufacturers. Furthermore the price levels didn't go completely through the roof lately providing high quality alternatives for "the rest of us". One of their latest releases is the Sigma 135mm f/1.8 DG HSM ART. While we have seen 135mm lenses from Canon before, none of them is as fast. The most obvious rival, the Canon EF 135mm f/2 USM L, is also ancient by now. However, it was and still is of the best Canon lenses out there so let's see whether the Sigma provide a something extra beyond a tad more speed.

Sigma's approach to higher quality is size - more size that is. This makes sense because making things smaller, like it or not, results in compromises. So the 135mm f/1.8 DG HSM ART is quite a brick of more than 1.1Kg. However, interestingly it remains a little smaller than Sigma's 85mm f/1.4 ART lens that we reviewed a few weeks back. The build quality is as 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 physical length remains unchanged during focusing. The very broad focus ring operates smoothly. A deep barrel-shaped lens hood is also part of the package.

The Sigma lens uses a "large" HSM drive for focusing. This is certainly needed due to the amount of heavy glass that has to be shifted around (internally). The AF speed is very high and noise emissions are very low. Full time manual focusing is possible in single-shot AF mode. The AF speed in live-view mode is decent (by DSLR standards).

Specifications
Optical construction13 elements in 10 groups including 2xSLD and 2x FLD elements
Number of aperture blades9 (rounded)
min. focus distance0.875m (max. magnification ratio 1:5)
Dimensions91.4×114.9mm
Weight1130g
Filter size82mm
Hoodbarrel-shaped (bayonet mount, supplied)
Other featuresweather sealing