Sigma 85mm f/1.4 HSM DG ART ( Nikon FX ) - Review / Test
Lens Reviews - Nikon / Nikkor (full format)

Review by Klaus Schroiff and Markus Stamm, published March 2017


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?

In Nikon land, the lens obviously competes directly with the slightly more expensive AF-S 85/1.4G, but also the outstanding AF-S 105mm f/1.4E. The latter offers a little more magnification, of course, but both primarily qualify as portrait primes, even though moderate tele lenses are pretty versatile and popular not only among portrait shooters, but also often used for street photography or even 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 even bigger than the already quite impressive Nikkon 105/1.4E and also the old Sigma 85mm f/1.4 EX HSM DG. The build quality is superb and easily capable to handle professional (mis)treatments.

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. Like most of the latest Nikkor lenses, the Sigma now also features an electronically controlled aperture.

Unsurprisingly the Sigma is a G-type lens, so doesn't feature an aperture ring.

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)
Filter size86mm (non-rotating)
Hoodpetal-shaped (bayonet mount, supplied)
Other featuresLens provides distance (D) information to the camera, Silent Wave AF motor, weather sealing