Sigma AF 85mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM (FX) - Review / Test Report - Sample Images & Verdict
Lens Reviews - Nikon / Nikkor (full format)

Sample Shots

The following sample shots were taken with a D3x and RAW-converted via CaptureOne 5.2.

Click on a thumbnail to view the original file (opens in a separate window).

Make NIKON CORPORATION
Model NIKON D3X
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 85.0mm
Aperture: f/2.5
Exposure 1/2500s
Make NIKON CORPORATION
Model NIKON D3X
ISO Speed 100
Focal Length 85.0mm
Aperture: f/4.0
Exposure 1/1250s
Make NIKON CORPORATION
Model NIKON D3X
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 85.0mm
Aperture: f/3.5
Exposure 1/2000s
Make NIKON CORPORATION
Model NIKON D3X
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 85.0mm
Aperture: f/5.0
Exposure 1/1250s
Make NIKON CORPORATION
Model NIKON D3X
ISO Speed 100
Focal Length 85.0mm
Aperture: f/8.0
Exposure 1/200s
Make NIKON CORPORATION
Model NIKON D3X
ISO Speed 100
Focal Length 85.0mm
Aperture: f/6.3
Exposure 1/500s
Make NIKON CORPORATION
Model NIKON D3X
ISO Speed 100
Focal Length 85.0mm
Aperture: f/8.0
Exposure 1/400s
Make NIKON CORPORATION
Model NIKON D3X
ISO Speed 100
Focal Length 85.0mm
Aperture: f/1.8
Exposure 1/6400s
Make NIKON CORPORATION
Model NIKON D3X
ISO Speed 100
Focal Length 85.0mm
Aperture: f/1.4
Exposure 1/8000s
Make NIKON CORPORATION
Model NIKON D3X
ISO Speed 100
Focal Length 85.0mm
Aperture: f/2.5
Exposure 1/3200s
Make NIKON CORPORATION
Model NIKON D3X
ISO Speed 100
Focal Length 85.0mm
Aperture: f/4.0
Exposure 1/640s
Make NIKON CORPORATION
Model NIKON D3X
ISO Speed 100
Focal Length 85.0mm
Aperture: f/2.5
Exposure 1/4000s
Make NIKON CORPORATION
Model NIKON D3X
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 85.0mm
Aperture: f/8.0
Exposure 1/1000s
Make NIKON CORPORATION
Model NIKON D3X
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 85.0mm
Aperture: f/3.5
Exposure 1/3200s
Make NIKON CORPORATION
Model NIKON D3X
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 85.0mm
Aperture: f/5.6
Exposure 1/500s
Make NIKON CORPORATION
Model NIKON D3X
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 85.0mm
Aperture: f/5.6
Exposure 1/320s
Make NIKON CORPORATION
Model NIKON D3X
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 85.0mm
Aperture: f/1.4
Exposure 1/4000s
Make NIKON CORPORATION
Model NIKON D3X
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 85.0mm
Aperture: f/5.6
Exposure 1/800s
Make NIKON CORPORATION
Model NIKON D3X
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 85.0mm
Aperture: f/3.5
Exposure 1/800s
Make NIKON CORPORATION
Model NIKON D3X
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 85.0mm
Aperture: f/3.5
Exposure 1/2000s

Verdict

It took Sigma quite a while but the Sigma AF 85mm f/1.4 HSM EX DG is finally here - their first ultra-large aperture tele prime lens. It shows a performance characteristic that is typical for many lenses in this class, but it does so on a very high level. The image center shows excellent resolution and high contrast at any tested aperture, whereas the borders/corners are fairly soft at large apertures due to coma effects. However, from a field perspective this is usually not a show-stopper - due to the shallow depth-of-field the main subject tends to be positioned closer to the center or at least within the rule-of-thirds grid when choosing very large apertures so some border softness is rather irrelevant here. The image quality increases steadily till reaching its very good peak between f/5.6 and f/8.

Lateral CAs are minimal and not field-relevant. Same goes for image distortions. The vignetting is, of course, visible at large apertures but it remains in line here with the rest of the gang. The quality of the bokeh is generally excellent except in very tricky situations. The amount of bokeh fringing (LoCAs) is on the high side though so you may spot some colored out-of-focus halos in critical situations.

The build quality of the lens is up to pro standards. The metal lens body is rubber-coated thus providing a good grip. The tightly assembled focus ring turns smoothly but it's a bit tricky to find the exact focus due to the very short focus path. On the other hand the same short focus is also responsible for fast auto-focusing so there's a certain trade-off here. We had no significant issues with focus accuracy on the tested sample. The Sigma AF 85mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM is quite expensive in absolute terms, especially for a third-party lens. However, compared to Nikon's latest offering it costs much less and as such is a highly interesting alternative.

Optical Quality (Technical): (just)    
Field Quality: (Shallow Depth-of-Field Photography)
Mechanical Quality:
Price/Performance:
      
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