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Inspiration

First Impression of Sigma’s New 85mm Art | PPE 2016

By Shivani Reddy on October 22nd 2016

We have the fortunate opportunity to test out Sigma’s latest pride & joy: the beast that is the 85mm f/1.4 Art lens. Unfortunately, New York weather hasn’t permitted me to test this bad boy outside of the Photo Plus Expo hall, but we did manage to take it around and get a feel for it before out full review. All images in the article were taken on a Canon 5D Mark III with the Sigma 85mm Art.

blurred frenzy

Probably the most appealing aspect of an 85mm lens is the beauty of bokeh that comes with this focal length. These display booths don’t really provide you with enough room to shoot with such tight lenses but that didn’t stop this lens from showing off its goods.

f/1.4, ISO 200, 1/320 of a second

f/1.4, ISO 200, 1/320 of a second

f/1.4, ISO 100, 1/320th of a second

f/1.4, ISO 100, 1/320th of a second

AF Improvements

The Sigma Art 50mm is easily one of everyone’s favorite lenses to have on hand at any point in time, but, there are focus issues that many have noted that force us to stop down to 1.8 or 2.0. As far as we’re concerned, Sigma definitely took those concerns and developed important improvements to the AF system. Here are a couple of shots testing motion from one of Sony’s booth displays:

f/1.4, ISO 1600, 1/8000 of a second

f/1.4, ISO 1600, 1/8000 of a second

f/2.0, ISO 1600, 1/1250th of a second

f/2.0, ISO 1600, 1/1250th of a second

When on the 50mm one may have to take several shots to make sure it locked focus, one shot from the 85mm is razor sharp at 1.4. And yes, this feature will be tested thoroughly because it is one of the highest priority concerns Sigma users wanted addressed.

f/10, ISO 3200, 1/13th of a second

f/10, ISO 3200, 1/13th of a second

The image above was more so of a low light situation, and trying to stabilize to shoot at 1/13th of a second didn’t hamper the focus whatsoever.

f/1.4, ISO 400, 1/800th of a second

f/1.4, ISO 400, 1/800th of a second

f/1.4, ISO 400, 1/800th of a second

f/1.4, ISO 400, 1/800th of a second

Look out for a full review of the Sigma 85 Art coming soon, as we can’t wait to put this lens through it’s paces. Have any burning questions about the lens you need answered, ask them in the comments below and we will get to working!

[REWIND: NIKON ANNOUNCES UPDATED 70-200MM F/2.8E & THE NEW SUPER WIDE 19MM F/4 TILT-SHIFT]

Stay tuned for more of PPE 2016 coverage!

A big thank you to our sponsors, B&H Photo, for making this trip to Photo Plus Expo 2016 possible!

Shivani wants to live in a world where laughter is the cure to pretty much everything. Since she can’t claim “Serial Bingewatcher” as an occupation, she’ll settle for wedding/portrait photographer at Lin and Jirsa & marketing coordinator here at SLR Lounge. For those rare moments when you won’t find a camera in her hand, she will be dancing, eating a donut, or most likely watching Seinfeld.

Follow her on Instagram: @shivalry_inc

Q&A Discussions

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  1. James Garcia

    How is it going to perform in low light at weddings?

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  2. Christina Bingham

    What is the price point?

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  3. Josh Valdez

    I just sold my 85mm f1.2 L ii with hopes of this lens.
    My 5 questions:
    1.) Is the AF fast and accurate (camera bodies & tech make a difference) List of bodies to try 6D, 5D iii, 5D iv, 1DX ii
    2.)Is the lens weather sealed. If a rainy day keeps me from taking portraits or traveling to destinations it may be problematic limiting when and where to travel with clients.
    3.) How sharp is the lens compared to the 85 f1.2L ii
    4.) Is there chromatic aberration present? and how apparent is it?
    5.)Are there lens distortions present? Are they minimal?

    Personal question: Would you add this to your bag over other lenses?
    Thanks for reviewing for us! much appreciated :)

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    • adam sanford

      1) Fast = sure. Accurate = likely. Consistent = the wild card. We don’t know until people test it. This is the #1 potential Achilles heel with this lens.

      2) There’s a gasket on the lens mount, but it is not marketed as ‘sealed’

      3) No testing is out yet, but all bets are on it pooping all over the 85L. Keep in mind he 85 L and 50L were not designed for peak sharpness — they were designed for best bokeh, light falloff, etc.

      4 + 5) Yet to be tested. Likely will be solid here based on recent Art primes.

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  4. Rich Quokka

    Couldn’t test it outside? it isn’t weather resistant? Man that blows, especially considering how much sigma charge

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  5. Paul Seiler

    Would love to see a comparison in bokeh quality and AF speed between this and Canon’s 85 1.2 L II, using the 5D Mark IV.

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  6. James Cassell

    Yes, *please please* report on all things AF (issues or not) with this lens. I am patiently waiting to decide if I should purchase this Sigma 85mm ART or just go with Nikon’s 85mm 1.4 equivalent for my D810. Image and lens build quality all already look fantastic. It really is the AF of Sigma’s lens that will make or break it for me.

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    • Paul Seiler

      I’m with this guy ^ and I’m super curious on AF speed / performance comparisons.

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  7. adam sanford

    Thank you for bringing attention to the biggest issue governing the success / failure of this lens — the AF.

    The 35 Art and 50 Art are stellar optics burdened with *inconsistent* AF that a dock cannot correct. Please publish a basic hit rate study!

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    • Tomas Ramoska

      Take this article with grain of salt :) look even featured image of the lens is out of focus. We have to see more test from more experienced photographers..

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    • Shivani Reddy

      We have a full review coming, but thanks for the kind words ;)

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  8. Pentafoto Tm

    I have the old Sigma 85 1.4 and it has the best focus of any of my lenses, it’s tack sharp at f/1.4, more so than at f/2 or f/2.8. It tracks like a champion and every time I mount it on the camera I know that I will get the shot.

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