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News & Insight

The Sigma 85mm f/1.4 ART Finally Arrives

By Kishore Sawh on September 19th 2016

Sigma’s ART series of lenses has been credited for reforming the company, taking their products simply from something you respect, to something you want. And while the Sigma 35mm 1.4 Art and 50mm 1.4 Art have gone on to become cult classics in their own right, the 85mm 1.4 ART is arguably the most anticipated and yearned for.

Here’s what Sigma has to say about it in the official press release:

sigma-85mm-art-1-4-canon-nikon-2

Sigma 85mm F1.4 DG HSM Art

The Ultimate Portrait Lens
Delivering the ultimate in creative expression, the new Sigma 85mm F1.4 Art lens is engineered to support the highest resolution sensors on the market with an exceptional degree of sharpness. The high-performance optical system is purpose-built by Sigma R&D to produce the attractive bokeh effect sought after by discerning photographers. The lens’ advanced architecture features two SLD (special low dispersion) glass elements and one glass element with a high rate of anomalous partial dispersion and refraction. A re-engineered AF system brings 1.3X the torque of its predecessor, while other features such as a full-time manual focus override have been added, which can be controlled when the focus ring is rotated, even during continuous AF. 

The Sigma 85mm F1.4 DG HSM Art lens supports Canon, Nikon and Sigma mounts. The Nikon mounts feature a brand new electromagnetic diaphragm.

The Sigma 85mm F1.4 Art lens will be available in late October and retails for a recommended street price of $1199.00 USD.

sigma-85mm-art-1-4-canon-nikon-3 sigma-85mm-art-1-4-canon-nikon-4

At that price point it comes in about $300 cheaper than Nikon’s much-loved offering, and Canon, well…Canon doesn’t really have their own. It will be compatible with the Sigma docking bay and MC-11 compatible, and tested with high resolution cameras. We’ll be getting one of these in for testing as soon as possible, so keep an eye out.

[REWIND: FUJI OFFICIALLY RELEASES FIRST DIGITAL MEDIUM FORMAT CAMERA | GFX 50S]

PRODUCT HIGHLIGHTS

F-Mount Lens/FX Format
Aperture Range: f/1.4 to 16
Two Low Dispersion Elements
Super Multi-Layer Coating
Hyper Sonic AF Motor, Manual Override
Rounded 9-Blade Diaphragm
TSC Material, Brass Bayonet Mount
Compatible with Sigma USB Dock

You can pre-order yours here, now!

About

A photographer and writer based in Miami, he can often be found at dog parks, and airports in London and Toronto. He is also a tremendous fan of flossing and the happiest guy around when the company’s good.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Tahir YILDIZ

    I’ve posted a detailed article about Sigma 85mm Art, sharpness and some bokeh pictures: https://medium.com/@tahiryildiz/which-85mm-lens-sigma-85mm-f-1-4-dg-hsm-art-review-616bc157f714#.hcce4tn76

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  2. Liam Riley

    Alright… so Matt Granger posted some samples on his website:

    http://www.mattgranger.com/sigma85

    2 look excellent, one has some movement in it and one missed focus. The profile shot of the blonde lady is the best example. It’s sharp, has nice background blur and has good contrast. Shot with the D5,

    He says it focuses fast, but it’s irrelevant unless it’s accurate. Hopefully it doesn’t suffer from the focusing problems previous Art lenses have shipped with. Should be a good seller.

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  3. Liam Riley

    Sigma posted samples:

    http://www.sigma-global.com/common/lenses/cas/product/art/a_85_14/gallery/images/original_img02.jpg

    http://www.sigma-global.com/common/lenses/cas/product/art/a_85_14/gallery/images/original_img03.jpg

    The portrait at 1.4 doesn’t look as sharp as my Canon but I actually think they missed focus slightly and locked onto the eyelashes.

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    • Ben Perrin

      Those examples are horrid. Though I feel the same way when Canon releases most sample images. We’ll just have to wait a bit longer for some 3rd party reviewers to make a judgement.

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    • Daniel Lee

      I’m more than happy with the current Sigma 85mm so after seeing the size of the art and those test shots, I’m even more happy!

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    • Stephen Jennings

      Those samples were taken with a Sigma DP2 Quattro .. so .. perhaps not the best tool to sample the power of a FF prime lens. I laughed a little when all the released photos of the lens were stuck on those goofy looking cameras. We’ll have to wait for some reviewers to sample it on a camera like 5dIV or d810.

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    • Stephen Jennings

      SD Quattro I mean.

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  4. Peter Stout

    Just for fun, if the weight:volume ratio of the Sigma Art is the same as the Nikon 85mm f/1.4G, this lens would weigh 1078 grams. That’s more than the new Nikon 105 f/1.4 (985 g). It’ll put it in the same ballpark as the Canon 85 f/1.2. Yowza.

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  5. Peter Stout

    I’m a bit disappointed by the size and what will be the corresponding weight. I’ve been holding out for the 85 Art, but this may push me towards a used Nikon 85 f/1.4. I’ll gladly wait for the reviews.

    Meanwhile, there is a lot of prognosticating on how amazing this lens will be. Why not just wait for some actual real life comparisons instead of guessing how the bokeh, sharpness AF speed, accuracy, etc. will be vs. its respective counterparts?

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    • Matthew Saville

      Well, haha, I warned people repeatedly that this lens would be an utter monster, based on the trend of the existing Art prime lineup. Nobody listened to me.

      The existing Sigma EX 85, and for that matter the Nikon 85 1.4 G, are both killer lenses. And the split second you might be shooting mostly at 2.8 anyways, the whole thing becomes ludicrous compared to a simple Nikon 85 1.8 G…

      Truly, the only reason to buy this lens is if you want Zeiss Otus quality, with autofocus.

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    • Liam Riley

      I’d wait for the tests to come in before comparing it to the Otus. The 50 was different in that there aren’t any extremely sharp 50’s from the other manufacturers. The 50 Art doesn’t match the Otus, but it gets far closer than the rest.

      There are some superb 85mm lenses from Canon and Nikon though so it isn’t likely to be as big a no-brainer. Particularly for people who already have a pro grade 85.

      I used the Canon 50 1.2 until the 50 Art hit and then I switched to that. The AF isn’t as accurate and it back focuses at certain distances despite being calibrated with the Sigma dock but the sharpness and contrast are amazing for the price. I wish it was weather sealed, but I haven’t had any problems with it so it hasn’t been a big deal.

      But I also have the 85 1.2 II, and I don’t see a reason to pick this Art up. Maybe if the focus speed is blindingly fast or if the focus accuracy is wonderful… but I doubt it.

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    • Anthony Schellenberg

      I finally gave up waiting for this and purchased the new Tamron 85 1.8. So far I’ve been quite impressed – sharp, great bokeh for 1.8, minimal CA, and it’s lighter than the sigma :) It’s a nice upgrade from the Nikon 85 1.8.

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    • Liam Riley

      The Nikkor is weather sealed,.. the Art lenses are not. The Nikkor will focus accurately… the Sigma may not. The Nikkor has much less CA than the Canon 1.2… and judging by my 50 and 20mm Art lenses,,. the Sigma may have even less. Contrast and colour should be similar and sharpness looks about the same. The Nikkor doesn’t cost that much more and it’s a proven stellar performer.

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    • Boudewijn Kegels

      Nice green and blue ;-)

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  6. Gidi Kesselbrenner

    The lens dimensions are a big problem for me (94.7 x 126.2 mm), so is the weight that i guess will be a lot higher that the canon.
    Filter size 86mm.

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  7. Chris Campbell

    Photographers everywhere will rejoice…unless you shoot Pentax or Sony…then Sigma says “Eff you guys”….

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  8. Matthew Saville

    Folks, this thing is going to weigh more than a Canon 5D 4 or a Nikon D810. It will definitely be a specialty lens that you wind up leaving at home a whole lot, unless you absolutely love 85mm as a focal length, and absolutely love bokeh for that matter. (Considering how sharp a Nikon 85 1.8 G is, at f/2.8-4…)

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  9. Stephen Jennings

    Now I’ll have to spend the next few months deciding between Nikon’s new 105 or this new 85mm

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  10. Zack Berjawi

    YAAAAAAS. I literally have been staring at the space in my pelican case that i’ve left for the 85mm art for over a year now. #pre-ordered.

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  11. Pentafoto Tm

    How about the elefant in the room ? No mentioning of the weight ? I have the original 85 1.4 and it’s not heavy but it’s not light. This thing is very tempting, (though I don’t know how much better it can be) but if it weighs in at 1 kg, it’s a no for me since I shoot events with multiple lenses attached to my belt.

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  12. Mantas Kubilinskas

    Yes yes and yes! Can’t wait to hold this baby in my hands!

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  13. Jeff Kershaw

    I have the Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L ii. I’d love to see some shots comparing the two.

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  14. Kim Farrelly

    Hubba Hubba! Times like this I wish I still shot a DSLR, still have my 50 Art though couldn’t bring myself to sell it.

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    • Shine Lee

      You can always give it to me, I’m a poor student who’s always been wanting a 50 Art! ;PP

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    • Kim Farrelly

      Sure and my other lens I can’t sell, Canon EF 135L F/2. I do lend whatever gear I have all the time to any friend who asked, I’m nice like that.

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  15. Taylor Huston

    It sounds nice on paper. I dunno though, I have a hard time nailing focus even on a 1.8. I usually stick to 2.8 in controlled situations and no lower than 4 when I am doing something more active like a wedding or event.

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    • Héctor Barreto

      Same with me… It’a a f2.2 for me and it’s still a coin toss; f2.8 is a bit more on point on my 6d. But i think I can hit focus on 1.8 1 out of 25 times, so for me it’s worthless wide open. Maybe we have bad copies?

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    • Zack Berjawi

      1 out of 25? That is really farfetched. I’m not trying to say you don’t know what you’re doing, I would def get your lens checked out.

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    • Matt McClosky

      You might want to check and adjust the AF in camera for your lens. While it’s not easy to handhold below F2,
      1 out of 25 in focus might imply it’s slightly out of wack. It doesn’t take much movement to ruin your shot at 1.8.

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  16. Ramon Acosta

    What do you mean “Canon doesn’t really have their own. “? What about the slightly slower 85mm f1.8 or the faster 85mm f1.2?

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    • Kishore Sawh

      Right, but no Canon branded 85 1.4. Unless i’m totally unaware

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    • William Irwin

      Might want to clarify that. I was confused as well.

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    • Jeff Sellenrick

      Canon 85mm f1.2L II. Smaller, shorter and faster than the new Sigma. Is that not the lens to compare this to?

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    • Zack Berjawi

      That lens has HORRIBLY slow autofocus. Probably one of the slowest AF I’ve ever ran into (in the L series.) Sigma’s AF is sure to kick its butt :)

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    • Ben Perrin

      Put it on a 1 series and it’s not slow to focus. Also seems to focus really well on the Sony A7R2. Isn’t Sigma AF part of the problem though? I’ve heard other Sigma art lenses have been full of all sorts of focusing issues.

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    • Liam Riley

      Slow but extremely accurate. I am always wary that my 50mm Art might not have focussed correctly but with the 85 1.2 I have complete confidence. Only real negative is the amount of CA. Otherwise it’s almost perfect.

      It’s interesting actually. The Sigmas offer amazing value for money and stellar optics but the AF is very often washy. It used to be worse.. the old Sigma 85 1.4 has awful AF performance and I’m sure the Art will be better but I don’t think people with the Canon 1.2 or even Nikkor 1.4 will see much reason to buy this Sigma. It’s not like the 35 and 50 where the Sigma offered much better image quality then the Canon and Nikon equivalents.

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    • Andre Shiwa

      I agree,
      I had the 85 f/1.2L II and the AF was just ridiculous for a L series glass. I was pissed off with such sluggish AF.
      As I also have the 85 f/1.8 that has a good quality for its price and way better AF , I sold the 1.2L .
      I will wait for reviews and sample images of the 85 1.4 Art.
      The bulky size and weight is my concern… but if really work well, wha to do… hehehe

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    • Kishore Sawh

      I think those who have spent time with it, as I and many here have, know it’s horrendously slow AF. it’s brilliant when it works, but at 1.2 it’s not always impeccably sharp. I like the lens, a lot, but given the price also, a 1.4 for so much less, with an AF system that will likely ruin a 1.2…. there’s a market for that. Sure you can compare them, but my point was there’s no direct equiv 1.4

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    • Liam Riley

      Nobody said there was no market for it. What I said is that I can’t see people who have already invested in the Canon and Nikon equivalent lenses picking this lens up.

      It’s great that the Art series exists. The 50 is one of my all time favourite lenses, when it focuses accurately. It’s sharp, has great colours and contrast. It’s much better than the Canon 1.4 and 1.2 alternatives in everything but focus. The hit rate isn’t as low as some Sigma lenses and the front/back focus issues aren’t as pronounced as some Sigma lenses… And it is nicely priced. Of course there’s a market for it. But the Canon 50’s are dated and optically inferior. That’s is also the case for the 35’s, hence the Arts popularity. But the 85’s from Canon and Nikon are both excellent t. The Canon is the slowest to focus, but it’s still faster than an Otus.

      Outside of wedding photographers… I don’t see the problem. I own the Canon1.2 and yeah, it’s slow, but for studio work and portraits who gives a fuck? The Nikkor is slow too, but I’d rather have a slow lens that’s super accurate than a lens I can’t trust to lock focus properly.

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    • Liam Riley

      I don’t follow. There is a Canon 85mm meant for pro use. It’s just happens to go to 1.2. i guarantee that every site will do a comparison between this new Sigma, the Canon 1.2, the Nikkor 1.4, and the old Sigma 1.4.

      It’s almost as if you are dismissing the Canon. Either that or your saying it lives in a higher class.

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    • Marshall Christensen

      Liam, I am a Canon shooter and own the 50f/1.2L and many other Canon L lenses.
      I know you are strongly defending your 85L, but you basically argue against yourself. How? “I own the Canon1.2 and yeah, it’s slow, but for studio work and portraits who gives a fuck?” So in a studio situation with the Sigma somehow the supposedly inaccurate focus of the Sigma is more of a problem than the slow focus of the Canon? HOW? In studio you can shoot many many shots to make sure you have focus, and check on a screen as you go. A wash at best, and in studio with strobes you are not shooting at 1.2 / 1.4 anyway. And outside the studio also a wash – if you get the focus right but already missed the shot because the focus was too slow it doesn’t matter, does it? In fact, outside of studio I would rather have a fast focus with 80% accuracy than 99% accuracy so slow it cannot hit any shots except standing / posed subjects (and even then missed it if the subject moved waiting for the lens to focus).

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  17. Vince Arredondo

    It’s about time!

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