Review Sigma 85 mm/1.4 (C FF)

Sigma 85 mm FF 14

Only very few fast 85 mm lenses are on the market and the Sigma 85 mm 1.4 is one of these. The full name, Sigma 85 mm 1.4 EX DG HSM, indicates that we are dealing with a professional lens that is equipped with a fast AF drive. In 2010, the Sigma 85 mm 1.4 was released to compete with the Canon 85 mm 1.2 and the Nikkor 85mm 1.4. Due to the large aperture, it is possible to play with depth of field with these lenses. It is a shame that not one of these lenses ar prorovided with image stabilization, while precisely that would offer more opportunities. The focal length of the Sigma 85 mm is a little short for a heavily framed portrait at a full frame camera.

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Sigma 85 mm FF 14

 Construction and autofocus

The lens is made of a high quality type of plastic and the fitting is of metal. For the finishing of the house, a new kind of finish is used. Sigma calls this “NR coating” (New & Robust). It seems that the finish that is used now is less susceptible to damage. The whole feels solid, the focus ring turns smoothly without play and the filter does not rotate. The lens is supplied including a large lens hood.

The autofocus is of the HSM type. Focusing is not very fast with a Canon 5D MK2; from 15 meters to 1.5 meters in 0.45 seconds. Focusing is virtually silent. In low light, the camera rarely hunts.



The vignetting in stops is only an issue at full aperture and already at f/2.0, it is low. And that is quite the achievement for such a fast lens. If you compare the vignetting with other lenses at full aperture, the vignetting of this Sigma is even remarkably low. In practice it is rarely necessary to take it into account.  Vignet - kopie


The distortion is extremely low, which is -0.14%. In practice, this will never be annoying or visible.  Distort


The resolution, expressed in lines / sensor height, exhibits already in the center a pretty good value at f/4.0 and at f/8.0, the top is very high. The corners already reach a good value at f/5.6. All in all, these are very good values for such a fast lens. The pictures show that parts of the picture that are outside the plane of focus are displayed nicely ‘woolly.’ ResolutieSigma85mm

 Practice, playing with depth of field, f/1.4


Chromatic aberration

The chromatic aberration is very low. ChromAb
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Sigma 85 mm 1.4 EX DG HSM

Sigma 85 mm FF 14

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See our overview of tested lenses to compare the performance of this lens with other lenses.


  • Very fast lens
  • High resolution after stopping down
  • Very low distortion and color aberration
  • Only at f/1.4 annoying vignetting
  • Good price/quality relationship



  • AF speed could be better 
  • You have to stop down a bit to get the best results

At the Sigma 85 mm 1.4, the large aperture is not at the expense of optical performance. The resolution is high and in practice, it is not necessary to take into account color aberrations and distortion. The vignetting too is kept well within the bounds but the AF speed could be better. The finish is at a high level and the asking price for the Sigma 85 mm very real.


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