Sigma 85mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM £650, $970
It’s a generation older than the other two Sigma lenses on test, but it’s not showing its age
Whereas the Sigma 35mm and 50mm lenses on test are from Sigma’s new ‘Art’ line, this 85mm f/1.4 has an older ‘EX’ classification. That’s the designation that Sigma used to give to its professional-grade prime and zoom lenses. Typical of the breed, this one has a matte black finish, impressive build quality and comes with soft case and hood.
The ring-type ultrasonic autofocus system is fast and near-silent, and comes with fulltime manual override, courtesy of a large, smooth-acting focus ring. Like the newer Sigma lenses on test, the aperture is controlled by a nine-blade diaphragm, matching the Nikon lenses in this group. However, the Sigma is far less expensive than the competing Nikon 85mm f/1.4 (see page 101).
While Sigma’s 35mm f/1.4 Art lens has one FLD and four SLD (Special Low Dispersion) elements, the 85mm has just a single SLD element. The Sigma 50mm Art lens falls somewhere between the two, with three SLD elements.
Sharpness isn’t quite a match for the other two Sigma lenses on test, noticeably at the widest available aperture. However, bokeh is particularly soft and creamy, with good control over longitudinal colour fringing.