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

NPhoto - - Test Team -

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.

Per­for­mance

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.

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