Updated: Aug 19
This is one of our favourite Sigma lenses to date, and there have been a lot of reviews on the Sony E-mount variant, but what about the L-mount alliance? Let’s talk about the Sigma 85mm f1.4 DG DN lens.
The first thing you’re going to notice about this lens is that it’s much smaller than the previous version. It’s small and relatively light for an 85mm lens, and when you first put it on, you might even think that it’s a 35mm or 50mm lens but it’s not.
Because it’s a mirrorless lens, Sigma has managed to do a lot with the lens in a much smaller form factor. There’s also a nice aperture ring that can click or declick with the flick of a switch, plus you can aperture lock it.
Aperture lock doesn’t mean you get to set it to f1.4 and lock it and you can’t move it. You set it to Auto, turn on the lock and then you can’t move the ring after. It would be nice to be able to lock it at any aperture, but that’s not the case.
There’s also the auto-focus switch and AFL button too, so you’ve got a lot of features on this lens that makes it very usable. Just the fact that you can declick for video makes this lens very attractive for video shooters out there.
Build quality is fantastic, it’s a Sigma ART lens so you’re going to get that build quality through and through. It feels really good on the camera, and we’ve tested it with the Leica SL2, Panasonic S1R and the Sigma FP.
The lens is also weather-sealed, so you won’t have to worry about a bit of rain if you’re out shooting in adverse weather.
Inside, you get five special low dispersion (SLD) elements, one aspherical element and four high-refractive (HR) elements. It’s 15 elements in 11 groups, and the lens weighs in at 625 grams with an 11-bladed diaphragm which gives you beautiful bokeh.
The auto-focusing system has been improved as well, so you’re going to get a much better experience than the previous 85mm f1.4. Speaking of performance, the lens performed roughly the same on all three cameras we tested it with, but we do feel that the lens is a bit faster on the Panasonic S1R and the Sigma FP than the Leica SL2.
This could possibly be fixed in a firmware update from Leica, and it’s not a dealbreaker at all, but it’s just slightly slower on that camera.
When you get into continuous auto-focusing though, this is something you need to take note of because these are all contrast-based systems so it will hunt a little bit more than if it’s on the Sony E-mount, but it still gets the picture to be in focus when you need it to be.
Besides that though, the image quality out of the lens is just beautiful. This is a very, very sharp lens and in the L-mount alliance, there’s really nothing that’s competing with it, unless you want to put it to the Leica Summicron 75mm f2 or the 90mm f2, those are the only competitors out there.
But for the price point and what Sigma has done with this lens, for any L-mount users out there, it’s a no brainer if you want a portraiture lens at f1.4.
Looking at photos shot with the lens, you can see that it’s sharp, with great falloff in portraits. Even for still subjects, it’s excellent with beautiful separation and 3D pop, and the background just blurs away.
There’s really not much to complain about this lens, aside from the auto-focusing system which will hunt at times if you’re on continuous auto-focusing. For portraiture, street photography or lifestyle, it should be fine.
For this price point and build quality, it’s a lens we wouldn’t pass up. It’s a phenomenal lens. It’s sharp, as you’ve seen in the images, beautiful colours, beautiful image quality and the bokeh is astounding. If you’re on the fence with this, don’t be.
For more information about the Sigma 85mm f1.4 DG DN ART lens (S$1,688), check out Sigma’s website.