Sigma 85mm f/1.4 EX DG Lens Review
The Sigma 85mm f/1.4 EX DG prime lens is an excellent (and fast) lens that I just purchased. I wanted to do a review of the lens and at the end discuss how it can be used and how well it fares in regards to Disney Photography.
The Sigma 85mm f/1.4 prime lens, along with the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM prime lens are two of the hottest lenses currently made by Sigma. There is a lot of buzz surrounding these lenses, and many say that they are as good as or even better than their big name brand counterparts.
I’ve had several Sigma lenses in the past, and they have been a little on the flimsy side, nowhere near as good as their Canon counterparts. But, with this 85mm, Sigma really took it up a notch. This thing is built like a tank, and with all the glass inside of it due to the f/1.4 aperture, it needs to be. It feels wonderful when attached to both my Canon 5D Mark II and my Canon Rebel T2i, although a tiny bit top heavy when on the latter. Here’s what it looks like sans hood attached to my Canon 5D Mark II:
In terms of optical quality, this thing is 100% top notch. Some of my favorite shots from the past 3 years of being in photography have been taken in the short amount of time since I’ve had this lens. I really can’t say enough about how good it is. The colors are amazing. The contrast is wonderful. The sharpness is good at f/1.4, excellent at f/2, and incredible the rest of the way up. And don’t even get me started with how good the bokeh can be. More on that later.
The one thing that has been a constant problem with Sigma, and is a slight bit of a deterrent on this lens is the auto focus. There have been reports of there being “bad copies” of this lens, and that some people (who I think are slightly insane) going through 3 or 4 copies of the lens until they found one that they thought was good. I am on my first (and only) copy, and I have had pretty much no issues with the lens auto focusing, even in low light. Sure, there are a couple of instances where it hasn’t locked on focus, but that has happened just as much, even more with some of my other lenses, even ones with that shiny red ring around them.
Included In the Box
Sigma is great with what they include with their equipment. In the box, you get the lens, a lens hood, a lens hood adapter for those using crop sensor cameras, a nice padded case, and a great 3 year warranty.
Sigma 85mm f/1.4 for Disney Photography
So, now comes the big question. How does it perform at the Disney parks? Well, to answer that, I’ll say that on my last trip to Walt Disney World, it probably spent 50% or more of my trip attached to the camera. It just for some reason did not want to go back in the bag and let the other lenses play. It was outstanding in all situations. I loved how versatile it was, especially after reading online that it was basically branded as a portrait lens. And I know that super wide shooting is the cat’s meow in the Disney photo community, but I think that a lot of the best shots are ones that fill the whole frame. So using this tighter lens is a great way to do so.
One thing I liked in particular was how well it performed on the dark rides. For me as a full frame user, the 50mm f/1.4 is sometimes a little too wide on the dark rides, so the 85mm at the same aperture fit really nicely, like this shot from Pirates of the Caribbean:
Oh, and earlier in the review, I mentioned something about how this lens is a bokeh monster. Well, there are plenty of spots in WDW to use that small depth of field to your advantage, and with a lens like this, there is so much, both from up close…
…and from a little farther away…
As you can see, I love me some shallow DoF, and this lens gives you tons of it at Disney.
The Sigma 85mm f/1.4 EX DG lens is a very well built lens, with great optics. The auto focus might be an issue amongst the photography community, but I’ve had no trouble with it. The price may be a little bit steep at $899 for a single focal length, but that’s about half of the Canon 85mm f/1.2L lens. And seeing as it performs just about as well, it really is quite the value.
The lens is available for Canon, Nikon, Sony, Pentax, Olympus, and Sigma camera systems, and it gets my utmost recommendation.
Products Referenced in this Review
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