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Fake Sigma 85mm f/1.4 A

Sigma 85mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art lens mockup (thanks to SR reader Hanabi)

There is some amount of anticipation for a Sigma 85mm f/1.4 Art with Zeiss Otus-like quality. After all, one can’t help but eagerly wait for a 85mm lens now that top-notch 50, 35 and 24mm optics have been released.

The main difference with those focal lengths is the existence of a recent (2011) 85mm f/1.4 in the Sigma EX lineup. While optically it does deliver, the new line raises the bar in all aspects, and as a result, it is much more attention grabbing.

So a new lens appears to be the only way out for Sigma, but I’m not sure updating the 85mm EX so quickly was in the plans. With hindsight, perhaps it would have been better to release it as a Global Vision lens* together with the 35mm f/1.4 Art in late 2012.

Regarding a fast 135mm prime lens, the situation is quite different. Sigma has none, and the CEO stated a while ago that this void had to be addressed. One can assume that such a lens has been in development for some time.

The timing is ideal for Sigma to join the 135mm bandwagon: Canon’s and Nikon’s 135mm f/2 lenses are on the old side (even though the red-ringed one is still highly regarded) and the two recent releases from Zeiss and Samyang are manual focus only.

In the end, judging from what’s there and what’s not, a 135mm f/2 should come first, but it may not be what most users want. What do you think?

* Likewise for the Sigma 180mm f/2.8 EX Macro, which was released just a couple of months prior to the introduction of the revamped lineup. Moreover, the macro offering was already pretty solid, so there was no need to rush it to market.

  • DouglasGottlieb

    105 f1.4 art please

  • outkasted

    is this still happening?

  • Abben Hung

    When is Sigma going to announce it’s next Global Vision lens? I really want to get my hands on an 85mm ART..

  • Greggory Burt

    Looks like Tamron just beat Sigma to the punch with the new 85mm VC.

  • Connor

    When I shot with the Canon 5D MK III while I was at school their 135mm F/2 was my favourite lens. The optics, the weight and the auto focus speed made me love it. I shoot Nikon though and have been wanting something equivalent to the Canon’s for some time now (I’ve looked into the DC lenses). If Sigma comes out with a 135mm ART lens and it isn’t incredibly heavy it will be the first product I ever pre-order.

  • GΓΌnter HofstΓ€dter

    would take both if the match my expectations

  • nYcKo

    well, I kinda hope for an ART version of 50-150mm, or 135mm f/2, maybe 150mm f/2.8, at least one of them! πŸ™‚

  • Scott Flaherty

    I would rather have the 135 than the 85. I’ve got my fingers crossed.

  • true

    135 f2 sounds like more fun focal length. Of course 85 1.8 wouldn’t bee too bad either, seeing as both nikon and canon models suffer from terrible CA. But then again nikon doesn’t have a proper 135 yet (one with fast AF and OS), so Sigma could sell that better.

  • Ray Dobson

    I want a Sigma 85 but should I wait for the Art version to potentially be announced?

  • I love my Nikon 135 2.0 DC but it’s showing it’s age on the D810. If/when Sigma announce the 135 Art I’ll be ordering it ASAP. Id be incredibly tempted to run a 135/85/50 Art kit for my portrait work at that point vs my current setup of 50 Art and 70-200 vr2

  • Arthur Nazarian

    135/1.8 and I’m buying that immediately (assuming top quality results). OS would be nice, but not super important.

    I’ll skip any 85mm. The 85/1.4G I have is perfect, except chromatic aberrations. But even if the Sigma will have non, it would be not exceptional enough to switch.

  • Jonathan P Soffa

    I’d really push for a new 85mm f/1.4 Art. With the affordability of the Nikon 85 1.8, and performance compared to the current Sigma 85, it seems IMO sigma should solidify their current offerings before introducing a 135mm

  • Uldis Vilks

    Waiting for both of them. Canons 135 is excellent lens, but Canon have no good 85mm – so I am desperate to get good optical quality 85mm with precise AF.

    • Brendan

      This is how I feel. I can’t see my relatively inexpensive 135L being topped in any category (price, IQ, AF, etc), but I don’t like using it indoors either.
      I would prefer the current Sigma offering over either Canon offering, but would much prefer one that is compatible with the dock for AF precision.

  • GB

    Whichever is next, the 85 / 1.4A or 135 / 2A, they need to put OS into the lens. It would have been great if they had done that with the 24 / 1.4A, 35 / 1.4A, and 50 / 1.4A, too, but that’s water under the bridge now.

    • Russell Ferris

      I’m starting to think these are demands for the Tamron house to deliver on.

      • GB

        That’s a fair point. We shall see what the rumored Tamron 85 / 1.8 VC brings to the table, especially if it’s significantly smaller and lighter. Will be interesting to see how the IQ compares stop for stop.

    • Uldis Vilks

      Why the hack do You need OS for those lenses? Maybe, possibly for 135mm to use it for slower speeds than 1/150th sec… For filming? Use cinema lenses for that (at least Samyang etc).

      • GB

        Asking why one “needs” OS on an 85 / 1.4 and 135 / 2 is like asking why one “needs” f/1.4 or f/2 over f/2.8. OS is a very useful feature for photography of static scenes in low light when one is not using a tripod. If one is never photographing static scenes in low light or always using a tripod, then, of course, OS is useless, just as f/1.4 or f/2 is useless if one is always stopping down to f/2.8 or more narrow for “enough” DOF.

        • Uldis Vilks

          Possibly, but it’s a bit different – there is no lens in the world with f1.4 and OS (IS, VC etc). It would be just ridiculously expensive. So they stop them down to 2.8 in most cases. So if I must chose where to use money – in light or in OS – I don’t want to use my money in OS. If You need OS so much – buy good zoom lens, like 70-200 or 24-70 f2.8. It’s pretty stupid to use lot of primes with OS. Remember, that You will pay for every single lens couple hundred euros + just for OS. Of course, it’s just must my opinion.

          • GB

            There’s the Panasonic 42.5 / 1.2, and a bunch of other lenses with IS that are faster than f/2.8, if not f/1.2.

            You are, of course, entitled to your opinion that IS is not needed for apertures wider than f/2.8 and/or that one would never use an f/1.4 prime stopped down to f/2.8 or more narrow and benefit from IS. Indeed, I’ve seen some say IS is nothing more than a gimmick and that you should use a tripod or learn how to use flash.

          • Uldis Vilks

            I am talking about full frame not some micro 4/3 or something like this.

            Yes, I am, because I cant think any situation of using it in professional work. But on the other hand – You are entitled to opinion that IS is a must πŸ™‚ I guess it depends from what every photographer do and how, but I guess, that most of those who are willing to buy fast primes are not ready to pay for OS.

          • GB

            Simply because there are no f/1.4 FF lenses with IS does not mean that putting IS in a f/1.4 FF lens would be “ridiculously expensive”. The 35 / 2 IS at $550 is not “ridiculously expensive”, so unless you can justify the “ridiculously expensive” claim, we’ll just leave that in the category of unsubstantiated opinion.

            As for “IS is a must”, no, IS is not a “must”. But it’s a very nice tool to have at one’s disposal just as shallow DOF, 50 MP, low noise, 14 stops of per-pixel DR at base ISO, etc., are not “musts”, but very nice tools to have at one’s disposal, nonetheless.

            And given how many are clamoring for Canon to release a 50 / 1.4 IS, were disappointed that the 50 / 1.8 STM did not have IS, and that Tamron has an 85 / 1.8 VC in the works, I have to think that I am far from alone from thinking that IS is a nice feature to have, and that if Sigma were to put OS in their upcoming 85 / 1.4A and 135 / 2A that it would not be a significant selling point overall, just as HD video is a significant selling point in a camera even though some, such as myself, have no interest in it.

          • Uldis Vilks

            Most of people will still not agree and won’t be ready to pay for IS (me including) – it’s still useless for normal use – will never ever shoot photo shoots and portraits on less than 1/125 sec. Believe me – You are minority in this opinion. And I am 100% confident, that Sigma thinks the same – 50mm art is already one of the most expensive AF lens in market (not talking about Canon L 1.2 – it’s just unusable) adding another 100-200 EUR wont work for them. Another way, of course, is to save on lens quality, but I guess that most potential buyers (including me) are not ready to sacrifice that. I have 35 and 50mm art lenses (also 24-105 OS) and I had never been in situation when I thought that I need an IS.

            Canon 1.8 is cheap lens, it was stupid (another stupid thing) to think, that they will include IS.

            Tamron does fast lenses with OS, than switch to Tamron.

          • GB

            Why have f/2.8 lenses with IS? Would one never use an f/1.4 lens at f/2.8? I’m thinking some people would. I’m thinking some people would make good use of IS even at f/1.4 for static scenes or for scenes where motion blur is desirable for artistic effect.

            You have no use for, and no interest in, IS — I get that. I have no use for, and no interest in, video, but I don’t speak out against manufacturers putting video in their DSLRs, being cognizant that it’s an important feature for many, if not for me.

            Regardless, as I said, there’s the Sony A7II which has IBIS and a nice 42 MP BSI sensor, so, problem solved (well, solved for $3200, anyway).

            By the way, the Canon 50 / 1.2L was more than a little usable for me:

            http://www.josephjamesphotography.com/lenses/50L/

            but maybe that’s because my standards and/or skills are not where yours are at.

          • Uldis Vilks

            Yes, Sony new A7R II is one of solutions πŸ™‚ for artistic scenes with motion blur – no problem, use tripod… (at least I would).

            For video in camera I pay once – for every lens with IS I must pay than 5 or more times.. ? Other manufacturers have solutions – so use them than πŸ™‚

            Ok, I must admit that there can be some situations when IS is usable thing, but the same is for macro then πŸ™‚ It’s highly specialized thing for using sometimes and most of time unnecessary. So there are solutions around.

            About Your pictures (more about Canon L 1.2 not You pictures) – Yes, great… when they are small. That lens, sorry, but is sh*t – it’s far too much soft even in f2.8 (for me). For me it’s important to get most out of lens in 1:1 size.

          • GB

            Re: “no problem, use tripod”. Classic. Just as I said above. Well, almost — you didn’t mention flash. In any case, neither here nor there since anything negative you have to say about IS on an f/1.4 prime also applies to f/2.8 and f/4 zooms, and you don’t seem to be objecting to IS on those lenses.

            Re: the 50 / 1.2L. As I suspected, I simply have lower standards and/or worse skills than you since I did not notice the “visible and awful” color fringing in the linked photos that you did, which demonstrated the lens to be “sh*t”. As for 1:1, here we are:

            http://www.pbase.com/joemama/50l_wide_open

            Not that it matters, of course — I already have your number memorized, as I’ve seen it dialed more than once.

          • Uldis Vilks

            I guess that’s because zooms seems to be more all around lens and that it is useful…

            Purple and green fringing is visible in all pictures, for me, yes, it’s unacceptable. Sharpnes is good, but it seems like You were photographing in jpg and with standard picture profile + sharpening (or it is just sharpened in post). And still it is soft – better to say it’s less detailed than it could be. With 50mm art wide open results are much better.

            Didn’t get what You mean with number πŸ™‚

          • Arthur Nazarian

            I agree that an OS version will probably be more expensive, heavier, and bulkier. It would be very handy with a 135mm though. I shoot with the 85/1.4G since it was released, and with the D800 I must use shutter speeds of 1/200s to be absolutely confident that there’s no motion blur (while previously I could use 1/80s on the D700). With a 135mm that would mean a shutter speed of about 1/250 or 1/320s.

            With vibration reduction however, I can use 1/160s (not lower, to avoid motion blur), have very sharp images even when I’m tired and use one stop of a lower ISO. That is not bad!

            However, I must say that to me, this is less important than image quality. Also if I could choose, I’d prefer a lens without OS if it would cost $400 less. And most importantly, I’d prefer a faster lens. So I would prefer f/1.8 over f/2.0 OS, even if that’s just a minor difference. f/1.5 would be even nicer (remember the Vivitar 135/1.5? πŸ™‚ )

          • Uldis Vilks

            Completely agree to every word You wrote πŸ™‚

  • Pepe

    I am waiting for it al teast from one year ago. I thing the 135 mm Art will be too big for me.

    • pepe

      I’m sorry, I mean I am waiting for the 85 mm f/1.4 Art

  • Russell Ferris

    I don’t care about size or weight, build a good autofocus 135mm f/2.

  • NightPhotographer

    135mm Art is all I want.

  • Jlx

    135mm definitely! Make it NOT a heavy monster like the 50mm… If the 50mm was 200gr lighter I would have bought it without thinking. Too heavy for my bag as it is! 135mm would be a no brainer for Nikon and Sony shooters πŸ˜‰ make it 1.8 :))) just to spice it up and show again CaNikon idiot CEO’s that they are retarded, have backwards vision, and are loosing ground….

  • Nicholas

    Oh no… Where is the 24-70…

    • Florent – SigmaRumors

      No worries, we’re talking about prime lenses πŸ˜‰

  • bjorn

    Sigma could produce a APO-corrected 135 f2 /f1,8 HSM, with a defocus control, with DC OS will be a bit difficult.. Macro up to 1:2 800€? And… Why not a 70-135mm f2, with DC, it’s doable at 1500€. = DX (105~200 f2,8 equivalent)

  • S Ang

    If they make a fast-focusing 135 f2 or f1.8, it might be the first lens I ever pre-order. Go Sigma!

  • Pittsburgh Kid

    85 is a total waste unless it is:

    1) OS

    2) Macro

    3) Tilt

    I seriously doubt they could eclipse the Nikon 85f1.8 within 2x the price. A non-OS 85f1.4 will be just another overweight, overpriced lens.

    As for the 135f2, another niche rarely used lens. Make a 180 or 200f2 that matches the Nikon for <3K and that would be of interest.

    Merge the 150/180 macro with a similar range OS Art.

    All AFTER you start producing the &/==%/&€ 150-600's.

    • Russell Ferris

      I agree, the af-s 85mm f/1.8 is the best you can buy in it’s price range and some.

      • Pepe

        If you are talking about the optical quality, then I agree BUT the autofocus motor should be much faster and accurate. For me, make a lens f/1.8 without a very good autofocus motor has no sense.

        • Russell Ferris

          Please find a better lens for $550, I didn’t say it was flawless.

          • Pepe

            I mean I prefer better AF than awesome optical image quality, however the sigma 85 f/1.4 ART shoud have both. We will see the price . . . .

          • Russell Ferris

            The art lens better have superior accuracy with the USB dock and a proper calibration but the current 85 1.4 almost a G. The art lens will be close to double the nikkor. Still no where near the value of the nikkor.

    • Uldis Vilks

      Maybe for Nikon there is options, but no options for Canon – all of Canon 85mm is shitty lenses, no options there. I am desperate to get good quality 85mm for less money than Otus.

  • blp

    any news on the sigma 24-70?

  • Jeffry De Meyer

    Plenty of great affordable 85mm lenses out there, the 135 would be a far bigger hit.
    That or give Tony Northrup what he wants and make a 70-200 that doesn’t focus breath as much as the tamron

    • EarlFargis

      What he said! Though too late for me. Already own a Nikkor in that range and I’m not looking for a replacement.

    • Brendan

      I think because Canon is such a big market player, it’s possible that Sigma doesn’t really have an answer to the 135L in terms of both IQ and price.

  • Wei-Hao Wang

    If the Sigma 135mm can be as good as the Zeiss 135mm/F2 Apo Sonnar, then I would live to have one.

  • Mike H

    I just bought a 180mm f/2.8 EX Macro a month ago and I love it. If they come out with a replacement sometime soon, I’d be bummed but happy to see Sigma churning out awesome lenses.

    • Russell Ferris

      Lucky, I have the old 185 f3.5 and produce killer images even wide open. I wish I had the cheddar for the 2.8.

  • William Dyer

    I’d prefer the 135mm in either an f2 or f1.8 manner. I have an 85mm that I’m very happy with, but no 135mm lens. And the option from Nikon is quite old and prone to a lot of chromic aberration. Nor does the Nikon have VR, as the Sigma Art 135mm likely would.

  • why not 135/1,8? … there is superb Sony 135mm f/1,8 ZA Sonnar T πŸ™‚

    • Kirby Zhou

      85/1.4 OS or 135/2 OS is better.

      • Dilbert

        I’d be happy to pay as much if not more than the 135L for a sigma 135 1.8 OS art… that would be freakin’s amazing! Only problem is they better announce it soon otherwise I’ll just grab a 135L…

      • SimenO

        OS is a job for the camera house. Even Canon and Nikon will figure that out some time in the far future. I prefer f/1,8 in stead of f/2,0 OS. But i hope they manage to get 1:1 macro. That would make my camera bag lighter then having two lenses.

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