Sigma 85mm 1.4 ART

Sigma 85mm F1.4 DG HSM | ART

First Impression:

It’s quite bigger and heavier than its Nikon counterpart that I’m used to. When mounted on Nikon D810,

It weighs over 2kg, which is a tad heavy for a medium-telephoto lens without OS.

But having said that, it is well balanced on a heavy body like D810, and its excellent build and ergonomics made it easy for handling in most of the situation.

Size comparison with Nikon 85mm f1.8 G Lens
Size comparison with Nikon 85mm f1.8 G Lens

My Review Assignment:

When SIGMA India asked me to review this Lens, I didn’t want this to be just another review with lot of technical stuff. I prefered to take it to my turf and see how it performs in more complex situations than the usual studio conditions.

Being a travel and street photographer, I decided to take this to shoot some travel portraits in very unpredictable lighting situations.


Key Features (as per SIGMA):

  • Stellar optical performance
  • DxO Mark Highest Score
  • Updated AF system
  • Designed and tested for high mega-pixel cameras


Camera Body: Nikon D810

Lens: Sigma 85mm F1.4 DG HSM

Event: Shooting Theyyam, a colourful festival of Kerala.


This particular event happens at different times of the day, where I had to shoot with naturally available light. There were times I had to shoot as early as 4am with only natural/ambient light…

This was the real test of this magnificent lens….

Sigma 85mm 1.4 ART

My Experience:

  • Handling ( Rating 4/5)
    • I never felt the combination of SIGMA 85mm ART lens and Nikon D810 was heavy during my entire assignment, instead, it was very well balanced in my hands performing like a real Professional Duo.
    • It feels like it is built to last a lifetime with its metal construction and weather sealing.
    • It worked flawlessly in very hot (shooting very close to the fire) conditions and took some bad splashes during my test.


  • Autofocus Speed ( Rating  4/5)
    • Autofocus was very quick and silent and snapped to focus in a fraction of a second even in challenging light situations. Even in ambient and very low lighting conditions, autofocus was really fast and silent.


  • Autofocus Consistency ( Rating  3/5)
    • Even though it was fast to focus, I had many situations where it actually shifted focus (between f1.4 and f5.6). I faced this in both low light as well as well lit conditions.

The inconsistent autofocus is not a new thing in a portrait lens, but during my testing 6 out of 10 times, I got inconsistent autofocus results. This can be very well overridden by using manual focus in the studio and controlled situations, but when you are out shooting travel portrait, Autofocus is something you will have to depend on. For autofocus consistency, i will give this lens only 3 star


  • Sharpness ( Rating 5/5)
    • I was pleasantly surprised with the amount of sharpness that this lens can produce. The details are so evident, especially with high megapixel cameras, that you will hardly need any post sharpness to be done on these images. Many shots I shot really wide open, but I felt its peak sharpness was at aperture 2.8.


  • Bokeh Effect ( Rating  4.5/5)
    • Bokeh is something of personal preference. I personally felt this lens created smooth bokeh with a softer background which was really pleasant.

Some Bokeh effect samples in different light conditions can be found below –

Sigma 85mm 1.4 ART Bokeh Sample 001
Sigma 85mm 1.4 ART Bokeh Sample 002
Sigma 85mm 1.4 ART Bokeh Sample 003

Conclusion (Overall Rating 4.1/5):

This lens has really lived up to the expectation of the best lens for portrait photography by many professional photographers. Images produced are with natural color & contrast.

Autofocus was really fast even in low lighting conditions. It also created beautiful bokeh by preserving the sharpness of the subject.

On a side note, you will have to be very careful when focusing at wide open, as a slight change in distance between the lens and subject can create focus shift. This is something that you can get better with some practice.


Sample Images shot with SIGMA 85mm 1.4 ART mounted on Nikon D810 –

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