Review of a Sigma fast prime.

I got the Sigma 85mm F1.4 EX DG in for review.

Sigma 85mm 1.4 – around $970

My girls were in there first Irish Step Dance festival and I brought the Sigma 85mm to test it out. My wife and I have mixed feels about these festivals because they are a little strange, but I got some fun slow motion shots of the girls feet, these are not my girls, my kids are just starting out.

The 85mm is big and heavy, large lens hood, hard to keep steady and balanced like the 30mm and the 50mm.

It seems like it has a hard time focusing quickly, I have read about people returning their lens once or twice before getting a good copy of it in terms of focus. My copy would focus but it just seem to take a little longer than my Canon lenses and longer than the Sigma 30mm that I liked.

85mm is an odd size on a crop sensor and I am having a hard time finding a lot of use for it, perhaps interview shoots where you need a lot of compression.

85mm is Pretty Close to 100mm

If I am already that close to 100mm I might as well have the Canon 100mm with the new IS that can also do macro (same price but not as fast at 2.8). But having at least a 30mm or a 50mm that goes down to 1.4 should be enough for my needs, I am not sure I need one at 85mm as well.

Stiff Focus Ring

I am not sure about the focus ring it is a little too stiff and causes micro vibrations when hunting for focus. The Canon glass I have, none of them have this stiff quality, they are smooth or in the case of my nifty fifty a little too loose. Made for just photography where they don’t want it to shift? Check out the micro vibrations I get on the sigma as I manually focus on a cheap tripod compared to the Canon.

I am not an expert on Bokeh but it seems nice, sorry about the flicker from the Christmas lights – they are LED.

But my eye is getting better and I am noticing on this expensive lens that the contrast and sharpens is better, I can actually noticed a different even on the small 3″ display on the camera in terms of contrast, however I didn’t notice any saturation differences.

Find Pricing and a Cheaper Option

Find prices on the Sigma 85mm F1.4 EX DG or the Canon 100mm Macro with IS.

A much cheaper option (I have not tested) is the Rokinon 85mm F/1.4 Lens for around $300.

Music my Kevin McLeod – Achaidh Cheide creative commons.



  • Hi Dave,

    Nice ‘hands on’ review.

    You were wondering where this lens would fit into your lens range? The 85mm has always been a portrait lens in the days of 35mm film cameras, so this lens is probably aimed more at 5D owners. 550D owners would probably find a wide aperture 50mm lens would serve the same kind of purpose.

    Still enjoying your blog, keep up the good work.

    Kind regards,


  • Despite what was a essentially a negative review, I think I will look into this lens. The footage was gorgeous. Loved the bokeh, contrast, everything. Lens may have issues, but I can always use another focal length lens with a really wide aperture. Thanks for the review.

  • I own the Canon 100 macro and it is awesome. So versatile and the hybrid IS works great.

  • Hi Dave,

    nice footage and review. Odd for you to say that 85 is an odd focal length :).
    I have been the proud owner of the EF 85mm 1.8 and it’s a phenomenal lens for portraits.

    Thanks for the work!

  • I appreciate the review, Dave. I think this is a decent lens, but if I’m going to use it at all at this point, it’s probably going to be a rental.