In depth

The Sigma 105mm f1.Four Artwork is a shiny mid-length telephoto lens corrected for full-frame sensors and out there in Canon, Nikon and Sigma DSLR mounts, in addition to in a local Sony E mount for Alpha mirrorless cameras. With an f1.Four focal ratio the brand new 105mm f1.Four Artwork joins the Nikon 105mm f1.4E because the brightest lenses at this focal size, though crucially the Sigma is available in at a cheaper price and with the good thing about availability in additional than only a Nikon mount.

Obtainable since July 2018, it has no predecessor in Sigma’s lens catalog. To be included into Sigma’s acclaimed Artwork collection of top-notch lenses it ought to have superb optical efficiency and construct high quality. And as you’ll count on it’s suitable with Sigma’s USB-dock to fine-tune varied traits of AF, plus when you change our bodies, you may pay to have the mount swapped in your new system. This all comes at a value: 1400 USD / 1500 EUR is just not precisely low cost however roughly in keeping with different excessive efficiency giant aperture mid-length telephoto lenses – and once more it’s additionally extra inexpensive than Nikon’s personal 105mm f1.Four lens, so one of many massive questions I’ll be answering in my assessment is how these two fashions examine.





Info from the catalog

As typical I’ll take a look on the technical information of the Sigma first. I’ve rated the options with a [+] (or [++]), when it’s higher than common and even cutting-edge, a [0] if it’s commonplace or simply common, and [-] if there’s an obstacle. For comparability I exploit the Nikon 105mm f1.4E (“Nikon” for brief) and Sigma’s personal 135mm f1.Eight Artwork (“Sigma 135mm”).

Dimension (diameter x size): 116 x 129mm, the lens hood provides 43mm (with a diameter of 128mm) which provides a complete size of 172mm. The Nikon is 95 x 106mm with the lens hood including one other 47mm (111mm diameter). The Sigma 135mm is 91 x 114mm, the lens hood provides 60mm (with a diameter of 102mm). [0]

Weight: 1496g plus 104g for the plastic lens hood and 123g for the removable tripod collar which provides as much as a complete weight of 1723g. The Nikon is 979g, the lens hood provides one other 55g. The Sigma 135mm is available in at 1121 + 64g. So the brand new Sigma 105mm f1.Four is by far heavier and bigger than the options apart from the Mitakon 135mm f1.4.  [-]

Optics: 17 parts in 12 teams vs. 14 parts in 9 teams for the Nikon and 13 parts in 10 teams for the Sigma 135mm. It is a advanced design for a main lens and incorporates 5 particular dispersion parts and one aspheric lens factor which may produce onion rings in out-of-focus specular highlights. The Nikon and the Sigma 135mm haven’t any aspheric parts. [+]

Closest focus distance is 1.0m with a magnification of 1:8.Three though I used to be capable of get right down to 1:7.7 at 0.94m with handbook focus. A magnification of 1:10 is achieved at a distance of 1.18m. The Nikon does 1:6.7 at 0.92m in handbook focus and and achieves 1:10 at 1.26m whereas the Sigma 135mm goes to 0.84m the place it presents a really good magnification of 1:4.6 and achieves 1:10 magnification at 1.55m distance. [0]

Filter-thread: 105mm which most likely means that you’ll want an costly new filter set. The Sigma 135mm and the Nikon want cheaper 82mm filters. [-]

Picture stabilization: No. That’s about par for the course on giant aperture primes. Sadly at a focal size of 105mm and with at present’s excessive decision sensors it’s fairly difficult to keep away from blur/shake with hand-held photographs. Use 1/200 sec to be on the protected(r) aspect or use a tripod. Canon has confirmed that you would be able to construct f1.Four primes with picture stabilization and never compromise picture high quality for it. And Sony presents no less than body-based picture stabilization. [0]

Auto focus: HSM (Hyper Sonic Motor), so it additionally works on digital camera our bodies which don’t have an AF-drive in-built like Nikon’s D3x00/5×00. Guide-focus override is by merely turning the main target ring. Identical with the Nikon. However the brand new Sigma means that you can alter focus fine-tuning at Four distances with the USB-dock. The Sigma 135mm is the one lens on this comparability which has a limiter change (full / 1.5m – infinity / 0.875 – 1.5m  configurable with the USB-dock). [+]

Covers full body/FX or smaller = superb. Identical with the competitors. [+]

Value: round 1500 EUR (incl. 19% VAT) / 1600 USD. The Sigma 135mm has a road value of round 1250 EUR / 1400 USD and the Nikon is round 2000 EUR / 2200 USD. [0]

Comes with a pleasant padded lens case and a strap. The lens hood is included, constructed from carbon fiber to scale back weight, and has a rubberized entrance phase to forestall dings and scratches from setting the lens down on the lens hood. It’s reversible for transport, and might be locked in place with a screw. The lens-caps are commonplace. The lens comes with a removable tripod mount with an Arca-Swiss fashion interface. No different f1.Four lens presents that apart from the elusive Mitakon 135mm f1.4. Sigma even included a rubber ring to cowl the tripod mounting screws on the lens must you want to depart the tripod mount indifferent. [++]

Distance info is relayed to the digital camera, so the digital camera and flashes can do all of the superior exposure-related stuff with this lens. Identical for the options. The Canon model of the lens can be suitable with the lens aberration corrections out there in latest our bodies to compensate for vignetting, chromatic aberrations and distortion. [+]

Sigma’s service can change the mount of the lens between Nikon, Canon, Sony or Sigma (at a price). Plus you can too purchase Sigma’s MC-11 Mount Converter for 250 EUR/USD to place the lens on a Sony E-Mount physique (solely out there for adaptation of Sigma lenses with Sigma or Canon mount, not Nikon mount). These are distinctive function that no different producer presents. [++]

Aperture ring: no, similar as with the competitors. The aperture is actuated electromagnetically within the Nikon-version too which makes it the equal of a contemporary E-type Nikon lens and places away with the mechanical coupling that Nikon makes use of on all older lenses. [0]

Sealing: sure, a rubber grommet on the lens-mount plus additional particular weather-sealing all through the development. The Nikon and the Sigma 135mm  solely have climate sealing on the lens-mount. [+]

The rating within the “features-department” is 2[-]/5[0]/9[+]. So the lens is well-featured with the distinctive choice to get the lens-mount swapped or use an adapter for Sony’s E-Mount plus a removable tripod collar which no different producer presents. The 2 massive downsides are its weight and dimension and the necessity to use 105mm filters.


Three giant aperture medium telephoto lenses


Above from left to proper: Nikon 105mm f1.4E ED, Sigma 105mm f1.Four Artwork, Sigma 135mm f1.Eight Artwork



  • There may be actually just one different 105mm f1.Four lens: Nikon’s 105mm f1.4E ED from their line {of professional} giant aperture primes. This lens has superb picture high quality and is smaller and considerably lighter than the brand new Sigma. But it surely prices round 2000 EUR. For extra particulars see my Nikon 105mm f1.4E ED assessment.
  • If you happen to go longer then there’s the choice of Sigma’s personal 135mm f1.Eight Artwork lens. It has 30% extra attain which is likely to be a tad too lengthy in your functions and has a smaller focal ratio (2/Three of a cease). It has the good thing about being lighter and smaller than Sigma’s new 105mm f1.Four and is barely cheaper plus presents a wonderful optical efficiency. For extra particulars see my Sigma 135mm f1.Eight Artwork assessment.
  • Sony additionally presents the older SAL 135mm f1.Eight ZA Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* from 2006 for A-Mount or by way of an adapter for E-Mount. It has autofocus however depends on the physique to offer the AF-drive. It’s round 1500 EUR. Exams point out that it’s an excellent performer albeit with some critical longitudinal CAs. It’s smaller and lighter than the Sigma and makes use of 77mm filters. It doesn’t supply picture stabilization of its personal (like every of the opposite lenses talked about) however you will have the benefit of the stabilization that the Sony our bodies supply. However that’s true for the Sigma 105mm f1.Four Artwork too if you apply it to a Sony mirrorless physique.
  • On the shorter aspect there may be an abundance of 85mm f1.Four lenses of which maybe the one stabilized lens on this group, the Canon EF 85mm 1.Four L IS USM for round 1550 EUR and the optically wonderful and equally costly Zeiss Otus (handbook focus solely, 4000 EUR) deserve particular mentioning. See my Zeiss Otus 85mm f1.Four assessment. However you lose 20% attain with a 85mm lens as in comparison with 105mm focal size which is equal to cropping 35% of your pixels away. Sony house owners also needs to take into account the Sony FE 85mm f1.Four G Grasp which performs very properly, though prices a little bit greater than the Sigma.


Which focal size do you want?


Above from left to proper: 85mm, 105mm, 135mm shot from 2.6m distance on a FF/FX-body



Focus accuracy and repeatability is crucial to constantly produce sharp photographs. Repeatability (the accuracy of deal with the identical topic after repeated focus-acquisition) of this lens is fairly good (measured 97.8% in Reikan FoCal) with no outliers over a collection of 40 photographs. However that is solely when the lens is already targeted near the goal distance. With a bigger focus motion repeatability sank to 94,3% however nonetheless produced no actual outliers. And there’s a little bit of efficiency variation whether or not the lens focuses from infinity or from a better distance.

The lens focuses fairly quick in round 0.6 sec from infinity to a magnification of 1:10 with out searching which is quicker than the Nikon 105mm f1.4E with 0.Eight sec however a bit slower than the Sigma 135mm f1.Eight Artwork at 0.5 sec. The main target ring has no slack/play between its motion and the focus-action and a throw of 135 levels, which is excellent for correct handbook focus extensive open. The main target ring presents a very good grip with a 33mm broad rubber floor however its motion is a bit too stiff to be comfortably operated with a single finger. It turns the identical means as Canon lenses however that’s the fallacious means for Nikon customers. AF-operation is barely audible from the skin and when you file video with the built-in microphone there’s solely a “faucet” in the beginning and the tip of focus-movement and the AF-drive could be very quiet. As you pull focus, you’ll clearly discover focus respiration: the picture turns into extra magnified at nearer focusing distances. When I adjusted the main target from infinity to 1.18m on the brand new Sigma, I measured a 13% enhance in magnification which could not please videographers. However the Sigma 135mm f1.Eight will increase magnification by 18% and the Nikon 105mm f1.4E even by 28%.

Subsequent try my high quality outcomes.

Verify costs on the Sigma 105mm f1.Four Artwork at Amazon, B&H, Adorama, or Wex. Alternatively get your self a duplicate of my In Digital camera e book or deal with me to a espresso! Thanks!

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