Intro

The Sigma 90mm f2.Eight DG DN is a compact quick telephoto prime lens for full-frame mirrorless cameras that prices round $650 or 550 British kilos – and on the time I made this overview, accessible in Sony-e and Leica-L mounts. Sigma loaned me a pre-production pattern within the e-mount to check out and you may see the way it performs versus the Sony FE 85mm f1.Eight in my full video overview under! Alternatively should you favor to learn the written highlights, maintain scrolling!

The 90 2.Eight was launched in September 2021 alongside a brand new 24mm f2 seen right here, each becoming a member of Sigma’s steadily rising Modern I collection. Right here’s the brand new 24 and 90 flanking the sooner 35 f2 within the center. Add the 65 f2, 45 f2.Eight and 24 f3.5 and also you now have six compact fashions to select from.

The 90 2.Eight turns into the longest within the collection to this point, an ideal focal size for portraits whether or not you’re taking pictures stills or video and I’ll present you each together with closeup and panorama comparisons in a second.

The f2.Eight aperture might not be the quickest round, however permits the lens to be fairly compact. In reality at 64x60mm and weighing simply 295g, the 90 2.Eight is among the smallest quick telephotos with autofocus round. For comparability, right here’s Sony’s barely cheaper FE 85mm f1.Eight on the correct which at 78x82mm and 371g should still be gentle however is noticeably chunkier because of its quicker aperture. There’s a great deal of quick telephotos round, however since these two price roughly the identical I’m going to indicate you the way they instantly examine.

By way of design and construct, the Sigma 90 2.8’s aluminium barrel appears to be like and feels extra premium than the Sony – extra akin to the Zeiss Loxia 85 2.four however half the worth and with autofocus. Like different Sigma I collection fashions, it’s climate sealed on the mount with a rubber grommet however not all through the barrel. Sony additionally claims weather-sealing on the 85 1.8, however I couldn’t see a rubber ring on the mount.

By way of controls there’s a chunky swap for auto and guide focus, a clicky aperture ring from f2.Eight to f22 in a single third increments and an A place for physique management, and a slim however clean and nicely-damped guide focusing ring. 

Sony’s FE 85 1.Eight sports activities a customisable focus maintain button however no aperture ring, counting on body-based management alone. In the meantime there’s a barely wider guide focusing ring than the Sigma.

Like different fashions within the I collection, Sigma provides not one however two lens caps with the 90 2.8, so in addition to the same old spring-loaded plastic cap, there’s an extra metallic disc which attaches magnetically, with a satisfying snap and the magnet feels sturdy sufficient to maintain it in place too. With the hood mounted although, this second cap is somewhat awkward to suit or take away, so it’s arguably a little bit of a novelty, however I like that Sigma’s making an attempt one thing totally different right here.

At this value level, you would possibly count on a primary plastic hood, however Sigma provides its I collection with aluminium hoods that proceed the ribbed type of the lenses for a complicated classic feel and appear. I actually like the way in which these lenses look. For comparability right here’s the Sony FE 85 1.Eight with its plastic lens hood and when fitted it’s a a lot bigger proposition.

Okay, let’s take a look at the focusing velocity and for all my assessments on this overview I used a Sony A7 III because it was the perfect physique I had entry to at the moment. You’re taking a look at Single AFS mode the place as normal there’s a minor contrast-based wobble to substantiate, nevertheless it’s nonetheless swift. And for reference right here it’s once more in Steady AFC mode, the place the phase-detect system avoids the wobble.

For comparability, right here’s the Sony FE 85 1.Eight in AFS mode the place you may see the shallower depth of area at f1.8, but additionally extra seen focus respiration because it adjusts between the 2 bottles. And now in Steady AFC mode for reference. 

Right here’s the identical check for video with the A7 III filming in 4k and the 90mm at f2.Eight and utilizing steady AF to tug focus between the bottles easily and confidently; it’s very quiet too.

And for comparability right here’s the Sony FE 85mm at f1.Eight the place once more you’ll discover the potential for a shallower depth of area, but additionally the extra seen focus respiration.

Subsequent for a face detection check with the Sigma 90 2.8, once more for films in steady AF, with Vast space and human eye detection enabled. The 90mm focal size is ideal for portraits whether or not stills or video, and whereas my pre-production lens took a second to react to adjustments in distance, it nonetheless refocused efficiently.

And now right here’s the Sony 85 at f1.Eight the place it can also take a second to react to adjustments, and once more whereas the depth of area is shallower, there’s that distracting change in magnification because it refocuses.

Sticking with this scene, right here’s a nonetheless portrait, shot with the Sigma 90 at f2.8. Now whereas the f2.Eight aperture might not be notably quick, when coupled with the quick telephoto size, you may nonetheless obtain a horny blurred background. Now right here’s the Sony FE 85mm at f1.Eight the place you may see how far more blurring you’ll obtain with the quicker aperture. Place them aspect by aspect with the Sigma on the left and it’s clear the 1.Eight lens on the correct will unsurprisingly blur the background extra from the identical distance, so the query for bokeh followers is whether or not the Sigma delivers sufficient at f2.8. Let’s additionally take a more in-depth have a look at the element from each lenses, the place I’d say the Sigma on the left is somewhat crisper general on my eyes, however you could favor one over the opposite. And for reference I’ve now swapped out the Sony 1.Eight picture on the correct for one with the lens on the similar f2.Eight aperture because the Sigma on the left. I’d say the Sigma remains to be a bit crisper, however the bokeh is somewhat softer on the Sony. Do you’ve got a desire?

Subsequent for the rendering of bokeh balls from shut vary, with the Sigma 90 f2.Eight close to to its closest focusing distance, beginning wide-open at f2.Eight and step by step closing down in a single cease increments. On the most aperture the blobs tackle cat’s eye form in the direction of the nook, however are pretty clear with minimal outlining. They develop into fairly round at f4 earlier than then revealing the form of the 9 blade diaphragm system because it will get smaller.

Let’s briefly return to the Sigma 90 at 2.Eight which you’d count on to be much less spectacular than the Sony at 1.8, however the Sigma can focus a lot nearer, quoting a minimal distance of 50cm. Examine that to the consequence from the Sony 85 at its closest focusing distance of 80cm and it’s clear any good thing about the quicker 1.Eight aperture is misplaced. Right here they’re aspect by aspect. In fact from the identical distance, the Sony will win, but when you will get nearer, the Sigma has the potential to ship a shallower depth of area.

Plus after all the nearer focusing distance of the Sigma 90 makes it extra helpful for photographing small topics. I might reproduce a topic 145mm extensive from the closest distance in comparison with 275mm extensive on the Sony. This can be a key benefit of the Sigma.

Okay now for efficiency at a distance with my seaside scene angled as normal in order that particulars go proper into the far corners. Earlier than taking a detailed have a look at the element I wished a fast have a look at geometric distortion beginning with the Sigma 90 f2.Eight with Distortion Compensation on the Sony A7 III set to OFF, which is the default. With this setting, the Sigma lens displays some barrel distortion, so for my in-camera JPEG assessments, I modified this setting to Auto the place you may see the distortion turns into better-corrected with solely a minor crop to the sphere of view. It’s also possible to apply it in put up to RAW information.

So right here’s the view with the 90mm at f2.Eight and taking a more in-depth look in the course of the body reveals high-quality particulars proper out of the gate at f2.8. In my assessments closing the aperture didn’t make any seen distinction to sharpness or distinction within the center. Heading out into the far nook and also you’ll see the diploma of element stays very excessive and there’s solely very minor darkening because of vignetting too. As I step by step shut the aperture, you’ll see there’s little to be gained in sharpness, proving the Sigma 90 is performing very nicely from the outset. This can be a lens you’d be very completely satisfied utilizing wide-open.

Okay, now right here’s the enlarged view from the center of the body with the Sigma 90 on the left and the Sony 85 1.Eight on the correct, each at their most apertures of f2.Eight and f1.Eight respectively. The Sony’s barely shorter focal size means the small print are somewhat smaller, however they’re each performing equally within the center.

However head out to the corners and the Sony on the correct develop into noticeably softer on the most apertures. In fact it’s working at a quicker aperture right here, however at the same time as I shut the Sony down it doesn’t start to match the nook sharpness of the Sigma 90 till it’s at round f5.6 to f8. So the Sigma 90 is sharper throughout the body at massive apertures.

Simply earlier than wrapping-up, a spotlight respiration check for the videographers, beginning with the Sigma 90mm f2.Eight beginning at infinity and step by step focusing manually to the closest distance and again once more. As you noticed in my autofocus assessments earlier, the Sigma 90 is nearly bereft of any focus respiration in any respect, making it preferrred for video use.

In distinction, right here’s what occurs while you focus the Sony FE 85 1.Eight from infinity to the closest distance and again once more. Discover how the sphere of view magnifies, nearly like a zoom lens because the Sony focuses nearer, and whereas it begins somewhat wider than the Sigma 90 as you’d count on, it really finally ends up successfully longer when centered shut. That is no unhealthy factor for portrait stills, however videographers beware that you will notice the change in magnification as you focus this lens.

Test costs on the Sigma 90mm f2.Eight DG DN at B&H, Adorama, WEX UK or Calumet.de. Alternatively get your self a duplicate of my In Digital camera guide or deal with me to a espresso! Thanks!

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