This beast of a prime boasts the longest focal length in Sigma’s Art f/1.4 series, but is it a portrait photographer’s dream lens? Michael Topham finds out
Sigma 105mm f/1.4 DG HSM review: Verdict
With the 105mm f/1.4 DG HSM, Sigma has created an astonishingly impressive lens that nestles its way into the company’s Art lineup between the 85mm f/1.4 DG HSM and the 135mm f/1.8 DG HSM.
It’ll find its way onto many Canon and Sony full-frame photographers’ wish lists who’ve been yearning for such a lens, and it’ll also attract Nikon users who can make a £500 saving choosing it ahead of the company’s AF-S 105mm f/1.4E ED. While it’s not the most inconspicuous of primes with its thickset barrel and enormous front element, the quality of the bokeh it produces is gorgeous and this is matched by excellent contrast and sharpness right across the frame, even when it’s used at f/1.4. During my testing I became addicted to shooting with it wide-open and, provided that you nail the focus, the results from using it are immensely satisfying and very pleasing on the eye.
It won’t be the perfect portrait lens for everyone though. The fact it has no optical image stabilisation forces you to keep the shutter speed high to avoid shake, particularly when it’s used with high-resolution full-frame sensor cameras, and the sheer size and weight does take its toll during long periods of handheld shooting. The cost of large and expensive filters is another factor potential purchasers will want to consider too.
While there are smaller, cheaper and lighter primes available, albeit not that many of this focal length and fast f/1.4 aperture, it has to be said that this is one of the finest performing portrait prime lenses we’ve ever tested. It’s every bit as true to being a ‘bokeh master’ as its nickname suggests.