PHOTOOG Photography writings by Olivier Giroux

8Dec/1011

Sigma 85mm f/1.4 EX Reading List

I’m researching this lens as a possible indoor-sport lens that is compact and inexpensive, and can play at least one other role (long normal, portrait). I haven’t been looking for long and I can already say that it has garnered quite a bit of respect. For $900 it looks like there is a lot of value here.

MTF chart and links after the jump...

Reading Materials

 I'm sufficiently impressed that I think there is more to come from this site on the subject.  I'll see if Roger at LensRentals is interested in getting a review of this one from me.


Comments (11) Trackbacks (1)
  1. Nice Oliver! I guess the reason you are looking into this is not that you think this lens will be better then your 100 ZF nor the fact you gain one stop but that it is AF you are looking for?

    • Correct, I need some AF capability. I’m trying to see if I can avoid the trap of buying a 70-200 VR-II. For the money I think I could buy 2 cheaper lenses that are more enjoyable to use – this 85mm could be one of them.

  2. Oh indoor sports lens…Nikonn 200mm f/2 VR II comes to mind :D. On a serious note this sigma lens has generated quite a buzz.

    • Ha, yes, but I’m not about to spend $4-5K on such a big, heavy, specialty lens. The 200mm f/2 crosses over the line of what’s reasonable to think you _need_ for your photography, that one extra stop forces you to make all kinds of negative trade-offs. If Nikon made a 200mm f/2.8 prime lens (modern, w/ AF-S and VR and Nano) that would be completely reasonable.

  3. Why not the 2.8/70-200mm VR II? I know its like another $1100 but its probably the best zoom lens on market right now and apart from aforesaid lens, there is hardly anything in the market right now which can get better results and has better reach in indoor sports. Its better than Sigma 1.4/85 for that particular purpose and then it has utility elsewhere also. Or is it that you’re waiting for Zeiss to launch something in this range? >:D

    • I may yet own one. I just want to avoid it if I can.

      I don’t like 70-200 zooms very much. I owned one for many years and eventually became estranged with it, and sold it. When i carried the 100mm ZF and the 70-200mm VR together, I would always use the Zeiss because it was faster/sharper/lighter/better.

      The range of the lens is ill-chosen, I think, because a 70-200mm is a completely stupid thing to use at 70mm. A 70mm f/2.8 lens should be no bigger than my fist and likely focus down to 1:1. They are decent to use at 200mm, and that is pretty much the only focal length at which I would use one. The combination of 200mm, f/2.8 and VR is the only thing I like about the 70-200mm VR-II, and I would rather get it in a prime than in a zoom.

      Like I said the universe is kind of conspiring for me to buy a VR-II anyway. I’ll keep exploring alternatives for a while but I predict ultimate failure and cave-in.

  4. So when should we expect a review of 2.8/70-200mm? 😀

  5. I meant review of VR II. Thats VR I right? Your experience might vary with the VR II. Its as good on FX body as VR I was on APS-C body. Anyway since universe has already trapped you in, now its just a matter of time 😀

    • Right. I can almost write the review without ever using the lens. It’s optically really excellent, probably doesn’t ever need any stopping down on the big fat pixels of the D700. It’s even heavier than its previous incarnation, but it’s 1cm shorter. It’s a really excellent lens with a zoom range that happens to conveniently reach 200mm, which is its best reason for existing.

  6. Oh man you are already convinced 😀


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