Sigma 85mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM gets a price

The new Sigma 85mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM is priced @ $899 in the US and is currently available for pre-order.

Here is a brief specs comparison with the current Nikon AF 85mm f/1.4D IF (I will repeat this comparison once the new Nikon AF-S 85mm f/1.4 lens gets released - hopefully by then we will also have sample photos to compare):

Sigma 85mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM Nikon AF 85mm f/1.4D IF
Lens Construction 11 elements in 8 groups 9 elements in 8 groups
Diaphragm Blades 9 9
Min. Aperture 16 16
Min. Focusing Distance 0.85m 0.85m
Filter Size (mm) 77mm 77mm
Dimensions 84.7x87.6mm 3.3x3.4in 80x72.5mm 3.1x5.7in
Price $899 $1,229.95

Sigma 85mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM lens design:

Nikon AF 85mm f/1.4D IF lens design:

Update: here are the MTF charts for the current (AF) Nikon 85mm f/1.4 (left) and the new Sigma 85mm f/1.4 (right):

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  • Just Thinking

    will this be a killer lens?

    • Jeremy

      If you get a good sample.

      • Joe R.

        You may have to play Sigma Return Shuffle if you get one where the focus is off- particularly important because of the super small DOF of an 85mm & 1.4

        But it look so sweet.

        • mi.le

          People are complaining about bad samples already before the very first one has ever been sold? tsk…

          • GlobalGuy

            That’s because Sigma sucksma.

            Bokeh tends to be amazing, but quality control is crap. And i’d rather have slightly worse bokeh with a better build than creaminess that is off-centered and stops working a year or two later or back/front focuses insanely.

            That being said, if you play the Sigma shell game then eventually you can get a good copy. The question is whether its worth the shipping costs and time missing a lens.

            At this price, it might be. Sigma’s reputation is very, very spotty. But they do hit a grand slam every once in a while. Time will tell….

          • how can it have better bokeh then AF-D?

  • alex

    it’s all about resolution and bokeh with this type of lens

  • taurui

    Sigma knows how to produce a good bokeh’d lens, see 1.4/50. I suspect, this will be a nikkor killer.

    • Ronan

      Sigma doesn’t have Nikkor killers. They do have cheaper lenses, so if price is your main motivation then i guess that its a ‘killer’ for you…

      • PHB

        The Sigma 200-500 f/2.8 would kill pretty much anything if you dropped it onto them from a height.

    • The 50/1.4 Sigma is NOT a Nikon killer.

      I own some Sigma glass and have owned more in the past. The 20/1.8 is just stunning. But Sigma’s 50/1.4 isn’t all that and a bag of chips. I would prefer either Nikon 50/1.4. The Sigma just has this weird haze to the bokeh transitioning away behind the plane of focus wide open. And the corners are crap wide open. Distractingly so.

      I wonder where all these unqualified statements come from? Go shoot these lenses and you’ll see what I’m talking about. You might be able to find some examples online as well.

      • “The 20/1.8 is just stunning?!?” You must have gotten a better sample than I did. The color is stunningly good, but the sharpness is quite noticeably bad. Not as bad as a Holga or anything, but way way soft at f/1.8 (and almost as bad at 2 and 2.8).

        Not so with you?

        • santela

          Wow, are you sure your copy is not off focused? I have the 24mm/1.8 and it’s my favorite lens right now. Sharpness wide open isn’t stunning, but I’d say it’s on par with my Nikkor 85mm/1.4D. The biggest problem is still quality control, I too had to play the Sigma Return Shuffle game…

          • ArtTwisted

            If its on par with the 85 1.4 then it must be stunning. That lens is razer sharp, very sharp at 1.4 and razor by f2.8, perfect by 5.6

        • Well, long story short, I’ve seen bad samples and yeah, they’re quite bad. I had an issue with mine that took sending my copy to Sigma a few times, and one of the times I send it back because it was just plain soft. I sent it back with before and after 8×10’s I’d shot with it and they fixed it. So, it’s totally possible for them to be assembled out of whack in some fashion, such that they look like crap wide open. Mine is quite good now. At least as good as when I bought it six years ago. I don’t have a lot of experience with the 28mm and 24mm versions, but construction appears to be similar, so I imagine there’s quite a bit of sample variation.

          I have the Nikon 85/1.8 and I find it to be quite sharp as well, but it took fine tuning to work right on the d300 and d700. It doesn’t focus reliably on my d90, so eventually I’ll send that in for calibration as well. Well, if I don’t replace it with a d300s first.

      • Iceman

        I have the Sigma 50/1.4 and the Nikkor 85/1.4….the Sigma stays in the bag most of the time…but 85mm…”It is so choice. If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up.”

  • WTH

    @ this price i’m very interested!

    • Why? You can have the Nikkor for 600-800 today. The Sigma actually has to outperform that lens to justify it’s existence. I’m curious as anybody else to see how this lens stacks up. But I’m not expecting anything miraculous.

      This lens will retail for $900? Expect to see it around $650 new if they crank out a decent supply.

      • ArtTwisted

        My NEW Nikkor 85 1.4 cost me 1200 canada or 1100 is US not 800. Used is a whole different thing but remember the sigma used will loose even more value as its not main brand.

        • Yeah. A used Nikon is still a better investment since the Sigmas plummet in value worse than a new Dodge.

          • Anonymous

            Cause I’ve had great luck with sigma in addition to the smooth bokeh of the 50 1.4. At 900 it’s less than a used nikon and if you’re able to find a used one at 600 I’d be interested.

    • santela

      Just so you know… I got my Nikkor version in like new condition off eBay for $860. I don’t see how this price will attract Nikon shooters. Maybe it’s a good alternative for Canon users since they don’t have an 85/1.4.

      • Greenwood_Geoff

        you are braver than i am to buy a lens off ebay. i am chicken and will pay a little more to have a little more safety built in.

  • shimano

    If you want to be more provocative add the MTFs 🙂

    • Sigma doesn’t have the MTF charts out yet, plus comparing MTF charts from 2 different companies is tricky since they use different ways of measuring.

  • Anonymous

    I paid $999 CDN for my 85 1.4 brand new approx 2 years ago. Because of this I wouldn’t even consider the sigma.

    • That is exactly what I was thinking (the prices aren’t far enough apart to tempt many).

      Even if this new lens is on par optically with Nikon’s old/current 1.4, the eventual new one is bound to be better in certain respects, VR notwithstanding. I could see the street price for the Sigma sinking down to around $700.00 while the new Nikkor hovers around a grand. At that point of differential it would be interesting…

      • Matthew Saville

        Unfortunately, Im betting otherwise. Considering the $2200 price tag on the 24 1.4, AND consideringthat Canon has gotten away with a roughly $2000 85 1.2 for two generations now, I’m betting that a new 85 1.4 will be well over $1000, and maybe closer to almost $2000 if it has both VR and Nano-coating.

        ALSO, I’m betting that the new Sigma will fairly trounce the current Nikon 85, concerning sharpness / bokeh / AF…

        But those are just guesses, of course!

        • preston

          24 1.4 was a completely new optical design (lots of R&D costs), 85 1.4 will not be. They now have enough experience upgrading to the “G” type with and without VR for the design costs to be low. Therefore I wouldn’t expect too much of a cost increase for the new 85 1.4 – especially since it’s going to be DX 🙂

          • I’ll put the over-under at $1500 for a Nikon 85 1.4 AFS VR. And my bet is over. But, we’ll see…

        • ArtTwisted

          Almost nothing beats the 85 1.4 in terms of bokeh, its the reason people buy the lens, its the cream machine as corny as that sounds and as much as I hate to say it its a fact. I do agree with you on the price of the new one. Id expect atleast 1500 probably 1700+. Nikon is selling the old design right now for a bit over a grand , there is no way they dont add atleast a 20-30 ish percent premium for the new one and it wont drop in price much since its pro glass, until its replaced it will always be expensive.

          • The Nikon 85 1.4 might be a “cream machine” for those who have never used the Canon 85 1.2, but trust me, there IS room for improvement in the Nikon. 😉

            And as far as the price goes, yeah. Just consider the price increase from the old 70-200 to the new one. As far as I remember, it was at least a few hundred bucks…


          • fetzie

            well, my 200 2 does :P. i hope the af-s 85 1.4g comes out soon. i know that the af-d is effing good, but i want af-s and the new finish. i hate old metal :<

  • D.

    Well, call me a snob, but Sigma lenses rarely kill Nikon ones.

    I use a Sigma 20/1.8 and I love it. But it’s color reproduction is never the same as a nikkor’s, it’s always a bit yellowish. This example is not an isolated one, almost all the Sigma primes work in this way. Just check the “athmosphere” of a Nikon 24-70 (to mention a zoom too): it is not simply lets light through, it lets you PAINT what you see.

    Please let me emphasize again: I really like Sigma primes. But we should clearly see that they are not “killers”, they are (can be) just awesome good. 🙂

    Sure, if you don’t need exact color reproduction and you look for budget solutions, Sigma might be a better choice – for you. But that doesn’t mean it is better than the Nikons…

    Well, lets see first if Nikon gives us a good 85/1.4 AF-S and we can continue this discussion. 🙂

    • Ironic that you mention the Sigma 20 1.8. How much better is Nikon’s 20 1.8? Oh, nevermind, Nikon doesn’t make one.

      My point is that Sigma’s strength is indeed NOT in it’s direct competition with Nikon’s best lenses. Sigma’s strength is filling in the gaps that the other lens makers leave wide open. The Sigma 20 24 and 28 1.8 primes are all lenses that Nikon has never made. And we may never see an affordable 1.8 prime in that range from Nikon, unlike Canon’s 28 1.8 which is pretty awesome. (And admittedly does beat the Sigma)

      Then there’s the Sigma 150 2.8 Macro HSM, which came YEARS before Nikon ever put AFS (SWM) in a single one of THEIR macro lenses. The Sigma 150 2.8 is also still the longest macro lens ever made to still reach 2.8 and 1:1 reproduction. I own this lens and it is just a stunning performer. True it might only be 90% as good as what a Nikon-made lens of equal spec might be, but I doubt Nikon will EVER make a 150 2.8 AFS Macro.

      Then there’s the Sigma 50-150 2.8, which again, neither Nikon Nor Canon may EVER compete with. Yes, a Nikno 50-150 2.8 DX VR would probably be much better than the Sigma, but do you think we’ll ever see Nikon make that lens? I doubt it, not unless they can make a MAJOR breakthrough in a D400 that makes DX a more relevant system again. Which I doubt.

      Then lastly there’s the Sigma 50 1.4. True, it doesn’t beat the Nikon 50 1.5 hands-down, but it certainly fills a gap that Nikon didn’t seem interested in filling- The Sigma 50 1.4 is about as monstrous as the Canon 50 1.2, and thanks to the inclusion of an aspherical element, has almost equally stunning bokeh, sharpness, color reproduction, and with focus speed that is on par or better than the Nikon. (Depending on whose review you read, and for what purpose you use the lens…)

      Therefore, it stands to reason that the new Sigma 85 1.4 may fairly trounce the current Nikon 85 1.4 in the respects of sharpness, contrast, and bokeh. (And AF speed / accuracy, if Sigma has engineered the lens correctly…) You’re right, there WILL be a discrepancy in the color reproduction. But especially considering that this new Sigma includes an “SLD” element, I’d wager that in general Sigma is stepping it up with these new primes.


      • I too have the 20/1.8 and it’s incredible (apart from the repeatedly exploding iris incident of 06). I can say that I’ve seen quite a bit of sample variation, so I understand it’s reputation as soft. I’ve never noticed color issues with it on film or digital. I have seen subtle color issues with other Sigmas I’ve owned.

        I think the 28/1.8 Sigma vs Canon is arguable from an image quality standpoint.

        Nikon doesn’t make a 28/1.8. They made a 28/1.4!!! And now a 24mm/1.4. Yeah there’s a price difference, but it’s justified.

        Honestly, I still don’t get the Sigma 50/1.4. I don’t see what gap it fills. Maybe the idea was an AFS/HSM/USM/SWM 50mm for mounts other than Canon? Optically I’m underwhelmed by it. Build wise…why the hell is it so big? If it were superior to all the other 50’s I could understand. It’s not though. In fact, neither are the other two historically huge 50s: the Canon 1.0 and 1.2. The 1.0 has mediocre bokeh and sharpness. The 1.2 isn’t any sharper and has some of the worst busy background bokeh ever when wide open. Just ick.

        The Nikon 50G is sharper, smaller, and cheaper…what’s not to love? Why would anyone in their right mind try both and pick the Sigma?

        • Yes as a Nikon user, you won’t appreciate the full value of the Sigma 50 1.4. Try being a Canon user, though. Canon’s marketing department snobs have left their 50 1.4 slightly sub-par for generations, in an effort to sell more 50 1.2’s.

          Not sure which reviews and tests you’re reading, but the Sigma 50 1.4 does pretty well compared to the Nikon. DPReview rates the Sigma to be practically identical by f/2, and more sharp in the center (though softer in the corners) at 1.4. And MANY reports are that the Sigma has far better bokeh than both the Nikon and Canon 50 1.4’s…

          Anyways my point is that it’s a decent lens well worth the money, depending on what you’re looking for. Some people prefer a bit of heft in their 50’s. Some people value bokeh over other aspects of image quality. And that’s the gap the Sigma fills, especially for Canon users.

          Personally, I’d probably be happier with EITHER the Sigma or the Nikon 50 1.4, and if the right deal came along I’d love to own the Nikon. But I wouldn’t consider my money wasted if I ended up with the Sigma, either…


          • I don’t put a lot of credence into online tests, except where they match my experience. In this case, dpreview’s color coded resolution graph pretty well matches my experience on FX–the Sigma is just too soft outside the center of the frame. For tight portraits it just looks awkward and distracting, unless you’re in super low light which obscures it’s performance. My 50/1.4G looks great in full daylight, wide open.

            Wait, what? Are you talking crop sensor? Even dpreview shows that the sigmas is mushy outside the center on full frame. Ok, yeah, now that I look, dpreview’s graph shows them as similar crop sensor. Resolution charts aside, I found the Sigma to look hazy wide open on a d300 or d90. I don’t have that issue with my 50G.

            And look at for the type of nasty bokeh that turned me off of the Canon 50/1.2. Don’t ever shoot with rose bushes or trees in the background wide open with that lens, unless you’re doing tighter than waist up on the model.

          • Lars

            I have the Sigma 50/1.4 and Nikon 85/1.4D. Had a 85/1.8D for a while a long time ago.

            The 85/1.4D is, as we all know, a great performer. Bokeh is quite good, but can certainly be improved in my opinion. That said, the rendering of the Sigma 50/1.4 is just stunning. There is something subjectively pleasing to the transition from focus to rear defocus that is hard to find even in Leica or Cooke glass. It has its weaknesses (for example severe coma in corners wide open), but its bokeh is second to none. The 85/1.2L renders bokeh at the same level (but is as expected superior in other aspects).

            I would expect a new Sigma design 85/1.4 to be quite competitive as a portrait lens. Quality has been a question mark with Sigma in the past – my 50 has been flawless in the 15 months I have used it.

          • Lars

            Oh yeah – I had a Nikon 50/1.4D. It got stolen. I don’t miss it.

      • DX not relevant anymore? I don’t think 95% of DSLR users would agree…

        It’s not likely that the majority of consumer DSLR buyers will ever move to full frame cameras. The price and size advantages of smaller sensors in combination with excellent (and yes, always improving) image quality are almost certainly going to keep the majority of consumers from making the jump. Even pros on anything but an unlimited budget still have a use for DX cameras in the area of pixel density. That bit of extra reach can make all of the difference with wildlife or sports in anything but the worst light.

        Certainly, full frame is the de facto standard for pros once again due to its superior image quality – but to laugh at DX is to make a mistake.

        On the other hand, EVF cameras may be encroaching on mainstream DX DSLRs soon enough. The only thing missing these days is an infrared AF rangefinder EVF camera.

        • Relevant as a long-term, PROFESSIONAL system, I mean. No professional photographer in their right mind can look into the future and say that in 5-10 years they still won’t own an FX camera.

          The bottom line is that if Nikon thought that a 50-150 2.8 DX VR would be a top seller, whether it be to pros OR amateurs, they would have made one by now. The last pro-grade DX lens was made many, many years ago… I highly suspect that sales of NEW Nikon 17-55 DX lenses have fallen dramatically; there are more than enough used 17-55’s circulating in the market, at dirt-cheap prices, for hobbyists to snatch them up when another pro goes FX.

          Of course I’d love to be proven wrong. I still shoot DX as a professional, most of the time, and I certainly don’t laugh at it. Just being honest with what I envision the future being like. Would YOU buy a DX D400 for $1800, if by then you could get a used D700 for the same price, or a new D700s for under $3000? I know I’ve certainly bought my last DX body ever…

    • santela

      I have to agree with both you and Matt. I have the 24/1.8 and I LOVE it, it’s one of those lenses Nikon will never make but suits perfectly for my needs.

  • Andrew

    Pleasantly surprised by the price. If the lens performs as well as their own 50/1.4 then it could be a very tempting proposition!

  • Tinkthank

    Sigma lenses are absolute rubbish! Totally unbelievable that they would price their glorified paperweights higher than Nikkors.. Shame on sigma!

    • Joe R.

      That is false and you are wrong.

    • Out of curiosity, have you used a Sigma in the last five years? They may have been substandard in the distant past, but many of their newer lenses are absolutely stellar.

    • (Sounds like he’s just being provocative, I wouldn’t put much time into debating with such a statement…)

    • A rather high percentage of their glass is marginal in my opinion. Not bad though. Just doesn’t compare well with OEM glass. With notable exceptions though,

      Nikon has its dogs too. Tried the 10-24 or 12-24? Not as good as similar Sigmas. How about the Nikon 20/2.8? Same there. Or the notorious 24-120VR? The long end angered me so much I sold it at a loss (which I almost never do).

  • Hope this price forces down the Nikkor one! 😀

    • Joe R.

      I actually don’t care. If this is as good as Sigma’s 50mm f/ 1.4 then it’s probably my next lens.

      The Nikon 50mm 1.4/1.2 would need to be dramatically better or only slightly more expensive to be considered. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Nikon costs twice as much and is only a little better- it’ll probably focus slower than the Sigma but have better color reproduction.

  • cirtap

    BUT???? What i heard…Nikon is going to put out a 85mm 1.2 VR???? So this is a mute point…Sigma always makes Fair to slightly above Fair lenses…

    • Moot point. The term is moot. Not mute.

      • What? I couldn’t hear what you said.


        • I said, this is a mute joint. Gotta use texting or ASL to communicate here.

  • Sure wish Tokina would build some primes.

    • Mike


    • Considering what they did in the “almost a prime” 11-16 2.8 DX, YES I agree. I’d love to see Tokina make a 17mm f/1.4 DX, or something. That’d make my day. (Until Tokina adopts a SWM / HSM style AF technology, I’m not buying anything Tokina longer than 35mm equivalent…)

      I owned the Tokina 17mm f/3.5 for a while, (the good one, the ATX PRO) …and it was incredibly sharp on DX.

    • sloma_p

      Just for your information – Tokina does make priems – specifically the 35/2.8 macro (for DX) and 100/2.8 macro. They also used to make 17/3.5, 300/2.8 and possibly other primes in the past 🙂

  • jon

    Too bad no optical stabilizer on this lens. Will be interested to see how it performs against the Nikon 85 1.4D.

  • Thinktank, a little more thinking so you don’t tank your credibility with ill-informed comments. Sigma makes one of the best landscape lenses on the market with the 10-20.

    Silly silly boy.

    Not to say I would buy a Sigma prime unless it absolutely stole the show from a comparative Nikkor.

    Creating Art With One Eye Closed

    • Anonymous

      nah, i agree with thinktank, sigma is just awful.

      sigma likes impossible focal lengths but their IQ is nowhere close to nikkors.

      • Sergey

        That statement would be true for a lot of lenses. But I own Sigma 150mm 2.8 Macro and I have never seen that kind of sharpness from any Nikkor.

  • The invisible man

    $900 for a 85mm f/1.4 SIGMA ?
    Forget about it !
    Before I buy a lens (or camera) I always ask to myself the same question:
    “If I decide to sell it right after I leave the store, how much money would I get for it ?”
    I never lost much money resealing a Nikon or Tokina lens, but I always lost alot more on a Sigma lens.

    • That is a very wise decision fiscally, but unfortunately it causes you to miss out on some of the greatest lenses available. I have owned the Sigma 150 2.8 Macro for 5 years now, and it has performed wonderfully as a workhorse lens on both a D300 and D700, both at 1:1 reproduction AND at near-infinity as a portrait / candid lens. The lens is so beat up I probably couldn’t get more than $100-$200 for it used, but it’s never leaving my bag anyways. I also own the Sigma 50-150 for use on my D300, and it has served me well for three (?) years now. (Not sure when it was released, but I bought one of the first off the shelves. The mk1 version) Again, the lens is so dang beat up that I doubt I could ask more than a couple hundred bucks for it. But that’s okay, because I’ll never need to sell it.

      I would highly recommend only ever buying lenses that you plan on owning for as long as you’re into photography. There’s almost no reason to sell a lens you JUST bought. If you buy a lens and it just doesn’t perform to your needs, then it’s your responsibility to make that assessment within the store’s return policy timeline, and get either a replacement, a different lens, or a refund….

      Personally, I rented almost EVERY single Nikon lens in production, (relevant to my profession, at least) …before deciding which to actually buy. And I’ve never made a purchase I’ve regretted, either from Sigma or Nikon…


    • santela

      I think that’s the wrong reason to buy a lens…

    • ArtTwisted

      Odd way to look at it. When I bought my cheapo tamron lens I knew if I ever go full frame or if it breaks whatever it cost me 300 instead of the 1200 nikkor version. When I bought my 85 1.4 instead of the 85 1.8 which is almost as good it was because I plan on owning and using that lens long into the future and I hope to travel the world with it. For cheap glass IDC, for expensive glass I buy what I will need long into the future. Next purchuse will be the 70-200 vr2 , again because It will last decades

  • Photomic

    no thanks.

    They have removed the aperture ring. (the sigma site say that)
    I haven’t seen an actual picture of the nikon mount yet but I’m sure that it will focus the “wrong way” like any other Sigma.
    Another sloppy Sigma job.

    I’d choose the old Nikkor 85d or even a Zeiss ZF2 over that sigma.

    • Since Nikon and Canon both focus AND zoom in opposite directions, Sigma is in a tough spot. Do they do both one way, and potentially lose a TON of customers from one camp, while maybe only gaining a few from the other? Personally I’m just glad that they zoom in the “right” (Nikon) direction. As far a focusing goes- manual focusing a 1.4 lens isn’t a lightning-quick activity anyways, so I’ve never lost a shot by wasting 0.5 seconds initially focusing in the wrong direction.

      Either way, it hardly means Sigma has done a “sloppy” job. I’m betting it will fairly trounce the old 85 1.4, and give any new Nikon 85 a good solid run for it’s money…


      • preston

        Matthew, do you work for Sigma? You’ve posted responses to just about every negative comment about Sigma here. I don’t mind that, by the way, considering your responses have logical arguments. You are quite the Sigma champion though. .

        • The invisible man

          He does not work for Sigma, or else he would make enough money to afford a Nikkor lense 😮

        • Photomic

          I was wondering the same thing… 🙂

        • Bob Howland

          Do you work for Nikon or Canon?

      • Yeah, why are you such a Sigma apologist? I understand loyalty earned for gear you love, but really man, ease up. Sigma ain’t all that.

        • Jim WS

          My Sigma 50 1.4 is a great lens. You couldn’t pry it away from me. I’ve seen samples of the Nikon 50 1.4’s bokeh – not bad, but for me, I love the Sigma’s way better. And my copy is sharp… (yeah, good for me, right?) – so sharp by f2 that it’s almost too sharp for tight portraits. I have the Nikon 50 1.8 (sharper than the Nikon 1.4, right?) and the Sigma 50 1.4 just kills it for sharpness, even comparing 1.4 vs the Nikon at f2.

          You say you don’t get why someone would buy the Sigma 50 1.4. Personally, I don’t get why the Nikon 50 1.4 would be the choice. The 1.8 is sharper, lighter, and a third the price… and with the high ISO of my D700 I don’t miss the light loss. $300 more for 1.4 vs 1.8? And softer? And I like how the Sigma gives me a more neutral to warm color tone (RAW shooting) – more like the N series Contax lenses I owned… and it gives me bokeh I just love.

          I’m just speaking for using the Sigma vs the Nikon for portraits. If you want to shoot landscapes or something, get the Zeiss Macro 50 f2. Oh, and I actually owned the Canon version of the Zeiss 50 1.4 for a while and used it on a 5D Mark II – (my copy of the) Sigma on my D700 easily beat (my copy of the) Zeiss at 1.4 – no contest.

          Point being: I think it’s your Sigma bashing that’s getting a little old, not his Sigma evangelism 😉

      • ArtTwisted

        My main problem with sigma is the horror stories ive heard wether they are true or not. IF you look up most sigma lenses you will find dozens of people saying theres had focus issues and they had to be sent in. Yes, everyone eventually got a great lens but I would not spend over 500 on a lens that ever has that happen. IDK how many times nikkor lenses are bad out of the box but I promise its a lot lower. This is why I passed on the sigma 70-200, id rather spend more and get the Nikkor. Even if the nikkor was optically the same or even a bit less sharp, reliability and build quality for lenses that expensive mean everything.

        • Iceman

          My post was way too early in the thread to be heard so with a slight repeat, I have two 1.4 lens, the Sigma 50 and the Nikon 85. Nothing has ever come close to the sweet dreams of the 85. I have a backfull of Nikon 2.8s and they come out 10:1 before the Sigma sees the light of day.

      • If I worked for Sigma, I wouldn’t be able to say this: numerous Sigma lenses are HORRIBLE and I would never buy them. Just compare the pathetic Sigma 24-70 HSM against the stunning, nearly flawless Nikon 24-70. The 70-200 comparison is a similar though less dramatic story- If you’re gonna spend that kinda money, get the best, get the Nikon. Also, I bought the Nikon 17-55 DX instead of the Sigma 18-50 2.8, simply because the build quality on the Sigma was a joke, while the Nikon was a truly professional piece of equipment.

        And my first Sigma lens, a cheap 70-300, literally fell apart in my hands after 9 months of use.

        I’d love to be a Sigma or Nikon rep some day, but then I wouldn’t be able to bash them whenever they DO make a terrible product. So I’ll probably never take a dime from anybody to “push” a product.

        I’m definitely a fan of Sigma lenses though. I’m also just a fan of opinions, and facts. And Nikon shooters tend to only think in terms of Nikon, but when you bring Sigma products into the equation and try to discuss the REASONS for making (or buying) them, you have to consider Canon and all other lens mounts. For example, Canon simply doesn’t MAKE an 85 1.4. They have the 1.8 and the 1.2, with nothing in between. The Sigma will probably sell quite well to Canon users. And Canon’s 50 1.4 is, as I mentioned before, a sorry excuse of a lens that just serves to frustrate Canon users into buying the 50 1.2… Okay, I exaggerate a little, but there’s at least a little bit of marketing / sales “upsell” taking place, for sure. Otherwise Canon would make a better 50 1.4…

        The bottom line is that the Sigma 85 1.4 is probably going to be a killer lens and ought to sell quickly. Nikon went YEARS without making an AFS prime wider than 200mm, while making AFS-only bodies starting when was it, 2005 or 2006? They’ve only recently stepped up to the plate, so there’s definitely market share out there for Sigma…


  • stevross

    sigma makes a lot of good lenses: 12-24 4.5-5.6, 50 1.4, 70-200 2.8 for example.
    i’m waiting for a review and a comparison with nikkor model.

  • shivas

    eh. . .the old 84 1.4 AF-D Nikkor probably has more reliable focus. . .

    do recognize the newer Nikon version will probably get VR, so Sigma will be pwned again. . .

    • I still won’t believe this until I see it. It would be a major innovation. Nobody has anything that fast with VR. I think the major issue will be finding a light enough element to shift and still maintain image quality. I think that’s why the 16-35/4 is f4 and a touch mushy in the corners. They had to compromise.

      • Recent Convert

        Micah: You make a good point when you observe that nobody does VR in fast primes. I looked across the fence and noticed that Canon doesn’t do VR (IS) for the fast primes, either. That said, though, there is the 200mm f/2. Both the Nikon and the Canon lenses have VR/IS. It seems that the challenges for a 200mm f/2 are on a similar level as for a 85mm 1.4. Actually, the amplitude for the 200mm would have to be 135% higher. The mass could possibly be less, but hardly enough to compensate for the amplitude difference.

        • Yeah, look at the size of those lenses though! Even the 85/1.2 and Nikon 85/1.4 are dwarfed by them. Heck, I wouldn’t be surprised if the fast 200mm’s have individual elements that outweigh my 85mm/1.8.

          • I’ll grant them the ability to make an 85 f/2 VR for amateurs, or MAYBE an 85 1.8 VR. But at f/1.4, I kinda hope they make ZERO image quality sacrifices, even if it kills VR.

            People need to learn to shoot steady. I can understand VR in a lens longer than 100mm, but wider than that and your own stability is what makes the biggest difference.

            If the 85 1.4 AFS was going to have VR, the 24 1.4 AFS would have had VR, and the 24-70 AFS would have had VR. I put my money on no VR…


  • If the quality of this lens is anything thing like the new 24-70 f2.8 HSM Sigma lens, then it is not worth the money at all.

  • ArthurH

    Really looking forward to this lens and the first reviews! The last few years, Sigma has made some very good lenses, like the 150 f2.8, so if this lens is anything like that… And it’s much cheaper than the Nikon 85 f1.4D is here in Europe (about 1400 dollars).
    By the way, I tested the Nikon 85 f1.4D last year in a store on my D700. Even at f5.6, anything outside of the “DX-area” was very fuzzy with the worst CA I have ever seen in any lens – the corners were completely (!) purple. That was at f5.6, don’t even imagine what the picture looked like at f1.4! I may have had a very bad sample but I never dared to look at this lens again. It made me feel very miserable that day, because until that moment it was the dream lens I was saving my money for, based on all the reviews I read. Anyone else who experienced the same?

    • no.
      we have two, one of oldest ones and one second hand from late batch. There is some CA at 1,4 but in NX CA correction at 30% it is gone. It is also very smooth CA so you dont really need to remove it as it rarely disturbs.
      This lens is designed to make images to be sold even at 1.4 and never fails at that.

      • ArthurH

        Thanks for your reply. Apparently I shouldn’t judge this lens based on one bad experience (bad sample), nice to know that it should be much better a second time. Still interested though in the Sigma because of the price.

  • Daf

    UK price anybody ?

    At those kinds of prices I’d rather go for the 1.8. Soooooooo much cheaper.

  • I’m pretty interested in this lens. I almost bought a Sigma 50mm, but I found a used Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 for ridiculously cheap. And quite frankly, I couldn’t justify the the cost of another 50mm lens that in use will produce “similar” photographs anyways. It’s like splitting hairs really, and rarely do I see it translate into any more interesting photographs (in the case of 50mm comparisons).

    I do have a Sigma 150mm f/2.8 macro that I use for events and portraits and it is amazing – and I guess I got lucky since it was my first copy of the lens. HSM is smooth, silent but not that fast, but it is designed as a macro lens so I expected that.

    I also own a Nikkor 85mm f/1.8 and I chose it over the the 1.4 only because I use it for events and the lighter glass elements translates to faster autofocus tracking. I’m generally pleased with the results but would really like a silent wave motor in there. I think the Sigma 85’s price point is nice, and (quality control issues aside) the initial MTF charts show promise. In the end I’d just like to see how fast the HSM is in this lens, since the recent AF-S Nikkor 50 is actually slower to focus than the AF-D. But I really can’t justify the probable $1800 cost of a Nikkor equivalent. (Although that new Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 looks so sweet…)

  • shutterdancer

    I just have to say that I would not trade my Sigma 150/f2.8 for a Nikkor or Canon… or anything else for that matter I love it that much!!

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