First Sigma 135mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art lens reviews (now in stock)


The first reviews of the Sigma 135mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art lens started to appear online:

More reviews of the lens (Canon version) can be found herehere, here and here. Sample photos are available here.

The Sigma 135mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art  lens is now in stock at B&H and available for pre-order at Adorama:


Related videos:

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  • Brandon Nehus

    Don’t really like sigma lenses due to bad Experience with AF but looks like a fun lens to use

    • hkjlgj klhjklhjkl

      which sigma lenses have you had trouble with?

      • Pavel Backa

        I had mostly troubles with 50 1.4 Art. 35 1.4A look ok.

        • hkjlgj klhjklhjkl

          ok, thanks

        • Brandon Nehus

          Same with the 50mm art. Actually that’s the only lens that I’ve tried and it turned me off to sigma in general but I loved the image quality for sure. Great lens.

          • With what body?

            • Brandon Nehus

              D750

      • CivEng

        I have a 35 1.4 that works great on my D810 but there is no fine adjustment that makes it work on my D500. It’s either off at short distances or off at long distances.

      • colkurtz

        The 35 Art produced great for me, as long as I focused manually. AF on my D800e was iffy at best and generally frustrating.

        • JS

          The Sigma 35 Art works great on my D810 and D5. It was backfocusing right out of the box but I did the fine tune adjustment in each camera and it’s tack sharp now. It’s my favorite lens now so I’m considering the Sigma 135 now.

          • colkurtz

            Loved the lens. Bought the dock. Adjusted from dawn till dusk. Sent back the lens for a new one. Adjusted from dawn till dusk……

            I still have it as I’m fine with manual focus, and the image quality when it works is outstanding, but honestly what I wish for is that Sigma knocks down the prices of Zeiss. If I’m gonna manual focus, I may as well use a lens that will outlive me.

            • JS

              Funny…I had the dock and thought it made things WORSE for me. Seemed like one adjustment knocked out the other and it got frustrating. I spent a lot of time with it and did multiple adjustments but reverted back to the AF Fine Tune in-camera. I love this lens even with that initial frustration as the Nikon equivalent is nearly double in cost. I just check the focus each month now because I’m paranoid about it.

            • colkurtz

              Agreed. As a manual focus competitor for Zeiss, Sigma is a decent value proposition for me. As a fast/accurate auto focus competition for Nikon’s own lenses…. no, not yet.

            • EvilTed

              That’s because you are not supposed to make the changes one at a time…
              Someone found this out by calling Sigma.

              By the way, Sigma fails to tell you HOW to properly tune their lenses, and I had to call them to find out. You don’t change the settings for each distance, and then go on to the next distance testing – you find the best setting for the closest distance, write it down, clear all settings, go to the next distance, write it down, etc. When you’ve got all the settings, you clear the settings and put them ALL IN AT ONE TIME. They neglect that little point – drove me crazy for days until I gave up and called them.

            • JS

              What. The. F**k. Thank you for this info!! I might give the dock a second chance just to see what it’ll do.

            • Wow, good to know, I have 2 Sigma zooms and the dock and fortunately haven’t had the time to tune them yet. Thanks for sharing this.

            • JS

              You da man…I had actually ordered the USB Dock again because I was going to order the new Sigma 135 lens and figured I’d give the dock another chance. Just went through the calibration tonight and it’s tack sharp. In-camera fine tune was set to +11. I zeroed that and now I’m at +9 for the first 3 settings and +7 for the final setting. Working great. Thanks for the tip!

            • silmasan

              Wow thanks for sharing, JS, also @evilted:disqus for the tip! I wonder how many people disappointed with Sigma AF (even after tuning with the usb dock) have got it all wrong… This procedure should be in a quick sheet for the dock with a big red exclamation point.

            • JS

              I can’t believe this information isn’t out there on Sigma’s website! It’s ridiculous! Using EvilTed’s technique, the adjustments were easy and it worked. I also want to add that I captured my test shots tethered to Lightroom and that made the process a lot easier and faster since I didn’t need to remove the memory card over and over. My new Sigma 135 f/1.8 lens is arriving tomorrow and I’m anxious to use the dock for that lens too and make sure it’s calibrated perfectly. Wahoo!

            • ninpou_kobanashi

              Lovely.

    • T.I.M

      I don’t buy compatibles brands (except when Nikon does not offer the equivalent) because of the issues with compatibility.
      It’s not easy to keep up with Nikon lens/cameras upgrades so I’m not taking any chances with other brands.

      • Brandon Nehus

        Makes sense

  • Aldo

    With no OS, you probably need to shoot at 1/400 min handheld if you want tack sharp photos with this lens…. or spray and spray. A monopod would make it easier but then you have ro drag that thing with you and adjust constantly.

    • MB

      Absolutely right … you maybe can make a decent shot at 1/250 if you are lucky, but slower than that … no way … I wonder why they didnt add OS to it … even if a bit more expensive it would still have quite an advantage over Nikon 105 … oh well … we should wait for what Tamron would do … definitely something with VC …

      • Stefan Suchanec

        lol i hope you’re trolling Aldo, and that he was trolling all of us.

    • Or just shoot with a speedlight or strobe to freeze the motion and get sharper images. That’s what I do with the 105 f1.4.

      • Aldo

        Thats a great idea but like the monopod this also limits your freedom.

        • MB

          Unless you first kill … say … bold headed eagle you just spotted, and than bring it back to studio to shoot it in perfect lighting conditions with strobes and everything … on the other hand once dead it will not move much anyway so you could go home and bring back the tripod and other stuff …

          • Aldo

            I was trying to be nice about it lol

          • j j

            Who in their right mind uses a 135mm lens to photograph birds????

            AFAIK 135mm lenses are made specifically for shooting beautiful women only, in varying states of undress.

            • Aldo

              Only 10s?

            • Meaning the birds with brightly coloured feathers, and sharp beaks and nails…

            • MB

              Trust me … you need something longer than 135mm for a beautiful women …

      • Mansgame

        Try that at a concert or basketball game and tells me how it goes.

        • I’m a fashion photographer. I don’t shoot sports. For me, 135 mm is in the wheelhouse of what I use for portraits and fashion. I shoot with strobes 100% of the time both in the studio and on location; its 2nd nature to me. That’s where the natural use case of this lens is I think.

          • Mansgame

            You’re not wrong. I just meant that a lot of people don’t have the luxury of using a strobe when using this lens, but for things like headshots, this would be a beautiful lens.

    • Mansgame

      That’s the dealbreaker for me too. I usually don’t need to freeze motion and can live with 1/100th shutter speed which I can easily get with my 80-400 VR at any focal length. I really won’t gain much if I have to shoot this lens as far as noise goes at 1/400 other than a narrower depth of field.

      • Aldo

        It looks like a fantastic lens…the glass looks gorgeous, but one cant overlook this limitation. It’s not a lens for everyone.

  • Delmar Mineard Jr

    Got to admit the 3rd party manufactures have done a nice job going after Nikon, Canon, Pentax, and Sony.

    • Mirrorless Sucks

      If only their lenses were as good in real life as they are on paper.

  • Matti

    You forgot an in-depht review 😀 Cameralabs.

    https://www.cameralabs.com/sigma-135mm-f1-8-art-review/

  • Max Verstappen

    As far as I see the results at 1.8 I think the bokeh is over the top.
    The subject and the background just look like two different photographs
    that are merged together and the result looks very unnatural. The
    background is just too smooth and looks like being painted. Maybe better
    at 2.8, 3.5 or even 5.6 (but that is of course not what you buy a 1.8
    lens for):)

    • hkjlgj klhjklhjkl

      nonsense

      • Max Verstappen

        Thanks mr. nudist, for your friendly and nuanced reaction that reflects
        such a great vision.:) Time to use your eyes instead of
        following mainstream ideas about bokeh? And don’t forget: not everybody has the same taste!

        • big bawi

          just because someone doesnt agree with you, it doesnt mean they’re a part of the sheep herd. to me the lens produces great images (from what ive seen) and i personally like the subject isolation. calling “bokeh” unnatural is nonsense, every lens produces different bokeh, and no bokeh is truly “natural”.

        • You won’t win a single race this year…:-)

          • silmasan

            This is the year of Red! 🙂

            (Ferrari, not Bull!)

    • Aldo

      Gonna have to agree with the naked guy with guns on this one.

    • artdecade

      I agree on this, everybody always goes on about beautiful bokeh but there is a point where the background could be anywhere, i.e. there is no character to it. At least at higher f stops some of the shapes suggest a context for the photo – for example it was next to an arch, or a tree or near a window. Good for sports if you want that separation.

    • Captain Megaton

      Sigma is pandering to the people who subscribe to this wide-open-or-go-home point of view, and also to the soft-is-good-bokeh crowd.

      Computer design these days, you can dial in those traits if you want them and are willing to pay.

      For me that’s not what I use a prime lens for at all. I want a small, convenient package that gives excellent, characteristic rendering over a wide range of useful apertures, focus distances, and lighting conditions. “wide open” is for keeping a bright viewfinder image, and for some opening the effects palette on occasion.

      So, yeah – it’s perfectly OK to feel the Sigma rendering is dead boring. Because it is. It was designed to be like that. It just means this lens is not for you.

  • T.I.M

    *****OUT OF SUBJECT*****
    This little accessory was on sale for $40 at B&H last week.
    It is a “Vello rapid lens changer” (regular price $70)
    I find it very useful for Nikon teleconverters so I wanted to share my experience.
    (pictured with the TC-E 14E III and the TC-20E III)
    https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1213316-REG/vello_lrc_n10_rapid_lens_changer_for.html

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ec7359881dde1d7dec032ddcbf7e9b93475925fb2be91fe14e97f5fc6dc3e084.jpg

    • Glen

      Peak design has a similar device, I use it all the time, perfect for small f/1.8g primes

      • Aldo

        Yeah I don’t know if you have seen TIMs wagon… his lenses are everything but ‘small’

        • T.I.M

          Wagon is not an issue, all you need is teen
          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/5270af515afe1c6ca3f6e29a5964083a47435566dcfe1c17793a09de933fb229.jpg kids or an Asian wife (they are good workers)
          :o)

          • Allan

            Looking at your belt, I think it’s time to get a bigger wagon.

            • T.I.M

              The AF-S 300mm f/4E PF replaced my 200mm f/2 so I have enough room now.

            • peter w

              why not choose the 55-200? Even lighter.

            • T.I.M

              My wife have one, very light, lighter than the caps, it have VR and take good pictures.

          • silmasan

            Now now.. Where’s the Report Abuse button when you need it!

    • Aldo

      This is an interesting device. I didn’t know such thing existed. I’m guessing you carry your 200mm 2.0 on one end and the 400 on the other?

    • EnPassant

      It may be safer, but much more expensive than simply glueing two back caps together. Leica even offered a dual lens back cap for their R-lenses.

      • T.I.M

        Good idea, I did not think about that, using a good bolt & nut you could actually make it safe using two Nikon rear caps.
        En passant, merci pour l’idee !

    • This is intersting, never heard of those before. Will mention them in my weekly recap. And since you did not copyright your picture, I will use it without permission 🙂

  • I’m hoping Nikon does something like this. They need a new 135mm AND and new 180mm f/2.8. Those are two overlooked FLs that can create amazing images.

    • T.I.M

      I had the AF-D 180mm f/2.8 for many years, very sharp lens but 180mm is just too short.
      I saw a huge difference when I got the AF-S 200mm f/2

      • Jeffry De Meyer

        Short?

        • T.I.M

          Yes, I know there is only 20mm between the 2 lenses but the 180mm was too short.
          (the 200mm f/2 gave me 300mm f/2.8 or 400mm f/4 with Nikon teleconverters, and the 200mm f/2 is the sharpest lens Nikon ever made so far)

          • catinhat

            180/2.8 is a take it anywhere lens, the 200/2 is a behemoth, and you need a strong back and preferably some shooting support too. That leaving cost considerations aside. If I needed a 300/2.8, I personally would get a 300/2.8 lens, which would get to 400mm with a 1.4x TC. I’m not too fond of 2x TCs.

            • T.I.M

              The AF-S 200mm f/2 is not that heavy, I was able to hand old it for a while, the VR is great for concerts and places where you can’t use the flash.
              It is the perfect lens for portraits, the bokeh is fabulous and the lens is so sharp that you can see all the details on the model’s eyes!
              Yes so far all Nikon x2 teleconverters were bad but the new one (TC-20E III) is a real improvement, I get very good results mounted on my AF-i 400mm f/2.8

          • There is evidence from some reviewers that the 180 isn’t really 180, that it’s more like 165. So, what you perceived may be accurate. I’d love to have the 200 f/2, but I’m not sure how to justify it, other than to tell my wife “hey honey, look, I’ll give up a boat for it”.

        • decentrist

          don’t question the logic

    • decentrist

      yes, dial it up to 30 elements

  • Not crazy about the planar CA. Appears decently sharp though.

  • Captain Megaton

    I like the look of the new Nikon 70-200/2.8 better though.

    http://dc.watch.impress.co.jp/docs/review/lens_review_2/1041714.html

    • Aldo

      That picture at 200mm 2.8 @ perhaps min focus distance clearly shows how truly stupid that concept is for portraits.

  • Etzio Aldetori

    after watching the first video i think i still prefer the old school swirly bokeh over this one .
    The bokeh of this lens is so soft i dont know how but it made me feel like those images went through some blurring process in photoshop .

  • silmasan

    Similar story with 85A, LoCA is obviously not on par with Zeiss’ real APO counterparts. The 135/2 APO will still be #1 choice for some purposes (detail shots or still life I guess). For general/people portraits this rarely matters though.

  • br0xibear
    • Thanks, will add to my post.

  • Patrice Ngangula de Lemos

    I used to have focus issues with my D810 and both my 35mm Art & my 50mm Art… I couldn’t get my dock to work properly, so I purchased the Focal software and I haven’t look back since.

  • Mirrorless Sucks

    FRO WARNING! The last video is the Fro. I have made a point of not watching any of his videos so he doesn’t get a penny more and is not encouraged to make anymore videos but I accidentally clicked on it this time. Fortunately, I had an ad blocker so hopefully he didn’t get any money of out of that click but be forewarned.

    • T.I.M

      FRO ?
      French Republic Obsolete ?

  • Danzig

    I am a big Sigma fan and have owned many Art lenses in the past. However, the rendering of this lens is really harsh and very underwhelming; I was expecting more from Sigma for such a classic portrait FL. The Rokinon 135/2 has a much nicer rendering. Hopefully the samples I’ve seen (from different reviews) are not representative, and that the lighting or the subject itself caused that.

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