What is a Sigma 135mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art?
Since a pregnancy of a reward Art operation of lenses towards a finish of 2012, Sigma has left from strength to strength. The 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art lens that kicked a whole array off has given been assimilated by 4 some-more focal lengths – 20mm, 24mm, 50mm and 85mm – to fill out an considerable set of f/1.4 primes.
For a subsequent move, a organisation is going wider and longer with somewhat slower f/1.8 designs, and here we’re looking during a Sigma 135mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art – a savage of a lens with a vast £1399 cost tag.
Perhaps surprisingly, this is a initial new autofocus 135mm primary lens for DSLR cameras that we’ve seen for utterly some time. While Canon, Nikon and Sony’s offerings are all superb, they’re looking a bit enlarged in a tooth, and a mint Milvus 135mm f/2 announced by Zeiss during Photokina final year is primer concentration only.
So Sigma has a event to uncover us usually how good a discerning autofocus 135mm primary can be with an up-to-the-minute, no-compromise manifest design. And child does it deliver.
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Sigma 135mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art – Features
Sigma is creation some really confidant claims for this new optic, observant that not usually is it formally pointy for use with 50-megapixel sensors, it also minimises axial chromatic aberration. To this finish a 13-element, 10-group pattern includes dual super-low apportionment (SLD) potion elements and dual ‘F’ low apportionment (FLD) potion elements. The aim is to give super-sharp, purify images, even during f/1.8.
Autofocus is driven by an ultrasonic-type hypersonic motor, with full-time primer concentration overrule also available. A floating concentration resource is employed to say high picture peculiarity opposite a full concentration stretch range, from forever to a smallest of 87.5cm. At this indicate a lens gives a extent magnification of 0.2x, that equates to a theme area of 12 x 18cm with full-frame cameras.
Sigma has commissioned a diaphragm resource with 9 dull blades that keeps a orifice near-circular down to a smallest environment on offer, that is f/16. Nikon users will advantage from a built-in electromagnetic diaphragm of a form Canon users have enjoyed for years, that Sigma says should give some-more quick bearing during continual shooting.
The lens is accessible in Canon, Nikon and Sigma mounts, though it can also be used on Sony E-mount cameras around a £200 Sigma MC-11 mountain converter, with all functions seamlessly confirmed – including autofocus and electronic orifice setting.
Sigma 135mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art – Build and Handling
The initial thing you’ll notice on unboxing a 135mm is a size; during 91.4mm in hole and 114.9mm in length, it’s a vast square of pack that weighs 1130g. As many of a potion is strong towards a front of a lens, it indeed feels heavier in-hand than we competence expect.
It’s really best matched for use on incomparable cameras such as a Canon EOS 5D series; on some-more modestly sized bodies such as a Sony Alpha 7 II, for example, it becomes really front-heavy. we positively began to notice a weight after carrying it around for a few hours – it isn’t something you’d wish to projection around on a off-chance of anticipating a suitable subject.
Build peculiarity is accurately as we’ve come to pattern from Sigma’s reward line, that means it’s really good indeed. Ahead of a steel territory immediately adjacent to a camera body, a tub is primarily done of high-quality plastics. The vast primer concentration ring rotates intensely uniformly though any spirit of backlash, with a tiny window on a tip of a tub indicating a stream concentration distance.
A rubber sign to stop dirt or H2O removing into a camera encircles a lens mount, while a front and back potion surfaces are treated to a water- and oil-repellent coating.
At a front of a lens you’ll find a non-rotating thread for attaching 82mm filters. It’s surrounded by a bayonet mountain for a low cylindrical hood, that can be topsy-turvy over a tub when not in use.
On a side there’s a span of switches, one to change between automobile and primer focus, and another that can be used to extent a concentration stretch operation to 1.5m to infinity, or 0.875m to 1.5m. This can be accessible for shortening sport in some situations.
As is common from Sigma, a lens is dull off by a few neat pattern touches: a white inlay in a concentration mode switch gives a discerning manifest acknowledgment of when it’s set to autofocus, while a ridged reason around a non-rotating territory of a tub affords a secure hold.
Sigma 135mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art – Resolution
Tested on a 42.4-megapixel Sony Alpha 7R II, a Sigma 135mm f/1.8 achieves startling formula in a Applied Imaging MTF tests. In a centre of a support it’s crook far-reaching open than many lenses grasp during their best apertures. Not surprisingly, a corners aren’t utterly as overwhelming during f/1.8, though stop down to f/5.6 and they locate adult with a centre. This is one of a many considerable sets of MTF measurements we’ve seen to date.
Sigma 135mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art – Shading
The 135mm gives impressively low vignetting for a discerning prime, aided no doubt by a vast front elements. Even during f/1.8 we see tiny over a stop of fall-off in enlightenment during a support corners, with a light form that isn’t unattractive. Stop down to f/2.8 and vignetting is many eliminated.
Sigma 135mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art – Curvilinear Distortion
Distortion is unusually low. In a draft tests we can magnitude usually a spirit of pincushion-type span of lines towards a edges of a frame. Examination of real-world images shows this to be of no regard whatsoever, though if you’re super-picky it can simply be corrected in software.
Sigma 135mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art – Autofocus
Sigma has employed a focusing resource that moves a smaller elements towards a back of a lens, and this gives impressively discerning and wilful autofocus on a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV we used for testing.
For tighten concentration distances, of adult to 4 or 5 metres perhaps, we found a AF was flattering accurate; during longer distances it became increasingly reduction reliable, however. This kind of poise is flattering common with SLRs and becomes ever some-more manifest as sensor resolutions increase. As a result, you’ll roughly positively need to configure autofocus micro-adjustment to get consistently pin-sharp autofocus.
For this purpose a 135mm is concordant with Sigma’s USB dock, that also allows a lens’ firmware to be updated in destiny if this turns out to be necessary. Meanwhile, to grasp accurate primer concentration on a DSLR you’ll need to use magnified live perspective – forget about perplexing to use a viewfinder.
I also tested a lens on a Sony Alpha 7 II regulating a MC-11 converter and detected that while a autofocus slows down noticeably, it’s still utterly tolerable. But a outrageous advantage is that a camera’s on-sensor hybrid AF complement gives consistently accurate results, no matter what a concentration stretch and wherever in a support we place a concentration point.
Unlike with a manifest finder of a DSLR, you’ll also grasp an accurate illustration of concentration and abyss of field, no matter what orifice you’re regulating – vast or small. Switch to primer concentration mode and you’ll find that branch a concentration ring will automatically rivet a magnified MF Assist view.
Sigma 135mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art – Image Quality
So now for a blazing question: accurately what does £1399 buy we in terms of manifest quality? If you’ve review any of a new reviews of Sigma lenses, a answer won’t warn we one iota. You get an positively overwhelming lens with glorious sharpness and really few manifest aberrations or flaws to pronounce of.
Indeed, when we reviewed a Zeiss Batis 135mm f/2.8 recently, we remarked that few lenses would be means to compare it. But a Sigma comes astonishingly close, notwithstanding a stop-and-a-half faster aperture.
It resolves an considerable volume of fact far-reaching open, while blurring divided beautifully out-of-focus elements both in front of, and behind a craft of focus. Chromatic misconception is unusually low, if not wholly absent; exaggeration is negligible, and vignetting is kept to really excusable levels. If we can’t get poetic cinema with this lens, it substantially isn’t Sigma’s fault.
However, this is a lens that will taxation your detailed technique to a limit. Depth of margin during f/1.8 is vanishingly slim, so a smallest transformation of possibly a photographer or theme after focusing will be seemingly visibly when observation your images on-screen.
What’s more, we found that with a strong weight, a Sigma 135mm is surprisingly formidable to keep solid hand-held; in general, we indispensable shiver speeds around 1/500sec to be reliably giveaway from blur, and usually a stop or so slower when regulating a Sony Alpha 7 II with a in-body stabilisation. This contrasts with a Zeiss Batis 135mm f/2.8, that consistently gave me pointy hand-held shots during many slower shiver speeds due to a lighter weight and manifest stabilisation.
Should we buy a Sigma 135mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art?
With a vast distance and even heftier cost tag, a Sigma 135mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art is a dilettante ocular that’s especially directed during mural and marriage photographers looking for something additional to make their images mount out from a crowd. With a smashing sharpness and unreal credentials blur, it provides a demeanour that few other lenses can match.
But overwhelming as it is, a problem confronting Sigma is that a closest rivals from Sony, Canon and Nikon are all rather cheaper, while still being some of a many rarely regarded lenses in their sold ranges. The Canon and Nikon f/2 optics are a satisfactory bit slimmer and lighter too, that creates them some-more unsentimental to lift around during a enlarged shoot.
Despite this, Sigma has to be applauded for bringing such a spectacularly excellent lens to market.
It might not be lens that many fan photographers are expected to buy, though it would positively be value employing for a special occasion. For mural photography in particular, a Sigma 135mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art is really special indeed.