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Sigma 85mm F1.4 EX DG HSM

Reviews Views Date of last review
10 60,390 Wed December 23, 2015
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
90% of reviewers $919.44 9.20
Sigma 85mm F1.4 EX DG HSM

Sigma 85mm F1.4 EX DG HSM
Sigma 85mm F1.4 EX DG HSM
Sigma 85mm F1.4 EX DG HSM


The Sigma 85mm F1.4 EX DG HSM is a fast fixed focal length autofocus lens. It covers the full 24x36mm format, not just APS-C. It has no aperture ring but can still be used on most K-mount film bodies (on some film bodies the exposure modes will be restricted to P and Tv). The optical design includes a lens element of SLD (Special Low Dispersion) glass which Sigma claims improves contrast. Our tests confirm that this lens indeed has high contrast right from F1.4.

A hood extension ring is included for use on APS-C cameras matching their narrower field of view.†

Sigma 85mm F1.4 EX DG HSM
©, sharable with attribution
Image Format
Full-frame / 35mm film
Lens Mount
Pentax K
Aperture Ring
Automatic, 9 blades
11 elements, 8 groups
Mount Variant
Check camera compatibility
Max. Aperture
Min. Aperture
AF (in-lens motor)
Min. Focus
85 cm
Max. Magnification
Filter Size
77 mm
Internal Focus
Field of View (Diag. / Horiz.)

APS-C: 19 ° / 16 °
Full frame: 29 ° / 24 °
Lens Cap
Weather Sealing
Other Features
AF/MF Switch
Diam x Length
84x88 mm (3.3x3.4 in.)
730 g (25.7 oz.)
Production Years
2011 (start of production)
User reviews
In-depth review
Buy Lens: Buy the Sigma 85mm F1.4 EX DG HSM
In-Depth Review: Read our Sigma 85mm F1.4 EX DG HSM in-depth review!
Price: $969
Mount Type: Pentax KAF3 (in-lens AF only)
Price History:

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Sort Reviews by: Date | Author | Rating | Recommendation | Likes (Descending) Showing Reviews 1-10 of 10

Registered: April, 2011
Location: San Josť, Costa Rica
Posts: 794

5 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: December 23, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $850.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharpness, Bokeh, Build Construction, HSM
Cons: none
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 9    Value: 9    Camera Used: Pentax K3    New Or Used: New   

I simply love this lens, one of my favorite lens to take portraits. It is fast, sharp wide open, great bokeh, silent focusing, build quality is really nice, perhaps the only thing that is missing is the WR, but otherwise this is a most have lens for all portrait photographers.

When i was thiking to get this lens I was also looking at the FA 77 Limited, the thing here that turned me into the Sigma is that FA lenses doesnt have the technology that this lens have, ofcourse, the 77mm is a great lens, but IMO I better take this one insted of the FA 77, besides it feels good on camera, the weight is balanced.

Veteran Member

Registered: July, 2014
Location: Paris
Posts: 1,930
Lens Review Date: November 2, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: IQ, bokeh, saturation
Cons: expensive
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 9    Value: 8    New Or Used: New   

Try this lens on a friend's camera, this is a superb lens for portrait, I'll get this one if the price tag did't stop me with a punch @_@
Forum Member

Registered: February, 2009
Location: Copenhagen
Posts: 59
Lens Review Date: November 3, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $978.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Contrast, sharpness, design, weight, size
Cons: fringing
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 5    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 9    New Or Used: New   

I have to start by saying i am in love with this lens. And I know I am in the minority when comes to size and weight preferences. I like that it is big and bulky. Personally it gives me the feeling that it will last and that no corners have been cut to reduce weight. This is subjective purely. Second reason is the way other people perceive a photographer. When they see a big lens and big camera they think wow it must a professional - which in their minds equals a good photographer - which again makes them perform better in front of the camera. I like that because I am new as a model photographer.

This lens has the most amazing bokeh, makes even ugly things look pleasing...
Purple and green fringing is 30 seconds of trouble in post

If you want to see what a new photographer can acomplish in short time with a couple studio flashes go to my 6cv
New Member

Registered: April, 2010
Location: Dordogne, France
Posts: 15
Lens Review Date: January 29, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $950.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Sharpness
Cons: Abberations, weight
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 7    Value: 7    New Or Used: New   

Very impressive piece of glass, quality built, heavy.
Perfect for portrait photography in low light, with very shallow DOF. Outdoor when used on infinity razor sharp, but with unexpected amount of chromatic abberations in high contrast areas, easily corrected in lightroom though.
I bought it for portraits of the grand-children, because of the ability to take pictures in low light and the very silent autofocus.
But it is also very suitable as a short telelens outdoor. Recommended, but expensive.
Inactive Account

Registered: September, 2010
Location: istanbul
Posts: 1
Lens Review Date: August 7, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $900.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: İmage quality , sharpnes , bokeh realy good :)
Cons: AF , Heavy
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 9    New Or Used: Used   

I use this lens is the best ever but focus did not please me

my lens calibration currently in service

Senior Member

Registered: February, 2011
Posts: 274

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: July 5, 2012 I can recommend this lens: No | Price: $969.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Sharpness, f/1.4, silent and fast focus
Cons: weird auto focus, PF
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 9    Value: 9    New Or Used: New   

I am a very happy owner of Sigma 50mm f/1.4 HSM. So I am very excited to purchase a Sigma 85mm for portrait photography.
I must say that I am very please with the results in term of sharpness and bokeh, of subjects within about 5 meters. This means this lens is extremely excellent for head and half body shots. But it shows too much problems with auto focus when shooting far away objects. What I mean is that I was trying to shoot a couple of people were standing about 20 meters away from me, the lens just decided to focus on the background behind those people. I do not really understand why. If I want to have accurate focus for this case, I have to manual pre-focus and then activate the auto focus. And please notice that this weird focusing problem I never observe on my $499 Sigma 50mm and the same Pentax body.
To test PF, I did some test shots at people with bright sunshine. PF was observed and did not disappear until f/4.5.
I really want to have a good copy of this lens in my photography equipments, so I have been trying 3 copies.
First copy from bought on ebay: Back focus problem, needed +4 adjusted on K-5. And very heavily front focus for far objects, let's say about 10 meters, it has about 0.7 meter front focus. Returned as defective item, charged me 15% restocking fee even it has 14 days return policy. Ebay helped me get money back. Stay away from this seller.
Second and third copies from Amazon: very accurate focus for near objects, but random focusing for far objects. These two lens would be returned.

@f/1.4, first copy of lens, about 4 meters away from camera

@f/1.4, first copy of lens, about 4 meters away from camera

@f/2.2, first copy of the lens, about 10 meters away from camera, focusing on a lady in a black dress, but the "lens" decided to focus on a boy about 0.5 meter in the front of her.
Veteran Member

Registered: April, 2010
Location: Adelaide, South Australia
Posts: 805

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: May 4, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $810.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: IQ, Silent and fast AF, build quality, everything
Cons: None
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 9    Value: 10    New Or Used: New   

Wonderful lens on APS-C
Will perhaps be usable when Pentax makes a FF digital body.

AF in low light is fast with no hunting and hesitance.

Restricted usage at first thought (ie portraits) but it has good enough IQ and fast speed, great for theatre, street candids, and some sports (fast AF helpful here).

It's a big lens, but balances well on K-5 with DBG-4.

Right up there with the best lenses Sigma has ever made.
Site Supporter

Registered: June, 2011
Location: Arlington, TN
Posts: 106

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: March 29, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $969.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharpness, Build Quality, Silent Focusing, IQ
Cons: Quality control
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 8    Value: 9    New Or Used: New   

What an outstanding lens for sure. Without a doubt it is the sharpest lens at it's largest aperture that I have ever used. The first shot I took was of my wife at f/1.4 and I couldn't believe how sharp it was. I cropped the eye in which I focused on and was blown away by the sharpness. Yes- sharpness isn't everything, but in my opinion it is better to be very sharp and be able to soften with software than vice versa and have to add sharpness.
The focus wasn't tremendously fast and I can see that it is not for catching shots of the kids running around. But I bought this for doing portraits mostly and the focus was indeed very accurate with no back or front focus adjustment needed.
It's a heavy lens, but I am a bigger guy so it doesn't bother me.
Build quality is solid and I love the feel of the EX lenses.
Unfortunately I am have to say that Sigma is lacking in quality control on the first copy I received. As soon as I unpacked the lens I noticed a large crescent shaped abrasion on what I think was the rear element and it was on the inside of the lens. I noticed it immediately which makes me think perhaps someone at the Sigma assembly line didn't want to get in trouble, and or was overlooked during the QC check.
Anyhow, I sent it back and hope to get a new one that performed as well and without any defect.

UPDATE: Just received the replacement lens about 8 or 9 days ago. Optics are clean this time around. I would say the auto focus it a tad inconsistent compared to the one I sent back. But I've definitely seen worse. The photo below was taken with the new lens. I think they produce great 'Character' and image quality.

New Member

Registered: January, 2012
Posts: 19
Lens Review Date: February 12, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $880.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp, with excellent bokeh (though subjectively the 77mm is very slightly creamier), has all the modern features unlike FA lenses.
Cons: Weight and cost.
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 9    Value: 8    New Or Used: Used   

I love this lens. Looks good, feels solid, handles well. Quite heavy at 700 odd grams, but once you get used to it, it's fantastic. Focusing is accurate, fast, and with Sigma's version of ultra sonic motor, quiet. When I look at the glass, I think "wow".

Photos are also fantastic. Sharp, with smooth bokeh. The f1.4 really makes a difference as against f1.8 or above. Also has the Sigma version of Quick Shift.

The only negatives are things you can't really control- the minimum focussing distance is 85 cm- bit far and even now I sometimes get too close to a object or person I am photographing by accident; and the weight- at 700 grams it's too heavy to carry on holidays, and I could easily substitute 2 to 4 primes or zoom lenses instead. If I'm on holidays and in the mood for using primes, I will bring my FA 77mm f1.8 instead.

I noticed the previous reviewer (a very detailed and useful review I must say) gave "value" as a 5. I think it depends on your point of view and what you need. It is pricey, but in Singapore, it's still about 35% cheaper than a second hand Pentax FA 85mm f1.4. Considering all the modern features in the Sigma, for what it is, I think it's good value.
Veteran Member

Registered: January, 2011
Posts: 416

6 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: April 20, 2011 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $969.00 | Rating: 7 

Pros: Quite Sharp wide open! Smooth Bokeh!
Cons: P. Fringing, Autofocus (See below)
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 6    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 5    New Or Used: New   

Let me say that it is an honor to be the first to review this lens and a greater privelage to share some of the first photos on pentaxforums. My first impression of the lens was of a quality build when first removed from the box. Heavy solid, not Heavy Heavy. Robust, tight manufacturing, no squeak or rattle. Plastic outer shell, with rubberized material from the base of the barrel to the focus grip. Sigma has replaced the gritty material associated with their previous lenses with a smooth, almost luxurious feeling hard rubber. I like this. It just feels good. I never had experience with the gritty material, but never cared for it either. Even though there aren't many choices for this focal length at this aperture for pentax, I did a heck of a lot of research, reading, brainstorming, comparing going back and forth between which lens I would get and why. At times, it just wasn't fun. Between the Pentax FA 85 1.4, Samyang 85 1.4, Bower 85 1.4 and Sigma, Sigma won. Why? Modern technology. I have learned to trust the output of modern technology over the years, despite my dislike for the general build quality. Despite the obvious quality of the FA 85, I felt there was a very good chance that the Sigma 85 would leave very little to be desired, if any. This proved to be correct. There were many thorough reviews, some very scientific lab tests, some less scientific, that gave the sigma 85 great praise. Some tests marked the Sigma above the Canon 1.2 and 1.4 in several areas. One wedding photographers review of the lens tested the focus speed significantly ahead of the Canon 1.2 and claimed it to have gotten several low light shots at a wedding shoot that would have been nearly impossible for his Canon prime. At the end of the review, he said simply. "The Sigma is a better lens. There, I said it." O.k. enough of this raving. This lens is a wonder. It is Love. When I see the photos it takes, it is hard not to admire the engineering wonder that it is. I was thinking today that, "this lens breaks all the rules". It does. All the things photographers, novice to pro, tell you NOT to do or tell you you SHOULD do to get optimal results, or to avoid unfavorable results, you can throw this chatter out of the window with this lens. Of course the body you use it on makes a difference in image quality, but i've found myself shooting in shadows, at faces and somehow, the lens locks on with what my eyes can tell as perfect accuracy. I've taken pictures with the subject in the middle and copious amounts of sunlight glaring from behind, and it looks wondrous. The bokeh is unique. It's not quiiite as big and fluffy as some other 85's i've seen, but it IS the smoothest i've seen.

Edit 10/2013: One thing i'd like to mention as stated by another reviewer, is that i've had quite a bit of trouble with this lens focusing on things other than the subject when several yards away. For closeups there never was a problem, but the further away the subject was, the lens had a tendancy to seemingly get "confused" and front or back focus. After a few attempts, I'd get it right, but never could figure out how to correct this, and I tried everything. Also, I felt the autofocus was too active, too responsive for me. When moving the camera around slightly on a subject, it seemed the lens would adjust too readily, too soon, too often or too much. Like it had a "mind of it's own". Perhaps this is a characteristic of the internal focusing lens, but lenses driven by the camera body seem to be a little less hyper, less high strung with just enough responsiveness so as to allow the photographer to develop a perfect relationship with the lens activity. So one knows just how much he needs to adjust (up, down, left, right, back, forth) to let the lens react the way he wants. It's hard to explain but when i'm out doing street photography, I never developed a good relationship between the half press of the shutter to focus and the HSM to get a perfectly focused shot of subjects not right in front of me. My camera body driven lenses have worked much better in this area. This lens is still an optical wonder and works well for closeup portraits.
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