The NEW Sigma 105F1.4….

Recently I had the opportunity to review a long-awaited lens from Sigma. The NEW Sigma 105F1.4, modeled after the Nikon 105F1.4 offering announced in 2016.  Since then almost everybody has been jealous of the Nikon’s sharpness and aperture at the close to telephoto 105mm focal length (everyone except Nikon shooters of course who could just buy it…).  Since then Sigma stepped up and has made their own version, available for Nikon, Canon, Sigma, and Sony which is Fantastic because now everyone has access to this incredible focal length and aperture combo!  While I do not own the Nikon, I have used it on numerous occasions and it is an incredible lens, but I decided to wait before buying one to see how the Sigma performed.  Why? For a few reasons.  First off, the Sigma Art lenses are second to none right now in regards to image quality and sharpness, in fact, my Sigma 85F1.4 Art is one of the sharpest lenses around according to the wizards on the internet which I would totally agree with in my experience.  Secondly, Sigma’s CEO was quoted in an interview that they do one or two projects a year just to make something unique, that others don’t have, not to make a ton of money which I think is super great.  I’m betting this lens fits into that category.  And thirdly, at $1600 the Sigma is $600 cheaper than the Nikon equivalent.  Everybody likes saving money; so its worth a shot, especially with Sigma’s Art Lens previously mentioned quality track record.  So how was it you ask?  Let’s get to it.

(Nikon D850, 31ISO, NEW Sigma 105F1.4Art. 1/200th@F1.4. Phottix Indra500 in a 60″ strip box to the Right of Tommy out in the garage to augment the sunlight coming in from the garage door. Single Bare Bulb Phottix Indra500 inside the garage to light up the background a bit. Both lights triggered from a Phottix ODIN2 in the camera hot shoe).


Now, you should all know this, but I’m going to say it anyway.  Neither Roberts Camera or Sigma are paying me for this review, although Sigma was kind enough to ship me out a copy for a while and Roberts helped me arrange it all.  I had a limited time with this lens, and then I paid my own money to ship it back to Sigma, like normal.  Now that this is out of the way, let’s get to the lens!

(Sigma 85F1.4 Art, NEW Sigma 105F1.4 Art, and Nikon 200F2 VR2)

Firstly, everybody says the NEW Sigma 105F1.4 is gigantic. It’s not. It’s about the same size as my Sigma 85F1.4, but just a little wider. YES, it does have a tripod foot, and many people compared it to the size of the Nikon 200F2 (also above on the right) but it’s really not THAT big.  And as far as the foot goes, Nikon’s upcoming 58 F0.95 Z mount lens will also have a tripod foot and its a 58mm so this shouldn’t be that shocking.  In fact, I found the Lens foot to be beneficial for hand holding the thing ergonomically, and if you don’t like it the ring comes off completely in about 10 seconds of effort.

(Nikon D850, 64ISO, NEW Sigma 105F1.4Art. 1/250th@F1.4. Phottix Indra500 in a 4 foot Strip box to camera left. Phottix Indra500 at the end of the beige hallways with a Green effects Gel. Both lights triggered by a Phottix ODIN2 on the camera hot shoe).


Sigma is touting this lens as the Bokeh master, and I would have to agree.  The Shallow Depth of Field this thing produces is INSANE.  The photo above was shot in a hallway.  A long beige hallway.  At the far end was a Phottix Indra500 head gelled green, but as you can tell with the bokeh it doesn’t matter.  The whole thing just blends away and that’s fantastic.  Can you do this with an 85? or a 50? Sure, a little, but you won’t get anywhere near the same background melting blur.  Because of the 105mm focal length, the blur starts immediately, so stuff that is right behind something melts away, not just stuff in the distance.

(Nikon D850, 2000ISO, NEW Sigma 105F1.4. 1/320th@F1.4)


Ok you knew I had to get a cat photo in here, but the shot above illustrates my point.  That chair is inches behind Bruce in his favorite box, and it is blurred into nothingness thanks to the Sigma 105F1.4’s crazy shallow depth of field.  The falloff is instant, and that can make indoor and outdoor portraits so much more dynamic from any distance.  Just think about if we take Brad from the top of this blog and put him in a much larger, busier environment with some more color?

(Nikon D850, 64ISO, NEW Sigma 105F1.4. 1/250th@F1.4. Phottix Indra500 with 27″ Luna Folding Beauty Dish to above camera right. Phottix Indra500 with 60″ Strip box to camera left behind Brad. One Phottix Indra500 with a blue effects gel about 100′ behind brad between the industrial racks. One Phottix Indra500 150 feet behind Brad behind the set of Industrial Racks with a Green effects gel. All lights controlled independently from the Phottix ODIN2 on my camera hot shoe.)


For longtime blog readers, or my regular Sigma Review readers, you should recognize Brad from other projects.  Brad is one of the best character actors I know, and he doesn’t even know it.  He is a great friend and is always ready to take some persona when in front of my camera.  Here is an IT professional, using the same industrial background as I had him in before, as a musician. (Of course I only now realize I had him pose similarly in this shot).  So, the industrial warehouse is an interesting place but visually it is difficult to work with.  The Shallow Depth of field and some color take care of my difficult background, showing really what this Bokeh Master lens can accomplish. And is it sharp? Whoa baby it sure is! In fact I was astounded as to the speed and accuracy of this lens along with the sharpness.


To be honest, I only shot this lens at F1.4 while I had it.  I only had it for about a week, and much of that time was scrambling to set up some shots for samples. Really though, as I have said in previous posts, and reviews, why would you buy a lens like this to shoot at anything other than F1.4? Go ahead and tell me.  I’ll wait.

(Nikon D850, 100ISO, NEW Sigma 105F1.4ART. 1/1250@F1.4)


Ok I didn’t wait for you to explain, but that’s ok.  The Sigma NEW Sigma 105F1.4 Art lens is more than just a portrait and Bokeh machine though.  During my time with the lens, I noticed that it focused abnormally fast for a Prime lens, especially at Prime F1.4 lens.  Generally, F1.4 primes focus quick, but not fast; if that is a quantifier.  In all reality though, this thing focused more like it was a 24-70F2.8 than a 105F1.4 Prime.  It was Shockingly FAST to focus, Even in the lowest of light.  This is why I took it to the PBA60 Bowling championship to give it a go.

(Nikon D500, 4,000ISO, NEW Sigma 105F1.4 ART, 1/640th@F1.4)


Ok so as I mentioned the Sigma Art lenses track record for quality and speed I expected to be impressed by this lens as I was impressed with Sigma’s 135F1.8, but I should say that I am VERY Impressed with this NEW Sigma 105F1.4.  It managed to exceed all of my already high expectations.  I will admit that it did have just a little bit more trouble tracking the bowling than I had anticipated, but I attribute that to the fact that I was shooting at 4000ISO,  F1.4.  So to say it was super dark in the bowling alley photographing stuff that was moving would be an understatement.  (I shot a majority of the Tournament with my D5 and 200F2 at 8000 ISO…when not shooting with my 2x Extender for some detail shots at 32,000ISO).  Considering the conditions, this lens performed very admirably in my opinion.  When not tracking something in motion in the most miserable light, the lens focused very consistently fast, and accurately.  To an impressive degree.

(Nikon D850, 400ISO, NEW Sigma 105F1.4ART, 1/160th@F1.4. Phottix Indra500 with 47″ Octabox to camera left back about 10 feet. Single Phottix Mitros Plus on a stand with a Red Effects Gel behind Shannon to camera right. Orbs created by Christmas Light netting hanging on a few C Stands in the backyard.)


So there you have it.  I think Sigma’s NEW 105F1.4 is a serious contender in the lens market.  For Portraits, I think it is incredible, even if you have an 85F1.4 already.  Yes, this lens is a little large, but like I showed earlier it’s not all that much bigger than their 85.  I feel like the Sigma is brighter corner to corner than the Nikon 105F1.4, but unfortunately, I have no hard scientific measurements to prove that (nor am I scientific enough to know how to do that, its just a feeling I get having used them both. Here is the FroKnows review though if you are looking for a direct side by side).  The Sigma is also wonderfully sharp, to say the least.  The Nikon is smaller, but also more expensive.  If you have room in your bag I’d save a few bucks and go with the Sigma, its sharpness and brightness across the frame make the little bit of extra heft completely worth it if you ask me.  As usual, Sigma knocked this out of the park.  If you are looking for one, just call the folks at Roberts Camera,  or go in and visit them, they will let you put one on your camera to see for yourself.  Or if you are already convinced, you can get one via their website.  More Soon.