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Sigma 135mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art Lens for Nikon F
|Price:||$1,399.00 & FREE Shipping|
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- A new large Hyper Sonic Motor (HSM) delivers ample torque to the focusing group for outstanding speed, ensuring exceptionally stable performance even at lower speeds
- This state-of-the-art prime lens touts a dust and splash proof mount for guaranteed performance in any condition and its large 1.8 aperture allows for more creative control over imagery.
- A stunning compression effect makes the Sigma 135mm F1.8 Art the ideal portrait lens while its large aperture help with event photography and much more.
- Like each and every Global Vision Lens, the Sigma 135mm F1.8 DG HSM Art is handcrafted at our single factory in Aizu, Japan and undergoes individual evaluation before leaving Sigma’s facility.
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|Included Components||lens hood/lens case|
|Item Dimensions||4 x 4.5 x 4.5 inches|
|Item Type Name||digital-slr-camera-lenses|
|Item Weight||2 pounds|
|Lens Design||Fixed Zoom|
|Manufacturer Warranty Description||4 Years|
|Maximum Aperture Range||1.8|
|Maximum Focal Length||135|
|Minimum Focal Length||135|
|Minimum Focal Range||135 mm|
|Photo Filter Thread Size||82 mm|
|Real Angle Of View||18.2 Degrees|
|Shipping Weight||3.35 pounds|
The Sigma 135mm F1.8 DG HSM Art is a medium range telephoto prime lens designed for modern high megapixel DSLRs.
Read about our customers' top-rated lenses and cameras on our review pages: Lenses, Digital SLR Cameras, Compact System Cameras
Top customer reviews
My initial experience was a bummer. The first copy had autofocus problems, which is exactly what I had feared. I was determined to give it a fair shake, though, so I sent it back and requested an exchange and got the Sigma USB dock along with it so I could calibrate it more thoroughly. Around the same time, I ordered a Nikon 105mm f/1.4 with the idea I would test it head-to-head against the Sigma’s replacement when it arrived. Long story short: After several days of testing and hand-wringing and several hundred images shots under varying conditions, I've decided to keep the Nikon even though the second copy of the Sigma was better than the first. It was a tough call, but for me it came down to autofocus capabilities. The Nikon was just more accurate and more consistent, and that's really important to me.
SHARPNESS: Is it sharp? Absolutely. Crazy sharp. It has been hailed as the sharpest lens ever tested by some reviewers, and I would have to agree. It is sharp across the frame at 1.8 and only gets better. Advantage: Sigma.
BOKEH: This, of course, is very subjective. In looking at photos some reviewers posted, I thought the Sigma was slightly more appealing (less fringing and outlining on the “bokeh balls”). In my testing, though, I found little to distinguish the two. Both lenses produce a “creamier,” much more appealing background than my 70-200, which I have always found to be a little “busy” in the bokeh department. Advantage: neither.
BUILD QUALITY: Even though I shoot professionally, I’m pretty easy on my gear, so I don’t obsess over build quality. The Sigma is built like a tank, with lots of metal and a nice quality of rubber on the focus ring. The Nikon has a lot of plastic on the barrel. So what? If Nikon wants to use plastic to save some weight (it’s about five ounces lighter), that’s fine with me. They’re both heavy, but if you’re hand holding for long periods of time, the Sigma might be a bit of a chore to manage. (Both are considerably lighter than the 70-200.) The focus rings on both work very smoothly, but I preferred the slightly heavier touch of the Sigma. Advantage: neither.
AUTOFOCUS: This is where the rubber meets the road as far as I’m concerned. My replacement Sigma was better than the first one, and after fine-tuning with the Sigma USB dock, I thought the AF performance would be acceptable. I was disappointed. My testing consisted of shooting test charts using a tripod and camera timer; still-life arrangements; outdoor portraits both handheld and on tripods; and indoor portraits with studio lighting. I did not test either lens under extreme low-light conditions, like what you might encounter at a wedding or a concert. All shots were taken with my Nikon D750, which is the best-focusing camera I’ve ever owned.
After shooting almost 500 images over the course of several days, I now estimate that the percentage of in-focus shots was between 75-80% for the Sigma and between 85-90% for the Nikon. (Why the estimate? Because I cannot totally account for errors due to my own technique, and I couldn’t tell if some out-of-focus shots were attributable to camera shake or front/back focus.) Is 75-80% good enough for you? Not me. Especially when the Sigma misses focus on a test chart with adequate contrast and detail in a brightly lit room, which it did multiple times, especially when using the outer focus points. I just don’t get that. Neither lens was as reliable as my 70-200, which regularly nails about 95% of shots.
Does all of the above constitute an accurate and scientific test? Heck no. But it’s the best I could do to mimic real-world conditions I shoot under. Much has been written about the difficulty third-party lens manufacturers have in achieving reliable autofocus with Nikon and Canon bodies. They don’t have access to the “secret sauce” that Nikon bakes into their lens-body communication algorithms, so they just do their best to reverse-engineer their products to work with both Canon and Nikon, with occasionally mixed results. The consensus is that both Sigma and Tamron are getting better, but in my opinion they aren’t there yet. These are the third and fourth 3rd-party lenses I have tested in the last two months, and I’ve been less than satisfied with all of them. Your mileage may vary, and you may get lucky enough to get a Sigma (or Tamron) that works great with your particular camera body. If you do, I’m jealous, because the optical qualities of some of these lenses are fantastic. But for me, unreliable AF is a deal breaker. I admit to being a geek and a pixel-peeper, but when you’re shooting portraits for clients who might order a 30x40 wall portrait, accurate and reliable autofocus is necessary to get the kind of critical sharpness that can make or break an image. Advantage: Nikon.
STABILIZATION: Neither lens has it. I wish they did. I use off-camera flash a lot, and prefer to keep my shutter speed close to the sync speed of my D750 (max 1/250). Even at 1/250, it’s hard to hand-hold either lens adequately still, at least for me. The longer length of the Sigma made it marginally worse. For that reason I will be using a monopod for most of my work.
OTHER FACTORS: Chromatic aberration (green/purple fringing) was better controlled on the Sigma, but was not really a problem on the Nikon, especially compared with other fast primes. I don’t pay attention to vignetting, as it’s easily fixable in post processing.
VALUE: This is the most subject area of all. Is either lens worth it? If you’re a rich hobbyist, just get both. If you’re a budget-conscious consumer or even a working professional, it’s a tougher call. I really wish I could have saved $800 and kept the Sigma. But the frustration of dealing with out-of-focus shots would have driven me up the wall. And value is more than just the price differential. If I decide to sell the Nikon in a few years, the superior resale value will have pretty much eclipsed the initial savings on the Sigma. From a strictly business standpoint, it’s hard to justify either one over my 70-200. The difference in sharpness and bokeh isn’t something clients will notice, so the new Nikon won’t make me any more money or let me make shots I couldn’t make before. But sometimes a craftsman just wants to get a nicer tool even though the old one still works fine, just for the enjoyment derived from using that tool. So I guess it’s just an indulgence, my guilty pleasure. We all have those, don’t we?
The lens, like the Sigma 35 Art and the Sigma 50 Art lens, is incredibly sharp even wide open at 1.8. IMO the Sigma 135 seems like it is even sharper than the other Sigma Art lenses. And it renders colors better than any lens I've ever used.
I'm not into bokeh that is "bubblely", but more interested in a soft transition to the out of focus background, and this lens proved beautiful for that effect. I'm confident that if I wanted to produce bokeh balls that I could.
The lens barrel has 3 different focus distances from which to use. There is one focus distance that I did not try yet, and that I've seen on the internet, and appears to take excellent flower photos.
The barrel is not as long as my Nikon 70-200 2.8 VR II, but it is fat and not a light-weight at 44 ounces. After a couple of solid hours shooting with it, I was wishing that it had optical stabilization. It's a fantastic addition to my relatively small stable of lenses that I will use frequently, and will definitely find a consistent spot in my camera bag. I currently shoot with a Nikon D810 and D750.
Here is a test shoot of my daughter...