Sigma 85mm f1.4 “Art” : Optical Perfection?

We know that DxO lab testing revealed the new Sigma 85mm f1.4 Prime Lens was as good as it gets but what about real world testing?

Well Dpreview have published a full user review of Sigma’s new “Art” lens for full frame DSLR’s and here’s what they concluded:

From Dpreview


“The Sigma 85mm F1.4 Art offers some incredible image quality for the price, with outstanding class leading sharpness, excellent subject isolation and bokeh performance. The F1.4 aperture makes it a fantastic choice for low-light events and portrait shooting. The lens does experience some purple and green fringing when it’s shot wide open at F1.4 in harsh backlit conditions, but stopping it down to F2.5 eliminates it entirely. All in all this lens is one of the best portrait lenses we’ve seen to date and at a bargain price for the performance”.
No doubts there then?
February 2017

Sigma 85mm f1.4 Art Review

Sigma 85mm f1.4 DG “Art” : Prime lens perfection?

We know the new Sigma 85mm f1.4 “Art” lens performed amazingly in the lab when tested by DxO, now online review site Cameralans has published a user review and here’s what they concluded:

Sigma 85mm F1.4 DG HSM Art Review Image

From Cameralabs:

“The Sigma 85mm f1.4 DG HSM Art is the latest addition to Sigma’s hugely successful series of “Art” lenses. My tests show that the new lens delivers excellent optical performance: it’s very sharp across a full-frame sensor right up into the corners whether at infinity or normal distances. In fact it produces the sharpest FF/FX-corners of any 85mm I’ve seen with very low coma. And it has a superbly soft Bokeh which makes for very pleasing out-of-focus rendering. Its focus is fast and quiet plus the lens features sealing at the lens-mount and can be updated and adapted to one’s needs from your computer through the separately available USB-dock. Add Sigma’s build-quality of the “Art” series and the option to swap the lens-mount should you change your system or mount it on Sony’s E-mount via Sigma’s MC-11 adapter and you should have a clear winner.

The new Sigma 85/1.4 Art finally brings Sigma’s 85mm prime up to the performance one can expect from a modern lens designed with 36+ MP sensors in mind: It offers the best performing FF/FX-corners and the softest Bokeh of any 85mm lens I know. Plus it is astonishingly resilient against strong contra-light. And although it is not the sharpest in the center, has a little more longitudinal CAs than others, and is a huge and heavy beast of a lens I’d award Sigma’s new 85/1.4 Art a Highly Recommended”.

Good points
Very good image quality across the full-frame area.
Smoothest Bokeh in its class.
Weather sealing at the lens mount.
Quiet and fast AF operation.

Bad points
AF needs fine-tuning via USB-dock.
AF is not the most accurate.
LoCA could be lower.
No image stabilization.

February 2017

Sony FE 50mm f2.8 Macro Prime

Sony FE 50mm f2.8 Macro Prime.

Sony FE 50mm F2.8 Macro Review Image

Amateur Photographer (AP) Magazine contained a test / review of Sony’s FE 50mm F2.8 Macro prime lens designed to be used with the company’s Alpha A7 range of full frame mirror-less camera’s.

From Amateur Photographer (AP) Magazine:

“In terms of image quality its hard to fault the Sony FE 50mm f2.8 Macro”

“In summary, the build quality is superb, optically the lens is great and if you are primarily looking to shoot macro images but also want a standard 50mm lens, then its a good option”

“Users on a tight budget could consider buying the FE 50mm f1.8 with a set of extension tubes instead”

December 2016

Olympus m.Zuiko 12-100mm F4 Review

Olympus m.Zuiko 12-100mm F4 : Perfect Travel Option

Olympus M.ZUIKO Digital ED 12-100mm f/4.0 IS Pro Review Image

From Photography Blog UK:

“The Olympus M.ZUIKO Digital ED 12-100mm f/4.0 IS Pro makes a great all-in-one travel partner to the OM-D E-M1 Mark II camera, forming a fast, well-built, weather-proof system that delivers excellent image quality, not to mention featuring the most advanced image stabilisation system of any camera/lens combination currently available.

Optically, it’s not quite a perfect lens though. While both centre and edge sharpness are very high throughout most of its focal length range, the performance drops off a little at the 100mm focal length, where you need to stop down to get acceptable results. Otherwise it’s all good news. Chromatic aberrations are almost completely absent, vignetting is not a real issue, and distortion is very well auto-corrected through software algorithms.

The Olympus M.ZUIKO Digital ED 12-100mm f/4.0 IS Pro is a great choice for those users who want an all-in-one solution to their everyday photography and videography needs, covering a very versatile focal range whilst featuring both a fast f/4 aperture and an amazing image stabilisation system. Highly Recommended”! 

November 2016

Olympus mZuiko 30mm f3.5 Macro Prime Review

Olympus mZuiko 30mm f3.5 Macro Prime : Small lens, big performance. 

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 30mm F3.5 Macro Review Image

Photography Blog UK has published a review of the petite Micro Four Third (M43) Olympus mZuiko 30mm f3.5 macro prime lens the little brother to Olympus’s mZuiko 60mm f2.8 Macro which is a great value macro and short telephoto prime in its own right.

The new Zuiko 30mm lens gives an equivilent 60mm focal length so with a bit of thought it can probably also double as a short telephoto prime for street photography or even general photography ?

Panasonic also does a micro four third 30mm macro prime, the Panasonic 30mm Lumix f2.8 OIS but its  a fair bit more expensive than the Olympus lens plus its bigger & heavier than the Zuiko prime (in part due to it having in-lens stabilisation).

As all Olympus M43 bodies have in-body stabilisation the new 30mm f3.5 lens can be constructed more cheapily than the Panasonic lens but it can still be used the recent Panasonic M43 bodies that sport in-body stabilisation.

So what did Photography Blog make of the new Olympus macro lens?

From Photography Blog UK:

“The Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 30mm f/3.5 ED Macro is an outstanding performer in the optical department. Centre sharpness is very good wide open, reaching excellent levels at f/5.6. The borders are also very sharp, with optimum performance achieved at f/5.6 and f/8. Geometric distortion is essentially nonexistent, and chromatic aberrations are extremely well controlled too. Vignetting is visible at f/3.5 but goes away upon stopping down. Optically, the only weak point is lens flare – with the sun in the frame, you can see all sorts of streaking and ghosts, along with some veiling. A well-designed lens hood would probably help a lot here, but unfortunately none is included. Focusing is quick and almost silent, and the lens is pretty unobtrusive in ‘normal’ use. The lens’s maximum reproduction ratio of 1.25:1 is unparalleled in its class”.

My Take:

Yet another winner from Olympus, the new lens clearly offers excellent performance in a small package and at a very reasonable price.

Mark Baynham ( November 2016)