Lens Review! Sigma 105mm – Dreamiest Lens Ever?
Let’s unpack it together in this photography tutorial.
Lens Review! Sigma 105mm -Dreamiest Lens Ever?
Trying out the Sigma 105mm f1.4 lens during a portrait photoshoot
A review of the longest Sigma Art Line lens on the block – Sigma 105mm f1.4.
In this video, Julia Trotti shows the specs and features of this lens and her professional opinion of using it while shooting a portrait session. The camera she is using is a Sony A7IV.
Is this the dreamiest lens ever?
Review of the Sigma 105mm Lens
Overview of the Sigma Lens
The Sigma 105mm f1.4 lens is a prime lens or fixed lens, meaning that the lens length is not adjustable. Prime lenses come in short (35mm) to longer lengths (135mm) for different variations of photos.
The longer focal length gives a shallower depth of field.
Depth of field means the distance between the closest and furthest objects that are in focus, so shallow means the subject might be in focus while the background is blurred.
This can be great if you like shooting macro photography (super detailed closeups), landscape, and portrait photography.
Specs & Features of this Sigma 105mm Lens
This lens is a big one! Weighing in at 1,720 grams (almost 4 pounds!)
It comes with a large screw-on lens hood and removable tripod collar.
Lens hoods shade the lens from light flares and too much light, so a large one will help in sunny conditions.
A tripod collar allows the lens to be mounted to a tripod if you wanted to steady the camera. Tripod mounting is helpful for example for photos of wildlife, sport, or taking videos.
The focal length of this Sigma lens is 105mm
This means the length from the glass lens to the sensor on the camera that captures light is 105mm long. Since lenses are made up of a series of glass plates, this length has a lot of glass inside (compared to a 35mm which is short and would need less glass)
The f1.4 means the lens has a very wide aperture – which lets in a lot of light to for the camera to capture.
This Sigma lens has available camera mounts for a few variations of Cannon, Nikon, Sigma, and Sony cameras and it can be used with a few different cameras by these brands.
Features an AF/MF switch on the side of the lens.
The AF/MF switch allows you to change between focus modes, Auto Focus (AF) and Manual Focus (MF).
Auto focus is helpful when you want the lens to choose the best focus point for your photos, and you will use manual focus when you want to choose the focus or focal point for the shot. There is a focus ring on the lens for adjusting the focus.
In this photo from another of Julia’s reviews, you can see the difference between some shorter and longer focal lengths, to get an idea of where this lens sits:
The 105mm is close to the 100mm, giving you more focus on the subject than the 85mm but not quite as much depth of field as the 135mm.
The Sigma 105mm Lens in Action
This lens creates a super soft dreamy effect with natural lighting.
When used like in this video for an outdoor natural light portrait shoot, the pictures are warm and soft while still being sharp and focused.
The lens does have a bit of lens flare, which happens when shooting towards the sun and the bright sun rays are hitting the lens. Lens flare can make your photo look soft and dreamy, although this can be a bit much if it’s not the vibe you are after.
In this photo you can see some lens flare:
(The camera settings 1/1600 is the shutter speed, F1.4 aperture setting, and ISO 200 which is the setting that adjusts the camera’s light sensitivity)
Because of the longer focal length, this lens can get the ‘ghosting’ effect easily.
Ghosting is the hazy effect created by too much light hitting the lens.
Even when you use the lens hood you can still get ghosting. This can be a good thing if you like this look and a beautiful effect that is hard to get otherwise.
The downside is that the subject doesn’t cut through as much when back lit as the lighting effect is super strong.
This photo below has a lot of ghosting going on:
Quick Pros & Cons of using the Sigma 105mm:
Pros of the Sigma 105mm:
- There is great separation between background and foreground – it softens out the background really well with the shallow depth of field
- The Auto focus feature is very smooth and keeps up well with many quick changes to angles and lighting
- There is a nice lens flare effect with natural light which is a pro if you want that vibe
- Great choice for video as well. The auto focus keeps up quickly and captures the soft lighting really nicely.
Cons of the Sigma 105mm:
- Lots of ghosting on back lit subjects and some lens flare that is hard to escape
- Physically large and heavy – Takes up a lot of room in the gear bag and can wear down your arms quickly.
- Noticeable colour reflection onto subject which needed to be edited out in photoshop
Lens Review Sigma 105mm – Final Thoughts
This Sigma lens creates beautiful soft lit portrait shots with intriguing flaring and ghosting. Conversely, you can struggle to get the subject to ‘pop’ as much in certain lighting situations. This lens is quite comparable to the Canon EF 85mm f1.2 while being longer and heavier.
This lens would not ideal for your full day photoshoots, and probably better for shorter portrait sessions or mounted photo or video shoots due to its heavy weight and large size.
Overall, this lens is great for that shallow depth of field, smooth focus transition and capturing beautiful natural light.
Which lens is your favorite to use?
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