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Sigma 85mm F1.4 vs Sony FE 85mm F1.4 GM for Portraits

Last week, I have tested both Sigma 85mm F1.4 and Sony FE 85mm F1.4 for portraits. Here are some of my thoughts on these two lenses.

Key Points

  • First Impression on Sigma 85mm - very sharp and nice bokeh.

  • Flare Control between Sigma 85mm vs GM 85mm

  • Color temperature differences.

Model: lily.kirova | Sigma 85mm F1.4, 1/200s, ISO 100
Model: lily.kirova | Sigma 85mm F1.4, 1/200s, ISO 100

My First Impression on Sigma 85mm - Very Sharp

I have rented the Sigma 85mm F1.4 for three weeks to test out. I have been using the GM 85mm F1.4 for couple years. I will have some insights on the differences between these two lenses. After two portraits photoshoot using the Sigma 85mm, I felt the wide open at F1.4 is very sharp for this lens. The sharpness is about 20 percent sharper than the GM 85mm F1.4.

Left: Sony FE 85mm F1.4 vs Right: Sigma 85mm F1.4

Flare Control

As you have seen from the two photo samples above, the FE 85mm F1.4 on the left has more flare than the Sigma 85mm F1.4 on the right. It depends on your photography style, some people might like more flare in their portraits photos to create certain mood for sunset. If you like to have less flare on direct sunlight hit, you should get the Sigma 85mm F1.4. The contrast on the Sigma 85mm F1.4 straight out of the camera seems better.

The other thing I noticed Sigma 85mm F1.4 doesn't have any stripe issues like the Sony lenses produce. You can check out my previous video on the stripes:

So if you don't want to go through the fixing of striping issues from Sony lenses, Sigma 85mm F1.4 should be a good choice for you.

Left: Sony FE 85mm F1.4 vs Right: Sigma 85mm F1.4

Color Temperatures

The other important thing I noticed from these two lenses are the color temperature results. The Sigma on the two set of samples above are warmer than the FE 85mm F1.4 GM on the left. They were taken under the same white balance setting on sunlight white balance of A7iii. If you shoot raw, you can adjust the white balance in the post. I like the warm based tones personally more since I shoot lots of sunset hours. It is easier for me to start editing as the warmer baseline.

Full Body Shots

Next, I wanted to check out how it looked when shooting full body shots at wide open, and I wanted to see the differences of the background from the full body standpoint.

Left: Sony FE 85mm F1.4 vs Right: Sigma 85mm F1.4

As you have seen the photos above, the background bokeh for the full body shots are pretty similar. Both can produce a very nice and smooth full body portraits shots.

Here is the full video of this shoot if you want to see more samples:

In summary, Sigma 85mm F1.4 has better flare control and less backlight issues with Sony camera. Also, if you shoot lots of golden hours lighting, Sigma warm tone straight out of the camera should fit your shooting style. In addition, Sigma 85mm F1.4 is about $700 less expensive than GM 85mm F1.4. That's a very good Price to Quality ratio for the Sigma 85mm F1.4.

Sigma 85mm F1.4:

Thanks for reading :) More photos will be uploaded in my Instagram account: @caliallstaring.

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