050611 Lens Review the infamous Canon 85 mm 1.2 vs the Sigma 85mm 1.4

So everyone now is caught up in ultra shallow depth of fields, and in the high end wedding and portrait world the Canon 85 mm 1.2 lens seems to be the "big thing" right now, but for $2,200 + tax, is it giving that much more advantage over Sigma's $969 dollar 85 mm 1.4? This whole comparison idea came from my good friend Jessica from B&H when I was talking about buying an 85 mm prime lens.

Nationally published automotive photog, OJ Santiago, and I teamed up Friday night to do a comparison! (I hope it's obvious that the portraits of me were taken by Mr. Santiago, and those of him were taken by me.)

Using the high speed shutter method (seen here) Mr. Santiago and I picked out a few different locations and styles to see how the lenses performed.

We first started off shooting full body shots at 1.4 on each camera (with speedlights). The results? Some of these images are shot with the Sigma, some are the Canon, can you tell a difference? I can't. However shooting at this distance made focusing very tricky. I would recommend using a 580's focusing ability to assist to make sure you get it right. 1.4 is very shallow even at 30 feet.

When we tested the lenses on head and shoulders portraits on the Canon 7D the Sigma appeared to have more contrast than the Canon, but the canon had a bit more chromatic aberration and definitely more at 1.2.

Over all, personally, I think both of these lenses are best suited for head and shoulders portraits and low light situations, the long distance focus problem is tough to get over. Having said that, these lenses, in these two scenarios performed pretty identically. Food for thought.

The best part about this review was getting to experiment with a good friend and inspirational photographer! :)

Canon 85 mm 1.2 Lens

Sigma 85 mm 1.4 Lens


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