This past weekend I had the chance to take the Sigma 135 f/1.8 DG HSM | Art Series lens on a test-drive in Texas. I was at Precision Camera’s event called “Precision Camera University”. This event, held in Bastrop, was a great chance to take some models out to truly test the performance of this highly-anticipated new Sigma portrait lens. The images shown were photographed with the 50-megapixel Canon 5DSr camera.
My first thought after taking it out of the box was about the size. The 135mm Art lens is smaller in both length and diameter than the 85mm Art lens. With a filter size of 82mm compared the 85mm Art lens filter size of 86mm, this lens is sure a nice alternative if you are looking for something a bit smaller in physical size. As for weight, the 135mm is slightly heavier coming at 40.9oz. vs. 39.9oz on the 85mm.
The 135mm Art series lens is a popular focal length for portrait photographers focusing on individuals and couples. When you start photographing families and groups, the distance you need to capture everyone starts to hinder your abilities to be effective in posing.
I had the chance to photograph two different models with the 135mm Art series lens. One of my favorite ways to photograph a model is to keep the camera level while lowering the entire camera. This gives the appearance of more power to the model. When looking at the portraits, you will notice that the 135mm focal length creates a great amount of compression with the subject to the background. The bokeh of this focal length with its wide f/1.8 aperture creates a stunning, almost surreal quality to the background. In addition to the background, I photographed the female model with flowers in the foreground. With the thin depth of field at f/2.5 this image shows the blurred foreground and background that draws your eye into the subject.
The sharpness you can see with the 100% crop on the images shown. When photographing at the wider aperture, you are sure to get more out of focus areas but the sharp areas are tack-sharp. When stopping down to f/4 and f/5.6, the sharpness is incredible!
The Sigma 135mm Art series lens will almost certainly change the portrait photographers mind for their go-to prime lens. For me, the main highlight of the lens is the compression and wide aperture combination. This makes for stunning portraits in almost any location.
If you have a local camera store, go try this out for yourself. If you don’t have a local camera store, go to Sigma’s events page and see where our team of technical representatives will be next. Come see us and try the 135mm f/1.8 Art Series lens among others!