Lens Guides

Falling in Love with the SIGMA 105mm F1.4 DG HSM | Art Lens

Oh, SIGMA 105mm F1.4 DG HSM | Art lens. How I love thee. Let me count the ways.

First. This lens makes me INSTANTLY look like a boss. When I pull this baby out of my camera bag I hear the oo’s and aah’s from my clients. Comments like “Woah, that’s legit,” or “Wow, that’s a serious lens,” are a regular occurrence when the 105mm makes her debut. I know a big lens shouldn’t make me feel like I’m a better photographer just based on it’s sheer size and beefiness, but it does. When I hold this lens and hear that delicious click… I’m instantly a better photographer. I look awesome holding it and I know my clients think the same.

For a long time, I didn’t shoot with longer focal lengths. I stuck to the trendy 35mm or the old standby 50mm. I first saw the 105mm F1.4 DG HSM | Art in Las Vegas at the WPPI conference, and thought “DAAAAAAAAANG! Now that’s a lens!” It felt substantial in my hands, and when I clicked it into the Nikon FTZ adapter for my Nikon Z7, I was a bit worried it wouldn’t be able to hold the weight, but it was totally fine. No problems at all. In fact, I think one holdup for Nikon Z shooters is that they are concerned about adapter performance, but never you fear! I’ve used the FTZ adapter for all of my F-mount SIGMA lenses with no problems. I still have crisp, beautiful images.

It’s strange to look back at that moment and realize that it was my first interaction with my closest and most-trusted friend. Oh, 105mm. I didn’t even know I loved you then, but now I know oh so much.

I’ve even stopped using my 85mm lenses now that I own this 105mm. In fact, if you’re trying to decide between any 85mm and the SIGMA 105mm F1.4 DG HSM | Art, I would definitely sway you to the 105mm. It’s just THAT much more dreamy and bokehlicious. When you need a dramatic, full body shot or a beautiful head shot, it’s time to grab the 105mm.

SIGMA 105mm F1.4 DG HSM | Art
mounted on Nikon Z7 with FTZ Adapter
SIGMA 105mm F1.4 DG HSM | Art
mounted on Nikon Z7 with FTZ Adapter

I’ve used this lens for some lovely first dance photos. The F1.4 aperture is MONEY in low-light scenarios. Then add the focal length of 105mm and we’re making some real money now! I seriously call this lens my money-making lens. It’s a definite investment to build a more professional portfolio that will attract higher-paying clients.

The large aperture of the SIGMA 105mm F1.4 Art lets you shoot in extremely dim conditions.

While I was out at the Salt Flats in northwestern Utah (just east of Wendover, Nevada), I took the same photo using 35mm and 105mm lenses. I wanted to show the difference in background blur that just focal length creates. I shot each image at F1.4, but stepped back to get the full body for the 105mm and then walked closer to get the similar shot with the 35mm. FYI that’s how you zoom in and out with fixed or standard lenses… you walk. 🙂

with SIGMA 35mm F1.4 DG HSM | Art
(click to enlarge)
with SIGMA 105mm F1.4 DG HSM | Art
(click to enlarge)

I liked how each image looked, and ultimately I liked the 35mm for this specific pose because I wanted to see the mountains in the backdrop. But with the 105mm you can see how it just blurs those mountains into lovely oblivion, which is SO important when you’re trying to minimize a backdrop or blur something out that’s undesirable.

Technically, this lens is a boss. It’s super fast with focusing and works very well with Nikon Z series cameras. I know its size can be a little intense, but it’s worth the weight in your bag. In fact, I carried this beast straight up a mountainside at an elopement session in Salt Lake City, Utah. If I had to do it over again, I would still take that big lens. It helps flatten a busy background. Take this trail for example:

I wanted to compress and flatten this foliage on this trail to simplify and take the viewer’s eye to the cute couple. The focal length and aperture helped me achieve that. I was snapping this as I was walking backwards up the trail, and the lens still focused quickly and grabbed some beautiful images for me. Walking shots can get frustrating when you’re moving and your client’s moving and you’re trying to stay focused, but it’s no prob for this lens.

The F1.4 aperture was the biggest selling point for me. I LOVE shooting at blue hour or right after the sun goes down, which means it gets dark… real quick. I shot this well after sundown with an incredibly slow shutter speed (1/15s):

This lens (along with some steady hand holding and photoshopping) made this image so dreamy, creamy and perfect. I added some layers and masked the shenanigans out of it, but I really like how it turned out. The focal length AND aperture combo made this such a fun image to shoot and edit.

I especially enjoy editing my sessions if I know that all of my lenses are consistent. I rarely if ever see any chromatic aberration in any SIGMA lenses, but the 105mm F1.4 DG HSM | Art is in a league of her own. No problems whatsoever with unwanted sun flares or chromatic aberration.

Overall, I’ve absolutely loved snapping full body shots from afar, then getting closer up (without needing to be up in my client’s faces) to get some more artistic shots. The SIGMA 105mm F1.4 DG HSM | Art does a lot of the work for me. Its dreamy bokeh creates such artistic yumminess that I don’t need to do much. This lens was one I had my eye on for over a year and I’m SO happy it’s in my camera bag.

Comments (4)
  1. Troy Phillips says:

    I’ve been looking hard at this lens or the Sigma Art 135mm f/1.8. Can you say BOTH! Lol . I now shoot with the Sigma 28mm and 40mm f/1.4 Art lenses.
    Actually I have a live music show on MediaCom channel MC22 called Small Batch Sessions. And today I’ll be videoing with both lenses. The 28mm will be on a gimbal . Can’t wait!
    And I see this lens soon in my stable !

  2. Zain Ahmed says:

    this lens has bokeh which resembles 200mm f/2 nikon lens.

  3. Great review beyond the boring specs and “cons” of being big and heavy!

  4. I have the 105mm as well, but think it’s way 2 big/heavy. A pity that Sigma dont put VR in their ART glasses. Strongly considering a 85mm instead of my 105mm.
    And you are right – even as a man – people gasps when you pull up the 105mm … but it’s still heavy! 🙁
    Have the 50mm as well – my bread and butter for most of my studio work…

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