Sigma 105mm ƒ/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens Hands-on Review

The Sigma 105mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art telephoto lens is fast, sharp, and well-made. Here’s my hands-on review.

Sigma 105mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Prime Lens
Last Updated:
Filed Under: Lenses

This post may include affiliate links. Read more.

I’ve recently been out shooting with the Sigma 105mm ƒ/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens.

Sigma has two 105mm primes in their DSLR lineup. (They also have 105mm ƒ/2.8 lenses designed specifically for mirrorless Sony E and Leica L mounts, but they have slightly different designs.) This is the fastest of them. It has a maximum aperture of ƒ/1.4. And there are versions for Nikon F, Canon EF, Sigma SA, Sony E, and Leica L mounts (I’ve been using the Nikon F-mount version). Sigma has set the MSRP at $1599.

Sigma 105mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Prime Lens
With the lens hood attached.

The Sigma 105mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art lens is a big and heavy lens for its focal length, much heavier than the Sigma 105mm ƒ/2.8 macro, a lens I’ve covered before. And while it’s shorter than that lens, it’s much thicker.

Sigma 105mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Prime Lens
In this shot without the lens hood, you can see just how big that front glass element is.

Probably the most typical use for this lens is in the studio and for portraits. But it’s hard to resist a fast ƒ/1.4 lens for travel photography. They’re great for low-light shooting and for isolating subjects in ways that other lenses can’t.

Sigma 105mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Prime Lens
The lens hood detached.

So I wanted to see how this lens performed as a general travel-type lens. I did a similar test of the Nikon 105mm ƒ/1.4. 1

In general, I’m impressed. It’s sharp and well-made. The biggest downsides I’ve found in terms of using it as a walking-around lens are that it’s big and heavy. But then, I’m using it for a non-typical use case. In a studio or set location, that’s going to be much less of a consideration.

Sigma 105mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens For Nikon F (259955 )
  • By including three FLD glass elements, two SLD glass elements, and one aspherical lens element
  • e SIGMA’s Sports line lenses, the 105mm F1.4 DG HSM | Art features a highly effective dust- and...
Sigma 105mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens for Canon EF
  • Package Dimensions: 20 L x6 H x10 W (Inches)
  • Package Weight: 4 pounds

Sigma 105mm ƒ/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens Sample Images

Here’s a small selection of sample images I’ve taken with a Sigma 105mm ƒ/1.4. I’ve posted a larger collection separately.

Washington DC Cherry Blossoms - March 29, 2022
I took this photo with a Sigma 105mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art prime lens on a Nikon D850 full-frame DSLR at ƒ/1.4. (And in case you’re wondering, the lighting is natural. On clear sunrises around the equinox, the sun shines directly into the main chamber of the Lincoln Memorial. This was taken a few minutes after sunrise.)

Key Specs of the Sigma 105mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens

  • Focal Length: 105mm
  • Maximum Aperture: f/1.4
  • Minimum Aperture: f/16
  • Lens Mount: Nikon F / Canon EF / Sigma SA
  • Lens Format Coverage: Full-Frame
  • Angle of View: 23.3°
  • Minimum Focus Distance: 3.28′ / 1 meter
  • Maximum Magnification: 0.12x
  • Optical Design: 17 Elements in 12 Groups
  • Diaphragm Blades: 9, Rounded
  • Focus Type: Autofocus
  • Image Stabilization: No
  • Tripod Collar: Removable and Rotating
  • Filter Size: 105 mm (Front)
  • Dimensions (ø x L): 4.56 x 5.18″ / 115.9 x 131.5 mm
  • Weight: 3.62 lb / 1.64 kg
Sigma 105mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Prime Lens
The lens is made in Japan.

What’s in the Box?

  • Lens
  • Lens Hood (Model LH113-01)
  • Lens Collar (attached)
  • Lens caps
  • Padded semi-rigid case
Sigma 105mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Prime Lens
The lens hood model number is LH1113-01.

Other Alternatives

There are two obvious alternatives to this lens.

On a Nikon DSLR, the most direct is the Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 105mm ƒ/1.4E ED lens. The Nikon is smaller and lighter. It’s also priced higher (around $2100 vs around $1600).

The other is the Sigma 105mm ƒ/2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro lens. The Nikon mount version of that is, in turn, is a version of Nikon’s 105mm ƒ/2.8 macro. As you’d expect, both of the ƒ/2.8 lenses are significantly lower-priced than the ƒ/1.4 lenses.

Sigma 105mm ƒ/1.4Nikon 105mm ƒ/1.4Sigma 105mm ƒ/2.8
Maximum Apertureƒ/1.4ƒ/1.4ƒ/2.8
Minimum Apertureƒ/16ƒ/16ƒ/22
Macro?NoNoYes
Minimum Focus Distance3.28′ / 1 meter3.28′ / 1 meter1.02′ / 31.2 cm
Optical Design17 Elements in 12 Groups14 Elements in 9 Groups16 Elements in 11 Groups
Diaphragm Blades9, Rounded9, Rounded9, Rounded
Image StabilizationNoNoYes
Filter Size105mm82mm62mm
Weight3.62 lb / 1640 g2.17 lb / 985 g1.6 lb / 725 g
Dimensions4.56 x 5.18″ / 115.9 x 131.4mm3.72 x 4.17″ / 94.5 x 106mm3.08 x 4.98″ / 78.3 x 126.4 mm

Things Worth Knowing

  • It takes 105mm screw-on filters.
  • The model number of the dedicated lens hood is LH1113-01.
  • The DG in the lens’s model name essentially means that it’s designed for digital. And while it’s primarily designed for full-frame cameras, it will also work on APS-C and film cameras (with a 1.5x change in focal length on APS-C sensors).
  • The HSM refers to Hyper Sonic Motor, which is Sigma’s version of a quiet and fast autofocus mechanism.
  • The Art refers to the lens series. Sigma’s current lineup is divided into Art, Contemporary, and Sports. The Art line generally puts extra emphasis on optical quality over speed (Sports series) or portability and price (Contemporary series).
Sigma 105mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Prime Lens

Wrap Up

Pros

  • Excellent optics
  • Fast
  • Solidly built

Cons

  • Heavy and bulky

For a long time, Sigma lenses have often been known as cheaper alternatives to the lenses made by the camera manufacturers such as Nikon and Canon.

And while it’s true that Sigma’s lenses are still generally priced a bit lower than the equivalent lenses from the camera manufacturers, Sigma has done a wonderful job in recent years of shaking off any assumption that inexpensive is the same as cheap. I’ve tried quite a few of Sigma’s newer lenses and have found them to be excellent.

Sigma 105mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Prime Lens
The tripod collar comes installed, but you can also remove it. You first loosen the knob at the left of this shot and then rotate the collar until the white mark aligns with the Remove mark on the lens barrel. The collar will then slide right off.

I’ve tried quite a few of Sigma’s newer lenses and have found them to be excellent.

That’s especially true with their Art lineup, which is the series this lens falls into. In my experience, Sigma is really nailing the optical quality. Their lenses are very well-made and, in my experience, have very good quality control. That they happen to be a little cheaper is a nice bonus.

Sigma 105mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Prime Lens
This is the switch on the side of the lens barrel to toggle autofocus or manual focus.

I like this lens. A lot. It’s fast, sharp, and solid. 2 Any reservations I have about it aren’t to do with its performance–it’s simply to do with its size and weight. In putting together a travel-light camera kit, taking this lens means extra compromises elsewhere.

But in situations where portability is less crucial, and when you need large apertures for low-light or maximum bokeh (or both), this lens is well worth a look.

Accessories

Lens Hood. It comes with a lens hood. If you need a replacement or want a spare, the model number is LH113-01.

Tripod Collar. Again, the lens comes with a tripod collar attached. If you need a replacement, the model number is TS-111.

Filters. It takes 105mm screw-on filters (front).

Lens Cap. The front lens cap is model LCF-105 III. Aftermarket versions likely work just as well.

Price & Availability of Sigma 105mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens

The Sigma 105mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens is available in versions with mounts for Canon EF, Nikon F, and Sigma SA. It has an MSRP of $1599.

Check the current price and availability at:

Sigma 105mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens For Nikon F (259955 )
  • By including three FLD glass elements, two SLD glass elements, and one aspherical lens element
  • e SIGMA’s Sports line lenses, the 105mm F1.4 DG HSM | Art features a highly effective dust- and...
Sigma 105mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens for Canon EF
  • Package Dimensions: 20 L x6 H x10 W (Inches)
  • Package Weight: 4 pounds
  1. I’ve been shooting with the Nikon F-mount version on a Nikon D850.[]
  2. You can find Sigma’s optical performance charts for this lens here.[]

Images and product information from Amazon PA-API were last updated on 2022-08-13 at 05:05. Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon Site at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

David Coleman / Photographer
by David Coleman

I'm a professional freelance travel photographer based in Washington DC. Seven continents, up mountains, underwater, and a bunch of places in between. My images have appeared in numerous publications, and you can check out some of my travel photography here. More »

1 thought on “Sigma 105mm ƒ/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens Hands-on Review”

  1. I have used this lens for almost 3 years. As a photographer it is my go to for weddings and portrait work. Simple breath taking.

    Reply

Leave a Comment