CP+ 2018: Hands-on with Sigma’s bokeh badboy, the 105mm f/1.4 Art lens
posted Thursday, March 1, 2018 at 9:21 AM EDT
Ahead of the annual CP+ trade show in Yokohama, Japan, Sigma announced some big lens news, the first of which was a bundle of Sony FE-mount versions of their Art series lenses. They also announced a pair of all-new optics: the 70mm f/2.8 Macro Art lens and a massive, "bokeh-licious" 105mm f/1.4 Art lens. The 105mm is the latest Art-series lens with a bright f/1.4 aperture, the longest f/1.4 Art lens to date.
At the show here in Japan, I had an opportunity to get a brief hands-on with this new 105mm f/1.4 Art lens. As the photos illustrate, the Sigma 105mm lens is an impressively large, wide and, in a way, a stubby piece of gear, at a little over five inches in diameter and utilizing a large 105mm front filter thread.
Weighing in at around 3.6 lbs (1645g), the lens is certainly hefty, but when mounted to a full-frame DSLR, such as the Canon 6D body Sigma provided, the lens balanced quite nicely with very little front heaviness, which I found surprising. There's a lot of glass in this lens -- 17 optical elements, in fact -- with particularly large front elements. And yet despite the heft, the lens feels very easy to hand-hold. The 105mm comes with an Arca-Swiss-compatible tripod collar, a feature typically seen on longer telephoto lenses.
The barrel construction is machined out of lightweight aluminum with Sigma's Thermally Stable Composite Material used on the inside. Like Sigma's Sport series of lenses, the 105mm Art lens features extensive weather-sealing as well. The lens feels super-solid and very well built, just as we've experienced with other Sigma Art-series optics. An interesting note about the lens hood itself: the removable hood is constructed from a carbon fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP) material, as opposed to typical ABS plastic. For such a large-diameter lens, a simple plastic lens hood would have too much flex and be rather flimsy, while a sturdy metal lens hood would have been too heavy, offsetting the balance of the lens. Using CFRP material allowed for a lightweight yet stiff, high quality lens hood.
The lens demoed at CP+ was still in a very early prototype stage, so unfortunately we weren't able to go out and shoot with it. As Sigma puts it, this "bokeh master" is designed to produce very pleasing bokeh yet with minimal aberrations and vignetting while delivering excellent resolution. Needless to say, we can't wait to get a fully testable sample of this lens!