Urban exploration with the SIGMA 85mm F1.4 DG HSM | ART SE mount by HD.XR

Urban exploration with the SIGMA 85mm F1.4 DG HSM | ART SE mount by HD.XR

SIGMA Art lenses have been on my radar for a while now. My first experience using one was when I borrowed a friend’s SIGMA 24mm F1.4 DG HSM | Art lens a few years ago. I was unbelievably impressed with the quality of the lens itself and the imagery that I was able to create with it.

I’ve used several different models in the Art range since that first experience. Over the course of time my opinion of their quality has grown positively and I have a preference for using them. That’s why I jumped at the opportunity to use the new SIGMA 85mm F1.4 DG HSM | Art lens in the native SE mount when it was offered.


My first impression was this lens seemed considerably bigger than other SIGMA lenses I’ve used before. I thought this might cause an issue for me since my photography is based on documenting my passion for urban exploration; the infiltration of live sites and places that the public would not normally see such as rooftops tunnels and anything else where access is forbidden. So being able to move easily & quickly with as little equipment as possible is essential. But after using this lens for the first time, it quickly came to my attention that size did not matter and this lens should hold a permanent place in my gear collection.


The SIGMA 85mm | Art was a lens that I had wanted to put through the test for a long while. Being an avid user of the SIGMA 20mm F1.4 DG HSM | Art and generally using wide angles for my preferred type of urban photography, I was interested to see the different perspective a lens like this would create and what it would open up for me.


My photography is all shot “on the go”. The subjects and locations that I choose to photograph do not always allow for me to set up a perfectly lit shot however the SIGMA 85mm | Art was well suited for use. The F1.4 brightness worked perfectly to capture details that would’ve been missed. Plus the high quality of the bokeh and precise focus that this lens creates allowed for the places that I’ve shot before to be seen in completely different ways.


When I initially brought the SIGMA 20mm | Art I was amazed at how it allowed me to capture sharp hand held images in precarious and difficult to shoot situations. So I was skeptical that a higher focal length lens such as an 85mm would be of any use to me. It did force me to shoot in completely different ways as I didn’t have to be so close. I found that when shooting from further back, the lens drew the skyline closer to the subject, creating a cinematic like image that I’d never been able to capture before.


It also brought new perspectives within architecture photography to my attention, with the ability to focus on specific attributes of buildings or the way different buildings overlap on the skyline. These are things I’d normally miss due to the overwhelming nature of some of the locations I shoot and so using this lens was genuinely refreshing.

Obviously it’s not just the lens that creates a good image. Your own eye for the image and personal creativity are important but the quality of this lens’ performance does make it a hell of a lot easier. Having a SIGMA Art inspires the Art of creating!


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