A First Look at the Sigma 135mm f/1.8 Lens for Sony E Mount

Sigma bringing their much-lauded Art series line of lenses to the Sony E mount created a lot of excitement in the photography world, and as they continue to make their way into the hands of photographers, reviews have begun to pop up. This review takes a look at the Sigma 135mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art lens.

Coming to you from Manny Ortiz, this great video gives his first impressions of the Sigma 135mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art for the Sony E mount. One of the most common complaints about the Sony full frame system is that its lens library is not as extensive as Canon's and Nikon's (DSLR) systems, but as third party manufacturers continue to flock to the mount, that's changing more quickly than ever. I was particularly interested in the autofocus performance of the Sigma lens with the Sony, as that can be hit or miss with what are otherwise optically stellar lenses, but it seems Ortiz was quite impressed with the performance, likening it to a native lens. With great wide-open sharpness, good autofocus performance, rugged build, and a wide maximum aperture, it seems Sigma may have a real winner here, which is great news for Sony shooters. 

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Ryan Graham's picture

" . . . likening it to a native lens." Is this not a native lens? I of course realize that these lenses were originally designed for use on DSLRs. But the whole point of this release, I thought, was to have these lenses in a native Sony E-mount. Am I missing something?

JJ Casas's picture

I believe there was a debate here before on “native” and its definition. Some argued that native means E-mount and others argued native means Sony’s own line of lens. This review is of the Sigma lens but for E-mount. :shrug:

Ryan Graham's picture

Interesting. I've never heard 'native' used in that context before. It's always been 'first-party' or 'third-party'.

Eric Salas's picture

I’ve always known native as no adapter. This was designed for the Emount and keeps all the features of the Sony cameras in tact while using it so technically it’s native third party.

Native or not depends on if the features are retained or lost IMO.

michaeljin's picture

These Sigma E-Mount lenses look like their Canon variants with a built-in MC-11 adapter. Would that be considered "native" then? I feel like for a lens to be considered native, it should at very least be optimized to perform for that specific mount—not simply fit on it. This means that the optics are designed for the mount and all communications between the lens and the body are 100% precise (not reverse engineered). The latter is definitely easy enough with Sony making their mount specs available, but I question the first part since optically, this is still just an adapted SLR lens.

Eric Salas's picture

The problem is that it performs with all features and with the speed of a native lense so regardless of looks, there is nothing that indicates it is not a native lens.

michaeljin's picture

As long as the performance is the, i guess. I was under the impression that mirrorless registration differences allowed for different optical schemes for sharper edges that wouldn't have been feasible with DSLR. So should this fact not be taken into account?

If not, both Canon and Nikon's MILC systems could be said to have tons of native lenses due to their OEM adapters which provide native performance. We don't consider this to be the case, though.

Eric Salas's picture

Native would have to be with the omitting of adapters and the contacts being lens to body mount. The adapters have to process and then translate to a lens what you want to happen. No matter what, adapters suck. It's just a fact of how it works. I use my canon 17-40L lens daily and I hate using an adapter with it but I love the lens.

Sharper edges is all about the glass. I don't know anything about registration differences or optical schemes.

michaeljin's picture

So do these Sigma E-mount lenses perform better than Sigma EF lenses with an MC-11 adapter? I suppose that's my primary curiosity in all of this. Or did Sigma just release a bunch of Canon lenses with built-in adapters and call them E-mount lenses?

alexdesalta's picture

I had the Zeiss 135 f1.8 ZA and it was beautiful but big and heavy, it looks very similar, it actually looks as if you have soldered an mc-11 adapter to the lens for reflex and not as a lens designed for E mount.

I have the Batis, they are light and beautiful, although it has a f2.8 diaphragm. My question is, is it worth changing batis for this?

Eric Salas's picture

It is worth changing to get extra bokeh from the 1.8 vs 2.8 but the sigma 105mm 1.4 is worth the money more than the 135mm IMO.

I was holding out for this lens so I could get rid of my Canon 135 F/2 but the results from it are better than this one, you just get slower autofocus of course because it’s through an adapter.

Both are sharp as hell.

Zenza Rino's picture

Just for clarification: you think 135 f2 canon is better than sigma 135 1.8? I only own Canon

Eric Salas's picture

If you have a canon body then yes, I’d back the 135 F/2 all day over this one based simply on how the backgrounds/bokeh are rendered. Sharpness goes to the sigma though.

If you own a Sony body, you’ll be sacrificing features and speed for minimal differences which is a compromise I as a Sony shooter keep in mind because adapters suck - no matter what camera you’re using it on.

Christos Dikos's picture

That last shot is killer!

Jon Dize's picture

Sometimes aka often, I just sit and read the comments you guys make, back and forth, up and down about the most meaningless, nonsensical crap as though it was a big deal and I think... I really must stop reading the comments. Good God, it's like wet cats in a pickle barrel. Every day, every thread. It's like there is a cookie for who shakes their verb and wanks their adjectives the hardest. Textural masturbation, like there is a mountain from mole hill Olympics and you're going for the GOLD. I'm getting too old for this silliness.

michaeljin's picture

So stop reading it. Seems like a rather simple solution as the world is not likely to change for you.

Jon Dize's picture

Nobody even suggested the world should change for me. In fact, I merely made an observation and suggested what I should do. Funny, others understood what I was saying, but you imagined something entirely different. It's okay! Take a deep breath! Now exhale! Feel better?