The Sigma 105 f/1.4 and Fashion by Isi Akahome

The Sigma 105 f/1.4 and Fashion

by Isi Akahome

Hi Steve,

I wanted to share my experience using the Bokeh Monster, and give my thoughts about this beast of a lens. I recently went mirrorless with the Sony A7iii from my Nikon DF. I rented the lens for a week to see if I could use it as my go-to portrait, and beauty shoot lens.

I had seen videos about the lens, but nothing prepares you for seeing this lens in person. It’s ginormous! I couldn’t stop laughing at how big the lens was. My make-up artist even made fun of me for being obsessed with the girth of the lens. On the small A7iii body, the Sony body looked out of its depth.

We started shooting, and that was when the magic began. The lens focused like a champ. I didn’t miss focus on any shots, and it was very snappy. We did some full body shots, and then some close-up portraits, and my arms were tired after 15-20 minutes of carrying the lens.

The results and rendering from this lens are just astounding. It is worth its weight in image quality! I shot everything at F1.4, because why not, and thanks to the electronic shutter on the A7iii ,1/6000sec shutter speeds in bright daylight was no problem. The vignettes were added in post, and I didn’t retouch her skin. The sharpness doesn’t accentuate skin imperfections either.

I don’t think I can justify owning one due to practicality concerns. I couldn’t even fit the lens in my camera bag. I’m going to be returning this one, and maybe rent it periodically. It was definitely fun, but I don’t think it’s a lens I can live with. I ended up buying a used Zeiss 100mm F2 Makro Planar for my portrait needs. In the meantime, I’m going to squeeze in a few more shoots before “Lenszilla” has to go back.

I hope you enjoy the images. You can view more of my work on Instagram  @isi.a.pix.

Thanks for reading,

Isi.

29 Comments

  1. I liked the review. I was thinking about this lens some weeks ago and wondered if It would be very heavy for me or not. Otherwise I found 105 mm as a good length and with 1,4 it’s amazing. Why did you choose Zeiss, not Sigma 135mm?

  2. Nice commentary on the experience of using the 105 1.4. Left me wanting more. Also , love the images. I don’t mind the size and weight of the lens. Sometimes the sacrifice is worth it.

  3. With all respect, it’s hard to evaluate a lens review if you’ve added grain, adjusted skin tones and color, and added vignetting. The only thing I can take away from the review is that the lens is heavy.

    • With all (due) respect, this article more of an “opinion/impressions” piece than a review 😉
      That’s something that’s interesting about photography, it is quite subjective! Sure someone can take apart a photo to look for surgical sharpness from corner to corner, but does it really matter in the end? I too am not the biggest fan of post processing on these photos. Though to be honest (and subjective again), I mostly think the vignetting is too noticeable. I’m sure my opinion about this will be different in a year by the way. I’m often surprised looking back at how I used to process photos.
      What I think is fascinating is what people do with the equipment. Here, Isi hits the nail on the head: this lens is awesome but way too heavy to carry around for their shooting style. The lens allowed them to capture images the way they envisioned them, with heavy grain, color and vignette added in post-processing. The results were satisfying to them but not at the expense of weight! The lens creates great images but it can’t be sustained all day long. If anything, that’s about all I’d need to know to make a choice though everyone is different.

  4. It is fun seeing the results when a pro photographer and a pro model work together. Add in the 105 and you have magic. Sigma makes some nice glass but like you I find them to be on the big side. Still a great lens from your pictures. Thanks for sharing.

  5. I like the pics.

    But there is something messed up about using this lens for free by knowing u r going to return it. You even say you will use it for a few more shoots before you do so.
    Free loading at the expense of the shop you bought it from is not cool. Either check it out in the shop and/or rent it. There is no surprise that the lens is huge. Every review mentions it.

  6. Nice photos. It is a superb lens but very big. Did you use any flash or reflectors? Or are these all natural light shots?

  7. In the right hands, this lens can produce some gorgeous photos as the examples in the post illustrate. That said; shooting with it hand-held is like shooting with an anvil. The weight became a distraction for me and I’m the gym several times a week 😉 Keep your tripos handy if you go…

  8. >>and thanks to the electronic shutter on the A7iii ,1/6000sec shutter speeds in bright daylight was no problem

    But you can achieve 1/8000 with mecanical shutter…
    Probably some misprint here?

  9. I don’t want to be negative in any way, because you are clearly an accomplished photographer, but why on earth are the photos so grainy if you are shooting at f1.4 and 1/6000? Shouldn’t they be as clean as a whistle? I am genuinely baffled!

  10. Great use of the 105mm. This beast might be in my future too. Like you post-production color rendering. Just in LR or did you use something else like Alien Skin? Inquiring minds want to know.

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