Eric L. Woods

So… How would $429 off a Sony Mount SIGMA 105mm f/1.4 “Bokeh Master” sound to you…

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It sounded good to me.

SIGMA sd Quattro - 105mm f/1.4 Art

I mentioned this same lens in my most recent post. Was actively attempting to find an alternative to this lens. Why? Price. They cost well over $1,000 new or used to be exact. But I had a suspicion that a product loophole might form one day. How? Well, two things had to happen for my potential scheme to come together.

  1. The first seed was planted when I unwittingly purchased the wrong MC11 adapter years ago thinking I had scored a heck of a used gear deal. I only knew of the Canon EF to Sony FE MC11 variant. Had no idea a SIGMA SA to Sony FE adapter even existed and the latter is what I had ordered. Now years later I happen to have both camera mounts and I still wondered who would order a SIGMA SA to Sony FE adapter? Digital SIGMA SA cameras are APS-C and SIGMA makes Sony mount variants of most of the same lenses. Then I recently noticed that these adapters were reduced in price to $174 brand new. That got me to thinking…
  2. If SIGMA SA lenses were ever discounted this could make for a heck of a deal. Why? SIGMA announced in 2018 that they would stop development on SA mount cameras and move to the full frame L Alliance platform along with Leica and Panasonic. For the longest I would see SA mount lenses being sold beside the other mounts at the same price. I figured that someone had to discount these dead mount lenses one day. Then one day after I wrote my last post it happened. I noticed that Adorama marked down the SIGMA SA mount variant only.

That is right. A full $599 off the original price. New. That is hundreds less than I have ever seen it for used regardless of the mount. So great for me and other SA mount camera having oddballs, but what does that mean for Sony folks? As mentioned earlier an SA to FE adapted can be had for only $174 more. So even with the SA to FE MC11 adapter that still comes in at $429 less than the usual new price. It actually still comes in at a lower price than used. Cool. So let’s go.

SIGMA sd Quattro

SIGMA

Here are a few test shots on the native mount SIGMA sd Quattro. Simple test shots. As expected it performed flawlessly.

SIGMA sd Quattro - 30mm f/1.4 Art
SIGMA sd Quattro - 30mm f/1.4 Art
SIGMA sd Quattro - 105mm f/1.4 Art
SIGMA sd Quattro - 105mm f/1.4 Art
SIGMA sd Quattro - 105mm f/1.4 Art
SIGMA sd Quattro - 105mm f/1.4 Art
SIGMA 105mm f/1.4 Art

Now this all sounds great on paper so far, but I had one last concern. WIll an adapted SA lens perform acceptably on Sony? Yep. Quick test shots below. Sure it is great for portraits, but I wanted to see about using a sledgehammer to drive in a thumbtack.

SIGMA 105mm f/1.4 Art

Aka overkill for everyday shots. (Like the time I brought an RZ67 to a bouncy house party on a monopod…

…and it was not even for my kid.)

A quick bokeh ball test up first.

SIGMA 105mm f/1.4 Art

Low light AF test. Passed.

SIGMA 105mm f/1.4 Art
SIGMA 105mm f/1.4 Art

Out and about.

SIGMA 105mm f/1.4 Art
SIGMA 105mm f/1.4 Art

A bit of 105mm show and tell at my local camera shop.

SIGMA 105mm f/1.4 Art
JPEG test shot with a used A7RIII of my humble little favorite A7III.
SIGMA 105mm f/1.4 Art
SIGMA 105mm f/1.4 Art
SIGMA 105mm f/1.4 Art
SIGMA 105mm f/1.4 Art
SIGMA 105mm f/1.4 Art
SIGMA 105mm f/1.4 Art
SIGMA 105mm f/1.4 Art
SIGMA 105mm f/1.4 Art
SIGMA 105mm f/1.4 Art
SIGMA 105mm f/1.4 Art
SIGMA 105mm f/1.4 Art
SIGMA 105mm f/1.4 Art
SIGMA 105mm f/1.4 Art
SIGMA 105mm f/1.4 Art
Close Focus
SIGMA 105mm f/1.4 Art
Far Focus
SIGMA 105mm f/1.4 Art
SIGMA 105mm f/1.4 Art
SIGMA 105mm f/1.4 Art
SIGMA 105mm f/1.4 Art
SIGMA 105mm f/1.4 Art

Quick large product test shot.

SIGMA 105mm f/1.4 Art
SIGMA 105mm f/1.4 Art
Click photo to zoom in on truck.
SIGMA 105mm f/1.4 Art
SIGMA 105mm f/1.4 Art
SIGMA 105mm f/1.4 Art
SIGMA 105mm f/1.4 Art

More low light focus tests.

SIGMA 105mm f/1.4 Art
SIGMA 105mm f/1.4 Art
SIGMA 105mm f/1.4 Art
SIGMA 105mm f/1.4 Art
SIGMA 105mm f/1.4 Art

While nothing Earth shattering I count these shots as a huge success. Why? Here are some notes on my day one experience

Non IQ Stuff

AF

Most all were taken on the fly, many at arm’s length relying on IBIS. Even in low light AF worked just fine. While I imagine it is possible that a lens purpose built for Sony might be even faster I have absolutely no complaints on how this adapted lens performed. AF was accurate and swift in all cases. Among the top performers of all of the portrait lenses I have ever used. Particularly impressive given the specs.

Size and weight.

This is a large lens. While not very long it is the heaviest lens I ever used (3.62 lb / 1.64 kg). Heavier than the Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8. It also has the largest front element I have ever seen at 105mm…

SIGMA 105mm f/1.4 Art

…which necessitates the largest lens cap (dubbed the pie plate) and hood (dubbed small fez or kufi hat without a top) I have ever seen.

SIGMA 105mm f/1.4 Art

Even so, lens handling was just fine with the SIGMA sd Quattro. The sd’s size and healthy grip worked just fine even without a grip. The Sony was workable alone but was a bit small to handle the 105mm. It greatly benefited from the addition of my ($80) aftermarket grip. With that, it worked just fine.

SIGMA 105mm f/1.4 Art

I would not carry this lens using only the strap lugs on either camera, but I would not feel comfortable using a sling set up either. I would rather not have that huge front element pinwheeling about me as is usually the case when I use a sling. I used my favorite big and heavy lens set up by attaching a Peak Design lug to the grip. With this set up I attach one strap end to the grip and the other to the left camera strap lug. Works great and I carried it around for a good portion of the day with no discomfort.

IQ Stuff

Everything written about the stellar IQ of this lens is true. Nothing was overstated.

Wait… I should say more? Ok. But I will keep it brief.

Sharpness.

Not posted here, but I took some quick portraits with this lens and it performed wonderfully. Sharp wide open at f/1.4, but still very flattering. Ridiculously so with the SIGMA sd Quattro.

Bokeh.

Fantastic. Smooth and very pleasing. Best I have ever experienced. Period.

Aberrations.

None that I could see.

Vignetting.

Negligible vignetting even wide open, but it is still pleasing and easily dealt with in post using the lens profile in Lightroom if you wish.

Colors.

Fantastic on both, ridiculously so with the SIGMA sd Quattro.

I will stop there but suffice it to say I have never used a better lens. Easily worth the weight and size. And for me this is saying something since I regularly go on about not liking heavy lenses for Sony. But this is lens is so good I will gladly set that preference aside.

What next?

This has been fun, but I need to get out and take some proper portraits with this lens. I need to organize something. This lens makes me want to get out. I can think of no better praise for a lens.

Well done SIGMA.

SIGMA 105mm f/1.4 Art
One last quick sample from this evening.

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