• JessicaNotelo

Shooting with Sigma's Art lenses

Updated: Aug 26

I always used to be a zoom lens user. I was so nervous to ditch the versatility and always have that extra zoom on hand just in case. One day, after reading the umpteenth "what's in my bag" post from photographers I admired and seeing yet another 35mm Art lens I decided to take the plunge and ditch the zoom!


Canon's 35mm F1.4 was very much out of my budget at the time, so I did some research and purchased the Sigma equivalent. It was love at first shoot. The lens seemed to intuitively just know where I wanted to focus. I use centre point focusing always, and I find it works very well with this lens. It's so quick and somehow just works when my couples are moving around in front of me - it suits my shooting style to a tee! I may have incorrect focus (on the trees in the background) maybe 1 out of every 20 photos I take.


I love the soft and creamy style of the photos I get with this lens, and the natural vignette it creates. It works exceptionally well with my custom JN presets.


Another HUGE plus is that the 35mm Art Lens seems to be VERY flattering for all types of people. This means happy clients. A photographer will look at an image and love it for its composition, colour, light etc, but a client may hate it if they don't like the way they look. My clients ALWAYS love the way they look when I shoot with this lens, which is about 90% of the time.


Pros: Price, Relatively lightweight, Image quality, Focus speed, Vignette (maybe a con for some people), Build quality is fantastic

Cons: No built in stabilisation, but this is not really an issue at 35mm.


Then there is the Sigma 85mm F1.4 Art...


I can 100% confidently say that I could easily shoot an entire wedding using only my 35mm F1.4 Art. I could not do this with the 85mm. This is purely because of angle of view, and the 35mm is just that much more versatile. Because of this, I use my 35mm a lot more, BUT, the 85mm has a very special place in my kit too.


I use it for ceremonies and couple shoots, and add a close up filter or two and it's great for the detail shots!


The Sigma 85mm F1.4 Art is the newest addition to my kit and was only added just before going into lockdown so I am still getting to know this lens more intimately, but so far I can say this: it’s a sturdy lens. It’s big and heavy, but feels great in your hands. It’s sharp and fast, almost as much as the 35mm (which I’m very accustomed to using, so you could argue that it’s even faster), its bokeh is incredible and the image quality is outstanding. It complements the 35mm beautifully and my presets apply just as well!


It’s great using it for intimate moments between a bride and groom where you want to make the rest of the world disappear behind them.


It’s a lot more honest in terms of body type than the 35mm and not as flattering, but that’s just the way it goes in terms of angle!


I whipped out both of these lenses at a wedding shoot the other day and took similar photos with both to compare.



The first image was taken with the 85 and the image on the right with the 35. Both at F1.4. You can see how different the angle of view is and what it does for a similar composition. Bottom line, it’s whatever works for you. Both have their place. Here are some images that worked best with the 85mm:










And here are some that worked better with the 35mm:






I hope you enjoyed this mini review! If you have any questions pop me an email: info@jessicanotelo.co.za

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