At 8 fps, the D7500 clocks in a shade
faster than the Canon 80D. We found the
autofocusing system to be very accurate
when tracking subjects moving across
the frame and toward the camera. It’s
also better-than-average in low light
conditions. While it’s not quite as speedy
as the D500 (which clocks in at 10 fps and
has an even better AF system), the D7500
was still up to the task of freezing the
action during a Little League game.
Battery life clocks in at 950 shots
per charge, on par with the 80D and
comfortably ahead of any mirrorless
alternative. Using Bluetooth/SnapBridge,
we enjoyed a steady stream of 2-megapixel
images from the D7500 to our smartphone
for quick sharing—a feature we think more
camera makers should embrace.
In the universe of comparable DSLRs, the
D7500 offers 4K recording, which Canon’s
80D inexplicably doesn’t, but it lacks
the 80D’s flip-out LCD or the smooth
autofocusing in video. The Pentax KP also
lacks 4K, but offers comparable low light
performance with an excellent in-camera
image stabilization system. The D7500 has
the KP beat when it comes to speed and
On balance, we think the D7500 makes
a compelling bid for Nikon shooters who
don’t necessarily want to stretch and
spend an extra $800 on the D500.
This new prime lens features an acceleration
sensor which detects the orientation of the
lens—information which is used by the AF
system to compensate for speedier, more
accurate performance. There’s also a focus
limiter and full-time manual focus override.
Like other models in the Art line, the
135mm’s mount is dust and splash proof.
The lens has a minimum focusing distance
of 34. 4 inches and a maximum magnification
of 1: 5. Its nine aperture blades stop down to
f/16. It’s compatible with Sigma’s USB dock
for firmware updates and supports Sigma’s
mount conversion service. It’s available for
Canon and Nikon DSLRs.
The 135mm lens carries the Art line’s sleek
design with a large focus ring that turns smoothly.
As you’d expect, it’s a weighty chunk of glass,
though we appreciated the weather sealing.
“It’s a heavy lens. Don’t expect to be handholding it very long,” Patiño says. Indeed, the
Sigma is heavier than both Canon and Nikon’s
135mm f/2 lenses.
Patiño shot portraits with the 135mm on his
Canon 5DS outdoors, using natural light,
and in a studio setting. He tells us the lens
is “razor sharp” at the center at f/1.8 with
a beautiful, “creamy” blurred background.
Between the contrast and the color, Patiño
says even his first shots with the lens told
him “it was something special.”
We didn’t spot any signs of chromatic
aberration, however vignetting is quite strong
when shooting this lens wide open. Patiño
says the effect wasn’t immediately noticeable
when reviewing images on the back of the
camera but was quite prominent when the files
were brought into Lightroom. Fortunately,
the Lightroom lens profile made short work
of it. Using that profile also revealed some
pincushion distortion (which was also easily
removed) at the center of the frame.
However, Patiño says he was more than
satisfied with the images the lens produced.
The lens lacks image stabilization, which
is unfortunate, though autofocusing was rapid
Both Canon and Nikon offer 135mm prime
lenses in their portfolio, but both are f/2
and slower than Sigma’s, and neither are
weather-sealed. That said, Canon’s lens is
less expensive—though Nikon’s has about the
same price tag.
We asked Patiño a familiar question when
we wrapped up our test—would he buy the
lens? His answer was an unequivocal yes.
“It’s a phenomenal lens.”
sigma 135mm art f/
1. 8 Dg Hsm a
Pros: Excellent image quality; great
value; weather-sealed build.
cons: Some vignetting and pin-cushion
distortion; no image stabilization.
Pros: 4K video recording;
SnapBridge mobile image transfers;
excellent image quality; weather-sealed build; responsive autofocusing.
cons: 4K video gets cropped; video
AF lags competition.
sigma 135mm art
f/1.8 Dg Hsm a
As we were discussing the performance
of the Sigma 135mm Art lens with N.J.
photographer and director David Patiño
( www.davidpatino.com), he repeated
an observation he made recently when
shooting with a number of new third-party lenses. These vendors, he says,
“have really stepped up their game.
They no longer need to be judged by a
The 135mm f/1.8 Art lens fills a
fairly unusual niche in the market and,
interestingly, commands a slightly
higher price tag than one of its brand-
name competitors (though that lens is
an f/2). Is it worth it?