Sigma 85 1.4 + Kenko 1.4x (non-reporting)

Started Nov 21, 2010 | Discussions thread
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Erik Bailey
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Sigma 85 1.4 + Kenko 1.4x (non-reporting)
Nov 21, 2010

I've been trying my new Sigma 85mm f/1.4 on my 7D, and so far so good!

At first I wasn't happy with the focus. I did MA back and forth between -4 and +4 and finally decided that 0 was best. The subjects for this were things around my house, so distances of about 6-8 feet.

Then I tried shooting longer distances (30-40 feet) and I realized that it was actually way off. Tried again with MA, and ended up at +18 (!). This gives sharpness almost as good as my 70-200 f/4 IS (which is pretty good if you think about it, considering that this is comparing f/1.4 to f/4, one with IS and one without). While I'm not thrilled at the huge amount of MA required, it seems to now nail focus at both short-range and long-range, and you can't argue with that...

My daughter was trying on her ski gear today and I got this shot of her at f/1.4 - shows the sharpness this lens is capable of (on the full-size version of this, zooming into 1:1 and beyond easily shows the reflection of our dog in her goggles, and the labels on her clothes are sharply defined).

I'm very pleased with the lens so far. Of course, in some of my shots I missed focus, but that's just part of shooting at f/1.4 so I'm not bothered by it. I've rented the Canon 85L a few times and the focus seemed pretty similar.

What is interesting is what happens when I put my Kenko TelePlus 300 1.4x TC on (note - the shot above did not have the TC on). Back when I had the MA at 0 it completely struggled to acquire focus, and when it did it ended up with a very soft shot. I basically gave up. But now at +18 it can acquire focus more easily (although it works harder than without the TC), and it seems to work.

However, the TC doesn't seem to report to the camera. It still shows up as f/1.4 (as opposed to whatever it should be - f/1.8?), and the focal length still shows as 85mm instead of 119mm.

What is the best way to handle this? Should I just leave it as-is, should I stop down to f/1.8, should I dial in +1 EC since presumably it is losing a stop of light that the camera doesn't know about, ...?

Thanks! --Erik Bailey

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 Erik Bailey's gear list:Erik Bailey's gear list
Canon EOS 7D Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM Sigma 120-300mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM Sigma 85mm F1.4 EX DG HSM +1 more
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