Sigma 85mm f/1.4 EX Vs. Bell & Howell 85mm f/1.4

Sigma 85mm 1.4 Box-1 Bell Howell 85mm 1.4 Box-1

Sigma 85mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM Vs. Bell & Howell 85mm f/1.4. If you’re looking to purchase one of these lenses you can buy the Sigma 85mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM from Adorama for Canon, Nikon, Sony, Pentax, Sigma, and Ebay and the Bell & Howell 85mm f/1.4 Aspherical IF MC from Adorama or Ebay. It helps me if you purchase it through one of these links here in this review. When you purchase through these links it financially enables me to devote time to develop this site further. Thanks for the help! -Todd

Canon 85mm f:1.2L ii USM vs Sigma 1.4 vs Pro Optic 85mm f1.4 Comparison-2 Canon 85mm f:1.2L ii EOS vs Sigma 1.4 vs Bower 85mm f1.4 Glass-4 Canon 85mm f:1.2L ii EF vs Sigma 1.4 vs Rokinon 85mm f1.4 Comparison-3 Canon 85mm f:1.2L ii EOS vs Sigma 1.4 vs Bell Howell 85mm f1.4 Mount-5

Now this is quite the duel! Both of these lenses are optically, mechanically, and ergonomically great and both are very good priced. If you don’t mind manual focus then the Bell & Howell is a bargain. However if you need auto focus the Sigma is incredibly accurate. Both of these lenses have their downsides in completely different ways so you can pick the lens specifically to your needs and know either way you are getting a fantastic lens.




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Mechanically both lenses are incredibly built and can take a beating.

Ergonomically the Bell & Howell is solid, feels great in the hands, and the focus glides great. However being manual focus, this can be a pain if you are in a rush to get your subject tack sharp, especially at larger apertures. The Sigma lens works perfectly as a lens should. The Sigma’s focus is very fast and accurate but clunks back and forth once in a while hunting for the focus but rarely misses. The Sigma’s focus ring is firm but smooth and all you have to do is grab the ring to over ride the focus. The Sigma is a heavier lens but both lenses feel great in the hand and handle really well.

Contrast wise the Sigma has better contrast but not by a whole lot.

Sharpness wise the Bell & Howell lens is sharper at larger apertures however this does not last very long. The Bell & Howell while very sharp around f/2 on, does some funny things right away. At f/1.4 it is sharp with a lack of contrast making it look less sharp. As it sharpens up and picks up a bit of contrast stopping down a little it then shifts a little early. Around f/5.6 onward it already begins to take a hit optically with diffusion. By f/9 the diffusion is pretty heavy and by f/16 to f/22 the images almost become unusable in my opinion. It is rare for a lens to diffuse around f/5.6 as most lenses will show diffusion around f/9-16 area. However if you intend to shoot this lens at larger apertures the lens performs very well and is very sharp. The Sigma however just continues to sharpen up and only takes on diffusion around f/11-16 as expected.

The Sigma is pretty soft in the far corners and suffers from coma compared to the Bell & Howell at all stops.

Both lenses have very little vignetting with the Bell & Howell having less.

The Sigma has good bokeh and is only a little distracting where as the Bell & Howell has great bokeh that is very smooth and not very distracting.

The Bell & Howell definitely out performs the Sigma with chromatic aberration which is one of the best features of the lens. I really appreciated this about the Bell & Howell.

With my white balance locked into a manual temperature you can really see the Bell & Howell is a lot cooler then the Sigma. When shooting Jpeg one might want a warmer white balance, but when shooting RAW I tend to want to shoot cooler. I find this helps in post processing, so the Bell & Howell being cooler was a plus for me. The Sigma’s colours are fine, but I found they tend to blend more and were not quite as vibrant as the Bell & Howell.

This is not simple and really depends on if you need auto focus or not. If you are shooting professionally or need quick focus then the Sigma is the only option. However if you think you will have the time and can focus accurately then the Bell & Howell might be for you. I really enjoyed shooting the Bell & Howell. However for the work I do I could not use it all the time. Cost wise you can also save about $500 by buying the Bell & Howell 85mm.


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My hopes are to take the time to continue developing this website with more test photo based reviews. If you are ever interested in purchasing a lens or other photography equipment please do so through these links here in this review. I would buy the Sigma 85mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM from Adorama for Canon, Nikon, Sony, Pentax, Sigma, and Ebay and the Bell & Howell 85mm f/1.4 Aspherical IF MC from Adorama or Ebay. This helps support my family and allows me to take more time for the site. The best part is this site is free for you and I link good deals I find!

Sometimes these links will actually give you better deals then typical retail prices! I personally buy from the links I have listed whether looking for new gear or fun old stuff. I can personally attest to their good & safe service from years of experience. Thanks again to you, our readers, for supporting us! -Todd