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Sigma 50mm F1.4 DG HSM review

May 2014 | By Andy Westlake
Buy on GearShopFrom $949.00

The Sigma 50mm F1.4 DG HSM | Art is a fast 'normal' lens designed for full frame SLRs, and one of the most hotly-anticipated lenses of 2014. Sigma shook up the moribund 'fast 50' sector back in March 2008 when it announced the 50mm F1.4 EX DG HSM, which we considered to be 'Highly Recommended' for its impressive optics, especially at larger apertures. This marked the start of string of excellent fast primes from the Japanese lens maker, including last year's stellar 35mm F1.4 DG HSM | Art (another winner of our top award).

The latest 50mm is unusually large and expensive for its type; indeed its $950 / £850 / €1000 price tag suggests Sigma is aiming at users who might otherwise choose the Nikon AF-S Nikkor 58mm F1.4G, Canon EF 50mm F1.2L USM, or Sony Carl Zeiss Planar T* 50mm F1.4 ZA SSM. It bears a distinct family resemblance to the company's 35mm F1.4, but if anything is slightly larger, with a 100mm / 4" long barrel and 77mm filter thread. Its complex optical formula of 13 elements in 8 groups isn't based on a conventional double-Gauss design, like most 50mm primes are, but instead is of the retrofocal type.

This set of characteristics, along with Sigma's recent track record of making impressive optics, means that the 50mm F1.4 Art has inevitably invited comparison to the astounding Zeiss Otus 1.4/55 - quite possibly the sharpest lens we've yet seen. However, given that lens's $4000 price tag, it seems a little optimistic to expect quite the same qualities. But the Sigma offers autofocus via a ring-type ultrasonic motor (with full-time manual override), which means it wins out on practicality. The new lens's premium price point also means that it doesn't directly replace the older model, which we understand will continue to be sold for some time yet.

Headline features

  • 50mm focal length
  • Fast F1.4 maximum aperture
  • Ring-type ultrasonic autofocus motor with full-time manual override
  • Internal focus design
  • Will be available in Canon EF, Nikon F, Sony Alpha, and Sigma SA mounts

Angle of view

The pictures below illustrate the 50mm F1.4 Art's angle of view on full frame and APS-C, taken from our standard position. As is Sigma's way, the lens is just slightly 'wide' for a 50mm prime (its measured focal length is 48mm), bringing it closer to a classic 'normal' view on full frame. On APS-C cameras it behaves like a short telephoto lens.

Full frame 1.6x APS-C (~80mm equivalent)

Sigma 50mm F1.4 DG HSM | Art specifications

 Price  • $950 (US)
 • £850 (UK)
 • €1000 (EU)
 Date introduced  January 2014
 Maximum format size  35mm full frame
 Focal length  50mm
 35mm equivalent focal length
 • 75mm (1.5x APS-C / DX)
 • 80mm (1.6x Canon APS-C)
 Diagonal Angle of view  • 47º (full frame)
 • 31º (APS-C)
 Maximum aperture  F1.4
 Minimum aperture  F16
 Lens Construction  • 13 elements / 8 groups
 • 3 SLD glass elements
 • 1 aspherical element
 Number of diaphragm blades  9, rounded
 Minimum focus  0.4m
 Maximum magnification  0.18x
 AF motor type  • Ring-type Hypersonic Motor
 • Full-time manual focus
 Focus method  Internal
 Image stabilization  No
 Filter thread  • 77mm
 • Does not rotate on focus
 Supplied accessories*  • Front and rear caps
 • Petal-type Hood
 • Soft lens case
 Weight  815 g (28.7 oz)
 Dimensions  85 mm diameter x 100 mm length
 (3.4 x 3.9 in)
 Lens Mount  Canon EF, Nikon F, Sigma SA, Sony Alpha

* Supplied accessories may differ in each country or area


This lens review uses DxOMark data thanks to a partnership between dpreview.com and DxO Labs (read more about DxOMark and our partnership with DxO Labs). DxOMark is the trusted industry standard for independent image quality measurements and ratings. DxOMark has established this reputation with its rigorous hardware testing, industry-grade laboratory tools, and database of thousands of camera, lens and mobile test results. Full test results for this lens can be found at www.dxomark.com.

If you're new to digital photography you may wish to read the Digital Photography Glossary before diving into this article (it may help you understand some of the terms used).

Conclusion / Recommendation / Ratings are based on the opinion of the reviewer, you should read the ENTIRE review before coming to your own conclusions.

We recommend to make the most of this review you should be able to see the difference (at least) between X,Y and Z and ideally A,B and C.

This article is Copyright 2014 and may NOT in part or in whole be reproduced in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from the author.

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Comments

Total comments: 557
1234
nathantw
By nathantw (4 months ago)

There's always one person who will say the sample pictures look soft. I'm waiting for that person to post.

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
cgarrard
By cgarrard (4 months ago)

The sample pictures look soft.

Just kidding.

4 upvotes
beavertown
By beavertown (4 months ago)

It is almost half price of the Nikon 58mm f1.4 and a lot cheaper than the Carl Zeiss 50mm.

It's a pro, not a con for its price.

This lens is not in the same class of the Nikon 50mm f1.4, it is a much more superior lens.

4 upvotes
ageha
By ageha (4 months ago)

Really? Who would have thought...

0 upvotes
beavertown
By beavertown (4 months ago)

YES

0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (4 months ago)

beavertown:

Except the Zeiss 50mm f/1.4 is about 725usd.

You mean the 55mm Otus, I'd guess.

There's also a Zeiss Macro 50mm f/2.0, but not twice the price of this Sigma.

0 upvotes
EvokeEmotion
By EvokeEmotion (4 months ago)

"We've already published lab test data showing that its optically excellent"

It's, as in 'it is', not its.

Hiring proofreader? I'm in Seattle.

13 upvotes
Andy Westlake
By Andy Westlake (4 months ago)

Thanks for pointing that out, I've corrected it. (No need to hire a proofreader when you're so keen to offer your services for free...)

Comment edited 37 seconds after posting
13 upvotes
RStyga
By RStyga (4 months ago)

Sigma has done it again. A magnificent lens, it seems to be. The proclamation by the reviewer reminded me of the same proclamation by Popular Photography & Imaging about the tiny and feather-weight (albeit much darker) Voigtlander Heliar 50/3.5.

2 upvotes
thejohnnerparty
By thejohnnerparty (4 months ago)

I am surprised that more people aren't talking about the pics. To me they look great. I used to shoot a lot with a 50 mm and never got the kind of image quality that I've seen in the samples. For my taste, it looks like a winner.
;-)

2 upvotes
eyeswideshut
By eyeswideshut (4 months ago)

I really don't know what to admire more. Someone who - one hundred years ago - achieved roughly similar performance with four lenses in three groups at F/2.8 or a corporation which - a century later - achieves marginally better performance corner to corner with the aid of cad/cam and thirteen lenses in four groups at a whopping 800g and a thousand dollars.

Comment edited 35 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Henderson May
By Henderson May (4 months ago)

So? even if you are correct about the "roughly similar performance" can you really compare a f1.4 lens with a f2.8 lens?
BTW canon 18-55 is better then 24-105 at f8 as well accroding to DRTV :-)

3 upvotes
ageha
By ageha (4 months ago)

Which lens are you talking about?

0 upvotes
zxaar
By zxaar (4 months ago)

@ Henderson May , if he has to be correct, that would mean that in last 100 years there was no-one whom it occurred that that design is the best we could do so far. All this development so far basically just did not happen.

0 upvotes
eyeswideshut
By eyeswideshut (4 months ago)

@ageha
The Tessar.

0 upvotes
simpleshot
By simpleshot (4 months ago)

Good job by Sigma.
Aside from the size and weight, there is very little fault to find in this lens.
If you like, you can pay 4 times more for the Otus. With that additional money, you also get a bigger lens, more weight, more vignetting, more distortion, and less contrast. Hmmn, something is not right.

0 upvotes
Robert Newman
By Robert Newman (4 months ago)

50mm is a focal length that most professional photographers seldom use. Regardless of its optical merits, it is just not something I would ever consider buying especially at the price point at which it is being introduced.

7 upvotes
Enshong
By Enshong (4 months ago)

Depends on which professional photographer you're asking.

6 upvotes
AlexClickButan
By AlexClickButan (4 months ago)

That's the dumbest thing I have ever heard.

21 upvotes
ageha
By ageha (4 months ago)

Exactly, 50mm is neither here nor there. Anyway, it's a great lens but I would prefer the lighter 58mm F1.4 Nikon.

0 upvotes
dpmily
By dpmily (4 months ago)

I'm looking forward to a future 85mm 1.4 ART. 50mm is a focal a rarely use. I love the 35mm ART but I will just stick with my manual focus Nikkor AI-S 50mm 1.4

1 upvote
The Name is Bond
By The Name is Bond (4 months ago)

hmmm, I hate to say it but the bokeh isn't good enough. It's really not smooth at all, despite the review's claim that it's good enough. Even closed down (which usually deals with bokeh issues).

Maybe it's good enough for closer pics, but we have here the usual bokeh-clueless pics from dpreview. Easy bokeh backgrounds (flowers and vegetation) with just a couple of pics that demonstrate the rough bokeh. They need to get themselves someone long versed in bokeh analysis. .....Like me!!! :)

Get that lens in to a bike shop, dpreview.

Anyway, I actually feel a bit sad. I was totally over excited at the review. ...until I saw the pics (and some pics on the blogs mentioned in the comments).

Comment edited 43 seconds after posting
3 upvotes
Michel F
By Michel F (4 months ago)

Same thing here. It's definitely sharper than the old version at the expense of bokeh smoothness.

3 upvotes
DStudio
By DStudio (4 months ago)

You don't hate to say it, and it's not hard to see for someone who looks for it. That's the sad part.

0 upvotes
ulfie
By ulfie (4 months ago)

Size-wise, it's a dang blunderbuss! Kind of negates its low-light, f1.4 shooting abilities if camera shake adds blur due to its size/length, no?

0 upvotes
The Name is Bond
By The Name is Bond (4 months ago)

Unless you're very weak, the weight should negate camera-shake, in theory.

I love the idea of weight due to excessively fine correction and the best glass. And I love dense cameras also. But I can imagine the two together may not be so practical for 16 hours of wedding photography.

1 upvote
ulfie
By ulfie (4 months ago)

Weight alone doesn't negate hand-held camera shake. On a tripod, of course. It is LONG, 100mm/4 inches. Add the body size too and hand-holding steadily at low shutter speeds is dicey for sure.

0 upvotes
KentG
By KentG (4 months ago)

It is actually easier to hold a heavier item steady than a lighter one when you need to point it at something. Just ask any professional shooter. Lighter weight is better when you need to move something you are pointing, like when panning.

2 upvotes
ulfie
By ulfie (4 months ago)

It's not just weight but length of the lens too. Even a little movement is multiplied by its longer length.

0 upvotes
Rod McD
By Rod McD (4 months ago)

Now we need Sigma to build some wide-angle lenses to the same standard. Zeiss need some competition for the 21mm 2.8.

0 upvotes
Henderson May
By Henderson May (4 months ago)

look forward to see the 24/1.4 ART

0 upvotes
ondrejbobek
By ondrejbobek (4 months ago)

Fantastic piece of glass! I have already 35/f1,4 Art and after this good review will wait for 85/1,4 Art with lot of enthusiasm. Sigma has changed the game.

1 upvote
ondrejbobek
By ondrejbobek (4 months ago)

In Slovakia is this lens for 750€ = £610, this price is extrem low compared to Zeiss Otus, Canon 50/1,2L, Nikon 58/1,4 or Sony 55/1,8

1 upvote
nguyentungstyle
By nguyentungstyle (4 months ago)

this sigma 50mm art lens is only 870usd in Vietnam, full support form brand, not black market ;)

0 upvotes
Scorpius1
By Scorpius1 (4 months ago)

The fact we even compare Sigma to Zeiss now shows how far Sigma have come!!Well done Sigma,

23 upvotes
futile32
By futile32 (4 months ago)

Loving these Art series lenses. Awesome work Sigma, seeing rumours of the 24mm and 85mm on the horizon. What a collection that will be. Hope they release a limited edition box set. Awesome!

0 upvotes
ageha
By ageha (4 months ago)

Oh no, please no limited editions ever!

2 upvotes
imsabbel
By imsabbel (4 months ago)

Maybe a rosewood grip would make those lenses even more desirable...

4 upvotes
ageha
By ageha (4 months ago)

I'm more looking forward to a lighter and more fall proof polyvinyl carbonate version at 2/3 the price. :)

1 upvote
Mike Griffin
By Mike Griffin (3 months ago)

Agree. Original equipment manufacturers, Canon, Nikon etc should be challenged to match or improve on Sigma's lead to benefit us all.

0 upvotes
km25
By km25 (4 months ago)

Weather seal would make it prefect. Hay this lens is made in Japan? Canon and Nikon better wake up. Simga will be their lens maker. This lens for real world use has few piers.

0 upvotes
richshep
By richshep (4 months ago)

This may or may not be the sharpest 50mm lens but here's the killer: It doesn't matter because 99.9% viewers of the pix taken with it won't even notice and you could have just bought a 50mm 1.8 instead.

2 upvotes
sgoldswo
By sgoldswo (4 months ago)

Rather than posting this half-heartedly in a reply... If people are interested I put together some thoughts about this lens mounted on a D800E on my blog: http://wp.me/p2wMAg-Bf

8 upvotes
Coliban
By Coliban (4 months ago)

@sgoldswo

thank you for the review. BTW, nice site, i bookmarked it.

regards

1 upvote
sgoldswo
By sgoldswo (4 months ago)

@Coliban, thank you and glad you liked the website

0 upvotes
Joel Benford
By Joel Benford (4 months ago)

Thanks, excellent commentary. I used to take street candids around there back in my film SLR days. I like your shots.
The three dimensionality on the pic of the Millenium Bridge is remarkable. I don't think I've seen anything like that.

1 upvote
mike earussi
By mike earussi (4 months ago)

I commend Sigma for completely changing their design philosophy. Once known as one of the worse lens manufactures only a few years ago (to the point where Lens Rentals quit carrying their lenses due to so much mechanical failure) they now are producing some of the best lenses around. Only time will tell how durable they are, but hopefully they will prove to be as good mechanically as they are optically.

10 upvotes
PorscheDoc
By PorscheDoc (4 months ago)

I agree and plan to buy my first Sigma lenses in almost 20 years. My first Sigma zoom lens purchased in the early 1990's fell apart: the lens elements fell out into my hand because they were held in place by double-sided metallic sticky tape!!! This fiasco was also noted in several websites at the time, most notably IIRC, it also happened to the founder of photo.net.

0 upvotes
Niala2
By Niala2 (4 months ago)

Zeiss Macro 50mm f2 is systematically forgotten on the web..
(makes me crazy lol. Same with the Sigma 70 makro)
I don't care about the macro.
If You can accept its absence of AF,
and will use f2 until f11 really full-frame without missing wider aperture,
then this lens is the only one (next to Otus and indeed the Art 50) worth mentioning. (Alll the other 50mm are a shame -except Leitz and the Sony's 7's 50 - including the TS-E 45, canon 50mm f 1.2, ...)

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
sgoldswo
By sgoldswo (4 months ago)

The problem with using the Makro planar for general photography is the long focus throw and extension of the lens. Get past that and it produces lovely pictures. For most manual focus uses though I prefer the Nikkor F1.2 AiS 50mm. It's lower contrast which can result in washed out landscapes in bright sun, but on people or close subjects its great from about F2 onwards.

1 upvote
mlewan
By mlewan (4 months ago)

I'm also surprised that the Zeiss 50mm f2 is mentioned so rarely. It is the lens I use most. But "the only one (next to Otus and indeed the Art 50) worth mentioning"... Without sources, I take that as just your own opinion. And do you limit the statement to Canon? And only 50mm?

1 upvote
stevo23
By stevo23 (4 months ago)

Go Sigma!

1 upvote
Dr_Jon
By Dr_Jon (4 months ago)

My one concern about this lens is too many people are complaining about AF issues. Is it possible to test it on as many Canon bodies as possible and report what you see? (Canon bodies as you have a Canon version.)

As someone else said, it doesn't matter how sharp it is if it misses focus...

E.g. http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/Sigma-50mm-f-1.4-DG-HSM-Art-Lens.aspx
"The bottom line is that, the longer I focus tested this lens, the less sure I was about its focus accuracy.
... (a bit removed as I was over the character limit for a post) ...
What I learned from the many hours (actually extended into days) spent shooting and analyzing thousands of images is that the 50 Art lens' AF cannot be completely counted on. Sometimes, most images are properly focused and when my shots counted, this lens delivered. But sometimes, more images are out of focus than I am comfortable with."

I trust Brian to have an objective opinion BTW.

0 upvotes
Dr_Jon
By Dr_Jon (4 months ago)

I don't however trust me to spell Bryan correctly :-(

0 upvotes
mike earussi
By mike earussi (4 months ago)

That's what the USB Dock is for, to fine tune AF to your specific camera body. The tester may not have done this.

1 upvote
Andy Westlake
By Andy Westlake (4 months ago)

I've nothing more really to add than I wrote in the review. I was very confident with the lens's focus accuracy using centre point in the EOS 6D. I wasn't remotely confident it would hit focus perfectly on the 100D. The 70D was somewhere in between. Off-centre AF points seemed less reliable than centre AF points, which tends to be the case with SLRs.

Both of Canon's Live View AF methods, in contrast, were absolutely reliable as always. However the 100D's Hybrid AF isn't really fast enough to be generally useful with non-STM lenses. The 70D's Dual Pixel AF gives decent speed and accuracy, but has other operational flaws.

1 upvote
Lassoni
By Lassoni (4 months ago)

@mike you see, that kind is the issue. Why would you want to add a USB fine tuning dock, unless it is to release products which go thru less QC? They don't do these decisions out of good will.

0 upvotes
Dr_Jon
By Dr_Jon (4 months ago)

Mike - I don't think so, as he says he gets sharp photos a lot of the time, so I can't see it's a fine-tuning issue as if it was wrong in a way fine-tuning could fix it would be wrong more consistently.

Andy - okay, that will do for me as an answer, although 5DmkII/III results would have been great. Oh, except were there any 70D issues that are specific to this lens?

Comment edited 4 times, last edit 4 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Andy Westlake
By Andy Westlake (4 months ago)

@Lassoni: I'd suggest reading up on what the USB Dock offers before drawing conclusions about 'less QC'. It allows both more detailed AF Fine Tune than any camera, and the ability to update the lens's firmware.

Like it or not, SLR PDAF systems normally require some AF fine tuning to match a fast lens to a camera. This isn't about QC, but about the aggregation of tolerances, and the fact that SLR focus sensors aren't directly measuring correct focus at all - just determining a more-or-less accurate proxy for it. It's also worth considering that while high-end SLRs tend to have quite sophisticated AF tuning built-in, entry-level SLRs don't. This doesn't imply that the cheaper cameras have better QC.

4 upvotes
sgoldswo
By sgoldswo (4 months ago)

The AF issues I had resulted from differing levels of front focus at different focal lengths. Thankfully with the USB Dock you can adjust focus selectively to address this. In practice that resulted in some shots in focus, some out, some hunting for focus. However, it's now resolved.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
mike earussi
By mike earussi (4 months ago)

No AF system is perfect. Each camera body is unique since there is always a certain amount of tolerance in its construction (see Lens Rental's series of articles if you're not familiar with this topic--http://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2012/07/autofocus-reality-part-1-center-point-single-shot-accuracy).

That's why Sigma's AF Dock is so useful, it enables these variables to be corrected for on a body by body basis. An interesting test would be to compare Canon's 50 f1.4 to Sigma's for AF accuracy after the Sigma has been calibrated using the Dock.

1 upvote
Andy Westlake
By Andy Westlake (4 months ago)

@Dr_Jon: I didn't see any 70D-specific issues, but then again I only shot a couple of hundred images on the 70D.

The variation between reports simply reflects that different reviewers test different copies of the lenses on different camera bodies with different shooting habits. I used two copies of the lens (one in Seattle, another in London), and both were excellent. But a fractionally decentered or tilted lens wouldn't work as well.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
The Name is Bond
By The Name is Bond (4 months ago)

With modern high MP cameras, AF tuning is pretty much a must. The USB dock reflects the reality of up-to-date DSLR AF. If high MP DSLR is what you want, then the USB dock is the logical tool. It shouldn't really be considered optional (or a kludge fix).

This isn't an issue for CDAF (ie, mirrorless) since the AF is not subject to tolerances like PDAF. But until CDAF beats PDAF for performance, that's the way it is with such high MP cameras.

0 upvotes
Rooru S
By Rooru S (4 months ago)

Will wait until they test the 50mm Art on the D800E and then make a comparison against the Zeiss Otus 55 and Sony Zeiss 55 FE.

1 upvote
Ben Ramsey
By Ben Ramsey (4 months ago)

Or just get the lens you like for the system you have and use it.

4 upvotes
sgoldswo
By sgoldswo (4 months ago)

It's very, very sharp with extremely impressive local/micro contrast on the D800E. It reminds me of something like a Leica summicron or Zeiss planar 50mm.

I posted some thoughts on the Sigma mounted on the D800E on my blog, www.sgoldswoblog.com

2 upvotes
MX2010
By MX2010 (4 months ago)

What is really desirable is the low light AF performance. Is there any info on that? I Am very tempted replace my nikon 50/1.4G.

0 upvotes
Absolutic
By Absolutic (4 months ago)

so Andy you are concluding it is the best AF 50mm lens currently on the market. Are you saying it is better than Sony Zeiss 55 FE lens for E mount, that is half the weight, and the price is the same? You mention the 55FE but does not talk about it in your conclusion. I know it is comparing F/1.8 to F/1.4 which is half-stop in difference but nevertheless, which one is better? DXO said at the time that 55FE is the best AF lens they have ever tested.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
viking79
By viking79 (4 months ago)

Comparing the results of the FE 55mm f/1.8 and the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 is notably better in the corners through f/5.6 or so and can't say about the center since the Canon is too low resolution. Need to see the Sigma tested on the D800E to compare with A7R, but it is clear corners are better on this Sigma than on the FE 55mm (not that they are bad on the FE 55mm).

The best just got better? It is something that happens all the time in this field.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 3 minutes after posting
5 upvotes
forpetessake
By forpetessake (4 months ago)

The DXOmark measurements show that Sony FE 55/1.8 is slightly ahead. And even the transmission on both lenses is almost the same, Sony is T/1.8 lens and Sigma is T/1.7 (only 12% brighter). But Sigma is 3 times heavier -- FAIL.

3 upvotes
Andy Westlake
By Andy Westlake (4 months ago)

I'd say that the FE 55/1.8 and the Sigma 50/1.4 are so close that it's impossible to call one 'better' than the other. In practice, you choose between them based on which fits your camera; if you own an SLR, the Sigma will fit and the Sony won't. If you own an Alpha 7, you buy the Sony, as it'll fit directly and focus better. Given this I don't really understand why one should be declared the 'winner'; just accept they're both stunning lenses and be happy they're available for photographers to buy. (Unless of course you're more interested in petty point-scoring than actual photography.)

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 3 minutes after posting
28 upvotes
sgoldswo
By sgoldswo (4 months ago)

I own both lenses which I use on a D800E and a A7r. Both are very sharp, but the Sigma has exceptional sharpness stopped down, of the sort I've only really seen from rangefinder lenses like the Zeiss Planar 50mm. It's more consistently sharp across the frame at wider apertures too. The Sigma's weaknesses are AF performance (mine needed to be corrected via the USB Dock for front focus) and bokeh at distances greater that 1.5 to 3m, which can be quite busy/nervous. The zeiss has nicer bokeh and is a lot smaller.

Optically, I wouldn't be surprised if the Sigma rates comparably or better than the Otus, but I certainly wouldn't be surprised if it rates higher than the Zeiss FE. All three are great lenses, but the world moves on.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 9 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Higuel
By Higuel (4 months ago)

EXTREMELY well said Andy Westlake! :)

1 upvote
Absolutic
By Absolutic (4 months ago)

Thanks Andy for your reply. Also sgoldswo your opinion is important because you own a Nikon version of Sigma and 55FE on A7r.

0 upvotes
Andy Westlake
By Andy Westlake (4 months ago)

@Absolutic: Sorry if my response came across as a bit harsh - sometimes it's difficult to separate genuine questions from those simply designed to establish some sort of brand superiority. If you're shooting with an A7R, then I accept it's entirely legitimate to ask which of these has better optics, as you could conceivably use either. But personally I'd choose the Sony FE for practicality.

2 upvotes
Higuel
By Higuel (4 months ago)

Andy, my respect for you just got bigger!

Sincerely.

Henrique

0 upvotes
Absolutic
By Absolutic (4 months ago)

Actually Andy I shoot several brands of cameras (which I think many people on these boards also do) including Sony, Nikon (sometimes Canon) and Fuji. Sony A7/A7r is often a second camera for many as a mirrorless 'light and small' choice when they don't want to carry their DSLR equipment. In fact many Sony A7 owners own other gear from other mfrs judging from their signatures on this forum and others. The question of whether to pick a 55FE for Sony A7r, or to pick a Sigma 50/1.4 for Nikon/Canon (price being practically the same for the two) is a legitimate one for someone who shoots both DSLRs and mirrorless, and wants the best autofocus 50 possible.

0 upvotes
nikon power
By nikon power (4 months ago)

Carl Zeiss to Sigma is Mercedes to Volkswagen. I'd go for the name, Mercedes, if I got the money.

Comment edited 21 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
pako
By pako (4 months ago)

well, your VW is priced 949$ and the Mercedes only 998$

4 upvotes
RonGreer
By RonGreer (4 months ago)

???

1 upvote
Klarth
By Klarth (4 months ago)

Thanks, Captain Obvious

0 upvotes
LarryK
By LarryK (4 months ago)

The car doesn't do the driving.

2 upvotes
Lassoni
By Lassoni (4 months ago)

not yet atleast

1 upvote
pako
By pako (4 months ago)

I believe the Sony Zeiss FE 55 f1.8 is the best 50mm...
http://www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Sigma-50mm-F14-DG-HSM-A-Canon-on-Canon-EOS-5D-Mark-III-versus-Zeiss-Carl-Zeiss-Distagon-T-STAR-Otus-55mm-F14-ZE-Canon-on-Canon-EOS-5D-Mark-III-versus-Sony-FE-Carl-Zeiss-Sonnar-T-STAR-55mm-F18___1306_795_1241_795_1252_0

2 upvotes
Mr Blah
By Mr Blah (4 months ago)

That was a comparison on completely different cameras, though. Compare the Sony FE 55f1.8 on the A7R with the Zeiss Otus on the Nikon D800E (they have the same sensor) and you'll see that the Zeiss out resolves (and has less distortion, etc.) the Sony.

0 upvotes
pako
By pako (4 months ago)

nothing to blush about (specially if you take in account the price tag of the Otus)
http://www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Sony-FE-Carl-Zeiss-Sonnar-T-STAR-55mm-F18-on-Sony-A7R-versus-Zeiss-Carl-Zeiss-Distagon-T-STAR-Otus-55mm-F14-ZF2-Nikon-versus-50mm-F1.4-EX-DG-HSM-Nikon-on-Nikon-D800E___1252_917_1242_0_202_814

0 upvotes
Emacs23
By Emacs23 (4 months ago)

You chose D800 instead of D800E for Otus. And used old sigma 50 instead of new 50 art.

0 upvotes
pako
By pako (4 months ago)

You right. there is no test available for the A lens on Nikon mount. There is no real way to compare this 3 lenses. Probably the Sigma and FE Zeiss on the A7R -but DXO won't do that. Anyways, the otus is 3000+ $ and the FE a little less than 1000 $; and the otus doesn't perform 3 times better...

0 upvotes
marc petzold
By marc petzold (4 months ago)

As other reviews already stated, this new 50/1.4 Art Sigma comes very close to the Zeiss Otus, but for only 1/4 of the price. Superb work for Sigma, since the 35/1.8, Sigma is really on fire with their latest Art lens creations - which is a way good thing, competition leads to much better products, the Art 18-35/1.8 is also outstanding in optical quality terms. I expect no less from Sigma with their 24/1.4 when it'll be released this fall, and the 85/1.4 which is rumored for 2015 must be very good then, too.

Go Sigma, go! Hopefully Canikon would improve their upcoming lens iterations, too.

I've got the 30/1.4 Art for my D90/D7000, and being happy with that prime lens.

5 upvotes
Marksphoto
By Marksphoto (4 months ago)

If sigma is going to start making better lenses than brand names will, will have to risk incompatibility issues in the future as Canon likes to play the incompatibility games as I have already learned first hand.

Sure buy this lens for today, but no guarantees it will work on the 5d mk4 or 5.

I'll stick to Brand name lenses myself, the 50mm 1.8 is light weight, tack sharp and cheap, If I need more light I will bump ISO up marginally - not that I ever use 50mm lenses - just thinking outloud...

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 5 minutes after posting
1 upvote
SushiEater
By SushiEater (4 months ago)

Hence USB dock. It already happened with Nikon version of 35mm and FW fixed it. I am not worried at all.

11 upvotes
wetsleet
By wetsleet (4 months ago)

re: the incompatibility games
The Brands (as you refer to them, but I guess Sigma is a brand too?) will find their reputation in tatters if their lenses are seen to rely less on their outright quality and more on "incompatibility" protectionism to earn their keep.
Maybe even (long shot) the EU or similar will weigh in and force the camera brands to publish their interfaces, a bit like Windows (I think?) is obliged to, so that all parties can play in the park.

Comment edited 42 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
Bhima78
By Bhima78 (4 months ago)

There is literally no comparison between the canon 50mm 1.8 and this lens except for that they are both 50mm and have similar f-stop numbers. The IQ of this Sigma is magnitudes better than the Canon 1.8. The Canon is great for its price and is light weight but it is not a stellar performer in IQ if you are looking for a higher level of IQ and are willing to pay for it.

2 upvotes
skanter
By skanter (4 months ago)

Maybe, but this lens will not make a bad photographer good or a good photographer any better. It's only 100% crop pixel-peeping that make these expensive lenses relevant for enthusiasts. For pros, every tiny bit of quality that can be eeked out might give them an edge, so they should consider lenses like this.

0 upvotes
SushiEater
By SushiEater (4 months ago)

@wetsleet
There is a big difference between MS Windows and camera Brands. MS wants all the software to run well on Windows. Otherwise they will go out of business. Camera makers only want their lenses and accessories to run well. They simply don't care about third parties. That is why Sigma made revolutionary step towards compatibility with the ability to upgrade FW without sending lens in for re-chipping and in the process gave us ability to adjust focusing at different FLs.

1 upvote
viking79
By viking79 (4 months ago)

This lens shows a perfect example of design trade-offs in lenses. Want a nice sharp wide open 50mm with large aperture and minimal distortion? It will cost you in size, weight, and price.

The old(er) Sigma 50mm f/1.4 is half the price, but also not as good. I imagine plenty good for most, but if you want max wide open performance this new Sigma looks great.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
JF69
By JF69 (4 months ago)

It will cost you in size, weight, price……& bokeh. Since it's corrected for Spherical Aberration, bokeh will be "ugly" by design. Like all lenses it's a tradeoff, a design choice.
Kudos to Sigma for producing such fine lenses in its "Art" range.

2 upvotes
viking79
By viking79 (4 months ago)

I find spherical aberrations make bokeh worse (bright rings on specular highlights), which is why most f/1.4 lenses look a lot better at f/2 because the spherical aberration has started to clear up. Here is a sample, not bad: http://www.dpreview.com/galleries/reviewsamples/photos/2897523/?inAlbum=sigma-50mm-f1-4-dg-hsm-art-canon-preview-samples

1 upvote
Just another Canon shooter
By Just another Canon shooter (4 months ago)

The bright rings on lenses with uncorrected spherical aberrations appear in objects in the foreground, not in the background. Since we usually care more about the background, then the bokeh is smoother because of the spherical aberrations. Corrected or overcorrected lenses make the background bokeh harsh, like this one:

http://www.dpreview.com/galleries/reviewsamples/photos/2897503/f1-4_01img_5736?inalbum=sigma-50mm-f1-4-dg-hsm-art-canon-preview-samples

1 upvote
David Bourke
By David Bourke (4 months ago)

Not a single shot into the sun? It would be nice to see how lens lens handles flare.

0 upvotes
Andy Westlake
By Andy Westlake (4 months ago)

See the shots into the sun in the 'Flare' section of the review.

3 upvotes
chiane
By chiane (4 months ago)

Oops. Wanna get away?

1 upvote
igor_s
By igor_s (4 months ago)

Low contrast at f/1.4 (not uncommon, though).

2 upvotes
ambercool
By ambercool (4 months ago)

Why was the Summilux 50 f/1.4 left out?

1 upvote
coudet
By coudet (4 months ago)

They encountered trouble mounting Summilux-M on the 5D3. Wild guess, of course. ;)

18 upvotes
ambercool
By ambercool (4 months ago)

Impressive answer. Well played... well played... :)

3 upvotes
quezra
By quezra (4 months ago)

Pft Summilux-M stands for Macro on Canon of course

1 upvote
photosen
By photosen (4 months ago)

Nice review, interesting lens; if Canon update theirs I'm afraid it would be hitting this price point.

0 upvotes
l_d_allan
By l_d_allan (4 months ago)

IIRC, the upcoming Canon 50mm may have IS. To me, that will be a huge advantage over the Sigma Art and especially the manual focus Otus.

I'm really happy with my reasonably priced, reasonably sized, very sharp, quick focusing Canon EF 35mm f2 IS.

My speculation is that the price at introduction of an EF 50mm f??? IS would be relatively high, but settle down nicely within 6 months. That was the pattern with the 35mm f2 IS.

0 upvotes
JEROME NOLAS
By JEROME NOLAS (4 months ago)

Impressive!!!

1 upvote
Jogger
By Jogger (4 months ago)

I prefer my 50 to be cheap, small, light weight and have good enough image quality.

4 upvotes
tkbslc
By tkbslc (4 months ago)

They have a handful of those already.

7 upvotes
fastlass
By fastlass (4 months ago)

sounds like my first 3 husbands.

13 upvotes
AbrasiveReducer
By AbrasiveReducer (4 months ago)

Badda bing, fastlass! It may be an optical triumph but it's still a 50mm lens.

0 upvotes
photog4u
By photog4u (4 months ago)

Scored 35 with Canon mount so I'm guessing 43ish on the D800E or a7R adapted to alpha mount...sweet. I just hope the new 24 1.4 is at least as good.

2 upvotes
coudet
By coudet (4 months ago)

"Large and heavy for a 50mm F1.4 prime"
"Relatively expensive for its class"

Well, they could have made it small and cheap if you were willing to accept optically poor lens. I'm not.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
Wilight
By Wilight (4 months ago)

"■Relatively expensive for its class". Really? Which class are you talking about? The little canikons with the same FL and maximum aperture? For me this one has nothing to do with that class. Although I'm not sure if I will buy this Sigma right now, I was afraid that this lens would have a higher price tag. So, in my opinion, the price couldn't be fairer. It's actually a little large and heavy, but still better than the (MF only) Otus in this regard. The only thing that really disappointed me is the lack of weather sealing.

4 upvotes
thinkfat
By thinkfat (4 months ago)

This appears to be a very positive review. At least it seems to me, because "positive" is positively used in every second or so sentence.

Regarding the lens, I'm genuinely positive.

4 upvotes
Andy Westlake
By Andy Westlake (4 months ago)

There are six instances of the word 'positive' in the review, and one of the word 'positively'. Sorry about that.

3 upvotes
Xentinus
By Xentinus (4 months ago)

Why sorry?If it is positive,then it is positive.

2 upvotes
thinkfat
By thinkfat (4 months ago)

Yes, but what is a "large, positive focus mode switch". And how does a grip provide "positive handling when changing lenses".

0 upvotes
Andy Westlake
By Andy Westlake (4 months ago)

@thinkfat: [http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/positive](http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/positive)

Comment edited 49 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Nordstjernen
By Nordstjernen (4 months ago)

I wonder if this lens is sharp enough for my web pictures ... :-D

7 upvotes
Xentinus
By Xentinus (4 months ago)

You had better look for Otus or Canon 1.2 :P

2 upvotes
nicolaiecostel
By nicolaiecostel (4 months ago)

I didn't realize that the Canon 1.2 was a sharpness benchmark :))

7 upvotes
Xentinus
By Xentinus (4 months ago)

Oh my bad...Then you don't recommend Canon 1.2 for web photos and selfies,do you?

2 upvotes
neo_nights
By neo_nights (4 months ago)

Shooting on a FF at F8 clearly brings more detail to the overall picture. Just look at that boat!

0 upvotes
Andy Westlake
By Andy Westlake (4 months ago)

Unfortunately half of it has disappeared at F11.

4 upvotes
neo_nights
By neo_nights (4 months ago)

Talk about 'sweet spot'!

1 upvote
reginalddwight
By reginalddwight (4 months ago)

Congratulations to Sigma for hitting another home run with this latest addition to the Art series.

For me, I cannot justify the price of the Zeiss Otus 55mm/1.4, which has superb optics reportedly matched or even surpassed by the Sigma 50mm/1.4.

I can't wait to get my hands on a copy.

5 upvotes
Miwok
By Miwok (4 months ago)

Yea! $1000 for a fixed 50mm it's such a bargain! :)

2 upvotes
coudet
By coudet (4 months ago)

@Miwok - seems like a bargain of the century compared to, say, $1,000 Sony 55/1.8.

Good job, Sigma.

3 upvotes
The Lotus Eater
By The Lotus Eater (4 months ago)

Coudet, I tend to find that those claiming the Sony FE 55/1.8 is overpriced have not actually used it.

2 upvotes
Miwok
By Miwok (4 months ago)

I'm not a pro and didn't pretend to be one. I'm perfectly happy with my $120 Sony f1.8

2 upvotes
steelhead3
By steelhead3 (4 months ago)

For bargains, how about the Sony 50mm 1,4 ZA at $1500.

0 upvotes
RuneStenseth
By RuneStenseth (4 months ago)

Would it not be better to test those kind of lenses on a Nikon D800e rather than a 22mp Canon? More resolution, dynamic range and no diffusor in front of the bayer array?

2 upvotes
Andy Westlake
By Andy Westlake (4 months ago)

In principle it's always best to test lenses on higher resolution sensors (note though that DR is pretty much irrelevant). However Sigma has a habit of releasing Canon mount versions of its lenses a month or two before the Nikon version, so naturally they get tested first. We usually add Nikon test data when it becomes available.

9 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (4 months ago)

Andy Westlake:

Why would better, or worse, DR be nearly irrelevant in lens testing?

0 upvotes
coudet
By coudet (4 months ago)

I'd rather see a test on Pentax Q.

4 upvotes
Andy Westlake
By Andy Westlake (4 months ago)

@HowaboutRAW: The comment I answered was about our originally-published short 'Lab Test Review' of the 50mm F1.4, which was based purely on DxOMark's data. None of the studio tests they conduct on lenses stress the available DR of any current camera.

Comment edited 26 seconds after posting
1 upvote
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (4 months ago)

Andy Westlake:

Okay, it's referring to DXO's methods not the reasons one would indeed look at how well a lens works with the DR available to the camera's sensor.

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Andy Westlake
By Andy Westlake (4 months ago)

@HowaboutRAW: Yes, that's correct.

0 upvotes
The Lotus Eater
By The Lotus Eater (4 months ago)

With regards to Sigma releasing Nikon mount versions for testing, I wonder if Sigma are worried that it is not as much as an Otus killer as has been hyped.

The Sony Zeiss FE 55/1.8 is incredibly sharp, and results were off the charts when tested on the A7R. I wonder if the Sigma can even compete with that lens, never mind the Otus.

1 upvote
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (4 months ago)

The Lotus Eater:

Stopped down a bit the SonyZeiss 55 is sharp. But sharpness is not the only quality one looks for in optically excellent lenses.

Also Sony undermines itself by compressing A7r raws. (Of course that applies to any lens mounted.)

Comment edited 20 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Andy Westlake
By Andy Westlake (4 months ago)

@The Otus Eater: Historically Sigma release Nikon mount lenses for testing just as soon as they start shipping them to customers. The Nikon version has just started to go on sale in Japan, so hopefully DxOMark will get one in shortly for testing.

However, I see nothing in the current test data (or indeed the real-world images) to suggest that the Sigma will have any trouble at all keeping up with the FE 55mm F1.8, or indeed the Otus.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 1 minute after posting
1 upvote
The Lotus Eater
By The Lotus Eater (4 months ago)

Sharpness is of course not the only important quality, but the FE 55 is no slouch in other areas either.

0 upvotes
The Lotus Eater
By The Lotus Eater (4 months ago)

"@The Otus Eater"

I see what you did there.

0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (4 months ago)

The Lotus Eater,

Right, and Sony would probably sell more if A7/r/s? raws weren't auto-compressed. And Sony has an A7 shutter noise problem.

Comment edited 22 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
The Lotus Eater
By The Lotus Eater (4 months ago)

Well I haven't personally seen any problems with the RAWs in real world shooting, so I'm not sure how much that alone will be impacting sales.

What A7 shutter noise problem are you referring to? The A7R has apparent issues with shutter shock in certain conditions and circumstances, but the A7 is unaffected as it has electronic first curtain.

0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (4 months ago)

TLE:

The A7 (various) are incredibly loud--like Nikon D3s loud.

The color is not great, even shooting raw with good lenses. This is where less raw compression could help Sony.

0 upvotes
The Lotus Eater
By The Lotus Eater (4 months ago)

They're not really that loud. The A7R has a double shutter sound, which may add to the overall volume, but I find the A7 quite satisfying actually.

Got any links showing this "not great" colour?

0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (4 months ago)

TLE:

It makes the A7r+A7 unusable in many situations.

I have my raws showing the not great color.

0 upvotes
The Lotus Eater
By The Lotus Eater (4 months ago)

I've never been unable to use my A7 - perhaps you photograph libraries?

You'd think the net would be awash with evidence of the poor colour reproduction of the A7(R), but I just can't find it.

0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (4 months ago)

The Lotus,

Depends on the situation, live unamplified music in a small space is an obvious place loud shutters are a problem, film and TV sets also.

It's not color reproduction that's the problem, it's a bit more than that.

0 upvotes
The Lotus Eater
By The Lotus Eater (4 months ago)

That would be a problem with many FF cameras on the market.

Perhaps you can elaborate on the "bit more than that".

0 upvotes
JDThomas
By JDThomas (4 months ago)

@HowaboutRAW: If you're working on film or TV sets you should be using a blimp.

0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (4 months ago)

JDThomas:

Blimps are next to impossible to use with MF lenses.

Note “live music” event.

0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (4 months ago)

The Lotus Eater:

There are much quieter full framed bodies, like the Canon 6D, Nikon Df or Nikon D4s. Or a D700.

0 upvotes
JDThomas
By JDThomas (4 months ago)

@HowaboutRAW: Well, if you're hired to to photograph stills for film or TV (as I have been) Then use the right tools for the job. A DSLR camera with a blimp and an AF lens.

Re: "live music" event: I'm professional live music photographer. The Df has one of the quietest shutters of any camera I've ever worked with. I shoot quiet acoustic gigs at the Austin Gibson Guitar Showroom at least 3 times a month. Never a complaint.

Again, the right tools for the job. If you're a pro you know you can't do it all with one camera.

0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (4 months ago)

JDThomas:

"live music" um, reread what I wrote: I was talking very clearly about the loud shutter on the D3s + A7. I noted the quieter shutters, including the Df's.

Then: Must one use an AF lens of a film set? See the problem?

The A7 and A7r remain too loud for use in many, not all, situations: That's the entirety of the point The Lotus Eater tried to argue with.

0 upvotes
JDThomas
By JDThomas (4 months ago)

Sorry, there pal. I thought the reply about the quieter shutters was from the other dude.

Anyway, continue with your arguing...

0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (4 months ago)

JDT:

Okay.

0 upvotes
flyto9
By flyto9 (4 months ago)

It might be a dump question to ask. Should I get 50mm or 32mm? I tried 50mm (Fullframe) and 40mm (20mm m43). Whenever I see a picture and want to capture it. 50mm seems to be a bit limited that I need to step back to capture the picture. It might be that I was used to my 20mm m43? I personally also whan to get the 85mm for good portrait. So would the 32mm be more appropriate in this case?

The 50mm art seems to have a better review than the 32mm art. Is it that much better? optically? IP? Bokeh?

thanks

0 upvotes
WetCoast
By WetCoast (4 months ago)

Get the 35mm Art.

1 upvote
ageha
By ageha (4 months ago)

There is no 32mm Art obviously.

1 upvote
flyto9
By flyto9 (3 months ago)

My mistake. I meant 35mm Art. lol. The 50mm seems to be optically superior!!! I think I'll get the 50mm and try to get used to it. lol

1 upvote
lovepeacewar
By lovepeacewar (4 months ago)

I own this lens and I love it. Normally I would not have considered Sigma (I'm a Canon L fangirl), but a co-worker of mine suggested I give them a second look. Glad I did, as this saved me about $800 or so as I was about to go out a buy a new 50mm f1.2 L. Reviews like this are what sold me on going for a Sigma.

3 upvotes
stevo23
By stevo23 (4 months ago)

Keep at it Sigma! Of course one has to appreciate the performance to justify the cost.

2 upvotes
gbdz
By gbdz (5 months ago)

Nearly a thousand dollars for a 'normal' lens that weighs over 0.8 kilos.
People absolutely want it...I'll bet that there will be quite a few of these marvels on eBay pretty soon.

3 upvotes
Scottelly
By Scottelly (4 months ago)

It looks a lot bigger than the Canon, but it is only about 1/3 more weight. I think people will be happy to pay less than $1,000 for a lens that's sharper than the Canon and in almost all other respects (except size and weight) as good or better. I have no doubt that people will keep their Sigma 50mm f1.4 A lenses, and protect them like first-born children.

3 upvotes
badi
By badi (4 months ago)

"a lens that's sharper than the Canon and in almost all other respects (except size and weight) as good or better"

It is a great lens, but it's direct competitor is actually the ottus.
And the only way it is better that the other great ~50 lenses is the sharpness. The canon 1.2 is all about bokeh, same the new nikon 58/1.4.

Always there will be photographers that prefer nice bokeh and photographers that prefer sharpness. And their money will go with their preference.

4 upvotes
lovepeacewar
By lovepeacewar (4 months ago)

Are you kidding me? This lens blows the competition out of the water! Like someone else just mentioned, its direct competition is the zeiss otus.

1 upvote
dynaxx
By dynaxx (4 months ago)

.... apart from the ( untested ) Sony Zeiss Planar 50mm F1.4 ( about US$500 more though ) which Andy said might be better .

0 upvotes
ppando
By ppando (5 months ago)

Too bad Sigma doesn't offer it in the Sony FE mount!

0 upvotes
stevo23
By stevo23 (4 months ago)

Why? You already have a stellar performer for the same cost at 20oz. Or is it the f/1.4 that you want?

3 upvotes
ageha
By ageha (4 months ago)

And they never will. This lens has a motor for PDAF,

0 upvotes
Mais78
By Mais78 (5 months ago)

The new Sigma lenses are very good optically and shine in lab tests. But as a owner of a Sigma 35mm f1.4 who went through 3 copies I can tell you that in real life the AF is hit and miss and certainly you cannot trust any focus point that is not the central one.

3 upvotes
InTheMist
By InTheMist (4 months ago)

And my experience was entirely different. It's the best lens I own.

6 upvotes
Mais78
By Mais78 (4 months ago)

You are lucky. My experience is consistent with the one of many others. Or probably you dont shoot in focus critical situations.

3 upvotes
StephenJPhoto
By StephenJPhoto (4 months ago)

I have shot with the Sigma 35mm in plenty of focus critical situations, including at what felt like a pitch-black venue. It consistently nails focus to the point that I do not feel the need to snap more than one duplicate "just in case". This might be a YMMV issue, because for every time I hear a complaint about the Sigma's focus, I find another that has my experience.

1 upvote
Poss
By Poss (4 months ago)

My Sigma 35 works perfectly in every way. Most of the problems in the pictures taken with it have a common root. Me.

4 upvotes
Scottelly
By Scottelly (4 months ago)

Mais, in your gear list you do not have any high-end lenses listed for your Canon 6 D. Have you experienced what it is like to shoot with the Canon 50mm f1.2 L? I have experienced what it is like to shoot with the Canon 50mm f1.4, and I can attest to the fact that it is not a lens that focuses well in low light. Of course, that camera is nothing modern. I was able to focus much better in low light with my 70-200mm f2.8 L IS though. To what are you comparing the Sigma 50mm f1.4 A ? (Your Canon 50mm f1.8 II?)

2 upvotes
stevo23
By stevo23 (4 months ago)

I think Mais78 has a legitimate complaint, but one experience isn't enough to claim epidemic status.

2 upvotes
ArturoBandini
By ArturoBandini (4 months ago)

I have the same issue with Sigma 18-35. Also, while searching the internet in hope of solution, I've seen many posts claiming AF consistency issues with 35mm and 18-35. So Mais78 has a point.

You can forget about lens sharpness if it consistently miss focus. I'll say that it's better to have 300EUR nikon 1.4G with accurate AF and half the sharpness, then to get the sharpest lens constantly focusing in front or behind you focus point.

2 upvotes
Mais78
By Mais78 (4 months ago)

Scottelly, you don't need a high end lens to understand that AF is not consistent. My low end Tamron 24-70 and Canon 40mm are way more reliable. Also I am definitely not the only one, read this review
http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/Sigma-50mm-f-1.4-DG-HSM-Art-Lens.aspx

Comment edited 39 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
ArturoBandini
By ArturoBandini (4 months ago)

And this is a good copy he tested. With bad copy you do not get some focus inconsistencies, but many many - so many that you just don't want to use the lens any more. At least that's my experience with the 18-35. At 2m to infinity it's just not reliable (and most of my shoots are at that zone).

Comment edited 11 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Poss
By Poss (3 months ago)

People have this odd inclination to shoot wide open at close focus distances and then look at the results at 100% on their screen, while expecting perhaps not 100% perfection but at least 80% if not more. Sorry, at f1.4 the DOF of most lens is really small. To get accurate focus when shooting wide open, one’s technique needs to be flawless, down to breathing.

The response to Sigma's 35mm f/1.4 has been overwhelmingly positive… Are there bad copies out there? I’m sure they are.

0 upvotes
ArturoBandini
By ArturoBandini (3 months ago)

Jee don't worry be happy approach, characteristic for two kind of people: lucky ones and those with their head in the sand :) Seriously, if you had the issues I'm talking about you would probably not be so pragmatic. You would have then read numerous forums and find compadres suffering as you do, in a search of cure that does not exist.

Just look at the recent issues with Nikon D600 and oil on the sensor. There were a lot of guys saying "Theres no issue, its blown out of proportion, blabla...". And then Nikon got sued, admitted there is an issue and now is munching some serious Yen's to fix their cameras free of charge...
Hopefully Sigma will learn from Nikons experience and stop wasting our time with poor QC. Maybe they should move their production to China. In terms of QC they seem to be progressing where Japan once upon a time was...

0 upvotes
Andrew2468
By Andrew2468 (5 months ago)

Re. the bokeh - and looking at the pic of the boy hanging off the climbing frame - the point highlights, esp. to the right of the boy, appear as rings, a bit like a mirror lens. I'm no expert but if a bright point is out of focus, shouldn't the resulting blur still be brighter in the middle than the edges? People have commented on distracting straight lines. The above suggests to me the lens will tend to add a secondary line outside the original, spoiling a smooth blur.

0 upvotes
Total comments: 557
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