Sigma 50mm f1.4 Art and bokeh (new pics 4/11/2014)

Started Apr 11, 2014 | Discussions thread
RichyjV
RichyjV Contributing Member • Posts: 871
the expectations merry go round
25

So when the Sigma 35 1.4 Art is released, people aren't expecting anything special, and so this excellent lens builds up a following of surprised and delighted customers. Expectation levels go up. The second Art release is the first 1.8 zoom 18-35mm on DX format, and again they pull out really great performance and price really aggressively to make their mark.

Along comes this 50mm. This time people are expecting something excellent. Sigma says they are targetting the Otus as a quality benchmark. Initial tests for this suggest that they have matched it for those aspects they are after, and with AF included as well. Again, Sigma are shooting for the stars and wanting to shot the superiority of their range, pricing very aggressively.

However whilst sales are likely to be great for this lens, the high bar of expectation means that it is met with "for me to buy this lens it must do X otherwise it is overrated", instead of "hey here is a top quality lens for a vareity of uses which allows the highest mp cameras to fully utilize their resolution in a way that the softer 50mm lenses could not quite achieve".

There is a famous graph called the Hype Cycle which I find nails forum patterns about lenses over time dead on, its usually used in business but is just as useful here, google it.

From what I can see so far, Sigma said what they were going to do, and did it, and priced well below what was expected for that level of quality. They aren't in the business of creating the greatest bokeh, they are after razor sharp detail and microcontrast, stuff that sings in the studio or in landscapes. I can't fault a company for meeting the aim it set itself.

The flip side of course is that Nikon set out to make a lens with great image characteristics in the 58mm and it did exactly what they wanted it to do, and they were slated for not achieving higher scores shooting at test chart distances in the far corners. Again the problem is expectations. Both the nikon 58 and sigma 50 are great for what they are supposed to do, all those testing labs will of course love the sigma, and the bokeh lovers will appreciate the nikon.

Nothing wrong with either lens as long as you get what you need for your own photography.

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Regards
Rich

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