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

Started Apr 11, 2014 | Discussions
Johan1967 Regular Member • Posts: 383
Re:Peepers are coming out of the woodwork
6

RSchussel wrote:

Give me a break. It must be a full moon. The bokeh peepers are at it again, just like they were with the Sigma 35mm ART.

Different people are looking for various features out of their lens. I get that. But to try to condemn a lens you only have seen ads and a few pictures that were not well shot is troubling.. If a $950 Auto focus lens preforms as well/almost as well as a $4,000 manual lens guess which one most people will choose.

Both this new Sigma and the 35/1.4 show nervous and distracting bokeh. Call me a bokeh peeper, but I prefer good bokeh above a little bit additiional sharpness that this lens seems to offer.

As far as I now can see, this Sigma doesn't come near the Zeiss Otus. Perhaps only a little bit with sharpness. I think it doesn't come near the Zeiss 50/2 MP either.

thelenspainter Senior Member • Posts: 1,894
Re: Sigma 50mm f1.4 Art and bokeh (new pics 4/11/2014)
1

TQGroup wrote:

I've also had a quick look at Lens Tip's photos concentrating on the F1.4 images.

To my eye, the "bokeh" looks very Sigma-typical with pronounced circular highlights that I do not like at all; viz the fifth image down, centre column and just look at the highlights on those cars...

Those are specular highlights from the sun on the car's paintwork. I think you'll find that every lens will render bright circular disks like this, no matter what brand it is from. In this case the Sigma has rendered them very smooth (no interior detail to be seen in the discs) whereas some lenses cannot manage even that. How OOF specular highlights is rendered is often the most critical test of the bokeh a lens produces. But criticizing the lens for producing blur disks that are a function of optical physics and is common to all lenses is just bizarre.

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thelenspainter Senior Member • Posts: 1,894
Re: Sigma 50mm f1.4 Art and bokeh (new pics 4/11/2014)

Obviously you are not aware then of perspective change produced by zooming with your feet? A 24mm is quite a strong wide-angle and will introduce perspective distortion that a 50mm will not. It's fine if you don't want this lens but saying that a 24mm will do the same thing as a 50 is just patently false.

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thelenspainter Senior Member • Posts: 1,894
Re:Peepers are coming out of the woodwork
3

I don't see any nervous or distracting bokeh actually. What I've seen so far looks pretty darn good. Care to point out specifically in what image you see these alleged defects? It's all well to sling mud without providing proof, that's what forums are for, but generally we try to hold to a higher standard on DPreview.

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Johan1967 Regular Member • Posts: 383
Re:Peepers are coming out of the woodwork
2

thelenspainter wrote:

I don't see any nervous or distracting bokeh actually. What I've seen so far looks pretty darn good. Care to point out specifically in what image you see these alleged defects? It's all well to sling mud without providing proof, that's what forums are for, but generally we try to hold to a higher standard on DPreview.

http://3zgehi1uaxi23dphbrgqa50r6z.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Chris-GampatThe-Phoblographer-Sigma-50mm-f1.4-sample-images-11-of-19ISO-1001-250-sec-at-f-2.0.jpg

thelenspainter Senior Member • Posts: 1,894
Re: Sigma 50mm f1.4 Art vs Zeiss Otus 55 Bokeh
2

gatorowl wrote:

Also, what is the significance of the bokeh being smoother near the center of the shot compared to edges? I guess it means that I could crop for better results, but I'd like to know what you see as the implication of the the non-uniform smoothness of background blur.

What it means is that the Sigma designers went for one particular compromise that gives higher peak sharpness over another which gives even smoother blur circles. The appearance of background and foreground blur is strongly influenced by the spherical aberration characteristics of the optical design. Push it too far towards smooth blur and the peak resolution will diminish. I think both the Sigma and Otus probably use floating elements to allow a good compromise of smooth blur and high resolution.

The appearance of the blur circles will always change towards the edge of the images unless one designs a truly oversized lends, because the path of photons close to the edge of the image is cut off by either one of the lens barrel or an internal lens component. This is called mechanical vignetting and yields out-of-round highlights and other effects.

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thelenspainter Senior Member • Posts: 1,894
Re:Peepers are coming out of the woodwork
2

I'm guessing you meant towards the edge of the image? I agree it is not quite as smooth as towards the centre.

OK, now show me the same image from any other 50mm full frame lens on the market that produces a superior result.

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Johan1967 Regular Member • Posts: 383
Re:Peepers are coming out of the woodwork
1

thelenspainter wrote:

I'm guessing you meant towards the edge of the image? I agree it is not quite as smooth as towards the centre.

OK, now show me the same image from any other 50mm full frame lens on the market that produces a superior result.

No, it is not the edge, it is the whole background that is very nervous.

For better bokeh you can have a look here:

http://zeissimages.com/lensbrowser.php?page=1&lenstype=566

This is the lens that Sigma was going to better. 

TQGroup
TQGroup Senior Member • Posts: 1,459
Re:Peepers are coming out of the woodwork
6

IMHO, this forum is going very well and is very instructive to most... so please keep it polite and respectful. When it comes to bokeh, everyone's opinion is valuable so please, no "mud slinging" and lets keep it informative and objective. Remember "beauty (bokeh?) is in the eye of the beholder".

The challenge with comparing pictures of "bokeh" is that comparative pictures that were not taken "side by side" will likely render differently and, IMHO, one cannot say that one lens' bokeh is better than another on this basis alone.

However, certainly one can post pictures showing what one feels is an example of good / bad bokeh and explain why they feel that way... that certainly fosters better understanding and furthers the discussion.

For mine, I cannot make up my mind on the comparativeperformance of this "Siggie", or any other lens for that matter, against a competitor until I see results that are presented "side by side" and in a way that does not "game" the results in a particular way. 'Gaming" a comparison is far too easy to do and can often fool even a well-trained eye, for a while, anyway.

As stated by many posters, no lens is perfect or can be expected to perform perfectly in every aspect. This "holy grail" can never be achieved with known technology.

But this is the whole point of such a good discussion as on this forum, potential purchasers, like me, can make up their increasingly "well informed" minds on which lens is best for their unique needs. IMHO, this business of simply saying one lens is "superior" to another is about as useful as saying that a rose is superior to an orchid...

Personally, I am really looking forward to future "unbiased" comparative examples of this lens against its competitors that will help me decide if I should purchase this lens for my specific needs or not. As far as I can tell, these are not yet available...

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M Lammerse
M Lammerse Forum Pro • Posts: 11,417
Re:Peepers are coming out of the woodwork
2

RSchussel wrote:

Give me a break. It must be a full moon. The bokeh peepers are at it again, just like they were with the Sigma 35mm ART.

Different people are looking for various features out of their lens. I get that. But to try to condemn a lens you only have seen ads and a few pictures that were not well shot is troubling.. If a $950 Auto focus lens preforms as well/almost as well as a $4,000 manual lens guess which one most people will choose.

first of all the beauty of a boke (not bokeh) is partly subjective, secondly it's hard to judge about a boke with only a few samples. I would advice people to see lots of samples of different photographers instead of (commercial) bloggers to make their judgment. Flikr is your friend.

Second, when people buy such fast lens, they buy it mainly for two reasons. First of all it's speed (why else buy a 1.4, if a 1.8 does a similar job at F/2 and above) and the boke. So I would love to see lots of boke samples wide open or a bit slower before making any judgments

Personally I  feel the boke of this lens is very pleasant wide open of the samples I have seen so far, but those are not these samples

Michel

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alabaster Senior Member • Posts: 1,581
Re:Peepers are coming out of the woodwork

Johan1967 wrote:

thelenspainter wrote:

I'm guessing you meant towards the edge of the image? I agree it is not quite as smooth as towards the centre.

OK, now show me the same image from any other 50mm full frame lens on the market that produces a superior result.

No, it is not the edge, it is the whole background that is very nervous.

For better bokeh you can have a look here:

http://zeissimages.com/lensbrowser.php?page=1&lenstype=566

This is the lens that Sigma was going to better.

That's a 'slam dunk with pictures'. This Otus photo has much nicer blur than the Sigma Art:

http://www.zeissimages.com/gallery/2590/U2590I1396165115.SEQ.1.jpg

But the same photo withe the 58 1.4 Nikkor would have been even creamier.

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alabaster Senior Member • Posts: 1,581
Re:Peepers are coming out of the woodwork

Well said.

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alabaster Senior Member • Posts: 1,581
Re:Peepers are coming out of the woodwork
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M Lammerse wrote:

first of all the beauty of a boke (not bokeh)

No it can be either. The japanese is as you say, but read a bit further and you will see that the alternative 'english' version is also acceptable.

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alabaster Senior Member • Posts: 1,581
Re:Peepers are coming out of the woodwork
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BTW and OT I also really like this grab shot - not completely sharp, but full of drama and humour:

http://zeissimages.com/gallery/2590/med_U2590I1392591630.SEQ.1.jpg

You see it's not about the lens or sharpness at all, it's all about the light and the content!

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(unknown member) Veteran Member • Posts: 3,348
Re: Sigma 50mm f1.4 Art and bokeh (new pics 4/11/2014)

thelenspainter wrote:

Obviously you are not aware then of perspective change produced by zooming with your feet? A 24mm is quite a strong wide-angle and will introduce perspective distortion that a 50mm will not. It's fine if you don't want this lens but saying that a 24mm will do the same thing as a 50 is just patently false.

After about 30 years at this, I am aware of it, yes.

It depends on a lot of factors - how good the lenses being used are, what the subject is and so on.

My point is that the 24 f1.4 G shot I posted is pretty comparable artistically to the same shot with a 50mm f1.4 like the one under discussion (more interesting perspective though) and the need for many people to cough up for this heavy, specialised 50 just isn't there - in many cases it's just going to be 'because they said it was good' not 'because I need it'.

If I had stripped the Exif data from my shot above and said it was shot with a 50mm f1.4, how many people would actually have spotted it wasn't? Not many, I suspect.

jintoku Contributing Member • Posts: 657
Re: Sigma 50mm f1.4 Art and bokeh (new pics 4/11/2014)

IMHO Sigma has creamier and less nervous bokeh in these few samples than the Zeiss, but I wouldn't base my judgement on a few shots of non-identical scenes. Case in point, there is at least one review (SLRgear) that claimed the ART is sharper than the Otus by a hair, but the sample pic shown on Gizmodo showed the Otus to be the winner (the 100% version of their floor shot).

It would be wonderful if somebody with access to both lenses would take carefully focused shots of identical scenes and post them without EXIF information and let us all guess...I have my bet for the outcome...;-)

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jintoku Contributing Member • Posts: 657
Re: Sigma 50mm f1.4 Art and bokeh (new pics 4/11/2014)

Of course a slight difficulty with such a blind survey would be the different focal length of the two lenses -- hard to compensate for with the aperture without giving it away.

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TQGroup
TQGroup Senior Member • Posts: 1,459
Re: Sigma 50mm f1.4 Art and bokeh (new pics 4/11/2014)

jintoku wrote:

IMHO Sigma has creamier and less nervous bokeh in these few samples than the Zeiss, but I wouldn't base my judgement on a few shots of non-identical scenes. Case in point, there is at least one review (SLRgear) that claimed the ART is sharper than the Otus by a hair, but the sample pic shown on Gizmodo showed the Otus to be the winner (the 100% version of their floor shot).

It would be wonderful if somebody with access to both lenses would take carefully focused shots of identical scenes and post them without EXIF information and let us all guess...I have my bet for the outcome...;-)

Of course you do, but why drag the Nikon 58 F1.4 G into this discussion...

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HSway
HSway Veteran Member • Posts: 3,161
Re: Sigma 50mm f1.4 Art and bokeh (new pics 4/11/2014)

jtra wrote:

TQGroup wrote:
Hi Jtra

I have read your article previously and have recommended it to friends, so now is a good time to thank you for sharing your important work.

Thank you.

As to the Sigma 50 F1.4 ART, I am not so sure that I could call its bokeh "neutral". Of course, as I've said before, it is very early days and I want to see test photos from sites I know and trust before I can confirm a definite opinion.

For example, please consider the 100% crop from a Lens Tip photo posted above in this forum: (easy link) http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/53483220 and let me know how you would describe the bokeh highlights of the black motor car.

I am interested in your "expert" evaluation.

I based my opinion on pictures I have seen here:
http://lcap.tistory.com/entry/Sigma-50mm-f14-dg-hsm-Art-Review

Bokeh of any lens can look bad when picture is too sharpened (in camera sharpnening or raw processing can do it).

Looking at the picture you talk about (http://pliki.optyczne.pl/sig50A/sig50_fot14.JPG ), I see that bokeh is smoother near center and more edgy on image sides. You can see that on windows. Look at the windows just above statue. They are quite smooth but as you follow them to the left side, the edge of bokeh is more and more prominent. This is quite common. Older Sigma 50/1.4 DG HSM also has smoother background bokeh in about DX area than at sides.

Anyway this looks ok to me:
http://pliki.optyczne.pl/sig50A/sig50_fot07.JPG

And it is way better than Nikon 50/1.4G here:
http://pliki.optyczne.pl/nik50afs/nik50_fot11.jpg
And this is Nikon 50/1.8G:
http://pliki.optyczne.pl/nik1.8-50G_pz/DSC_3113.JPG

Comparison is the fastest way to find out, be it a known or yet unknown lens, as it illustrates the actual difference. Those mail box shots here, however useful they might be, make for rather poor comparison per se as the differences in light and the subject-to-camera distance (amount of the blur) influence the perception of bokeh.

Btw, I don’t mind the oof rendering of the 50/1.8G’s, or some other/older lenses with more structure to their technically less perfect bokeh, unlike in some other cases. Though this obviously doesn’t close the door for having one's own preferences. As we know the character of a lens isn’t possible to fit in a strictly technical description.

What I have seen so far the Sigma doesn’t look to be the instance for a generally accepted case of a bad bokeh. The lens looks more like a candidate for an average - good bokeh. - Success considering.

Otus vs Sigma mail box pics are more useful and reflect my impression of Otus being a bit smoother and creamier in the background -wide open to f2.8.

Thanks for posting this interesting link.

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TQGroup
TQGroup Senior Member • Posts: 1,459
Re: Sigma 50mm f1.4 Art and bokeh (new pics 4/11/2014)

HSway wrote:

jtra wrote:

TQGroup wrote:
Hi Jtra

I have read your article previously and have recommended it to friends, so now is a good time to thank you for sharing your important work.

Thank you.

As to the Sigma 50 F1.4 ART, I am not so sure that I could call its bokeh "neutral". Of course, as I've said before, it is very early days and I want to see test photos from sites I know and trust before I can confirm a definite opinion.

For example, please consider the 100% crop from a Lens Tip photo posted above in this forum: (easy link) http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/53483220 and let me know how you would describe the bokeh highlights of the black motor car.

I am interested in your "expert" evaluation.

I based my opinion on pictures I have seen here:
http://lcap.tistory.com/entry/Sigma-50mm-f14-dg-hsm-Art-Review

Bokeh of any lens can look bad when picture is too sharpened (in camera sharpnening or raw processing can do it).

Looking at the picture you talk about (http://pliki.optyczne.pl/sig50A/sig50_fot14.JPG ), I see that bokeh is smoother near center and more edgy on image sides. You can see that on windows. Look at the windows just above statue. They are quite smooth but as you follow them to the left side, the edge of bokeh is more and more prominent. This is quite common. Older Sigma 50/1.4 DG HSM also has smoother background bokeh in about DX area than at sides.

Anyway this looks ok to me:
http://pliki.optyczne.pl/sig50A/sig50_fot07.JPG

And it is way better than Nikon 50/1.4G here:
http://pliki.optyczne.pl/nik50afs/nik50_fot11.jpg
And this is Nikon 50/1.8G:
http://pliki.optyczne.pl/nik1.8-50G_pz/DSC_3113.JPG

Comparison is the fastest way to find out, be it a known or yet unknown lens, as it illustrates the actual difference. Those mail box shots here, however useful they might be, make for rather poor comparison per se as the differences in light and the subject-to-camera distance (amount of the blur) influence the perception of bokeh.

Btw, I don’t mind the oof rendering of the 50/1.8G’s, or some other/older lenses with more structure to their technically less perfect bokeh, unlike in some other cases. Though this obviously doesn’t close the door for having one's own preferences. As we know the character of a lens isn’t possible to fit in a strictly technical description.

What I have seen so far the Sigma doesn’t look to be the instance for a generally accepted case of a bad bokeh. The lens looks more like a candidate for an average - good bokeh. - Success considering.

Otus vs Sigma mail box pics are more useful and reflect my impression of Otus being a bit smoother and creamier in the background -wide open to f2.8.

Thanks for posting this interesting link.

Very interesting and insightful comments, IMHO, Hynek. I totally agree with you about the value of comparisons, but they should not just be "apples to apples" but also "small red apples to small red apples" so a valid conclusion can be drawn without anyone trying to "game" the result.

+ 1 for your early assessment of the Sigma's bokeh as likely to be "average to good."

+1 again for your assessment of the Nikon 50 F1.8 G OOF rendering ... I regularlu use it as a light weight "nifty fifty" and it doesn't disappoint for its intended purpose.

The link to the Japanese review you have posted is very enlightening and probably shows why the Siggy first came out in Canon livery and its likely target market for immediate sales penetration. I am also impressed with the quality of their photographic comparisons.

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