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

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

TQGroup wrote:

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.

Thank you Andrew, agreement is scarce in this type of threads so I am glad we agree. Otherwise jtra’s come with the link before, our thanks go to him

As you say great work done there.. sure not all, some things must be done out in the field etc.

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hajagosb
hajagosb Regular Member • Posts: 219
Re:Peepers are coming out of the woodwork
1

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

I will buy it for sharpness and micro contrast if it's that good. Resolving power is the most important for me. I rarely shoot wide open with any lens for work.

Many people are so worried about bokeh, but don't forget there are a lot of use, then this is not very important.

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Scott McMorrow Regular Member • Posts: 366
Re:Peepers are coming out of the woodwork

there's nothing nervous in that photo from bokeh.  The exposure is so blown out in the background that you can hardly make a decision.  When I look at those things that are not blown, the bokeh looks quite good.

Reilly Diefenbach
Reilly Diefenbach Forum Pro • Posts: 12,668
Re: Sigma 50mm f1.4 Art and bokeh (new pics 4/11/2014)
1

This Sigma lens is pretty good, but I'm not even slightly tempted to take off my 60G Micro for it or any other 50.

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anotherMike Veteran Member • Posts: 9,199
Re:Peepers are coming out of the woodwork

Well spoken.

My own interest in the Sigma 50 Art is if it is sharp, to the corner, at distance as well as being very good in the test chart range. I don't shoot 50mm enough to justify an Otus, and at 50mm I require AF for some of the tasks, so it doesn't matter how good the Otus is anyway. For the tasks I need I don't care about bokeh - at all - if I cared about bokeh at this focal length I'd get the Nikon 58/1.4 in a heartbeat. My guess is the Sigma 50 will be an excellent studio and landscape lens where detail is the primary components of it's image quality, more than bokeh, flare resistance or anything else. And if it is, it's likely going to be something I'm very interested in. But it's far too early to tell for sure based upon a couple of test chart tests (slrgear and popphoto) and a couple of pics.

-m

OP Nexu1 Senior Member • Posts: 2,746
Re: Sigma 50mm f1.4 Art and bokeh (new pics 4/11/2014)

Reilly Diefenbach wrote:

This Sigma lens is pretty good, but I'm not even slightly tempted to take off my 60G Micro for it or any other 50.

The 60 has caught my eye a smidge based on some of the previous conversations about the Nikon 50's.  That said, f2.8 pretty much takes it out of the conversation.

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Stacey_K
Stacey_K Veteran Member • Posts: 8,689
Re: Sigma 50mm f1.4 Art and bokeh (new pics 4/11/2014)

Nexu1 wrote:

Reilly Diefenbach wrote:

This Sigma lens is pretty good, but I'm not even slightly tempted to take off my 60G Micro for it or any other 50.

The 60 has caught my eye a smidge based on some of the previous conversations about the Nikon 50's. That said, f2.8 pretty much takes it out of the conversation.

I wish it was an F2, then I'd be looking at this lens too.

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Stacey

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Reilly Diefenbach
Reilly Diefenbach Forum Pro • Posts: 12,668
Re: Sigma 50mm f1.4 Art and bokeh (new pics 4/11/2014)

The 60 has caught my eye a smidge based on some of the previous conversations about the Nikon 50's. That said, f2.8 pretty much takes it out of the conversation.

Since I've never seen a pic I liked shot at 1.4 or 1.8, I guess I'm out of the loop :^)

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MattiD80 Contributing Member • Posts: 609
Re: Sigma 50mm f1.4 Art and bokeh (new pics 4/11/2014)

Since there's so much bokeh fans in this thread, i'll go a bit against it. Yes i like bokeh. It means very interesting pictures. But this difference so many people try to show in bokeh pictures is often exagerrated. And if i gotta choose sharpness or bokeh i choose sharpness as a first definitely. And if bokeh reaches acceptable levels, then it"s definitely a win for me (good compromise). The Sigma 35mm F1.4 does exactly that for me.

It may be me, but everytime the bokeh fans try to say a lens is not good for bokeh, they show a picture with very very reflective elements (like a car). And then go 'but but bokeh isn't good'. First of all this is asking for problems, you should place your model not in front of a car, unless it's part of the story in the picture. Even Zeis Otus and Nikkor 85mm F1.4 (highly regarded bokeh lenses), i've seen many pictures ruined by highlight reflective elements. But nobody talks about it there. Yes it's a bit smoother, and masking the reflections better, but they are still there. And at the same time, when i take sigma pictures of flowers, with non reflective green backgrounds, the bokeh is absolutely amazing to me. Nothing distracting whatsoever. Nothing Nervous. Just very pleasing image to the eye.

What this tell me (personally), is that choosing the right background, is more important to get good bokeh, then getting the best bokeh lens.

Sigma at F1.4 with well chosen background = sharper then nikon, but barely worse bokeh.

Nikkor F1.4 with bad chosen background, will have a bit better bokeh, but not that much, and will lack that ultimate sharpness.

I take the first compromise any day. I have the 85mm F1.8 wich is supposed to be a very good bokeh lens also (apart from a few naysayers), and i really don't see much diff with the Sigma 35mm art. The only diff is that a longer focal length can achieve full mask (not even a hit of what is in the background) bokeh easier. And that bokeh is what i think so many ppl rave about in certain lenses. But an Art lens can just achieve it as well. Just gotta work a bit harder.

It's like Nikkor F2.8 70-200mm Versus the F4 version. There's a myth the first achieves better bokeh. Perhaps is very very slightly smoother, but few will see the difference. Then there's F2.8 wich many will think its the decisive factor. But there's also 'the closer you focus, the more background blur, appears'. And the F4 focusses closer. And when focussing closer, it can even achieve, smoother bokeh (source: Nasim Mansurov review). So both are just as good in bokeh. The 70-200mm F2.8 is just easier to get it (say if you are lazy).

And before you call me a Sigma fan, i probably won't buy the 50mm, cause i already have the Nikon 1.8 and I don't use 50mm that much. If they ever come with a 85mm F1.4 art with similar characteristics, it's a win for me though.

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

MattiD80 wrote:

Since there's so much bokeh fans in this thread, i'll go a bit against it. Yes i like bokeh. It means very interesting pictures. But this difference so many people try to show in bokeh pictures is often exagerrated. And if i gotta choose sharpness or bokeh i choose sharpness as a first definitely. And if bokeh reaches acceptable levels, then it"s definitely a win for me (good compromise). The Sigma 35mm F1.4 does exactly that for me.

It may be me, but everytime the bokeh fans try to say a lens is not good for bokeh, they show a picture with very very reflective elements (like a car). And then go 'but but bokeh isn't good'. First of all this is asking for problems, you should place your model not in front of a car, unless it's part of the story in the picture. Even Zeis Otus and Nikkor 85mm F1.4 (highly regarded bokeh lenses), i've seen many pictures ruined by highlight reflective elements. But nobody talks about it there. Yes it's a bit smoother, and masking the reflections better, but they are still there. And at the same time, when i take sigma pictures of flowers, with non reflective green backgrounds, the bokeh is absolutely amazing to me. Nothing distracting whatsoever. Nothing Nervous. Just very pleasing image to the eye.

What this tell me (personally), is that choosing the right background, is more important to get good bokeh, then getting the best bokeh lens.

Sigma at F1.4 with well chosen background = sharper then nikon, but barely worse bokeh.

Nikkor F1.4 with bad chosen background, will have a bit better bokeh, but not that much, and will lack that ultimate sharpness.

I take the first compromise any day. I have the 85mm F1.8 wich is supposed to be a very good bokeh lens also (apart from a few naysayers), and i really don't see much diff with the Sigma 35mm art. The only diff is that a longer focal length can achieve full mask (not even a hit of what is in the background) bokeh easier. And that bokeh is what i think so many ppl rave about in certain lenses. But an Art lens can just achieve it as well. Just gotta work a bit harder.

It's like Nikkor F2.8 70-200mm Versus the F4 version. There's a myth the first achieves better bokeh. Perhaps is very very slightly smoother, but few will see the difference. Then there's F2.8 wich many will think its the decisive factor. But there's also 'the closer you focus, the more background blur, appears'. And the F4 focusses closer. And when focussing closer, it can even achieve, smoother bokeh (source: Nasim Mansurov review). So both are just as good in bokeh. The 70-200mm F2.8 is just easier to get it (say if you are lazy).

And before you call me a Sigma fan, i probably won't buy the 50mm, cause i already have the Nikon 1.8 and I don't use 50mm that much. If they ever come with a 85mm F1.4 art with similar characteristics, it's a win for me though.

Thanks for some interesting and thoughtful analysis that adds to the debate. I guess the reason there is so much bokeh in this thread is because the title is "Sigma 50mm f1.4 Art and bokeh.." 

While it is still very early days and, IMHO we haven't seen anywhere near enough detailed information to even begin to make an informed choice, I agree with other posters that this lens is more about sharp "image recording" than beautiful "image rendering". Please let me make it clear that one approach is neither better nor worse than the other. They are both different and both necessary for entirely different uses and usage. I also agree that it is great to have this choice!

So, bring on the good, impartial and detailed reviews with lots of good illustrative piccies...

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David Whysong Contributing Member • Posts: 585
Re: Sigma 50mm f1.4 Art and bokeh (new pics 4/11/2014)

I disagree that bokeh is subjective; it is a simple property of residual spherical aberration and vignetting, and there is near-universal agreement that edge-brightened blur disks are unpleasantly "nervous" in appearance.

The bokeh for the older Sigma 50mm f1.4 is generally regarded as superior, certainly better than any of Nikon's 50mm D or G lenses. This "review" is a fluff piece, but it has A/B photos directly comparing the bokeh of the old Sigma 50 and the newer Sigma 50 Art. (Scroll about 3/4 down the page, look for two pictures of an old camera.)

The 50 Art bokeh looks very good in this comparison.

David Whysong Contributing Member • Posts: 585
Re: Sigma 50mm f1.4 Art and bokeh (new pics 4/11/2014)
1

TQGroup wrote:

David Whysong wrote:

This is pretty good bokeh, much as one might expect from a well-corrected lens. The blur circle is not edge-brightened, and it's noticeably better than the 35/1.4 Art.

Thank you for taking the time and trouble to contribute this post David. I appreciate both your effort and opinion.

Perhaps you may wish to look at the specific example I mentioned in my post (the fifth image down, centre column) from the Lens Tip example page...

Lens Tip Sigma 50 ART example 100% crop

Now, my eyes are not as young as they used to be and everyone has a legitimately different idea about "great" bokeh... but what I see here does not make my heart beat faster nor make my hand reach for my wallet!

Cheers Andrew

Apologies Andrew, I thought you meant the fifth image in the series, which was also in the middle column.

I wouldn't use the specular reflections from a car to judge bokeh of a lens; it's possible that the reflection itself is not point-like and that would produce asymmetric brightness, particularly in the blur circle above and in front of the rear wheel.

The wheel edges show a sharp edge because there is a high-contrast edge there, but insignificant depth in the structure of the car/wheel edge.

By the way, the Zeiss Otus bokeh is essentially identical aside from additional mechanical vignetting that causes its blur circle to be oblong rather than circular away from the image center. This is inevitable in highly-corrected lenses; you can't have high sharpness without correcting for spherical aberration. And spherical aberration is what determines the radial intensity profile of the blur, i.e. what is generally referred to as bokeh.

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

David Whysong wrote:

TQGroup wrote:

David Whysong wrote:

This is pretty good bokeh, much as one might expect from a well-corrected lens. The blur circle is not edge-brightened, and it's noticeably better than the 35/1.4 Art.

Thank you for taking the time and trouble to contribute this post David. I appreciate both your effort and opinion.

Perhaps you may wish to look at the specific example I mentioned in my post (the fifth image down, centre column) from the Lens Tip example page...

Lens Tip Sigma 50 ART example 100% crop

Now, my eyes are not as young as they used to be and everyone has a legitimately different idea about "great" bokeh... but what I see here does not make my heart beat faster nor make my hand reach for my wallet!

Cheers Andrew

Apologies Andrew, I thought you meant the fifth image in the series, which was also in the middle column.

I wouldn't use the specular reflections from a car to judge bokeh of a lens; it's possible that the reflection itself is not point-like and that would produce asymmetric brightness, particularly in the blur circle above and in front of the rear wheel.

The wheel edges show a sharp edge because there is a high-contrast edge there, but insignificant depth in the structure of the car/wheel edge.

By the way, the Zeiss Otus bokeh is essentially identical aside from additional mechanical vignetting that causes its blur circle to be oblong rather than circular away from the image center. This is inevitable in highly-corrected lenses; you can't have high sharpness without correcting for spherical aberration. And spherical aberration is what determines the radial intensity profile of the blur, i.e. what is generally referred to as bokeh.

Nice, detailed explanation of this phenomenon, David. Thanks for the concise and clear explanation. Totally agree about the trade-off between sharpness and OOF transition performance. I accept the explanation of the specular highlights (reflections) ... however, to me they are still about OOF performance (bokeh) and in this image, not just this crop, they are less than pleasing.

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Fave Photog Senior Member • Posts: 1,242
Re: Sigma 50mm f1.4 Art and bokeh (new pics 4/11/2014)

Reilly Diefenbach wrote:

This Sigma lens is pretty good, but I'm not even slightly tempted to take off my 60G Micro for it or any other 50.

Shhhhh!, Reilly, and let them wonder

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fad
fad Forum Pro • Posts: 16,418
Re: Sigma 50mm f1.4 Art and bokeh (new pics 4/11/2014)
5

I found this thread very useful.  But it has made me less likely to buy the Sigma Art.

My need is for night street photography.   I bought the 50/1.8D for size and weight, but the rendering of the 50/1.8G is so much better that I use that lens now and am happy with the results, despite the larger size.

This thread has reinforced my respect for the 58G, but I'm in no hurry to get it at the moment.

I bought the Otus, despite having no earthly use for it (well, just a little actually) because I wanted to have the experience of using such a refined lens.   Sigma took a gamble in comparing the Art to the Otus.   They may be close enough in some ways, such as resolution and micro-contrast.   But what I've seen of the the Art just reinforces how the Otus is different from other lenses.   It's color registration is perfect.   The stability of color during processing is impressive.   It is simultaneously unprecedented in its sharpness and in its smoothness.   It's IQ is excellent both wide open and at f16, so IQ plays no role in deciding on a f stop.   A nasty cold has kept me from focusing on its ability to handle specular highlights and light sources, but I suspect that is another exceptional strength of the lens.   I look forward to using it to make night streetscapes.

The Sigma seems to be another lens of the kind we are used to, but optimized for resolution.   The Otus is ridiculously impractical for most purposes, but it combines so many different forms of excellence, all of which can work together to give extraordinary renderings, that do no look like other lenses.   So Sigma has given itself a powerful talking point among less discerning users, but at the expense of showing how (as is natural at its price point) it falls short of the Otus in many other ways.

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jtra Contributing Member • Posts: 927
Re: Sigma 50mm f1.4 Art and bokeh (new pics 4/11/2014)

Lenstip/Optyczne full lens review is up here:

http://www.lenstip.com/index.php?test=obiektywu&test_ob=400

jtra wrote:
According to all pictures of new Sigma 50/1.4 Art I have seen, it has a very neutral bokeh (that does no mean pleasant or smooth). That is the distribution of light in out of focus highlights is very even up to their border. No pronounced edges, but no softened edges either.

Regarding my analysis above - looking at the LensAlign target samples here:
http://www.lenstip.com/400.10-Lens_review-Sigma_A_50_mm_f_1.4_DG_HSM_Autofocus.html
and here:
http://www.lenstip.com/400.5-Lens_review-Sigma_A_50_mm_f_1.4_DG_HSM_Chromatic_and_spherical_aberration.html

It looks to me that the lens is smoother in background than in foreground, however there is something in the background bokeh does not make it perfectly smooth there (say unlike Tamron 60/2 which has edgy foreground and smooth background: http://www.lenstip.com/296.10-Lens_review-Tamron_SP_AF_60_mm_f_2.0_Di_II_LD_%28IF%29_Macro_1:1_Autofocus.html ). This seems to apply mainly for f/1.4, less so for f/2.

Still beware that generally bokeh is not constant for various focus distancees. It also often gets worse near corners.

David Whysong Contributing Member • Posts: 585
Re: Sigma 50mm f1.4 Art and bokeh (new pics 4/11/2014)

It's not so much frame position as it is distance to the subject, which typically varies with frame position.

Even my Nikon 85mm f1.4D has edgy background transition bokeh.

Shaun_Nyc
Shaun_Nyc Senior Member • Posts: 2,279
Re: Sigma 50mm f1.4 Art and bokeh (new pics 4/11/2014)
1

fad wrote:

I found this thread very useful. But it has made me less likely to buy the Sigma Art.

My need is for night street photography. I bought the 50/1.8D for size and weight, but the rendering of the 50/1.8G is so much better that I use that lens now and am happy with the results, despite the larger size.

This thread has reinforced my respect for the 58G, but I'm in no hurry to get it at the moment.

I bought the Otus, despite having no earthly use for it (well, just a little actually) because I wanted to have the experience of using such a refined lens. Sigma took a gamble in comparing the Art to the Otus. They may be close enough in some ways, such as resolution and micro-contrast. But what I've seen of the the Art just reinforces how the Otus is different from other lenses. It's color registration is perfect. The stability of color during processing is impressive. It is simultaneously unprecedented in its sharpness and in its smoothness. It's IQ is excellent both wide open and at f16, so IQ plays no role in deciding on a f stop. A nasty cold has kept me from focusing on its ability to handle specular highlights and light sources, but I suspect that is another exceptional strength of the lens. I look forward to using it to make night streetscapes.

The Sigma seems to be another lens of the kind we are used to, but optimized for resolution. The Otus is ridiculously impractical for most purposes, but it combines so many different forms of excellence, all of which can work together to give extraordinary renderings, that do no look like other lenses. So Sigma has given itself a powerful talking point among less discerning users, but at the expense of showing how (as is natural at its price point) it falls short of the Otus in many other ways.

I bet you couldn't tell photos apart shot w either one. Except one is an ubber expensive manual focus lens and the other is actually useful and far cheaper.

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