Sigma 56mm f/1.4 - first impressions

Started Sep 29, 2018 | Discussions
Astrotripper Veteran Member • Posts: 7,391
Sigma 56mm f/1.4 - first impressions
18

Had a chance to handle the new Sigma at Photokina. And I must say I really like what I saw. First thing that jumped at me right as I took it into my hand, was that it's neither heavy nor big. It's what I would call medium sized lens. It didn't have the same heft, like some of the dense premium lenses from Olympus or Panasonic (Oly 75 and PL 12 come to mind). It is a bit "thick" (or "fat"), though.

My immediate impression after mounting it was "it's like a fat Panny 25". But that's where similarities end. The Panny is very plasticky in comparison and much lighter. Mechanically, the Sigma is excellent. Focus ring was super smooth (granted, my Panasonic 25 is not slouch in this regard either) and in general the build quality felt high quality. Autofocus was completely silent as far as I could tell (mind you, it was a crowded hall) and fast (although I felt it was not super fast like some of the fastest AF lenses in the system).

Here's how it looks like on my E-M1 II. With the lens hood mounted. The lens hood is reversible.

For comparison, here's my E-M1 II with the Panny 25/1.7. Definietely slimmer.

Unfortunately, there was nothing to photograph. Sigma didn't prepare any "test scene" on their booth, so I just took some random shots.

Looking at them, it looks like this is a very sharp lens, right from the get go. And it remains sharp in the corners.

There's is some purple fringing in areas of great contrast, but it's not overwhelming. It's going away as you stop down, there's noticeably less of it at f/2.8, and very little at f/4

There is some longitudal CA, which manifests itself with green fringing in out of focus areas behind the focus plane and magenta fringing in front. But it's not huge. In fact, it looks to be less than on my Oly 75.

Can't say much about bokeh, there was nothing out of the ordinary there, but it's impossible to evaluate in such conditions, without some proper subjects.

Hard to judge vignetting, but to be honest, I do not see it at all at first glance. I did compare the same scene at f/1.4 to f/4, and it looks like extreme corners are less than half a stop darker. Which would be an amazing performance. A benefit of the lens designed for APS-C.

I don't see any distortion. But I would not expect much distortion on this kind of lens.

I'll be posting some 100% crops in following posts, to illustrate some of the above.

But after this brief handling of the new Sigma, I'm quite impressed. I could see myself ditching Oly 45 and 75 for this Sigma.

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OP Astrotripper Veteran Member • Posts: 7,391
some centre crops
2

Some crops from the centre. No sharpening of any kind, keep that in mind.

For those who never saw an unsharpened image (which would be most people using mainstream commercial software), here's an example of the wide open crop with very mild sharpening applied to it. For reference.

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jwilliams Veteran Member • Posts: 4,904
Thanks ...
2

Seems  interesting.  Near that FL I have Panny 42.5 1.7, Sigma 60 2.8 and Oly 75 1.8.  It probably could replace my Sigma 60 (but it will be heavier) and probably my 75.  I don't use the 75 much as me and the FL just don't get along that well.  I love the FL of the 60 so this might be a good replacement.  The 42.5 is so compact it isn't going anywhere,

Thanks for the info.

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Jonathan

Jim Salvas
Jim Salvas Veteran Member • Posts: 5,671
Re: Sigma 56mm f/1.4 - first impressions

I've wanted a replacement for my old Nikon 105/2.5 for a long while. This may be close (112/2,8).

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glassoholic
glassoholic Senior Member • Posts: 4,592
Re: Sigma 56mm f/1.4 - first impressions

Thanks for info. It looks like the 30mm 1.4 characteristics but probably a touch sharper overall which would mean a little better wide open and super sharp stopped down.

Sigma make it both easy and hard to decide on getting one. They tick on value and specs but I still find the small advantage in those areas hard to justify over the super compact 1.7/ 1.8 primes. In the 56mm case it looks like they have cracked the compact size issue. The green background and magenta foreground is typical of their price point. To correct that costs a lot more money. It is only noticable in comparison to a shot with another lens that is better corrected but those lenses have Pro in their name...

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whumber
whumber Senior Member • Posts: 2,816
Re: Sigma 56mm f/1.4 - first impressions

Astrotripper wrote:

Hard to judge vignetting, but to be honest, I do not see it at all at first glance. I did compare the same scene at f/1.4 to f/4, and it looks like extreme corners are less than half a stop darker. Which would be an amazing performance. A benefit of the lens designed for APS-C.

This doesn't surprise me very much. Many of these Sigma APS-C primes pretty much cover the FF image circle. I think the 30mm f/1.4 is the only one that has something that looks like an APS-C size image circle.

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Carol T Contributing Member • Posts: 856
Re: Thanks ...

jwilliams wrote:

Seems interesting. Near that FL I have Panny 42.5 1.7, Sigma 60 2.8 and Oly 75 1.8. It probably could replace my Sigma 60 (but it will be heavier) and probably my 75. I don't use the 75 much as me and the FL just don't get along that well. I love the FL of the 60 so this might be a good replacement. The 42.5 is so compact it isn't going anywhere,

Thanks for the info.

Funny, I have those same three lenses (plus a few others, lol).

The 60 is a macro, though, you wouldn't miss it for that? I personally never use mine for anything other than close-ups or actual macro shots.

eques Veteran Member • Posts: 3,578
PRICE Sigma 56mm f/1.4

The price seems to be EUR 429.-.

If the lens is optically as good as the 1,4/30 and has AF comparable to M43 standard, this is not bad.

Peter

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Dunsun Contributing Member • Posts: 562
Re: Sigma 56mm f/1.4 - first impressions

More important aspect is how fast and accuratly it focuses on Olympus bodies (since Olympus cameras can struggle even with their own lenses ...).

How does it compare in AF to your Oly 75mm (75mm is not any AF speed daemon but is kinda OKish) ?

Thanks

Androole Senior Member • Posts: 1,448
Re: PRICE Sigma 56mm f/1.4

eques wrote:

The price seems to be EUR 429.-.

If the lens is optically as good as the 1,4/30 and has AF comparable to M43 standard, this is not bad.

Peter

Oof. That's quite a lot.

My thought was that it was going to be in the same ballpark as the Sigma 30mm/1.4 or the Panasonic 42.5/f1.7 (i.e. $350).

Even that would be a bit of a stretch for me, given that I rarely use that FL, and when I do, I am happy with my old Super Takumar 50mm/f1.4.

At closer to $500 USD for such a lens, they're pricing it at the premium end of the spectrum. That's what Olympus sells refurb'ed 75mm/1.8s for...

We'll see what the prices end up at in Canada, but as it stands, my curiousity (which had been piqued!) has now been fairly quashed.

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opiecat Senior Member • Posts: 2,400
Re: PRICE Sigma 56mm f/1.4

eques wrote:

The price seems to be EUR 429.-.

If the lens is optically as good as the 1,4/30 and has AF comparable to M43 standard, this is not bad.

Peter

where did you get this information on the price?

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eques Veteran Member • Posts: 3,578
Re: PRICE Sigma 56mm f/1.4
1

opiecat wrote:

eques wrote:

The price seems to be EUR 429.-.

If the lens is optically as good as the 1,4/30 and has AF comparable to M43 standard, this is not bad.

Peter

where did you get this information on the price?

https://www.foto-mundus.de/objektive/sigma-objektive/29584/sigma-c-56mm-1.4-dc-dn-fuer-sony-e-mount?etcc_cmp=idealo-direktkauf&etcc_med=Preisvergleich&etcc_par=&etcc_grp=&etcc_ctv=&etcc_plc=

It's the Sony version, but the Sigma DN line costs the same for M43.

Peter

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Yannis1976
Yannis1976 Veteran Member • Posts: 3,664
Re: PRICE Sigma 56mm f/1.4

Androole wrote:

eques wrote:

The price seems to be EUR 429.-.

If the lens is optically as good as the 1,4/30 and has AF comparable to M43 standard, this is not bad.

Peter

Oof. That's quite a lot.

My thought was that it was going to be in the same ballpark as the Sigma 30mm/1.4 or the Panasonic 42.5/f1.7 (i.e. $350).

Even that would be a bit of a stretch for me, given that I rarely use that FL, and when I do, I am happy with my old Super Takumar 50mm/f1.4.

At closer to $500 USD for such a lens, they're pricing it at the premium end of the spectrum. That's what Olympus sells refurb'ed 75mm/1.8s for...

We'll see what the prices end up at in Canada, but as it stands, my curiousity (which had been piqued!) has now been fairly quashed.

Agree, even the Sigma 60/2.8 can be found used at around 120bp!!

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opiecat Senior Member • Posts: 2,400
Re: PRICE Sigma 56mm f/1.4

eques wrote:

opiecat wrote:

eques wrote:

The price seems to be EUR 429.-.

If the lens is optically as good as the 1,4/30 and has AF comparable to M43 standard, this is not bad.

Peter

where did you get this information on the price?

https://www.foto-mundus.de/objektive/sigma-objektive/29584/sigma-c-56mm-1.4-dc-dn-fuer-sony-e-mount?etcc_cmp=idealo-direktkauf&etcc_med=Preisvergleich&etcc_par=&etcc_grp=&etcc_ctv=&etcc_plc=

It's the Sony version, but the Sigma DN line costs the same for M43.

Peter

thanks. strange that this shop has a price already when sigma has not yet set one.

we'll see. $500 is a wee bit much.

eur 429 includes VAT so w/o VAT it's 363 or about $420 - hopefully, it'll be below $400

we'll see

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OP Astrotripper Veteran Member • Posts: 7,391
Re: PRICE Sigma 56mm f/1.4
2

opiecat wrote:

eques wrote:

opiecat wrote:

eques wrote:

The price seems to be EUR 429.-.

where did you get this information on the price?

https://www.foto-mundus.de/objektive/sigma-objektive/29584/sigma-c-56mm-1.4-dc-dn-fuer-sony-e-mount?etcc_cmp=idealo-direktkauf&etcc_med=Preisvergleich&etcc_par=&etcc_grp=&etcc_ctv=&etcc_plc=

thanks. strange that this shop has a price already when sigma has not yet set one.

we'll see. $500 is a wee bit much.

eur 429 includes VAT so w/o VAT it's 363 or about $420 - hopefully, it'll be below $400

we'll see

The 30 launched at 400 EUR and now the regular price is 320 EUR. So 430 EUR as a starting price for this one is extremely likely to be accurate, as it slots nicely in between 45 and 75, but still at a much lower price point. I actually expect this not to drop in price as fast as the 30. But my guess you will be able to buy it for 380 EUR in half a year or so.

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eques Veteran Member • Posts: 3,578
IF...

AF is M43 standard and IQ is as good as the other DN F1,4 lenses, perhaps better at F1,4, then even 430 would be a good price IMO.

There is even some weather resistance, like the Macro 2,8/60 and unlike the 1,8/75!

We will see soon.

Peter

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dgreene196 Regular Member • Posts: 125
Re: Thanks ...

Carol T wrote:

jwilliams wrote:

Seems interesting. Near that FL I have Panny 42.5 1.7, Sigma 60 2.8 and Oly 75 1.8. It probably could replace my Sigma 60 (but it will be heavier) and probably my 75. I don't use the 75 much as me and the FL just don't get along that well. I love the FL of the 60 so this might be a good replacement. The 42.5 is so compact it isn't going anywhere,

Thanks for the info.

Funny, I have those same three lenses (plus a few others, lol).

The 60 is a macro, though, you wouldn't miss it for that? I personally never use mine for anything other than close-ups or actual macro shots.

The Sigma 60 mm is a macro?

That's news to me.  I know the Olympus 60 f/2.8 is a macro, but I hadn't heard that about the Sigma.

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OP Astrotripper Veteran Member • Posts: 7,391
A bit about AF

Dunsun wrote:

More important aspect is how fast and accuratly it focuses on Olympus bodies (since Olympus cameras can struggle even with their own lenses ...).

How does it compare in AF to your Oly 75mm (75mm is not any AF speed daemon but is kinda OKish) ?

I'm not confident in my assessment here for many reasons, so really, whatever follows, take it with a grain of salt.

I felt it was not as blazingly fast as my 12-100. It felt about in the same ballpark as the 75, but it did not hunt as much. One thing I did notice, is that it was completely silent. Maybe because it was a noisy trade show hall so I couldn't hear the AF motor, but I literally put my ear to it and couldn't make out any AF noises. And my Oly 75 does make clear noise during AF (talking stills of course).

But again, those were not the conditions that could allow to test well enough to reach any serious conclusions.

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OP Astrotripper Veteran Member • Posts: 7,391
Colour fringing

A few more crops showing how it deals with purple fringing (mostly). This is halfway from centre to the left edge.

Note the vertical white/dark edge. The white is overexposed and clipped in raw. So this is pretty much the worst case scenario. Also note green fringing around the out of focus elements. Neither of those is a big issue even wide open, I would say.

And to put things in perspective, here's the same wide open shot but with enabled defringing with fairly conservative parameters (I'm using Darktable, BTW).

I'd say you will need to try quite hard to provoke purple fringing that would be really problematic. This Sigma looks good on this front to me.

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eques Veteran Member • Posts: 3,578
Sigma 2,8/60 is not a macro

dgreene196 wrote:

Carol T wrote:

jwilliams wrote:

Seems interesting. Near that FL I have Panny 42.5 1.7, Sigma 60 2.8 and Oly 75 1.8. It probably could replace my Sigma 60 (but it will be heavier) and probably my 75. I don't use the 75 much as me and the FL just don't get along that well. I love the FL of the 60 so this might be a good replacement. The 42.5 is so compact it isn't going anywhere,

Thanks for the info.

Funny, I have those same three lenses (plus a few others, lol).

The 60 is a macro, though, you wouldn't miss it for that? I personally never use mine for anything other than close-ups or actual macro shots.

The Sigma 60 mm is a macro?

That's news to me. I know the Olympus 60 f/2.8 is a macro, but I hadn't heard that about the Sigma.

... but it is not bad at it's MFD of 50cm.

Peter

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