Sigma 50mm F1.4 EX DG HSM review
The 50mm F1.4 EX DG HSM is the latest design from independent lens maker Sigma, announced in March 2008. It's a rare example of what is rapidly becoming an endangered species; an all-new, large maximum aperture, fixed focal length 'prime' lens, and (like Sigma's 30mm F1.4 DC before it) a hugely welcome addition to a market in danger of becoming saturated by identikit slow zooms. The 50mm focal length makes it a classic 'standard' lens for 35mm full-frame cameras, while on DSLRs with smaller format sensors it acts as a short 'portrait' telephoto, with an equivalent angle of view ranging from 75mm (on 1.5x 'DX' format) to 100mm (on Four Thirds DLSRs). The fast maximum aperture offers several key advantages over zooms, including the ability to isolate a subject by selectively blurring the background, the option to shoot in low light whilst maintaining reasonably high shutter speeds (ideal for indoor photography without flash), and the provision of a bright viewfinder image for composition.
Of course all of the major camera manufacturers market their own well-established fast 50mm primes, so at first sight this new release may appear puzzling. But Sigma has included a number of features which distinguish this lens from those older designs, including an aspheric element for superior correction of aberrations, an oversized barrel design to reduce vignetting at wide apertures, a rounded diaphragm for attractive background blur, and 'super multi-layer' coating for reduced flare and ghosting. But perhaps of most interest is the ring-type ultrasonic motor for fast and precise autofocus with full-time manual override, here making its debut appearance on a 50mm F1.4 lens. This has the benefit of providing autofocus to owners of Nikon's entry-level D40(x)/D60 bodies for the first time on a 50mm prime; however it unfortunately comes at a cost to users of older Pentax DSLRs, as the effective 'KAF-3' lens mount specification means AF won't work on models which don't support SSM.
The Sigma 50mm F1.4 has arrived to undoubted excitement and anticipation; as the first new, reasonably affordable fast 50mm lens for many years, it has the potential to redefine the quality obtainable in this popular class of lens through the use of modern optical design and manufacturing techniques. But it also currently commands a hefty price premium; the Sigma is considerably more expensive than any of the camera manufacturers' own 50mm F1.4 primes. So the obvious question is whether the optical quality can justify that additional outlay of your hard-earned cash; let's find out.
- 50mm focal length; fast F1.4 maximum aperture
- HSM (ultrasonic type) autofocus with full-time manual override
- To be available in Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Sigma, Sony and Four Thirds mounts
Angle of view
The pictures below illustrate the angles of view on 35mm full frame and APS-C (1.6x crop) camera bodies. Our observations indicate that the focal length is noticeably shorter than the specified 50mm (probably closer to 47mm):
|50mm (35mm full-frame)||50mm (APS-C; 80mm equivalent)|
Sigma 50mm F1.4 EX DG HSM specifications
|Street price||• $500 (US)
• £329 (UK)
|Date introduced||March 2008|
|Maximum format size||35mm full frame|
|35mm equivalent focal length
|Diagonal Angle of view (FF)||47º|
|Diagonal Angle of view (APS-C)||31º|
|Lens Construction||• 8 elements / 6 groups
• 1 Aspherical element
|Number of diaphragm blades||9 (rounded)|
|Minimum focus||0.45m (1.5 ft)|
|AF motor type||• Ring-type ultrasonic
• Full-time manual focus
|Focus method||Unit focus, internal to lens barrel|
|Image stabilization||• None|
|Filter thread||• 77mm
• Does not rotate on focus
|Supplied accessories||• Front and rear caps
• Lens Hood
• Soft Case
|Weight||505g (17.8 oz)|
|Dimensions||84.5mm diameter x 68.2mm length
(3.3 x 2.7 in)
|Lens Mount||Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Sigma, Sony, Four Thirds|
* Supplied accessories may differ in each country or area
Aug 18, 2008
Mar 18, 2008
Aug 17, 2011
Aug 17, 2011
|Fascia walkie talkie building London by ian herridge|
from Abstract Architecture
|Global Reach by cjf2|
French President Emmanuel Macron has lodged a legal complaint against a paparazzo who snuck onto the president's private vacation property to take pictures.
Ever wonder what the difference is between compressed, uncompressed and lossless compressed Raw files? Photography Life's Nasim Mansurov breaks it down for you in this informative article.
The oldest known portrait of a US president was just discovered after over a century in storage. It's going up for auction in October, where it's expected to fetch between $150,000 and $250,000.
If you're using the popular Sigma 24-70mm F2.8 Art lens with Sigma's MC-11 converter, listen up: you'll want to update your lens and converter firmware ASAP.
If you've heard it once, you've probably heard it a thousand times: never check in your camera gear when flying. This shattered $11,000 lens is what can happen when you do.
Lensrentals just did its first Cine lens comparison, pitting five top-notch 35mm primes against each other: the Zeiss CP.2 35mm T2.1, Canon CN-E 35mm T1.5, Sigma 35mm T1.5 FF, Rokinon Xeen 35mm T1.5 and Schneider Xenon 35mm T2.1.
A team of Google researchers have found that slightly warping watermarks when embedding them into images can help prevent automatic removal.
You don't have to empty your savings account to take your photography to the next level. These cheap buys cost about $50 or less, and come with outsized benefits for your photography.
Joey L, Dani Diamond, Brandon Woelfel and Jessica Kobeissi go head-to-head in an episode of "4 photographers shoot the same model."
The latest flagship phone from Asus combines a 12MP 1/2.55" Sony IMX362 main sensor with a smaller Sony IMX351 chip for 2x zoom and a background-blurring portrait mode.
The company behind popular photo editor Picktorial 3 just released the X-Pack: a preset package that allows you to add Fuji's in-camera film simulation profiles to your RAF files in post.
Photoshop. GoPro. Every once in a while a product emerges that defines a category. And sometimes, it vanishes just as quickly as it arrived on the scene. This week's Throwback Thursday remembers the Flip, the pocket camcorder everyone had – until they didn't.
The Nokia 8's dual-cam combines the image data from a 13MP RGB sensor and a 13 monochrome chip for better detail, improved dynamic range and lower noise levels.
The company behind retail giant B&H Photo has agreed to pay out $3.2 million in monetary relief and back wages to settle a discrimination and harassment case from 2016.
After a popular Facebook teaser and some studio portrait samples, Godox has finally officially released the Godox A1 smartphone flash and flash trigger. Cheap, versatile and innovative, color us intrigued.
Canon’s EOS 5D Mk IV has won the European Imaging and Sound Association’s Professional DSLR of the Year award, making this the third year in a row that the brand has beaten Nikon to the top spot in the professional camera category.
A photograph and quote tweeted out by former president Barack Obama has officially become the most popular tweet of all time, receiving over 1.3 million retweets and 3.4 million likes.
Edward Weston was one of the most influential photographers of the 20th century, and in this episode of Advancing Your Photography we learn the extreme technique he used to capture one of his most famous still life photos.
Instagram just released a small update that will make a huge difference if you're active on the photo sharing app: threaded comment replies.
Venus Optics has announced the price and delivery date of the second lens to join its Zero-D line up: the 15mm F2 for Sony’s E mount. A lens they've dubbed, "the world's fastest 15mm rectilinear lens for full-frame."
Cinnac is a new social network for photographers that will help you separate your good photos from your great ones through a Tinder-like community-based rating system.
The Canon EF 35mm F2 IS USM is an understated jewel of a lens, and one that we've enjoyed on a variety of cameras since its release almost five years ago. Its relatively small size and image stabilization make it a versatile tool for a variety of photography - check out our sample gallery.
You don't need a fancy studio or tons of gear to capture the kind of classic product photography you see in magazines. In this video, Dustin Dolby shows you how to do it with just a couple of speedlights and some know-how.
The life-logging camera is trying to make a comeback. Say hello to FrontRow, a live-streaming enabled life-logging camera from Ubiquiti that hangs on a necklace like a pendant.
When a prospective client approaches you, don't just say "yes" right away. Here's a useful list of questions you should be asking before you decide to take the job and name your price.
Samsung just revealed a blazing-fast new Solid State Drive capable of data transfer speeds of up to 540MB/s.
DJI has developed a 'Local Data Mode' that lets pilots fly without being connected to the Internet. The mode should calm recent fears over data privacy and security when flying DJI drones.
After 1.7 million downloads on Apple computers since the launch in November 2015, Aurora HDR will be available for Windows PCs for the first time with the 2018 release.
The company behind the new Meyer Optik Goerlitz lens manufacturing business has formed a new brand to bring back the Biotar 75mm F1.5 that was made by Carl Zeiss Jena in the 1940s and 50s.
The updated Qualcomm Spectra system is a dual-camera setup that is capable of sensing depth and motion in real time.