Sigma 50mm F1.4 DG HSM review
The Sigma 50mm F1.4 DG HSM | Art is a fast 'normal' lens designed for full frame SLRs, and one of the most hotly-anticipated lenses of 2014. Sigma shook up the moribund 'fast 50' sector back in March 2008 when it announced the 50mm F1.4 EX DG HSM, which we considered to be 'Highly Recommended' for its impressive optics, especially at larger apertures. This marked the start of string of excellent fast primes from the Japanese lens maker, including last year's stellar 35mm F1.4 DG HSM | Art (another winner of our top award).
The latest 50mm is unusually large and expensive for its type; indeed its $950 / £850 / €1000 price tag suggests Sigma is aiming at users who might otherwise choose the Nikon AF-S Nikkor 58mm F1.4G, Canon EF 50mm F1.2L USM, or Sony Carl Zeiss Planar T* 50mm F1.4 ZA SSM. It bears a distinct family resemblance to the company's 35mm F1.4, but if anything is slightly larger, with a 100mm / 4" long barrel and 77mm filter thread. Its complex optical formula of 13 elements in 8 groups isn't based on a conventional double-Gauss design, like most 50mm primes are, but instead is of the retrofocal type.
This set of characteristics, along with Sigma's recent track record of making impressive optics, means that the 50mm F1.4 Art has inevitably invited comparison to the astounding Zeiss Otus 1.4/55 - quite possibly the sharpest lens we've yet seen. However, given that lens's $4000 price tag, it seems a little optimistic to expect quite the same qualities. But the Sigma offers autofocus via a ring-type ultrasonic motor (with full-time manual override), which means it wins out on practicality. The new lens's premium price point also means that it doesn't directly replace the older model, which we understand will continue to be sold for some time yet.
- 50mm focal length
- Fast F1.4 maximum aperture
- Ring-type ultrasonic autofocus motor with full-time manual override
- Internal focus design
- Will be available in Canon EF, Nikon F, Sony Alpha, and Sigma SA mounts
Angle of view
The pictures below illustrate the 50mm F1.4 Art's angle of view on full frame and APS-C, taken from our standard position. As is Sigma's way, the lens is just slightly 'wide' for a 50mm prime (its measured focal length is 48mm), bringing it closer to a classic 'normal' view on full frame. On APS-C cameras it behaves like a short telephoto lens.
|Full frame||1.6x APS-C (~80mm equivalent)|
Sigma 50mm F1.4 DG HSM | Art specifications
|Price|| • $950 (US)
• £850 (UK)
• €1000 (EU)
|Date introduced||January 2014|
|Maximum format size||35mm full frame|
| 35mm equivalent focal length
|| • 75mm (1.5x APS-C / DX)
• 80mm (1.6x Canon APS-C)
|Diagonal Angle of view|| • 47º (full frame)
• 31º (APS-C)
|Lens Construction|| • 13 elements / 8 groups
• 3 SLD glass elements
• 1 aspherical element
|Number of diaphragm blades||9, rounded|
|AF motor type|| • Ring-type Hypersonic Motor
• Full-time manual focus
|Filter thread|| • 77mm
• Does not rotate on focus
|Supplied accessories*|| Front and rear caps
Soft lens case
|Weight||815 g (28.7 oz)|
|Dimensions|| 85 mm diameter x 100 mm length
(3.4 x 3.9 in)
|Lens Mount||Canon EF, Nikon F, Sigma SA, Sony Alpha|
* Supplied accessories may differ in each country or area
|A house for sneakers by fotoselect|
from Feet, shoes, anything to do with HUMAN feet
|A Sunday Stroll by TexasGal|
from call any vegetable
|Green roots by cand1d|
from Lichen and moss
|Start of study by Shirsendu Bandyopadhyay|
from Seven Story plots - Rebirth
Adobe has announced a raft of updates across its suite of Creative Cloud apps, including Lightroom CC and Lightroom Classic CC.
The FUJINON GF 45mm F2.8 R WR is a 36mm equivalent fast prime for Fujifilm's GFX 50S. We've been shooting with one for a few days, and we're impressed. Check out our sample gallery to judge for yourself.
Adding to its already-crowded Advanced series, Manfrotto has released three new Befree tripod models starting at $240, an updated ball head, and a matching backpack.
Video editing software package Video Pro X has received what is described as its biggest update yet to mark ten years since Magix Video Pro was launched.
Back in 2010, Canon announced that it was developing the world's largest CMOS sensor, measuring about 40 times larger than full frame. The company has just updated its website with more details.
Samyang has launched its latest lens, the Samyang AF 85mm F1.4 EF. This telephoto prime is a direct competitor to Canon's $1,600 alternative—and considering it's expected to retail for half the price, it looks like quite the bargain.
Scanning film takes forever and photographing negatives is a pain. The Pixl-latr aims to provide a simple solution.
Google has published an 18-page study fully detailing its synthetic depth-of-field technology that makes its single-camera Portrait Mode possible. The in-depth paper shows a degree of openness and academic mindset unusual for the industry.
Rugged, waterproof compact cameras are tough enough to survive even the most action-packed vacation, but they're not the only choice for capturing those great memories. Photographer Josh Root takes us through the options.
Kodak has restarted production of one of its most famous film emulsions - Ektachrome. Popular Science editor Stan Horaczek recently go to take a look inside.
The Tamron 28-75mm F2.8 Di III RXD is an affordable F2.8 standard zoom for full frame Sony E-mount cameras. What's it like, what are the trade-offs, and what are the alternatives? Chris and Jordan take a closer look...
We've updated our Best Drones buying guide and there's a new winner. Find out which drone was our favorite and learn more about all current models in our updated guide.
A teardown of a Nikon D850 has provided proof that the camera's sensor is made by Sony Semiconductor. The chip's design and performance already strongly supported this, but the confirmation also gives a hint about how the industry works.
Leica Camera has announced a new compact camera that features a 24-360mm F3.3-6.4 zoom lens and a 20MP 1” MOS sensor. Essentially a re-badged Panasonic Lumix ZS/TZ200, the Leica C-Lux will save Raw and JPEG files, will offer 4K video and has a viewfinder with a 2.33 million-dot resolution.
Leica has launched a limited edition M10 with a contoured handgrip designed by luxury car manufacturer Zagato. And, to celebrate the opening of a new part of the company's Wetzlar factory, a pair of Leica-made watches are due this autumn.
The new Mijia gimbal provides 3-axis stabilization and can charge the battery of the attached device.
YouTuber George Tomlin explains the concept of sub-framing and details how you can use it to take not only make the composition more interesting, but also provide context for the scene you're shooting.
British photographer Drew Gardner tells us how his gigapixel image of the queen's birthday parade came together.
YouTube channel Company Man has shared a 12-minute video explaining the history of Kodak and the factors that led to it going from industry leader to bankrupt business.
Neewer, a photo gear brand out of China, has launched a new budget APS-C lens for Fuji X and Sony E mounts. The Fuji X mount lens offering has appeared on Amazon as a new release with a $119.99 price tag, but is currently listed as unavailable.
Two years after launching its first photo filter, Aurora Aperture is back at it again with the Kickstarter launch of its PowerXND Mark II filters.
Nikon has announced the development of the AF-S NIKKOR 500mm F5.6E PF ED VR lens. Thanks to its use of 'phase fresnel' optics, Nikon claims that the lens will be small and light enough to be used handheld.
MIOPS has opened up a Kickstarter campaign for its latest product, the Capture360. This pocket-sized device is a versatile motion control box designed to be as simple or robust as your needs desire.
Lowepro has released the FreeLine BP 350 AW, an all-new daypack that features Lowepro's adaptive interior divider system it calls QuickShelf.
Currently seeking funding on Kickstarter, the Instant Magny 35 supports Fujifilm Instax Square film and doesn't require any camera modifications. The instant film back is described as ideal for rangefinders and SLRs from Pentax, Leica, Olympus, Canon, and Nikon.
Utah-based tripod manufacturer Really Right Stuff has updated all 17 of its tripods with updated features and better ergonomics.
The new Technical Camera app offers comprehensive manual controls and a range of features for users who prefer to take control of the capture process.
Someone finally made a 1"-sensor compact with a fixed prime lens that can take great photos, but it's aimed at Scuba enthusiasts more so than land-based photographers and has a few operational quirks.
Leica has released details of the twelve finalists for this year’s Leica Oskar Barnack Award, one of who will take the €35,000 (approx. $41K) top prize. Organizers say that 2500 photographers submitted work to the competition this year.