Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens Review

Hello my friend so in today’s video we’re gonna talk about my favorite my favorite lens of all time actually it’s pretty versatile lens it’s a lens I shot with from really the beginning up until right now it’s it’s been my workhorse granted out over the last like I would say seven eight months

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Transcript
I’ve gravitated and gotten a couple of the lenses just to increase the breadth of overall versatility that can provide as far as focal lengths and the way that I shoot my shooting style has changed a little bit but that is going to be the 50 millimeter in the beginning I started with the Sony FD fifty one point eight lengths and then about eight or nine months ago I moved over to the sigma art DG hsm 1.4 or 50 millimeter art lens and this guy is this this bad boy

right here is the work force absolutely an incredible lens as far as doing street lifestyle photography doing portraits soon fashion work doing landscapes if you really need to do landscapes you can do landscapes with this you can do night you can do long exposure you can do all that stuff with this lens it’s absolutely the for me it has been absolutely incredible as far as a workhorse and and what it’s provided as far as its it not being to telephoto not zooming in too much but at the same time not being wide either and still being flattering when it comes to lens

compression on the way that it actually compresses and makes people slim or look thicker and doesn’t distort features it’s it’s at that perfect perfect focal length where it’s it’s just wide enough to not distort someone’s feet put their facial features or their body or anything like that but also be wide enough to capture a lot of the scenes so this has definitely been the workhorse and I’ve just kind of gravitated over 2 Sigma just because lens quality and build is it’s been absolutely amazing man so definitely my my go to my favorite lens now personally I also you

shoot with the 85 millimeter Sigma lens as well and I’ve also gone 100 millimeter macro will be picking up at 135 here at some point 7200 2470 but as far as number one amendment lends to really start out with that would actually make sense to get and get like a high quality one that’s at least maybe it’s a $250 or higher upwards to about five six seven eight hundred dollars would be the 50 millimeter whether it be a 1.8 1.4 1.2 depending on your camera manufacturer and what they kind of provide in then also your budget but absolutely credible camp

absolutely incredible lens the combination has been great man it’s I’ve used it in all the all the the specific situation I mentioned before I’ve used in all those you know landscapes that I’ve done portraits and have done street work I’ve done nighttime it’s been fantastic so definitely man checking you guys have you guys check that one out see if it makes sense for your personal shooting style your needs but definitely recommend absolutely absolutely absolutely recommend it

Introduction

Numerous photographers have touted that the Sigma 50 mm Art is the sharpest and best-valued 50 mm lens available. Today, we discuss whether or not these claims are valid based on our expectations and actual experiences with the lens. Does this lens outcompete the Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L, NIKKOR 50 f/1.4G, and Sony Planar T* 50mm f/1.4? 

What classifies a Sigma “Art” lens?

Firstly, we need to discuss the key aspects that designate “Art” lenses. 

An “Art” series lens belongs to Sigma’s highest-end manufactured lineup to date. The vision behind this line is to equip photographers with the best possible lens performance achievable. Not only that but they also aspire to provide the best value on the market, something this lineup has succeeded exceptionally well in doing. Art lenses supply superior detail, even at wide Apertures, along with unique colors that help distinguish them amongst the competition. However, at their core, an Art lens is just a budget-friendly fast Aperture lens aimed to produce tremendous sharpness.

What is DG HSM?

DG refers to the designation Sigma uses to notate lenses best suited for full-frame digital SLR cameras. Sigma applies this notation to newer full-frame lenses offering improved light distribution across the sensor and upgraded multi-layer coating to further reduce reflections. 

HSM, on the other hand, refers to “Hyper Sonic Motor,” an updated motor used on newer lenses that provide quick and virtually silent autofocusing. HSM is comparable to the Nikon AF-S and Canon USM lenses, all of which are silently focusing motors. 

What mounts does Sigma support?

The 50 mm Art supports the following mounts: Sigma DG, Nikon, Canon, and Sony A and E mounts. Sigma has created this lens specifically in each of these formats, eliminating the need for auxiliary lens adapters. 

Which is better, Sigma, Canon, or Tamron?

Sigma Art is best. They offer tremendous value. For the money you spend purchasing an Art lens, the performance you receive in return rivals that of a lens twice its price. The 50 mm is just one example of this. Let’s discuss why the Art lineup is the best in this regard.

Image Quality

Sigma designed this lens after the masterful ZEISS Otus 55mm, aiming to create a similar performance without the accompanying $4,000 price tag. The result of this was the redesigned 50mm f/1.4 Art. A lens that was now able to compete directly with the Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L, NIKKOR 50 f/1.4G and Sony Planar T* 50mm f/1.4. In short, when it comes to image quality, the Art is the overall sharpest 50mm available today. The minute differences between it and the competition are only distinguishable when shot a wide Apertures. For example, at F1.4, where each of these lenses will have varying amounts of reduced sharpness in the corners and vignette. However, when stopped down to F4.0, for example, the overall difference between them becomes nearly imperceptible.

The Art is an incredibly sharp lens, with very little fringing or lens distortion. For the lens distortion that does occur across its range, the amount is minimal. With that, this lack of distortion removes the need to worry about any, if all necessary correction in post. Not only that, but the Art also offers a better reduction in chromatic aberrations and resolves more fine details across the entirety of its range.

The image quality it offers speaks for itself, and it creates a signature look that makes a photo look more “finished” straight out of the camera.  People have claimed that the level of sharpness produced taints their visual style and also makes it challenging to distinguish between other photographers using this lens, we disagree. Yes, the lens is sharp, and that sharpness does affect the untouched RAW image. However, this effect is minimal and does not limit the creative potential of an image whatsoever. For our applications, this effect was entirely irrelevant. The only thing that may affect your style is the color that the lens produces, which tends to be more saturated and not as neutrally toned.

Nevertheless, adjusting saturation and making corrections is easy in post. It should not alter the opinion of whether this is an excellent lens or not. We like the”finished” high contrast stylized kind of look and find it acceptable for our applications. It’s an advantage that gets us one step closer to the final image and reduces time in post-processing. 

Comparing all of these lenses empirically, the Sigma is found to be sharper and better performing across all measurements. Other than the Zeiss Otus 55, this is barred none the sharpest 50 mm lens available on the market today. Take a look at DXOMark if you want to compare the empirical measurements for yourself.

Build Quality & Design

It has a fantastic build quality and doesn’t feel cheap whatsoever. It’s physically large, as large as a conventional zoom lens in most cases, and is the largest 50 mm of its competition. Outside of its size, the included Manual/AF selector switch and the manual focusing ring both feel good. The ring provides smooth and gradual changes between the focus plane. Design is straightforward and necessary but gives a great tactile feel, however. The value is here in terms of build quality. Sigma hasn’t shortcut its construction or build quality for more excellent performance, that’s for sure.

The only cons are that this lens is not fully weather-sealed, and there is undoubtedly limited travel with the manual focusing ring. This lack of travel is explicitly applicable when focusing from 10 feet to infinity — as a result, achieving proper focus when manual focusing is difficult, even more so when shooting wide open. We seldom manual focus when using this lens, so this isn’t an issue we’ve experienced that much.

Focusing Performance

Focusing on the Sigma Art has been both fast and accurate in our experience. Rumors on the internet claim that the lens is found to hunt significantly before achieving optimum focus, this being exemplified more during filming. Yes, that rumor is true to a certain extent. The lens does micro-adjust slightly before locking in focus. In our experience, however, this adjustment doesn’t affect the overall speed or accuracy when focusing with this lens. In real-world applications, the focusing performance is still sufficiently fast. Keep in mind, the Art at its core is just the standard 50 mm prime lens previously released by Sigma but with updated optics to improve image performance, not necessarily its focusing performance. With that, the focusing speed seen on the Art is good but isn’t industry-leading by any means. The Zeiss 50 mm far outperforms the Sigma in this regard. We don’t see this being troublesome during regular use, especially for the enthusiast not capturing timing-critical work. 

Value

If someone is entirely unfamiliar to the 50 mm and is looking to get their first professional level lens, the Sigma Art is hands down the superior choice. You will not get this level of performance at this price otherwise. There is nothing else that is comparable. The 50mm lens is a go-to staple lens for general use; that’s not too wide or too narrow. The 50 mm Art provides not only that level of versatility but has the sharpness and contrast to back it up. For the amount you pay, the performance received in return makes this bar none the best 50 mm available in today’s marketplace. 

Examples:

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Overview
  • Image Quality
  • Build Quality & Design
  • Focusing Performance
  • Value
4.5

Summary

The 50mm lens is a go-to staple lens for general use; that’s not too wide or too narrow. The 50mm f/1.4 Art lens is a prime example of the value offered by the Sigma’s Art lineup that provides not only versatility but has the sharpness and contrast to back it up. While it is a large lens that lacks weather sealing and hunts a little during specific situations. For the amount you pay, the performance received in return makes this bar none the best 50 mm lens available in today’s marketplace. The Art is sharper and better performing across all empirical measurements. Sigma has succeeded massively with the release of this lens, and it’s absolutely one that solidifies their original vision with the Art lineup.

Devaun Lennox
About Devaun Lennox

Is an upcoming fashion and editorial photographer based in Las Vegas, NV. Launching into the scene in early 2017 and shooting, on average, 20 of the top local talents and faces monthly since then, he’s been able to...