November 28, 2014, 12:23:15 PM

Author Topic: Sigma 50mm f1.4 EX DG HSM....are they any good?  (Read 17812 times)

willrobb

  • Guest
Sigma 50mm f1.4 EX DG HSM....are they any good?
« on: December 01, 2011, 04:32:24 AM »
Has anyone used the Sigma 50mm f1.4 EX DG HSM? What do you think of it?

Reason I am asking is I am taking a friend 50mm lens shopping this weekend, he's tried my 50mm 1.2L and would get one but it's out of his budget. I'm trying to persuade him to get the canon 50mm 1.4 as I know it's a great lens, but he's got his eye on the Sigma 50mm 1.4 EX DG HSM.

Rental isn't an option (Tokyo is great for buying, lousy for rental, most rentals are just very high end gear) and from what I can gather from reviews such as the one below, the IQ is pretty damn good with the Sigma but the autofocus really is lousy an results in a lot of missed chances.

http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/Sigma-50mm-f-1.4-EX-DG-HSM-Lens-Review.aspx

My friend will just be using it for portraits and a walkabout lens as he's wandering Tokyo doing street shots. All just for fun.

Anyone got any anecdotes from their own experience? Most reviews I have seen are negative about this lens, but I'd prefer some real life opinions.

Thanks for your time.

canon rumors FORUM

Sigma 50mm f1.4 EX DG HSM....are they any good?
« on: December 01, 2011, 04:32:24 AM »

willrobb

  • Guest
Re: Sigma 50mm f1.4 EX DG HSM....are they any good?
« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2011, 04:34:12 AM »
Ooops,

Sorry, should have mentioned he uses a 5DmkII perhaps.

Sorry.

Flake

  • Guest
Re: Sigma 50mm f1.4 EX DG HSM....are they any good?
« Reply #2 on: December 01, 2011, 04:45:00 AM »
It's not the autofocus which is a problem with the Sigma, but the lens suffers a significant focus shift on stopping down.  The autofocus makes a perfect selection, on say the eyes, the shutter release is pressed and the aperture closes to perhaps f/2 and focus moves by 6inches (guess for illustration), but now the focus is not where you put it and might render the shot useless.  Other lenses also have this problem but with an f/1.4 aperture it's much more critical, buying the Sigma is like playing Russian roulette, you might get one which isn't quite so bad, or your photography might not be so DOF critical, but if so what's the point in buying it?

whatta

  • EOS M2
  • ****
  • Posts: 161
    • View Profile
Re: Sigma 50mm f1.4 EX DG HSM....are they any good?
« Reply #3 on: December 01, 2011, 04:55:36 AM »
It's not the autofocus which is a problem with the Sigma, but the lens suffers a significant focus shift on stopping down.

can it be fixed with af microadjust?
Canon 400d | efs 15-85 | efs 60/2.8 | Sigma 30/1.4 | (broken efs 17-85)

neuroanatomist

  • CR GEEK
  • **********
  • Posts: 14993
    • View Profile
Re: Sigma 50mm f1.4 EX DG HSM....are they any good?
« Reply #4 on: December 01, 2011, 05:42:58 AM »
It's not the autofocus which is a problem with the Sigma, but the lens suffers a significant focus shift on stopping down.

can it be fixed with af microadjust?

Unfortunately, no. AFMA is a constant adjustment, focus shift is a variable effect - not there wide open, changing in magnitude as you stop down, disappearing when the DoF gets deep enough to mask it.  AFMA would work if you calibrated at a given aperture, e.g. f/2, then always shot at that same aperture. Not a very practical solution.
EOS 1D X, EOS M, and lots of lenses
______________________________
Flickr | TDP Profile/Gear List

Flake

  • Guest
Re: Sigma 50mm f1.4 EX DG HSM....are they any good?
« Reply #5 on: December 01, 2011, 05:50:18 AM »
It's not the autofocus which is a problem with the Sigma, but the lens suffers a significant focus shift on stopping down.

can it be fixed with af microadjust?

It's way out, far too much to be fixed in microadjust.  From Photozone:

"The HSM ("Hyper-Sonic-Motor") AF is very fast and virtually silent. AF accuracy is a difficult topic for the Sigma. It seems to suffer from pronounced focus shifts when stopping down ("Residual spherical aberrations") which is probably the reason why many users report back- or front-focusing issues. "

The only real work around is to use depth of field preview to focus  which is not what I'd like to do.  It also suffers from very poor border & corner resolution on FF, but then on a portrait lens that's not always undesireable.

http://www.photozone.de/canon-eos/522-sigma50f14eosff

whatta

  • EOS M2
  • ****
  • Posts: 161
    • View Profile
Re: Sigma 50mm f1.4 EX DG HSM....are they any good?
« Reply #6 on: December 01, 2011, 06:05:39 AM »
The only real work around is to use depth of field preview to focus  which is not what I'd like to do.

on the 400d it does not work, once you do DOF preview, you cannot take a picture.
---
btw AF again, what does the f2.8 AF point mean? does it meant that if I have a 1.4 lens it will not be able to use all the light from it? focus is always done when wide open..
Canon 400d | efs 15-85 | efs 60/2.8 | Sigma 30/1.4 | (broken efs 17-85)

canon rumors FORUM

Re: Sigma 50mm f1.4 EX DG HSM....are they any good?
« Reply #6 on: December 01, 2011, 06:05:39 AM »

aires

  • Guest
Re: Sigma 50mm f1.4 EX DG HSM....are they any good?
« Reply #7 on: December 01, 2011, 06:46:59 AM »
i've had them both (on 40D and 5D classic), and kept the Canon.

The Siggy can make great pics, but the focus of mine wasn't reliable. Even after sending it back to Sigma. The problem wasn't the focus shift, it was just backfocussing most of the time on subjects at +/- 5 meters. But not all the time... Drove me nuts.

pwp

  • 1D X
  • *******
  • Posts: 1617
    • View Profile
Re: Sigma 50mm f1.4 EX DG HSM....are they any good?
« Reply #8 on: December 01, 2011, 06:58:38 AM »
I can report the identical problems as other posters.
When it nails focus it's brilliant, but far too erratic to rely on. Pity.

Mine's off to eBay.

Paul Wright

alipaulphotography

  • Guest
Re: Sigma 50mm f1.4 EX DG HSM....are they any good?
« Reply #9 on: December 01, 2011, 07:02:49 AM »
I use it all the time. It is a great lens.

Both these sets were shot with it.

http://alipaul.com/travel/kos/

http://alipaul.com/travel/berlin-2/

So I have heard, it has better centre sharpness than the canon when wide open, which it what I primarily use this lens for.

I don't have these focus problems others have spoken about.

willrobb

  • Guest
Re: Sigma 50mm f1.4 EX DG HSM....are they any good?
« Reply #10 on: December 01, 2011, 07:22:17 AM »
Thanks for the info everyone, the "Russian roulette" analogy convinced me I will wrestle my buddy to the ground and drag him away from the Sigma cabinet if I have to.

Much appreciation.

neuroanatomist

  • CR GEEK
  • **********
  • Posts: 14993
    • View Profile
Re: Sigma 50mm f1.4 EX DG HSM....are they any good?
« Reply #11 on: December 01, 2011, 07:57:08 AM »
The only real work around is to use depth of field preview to focus  which is not what I'd like to do.

on the 400d it does not work, once you do DOF preview, you cannot take a picture.
---
btw AF again, what does the f2.8 AF point mean? does it meant that if I have a 1.4 lens it will not be able to use all the light from it? focus is always done when wide open..

Flake means manual focus with DoF preview.

The f/2.8 AF point means it requires at least f/2.8; anything wider is fine.
EOS 1D X, EOS M, and lots of lenses
______________________________
Flickr | TDP Profile/Gear List

kirillica

  • Guest
Re: Sigma 50mm f1.4 EX DG HSM....are they any good?
« Reply #12 on: December 01, 2011, 08:27:49 AM »
I was very disappointed with this lens and said myself: no Sigmas in my pocket anymore :)
've got the same issues described above + ugly CA

canon rumors FORUM

Re: Sigma 50mm f1.4 EX DG HSM....are they any good?
« Reply #12 on: December 01, 2011, 08:27:49 AM »

dtaylor

  • 1D Mark IV
  • ******
  • Posts: 819
    • View Profile
Re: Sigma 50mm f1.4 EX DG HSM....are they any good?
« Reply #13 on: December 01, 2011, 09:26:25 AM »
Thanks for the info everyone, the "Russian roulette" analogy convinced me I will wrestle my buddy to the ground and drag him away from the Sigma cabinet if I have to.

You'll be doing your friend a disservice.

The Sigma is much sharper then the Canon 50 f/1.4 at wide apertures, has better bokeh, and has much better build quality. The bokeh is amazing and the lens is actually usable wide open. I personally think it's the f/1.2L's equal. Some have AF issues, but if your friend is shopping in person then he can cherry pick the lens he wants on the spot. FYI, the AF motor in the Canon version is famous for having accuracy problems or just breaking over time.

I'm quite frankly surprised at the number of complaints here. Usually when the Sigma 50 f/1.4 comes up in forums the majority of reports are good.

As to AF issues...no doubt some units ship out of alignment. But I can't help but think that many complaints trace back to people struggling to use fast primes, especially since I've heard the same types of complaints from people who went with the Canon f/1.8 or f/1.4, and even the f/1.2L.

* f/1.4 is difficult for the AF system. This is true of any lens. DoF is stupid shallow at f/1.4 even on crop. On FF? Try one eyelash in focus.

* Any forward/backward movement on your part at wide apertures will move the focus away from where you want it. By the same token you cannot focus/recompose at wide apertures.

* Focus point indicators in the VF are not perfect. Usually the AF sensor points are larger than indicated. If the point is over a target which is not flat, the AF system may focus correctly but still focus somewhere you don't want. (DoF is that shallow.) 3D target areas that work just fine at f/4 or even f/2.8 may not yield the desired result at f/1.4 or f/2.

On a tripod pointed at a flat target the Sigma is about as consistent and accurate as the Canon 85 f/1.8. Perfection cannot be expected with super fast primes however. If you defocus, AF, and shoot 10 frames in a row, at 100% it will be clear that some shots are better than others even in this simple test. (I didn't have access to a Canon 50 f/1.4 when I did this. The f/1.8 is much worse than either the Sigma or Canon 85.) This is with a 7D which has an even better AF system.

I love fast primes, but all of them require some care in AF. There's something to be said for split screen manual focusing when using fast primes, and I've considered a KatzEye for this reason.

With that out of the way...I've shot kids (always in motion) with the Sigma f/1.4 with good success rates. And when you nail it...well...30" portrait prints at f/2 and f/2.8 are no problem at all, tack sharp and gorgeous.

kirillica

  • Guest
Re: Sigma 50mm f1.4 EX DG HSM....are they any good?
« Reply #14 on: December 01, 2011, 10:45:21 AM »
The Sigma is much sharper then the Canon 50 f/1.4 at wide apertures
lol, if you don't miss the focus ;)

has better bokeh
with ugly CA ;) btw Sigma's bokeh is nothing compare to Russian Helios M40-2 analogue. If you prefer excellent bokeh - buy Russian stuff.

and has much better build quality
and cost ;) but who cares? Sigma was trying to make smth better  than Canon and aimed to shoot art photography, but the 've got lose-lose situation: it's more expensive and not so good in CA as Canon's 1.4 and bokeh is much weaker than M40-2. So it's not "the best from both worlds". Not even close ;)

Mine Canon's 1.4 works perfectly from AF perspective. No complains so far (I normally choose the point for AF manually)

canon rumors FORUM

Re: Sigma 50mm f1.4 EX DG HSM....are they any good?
« Reply #14 on: December 01, 2011, 10:45:21 AM »