Review - Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art

Aug 23, 2013
2,324
37
Bahia Brazil
I'm sure Canon has the ability to make a 50mm lens as good as Sigma 50 Art.
But at what price you would sell?

After reflecting this issue, I gave up waiting for the Canon 50mm F1.4 IS and bought the Sigma. I do not regret it one bit.

I know the beauty of Bokeh is subjective, but I consider that the Sigma 50 Art has the most beautiful bokeh that Canon 50mm F1.2L.
I know I'm a heretic, and committed sacrilege, but I like the combination of smooth Bokeh, keeping the sharpness and contrast of objects in focus.
 

infared

Kodak Brownie!
Jul 19, 2011
1,411
11
I waited a while before I bought my Sigma Art because I REALLY read Up on the lens and it seems that the earlier lensRS exhibited a lot of AF problems...even being cautious did not save me. LOL!
My first lens was all over the place with the auto focus and not correctable with The Sigma Dock.I wish I could have those frustrating hours of my life back, Sigma...I got to that place where I was saying "sigma, I just spent over $900 on a 50mm lens....um...why am I fine-tuning it??? Isn't that your job????".
In spite of that experience (and after seeing my images that WERE in focus...WOW!)....I returned my first lens and took delivery of another with great expectations because I had read about people having spot-on lenses.
My second lens is fantastic!...it took a "little" fine tuning with The Dock...but the AF is just nailed 95%of the time..and I think that if it isn't it must be operator error.
I personally love the bokeh and we all know the sharpness and contrast are outstanding.As a matter of fact I think that the images are so intense and refreshing that I for one do not care that the lens is large, heavy and expensive(all those glass elements are what make these fantastic images..oh well).
No...it does not render like my 85mm f/1.2L II....but both are great for different reasons.
 

LSXPhotog

EOS RP
Apr 2, 2015
377
204
www.diossiphotography.com
Excellent review, Dustin. My results mirror yours.

I have owned most of Canon's modern autofocus 50s. I sold my 1.2L because it wasn't a lens I used very often. I decided I'd rather not have so much money invested in a lens that rarely left the bag, so I sold it and got the Canon 1.4. That lens got the job done, but 50mm just wasn't a focal length I seemed to enjoy.

Then Sigma came out with the Art. There was so much hype, and after reading all of the reviews and seeing loads of sample images, I decided to give it a shot. Well I've had it for about 9 months now and it turns out that 50mm is indeed a focal length I enjoy a lot, I was just never happy with the lenses I had. The lens gives images a certain look that is all its own.

Autofocus on my 6D is about 90-95% accurate and about 60-70% accurate on my 7D MkII...so I certainly think a firmware update down the road with the $60 dock will solve the accuracy issues. Although, it does seem to depend on the copy as well.

I'm an Art fan now and plan to fill out my bag as they release lenses I use/need.


I shot this at f/2.0 and the background looks like a damn painting it's so smooth and beautifully rendered. Love this lens and so do my clients.
 

YuengLinger

EOS 5D MK IV
Dec 20, 2012
2,504
610
Southeastern USA
LSXPhotog said:
Excellent review, Dustin. My results mirror yours.

I have owned most of Canon's modern autofocus 50s. I sold my 1.2L because it wasn't a lens I used very often. I decided I'd rather not have so much money invested in a lens that rarely left the bag, so I sold it and got the Canon 1.4. That lens got the job done, but 50mm just wasn't a focal length I seemed to enjoy.

Then Sigma came out with the Art. There was so much hype, and after reading all of the reviews and seeing loads of sample images, I decided to give it a shot. Well I've had it for about 9 months now and it turns out that 50mm is indeed a focal length I enjoy a lot, I was just never happy with the lenses I had. The lens gives images a certain look that is all its own.

Autofocus on my 6D is about 90-95% accurate and about 60-70% accurate on my 7D MkII...so I certainly think a firmware update down the road with the $60 dock will solve the accuracy issues. Although, it does seem to depend on the copy as well.

I'm an Art fan now and plan to fill out my bag as they release lenses I use/need.


I shot this at f/2.0 and the background looks like a damn painting it's so smooth and beautifully rendered. Love this lens and so do my clients.
What "firmware update down the road"?

If I'm not mistaken, despite all the reports of AF problems, Sigma has NOT released a firmware update for Canon mounts.

Anybody know different?
 

tiggy@mac.com

Pentax K-1000
Jan 20, 2014
490
168
Thetford, VT
www.ForestMetrix.com
Clarification question on review

On the empirical side of things, it seems the Sigma is just about as good as the Zeiss, perhaps just a tad lower IQ - generally thought to be not big enough a difference to overpower the advantage of having autofocus.

But people who like Zeiss and Leica lenses often talk of "drawing" or "rendering." Not having really used these lenses myself, I'm wondering if you might try to show us what this means. I'm imagining that one might be able to do this by showing pictures of the same subject matter showing the differences in rendering. I understand it might not be quantifiable, but if it's a real difference, it has to be demonstrable.

Thanks for the review.
 
I picked up the Sigma 50A just recently from Adorama for $849 out the door (Sigma $100 off sale). I've rented it once before and fell in love. Yeah, I have some lower light AF hunt issues, but compared to the Canon 50 1.4, it destroys it in pretty much every way. I'm shooting on a 5D3.

I haven't picked up the dock yet, to see if that'll help with anything. The only downer now is if that doesn't fix it, having to ship all the way back from Seattle to Adorama, get a swap and wait for that. Buying locally is great, but saving $100 + tax is probably worth it =)
 

TWI by Dustin Abbott

EOS 5D MK IV
Oct 4, 2012
2,669
17
www.dustinabbott.net
Re: Clarification question on review

tiggy@mac.com said:
On the empirical side of things, it seems the Sigma is just about as good as the Zeiss, perhaps just a tad lower IQ - generally thought to be not big enough a difference to overpower the advantage of having autofocus.

But people who like Zeiss and Leica lenses often talk of "drawing" or "rendering." Not having really used these lenses myself, I'm wondering if you might try to show us what this means. I'm imagining that one might be able to do this by showing pictures of the same subject matter showing the differences in rendering. I understand it might not be quantifiable, but if it's a real difference, it has to be demonstrable.

Thanks for the review.
You are right that it is hard to quantify. Above we have examples where you would say that the bokeh is better than from the 50A than the 50L. But having used both lenses extensively, I would say that the opposite is true. The 50A is much sharper and has less quirks in its rendering, but the 50L draws better. The Otus 55 is simply not in the same category as the 50A optically. I've used them both for a long period of time, and the Otus just draws in a uniquely beautiful way, and definitely still out resolves to the Sigma at the same time. There is less edging around the bokeh from the Otus, which makes highlights look softer and the transition zone is smoother. I didn't have the two lenses at the same time (I did have the Otus 85 at the same time as the Sigma), but here are two somewhat similar shots from the Otus 55 (top) and 50A (bottom).
 

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Eldar

EOS 5D MK IV
Jan 14, 2013
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0
www.flickr.com
I found myself in a situation where I had sold all my AF L-primes (24, 35, 50, 85 and 135) and replaced them with manual focus Zeiss lenses (not the 24 though). I have been waiting for Canon to release new versions, but that seems to take more time than I have. I have had a couple of both the 35 and 50 Art lenses, which all had significant AF issues, so they were all returned. But this last weekend we had a very generous offer from the Sigma distributor (about $400 off) and, since I miss having a fast AF prime amongst my slower zooms and quite a few people I know reported good AF performance on their 50 Arts, I have ordered my third 50 Art. Fingers crossed for a fully functional copy this time.

Optically the 50 Art is a phenomenal lens, especially when you consider the price. But I agree with Dustin, the Otus is in a class of its own. I´ll see if I can make some useful examples to help emphasize Dustin´s very valid points when I get the new Art copy.
 
I can't get on board with comments like "It blows every other 50mm lens (save the mighty Otus) out of the water at wide apertures." because it just is not true. How is this even determined or quantified? The Sigma Art certainly is a little sharper in the corners than the 50L but center sharpness is the same. I have read similar statements in the past and it seems to have been repeated often enough and is just accepted and hardly challenged. Same goes for the sharpness of the 135 mm f/2.0-great lens (love mine) but the 50L is just as sharp wide open. I hardly consider myself lucky enough to have the only sharp copy of the 50L.

I do mainly portraits and the 50L is phenomenal. I could have saved the extra money and bought the Sigma but found that, after using both, the 50L was overall better except in the corners. By 1.8-2.0, corners were the same.

The attached comparison photo is shot at 1.2 and the focus point was her cheek. He is slightly oof because he was not in the same focus plane.
 

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Aug 23, 2013
2,324
37
Bahia Brazil
Travelintrevor said:
I do mainly portraits and the 50L is phenomenal. I could have saved the extra money and bought the Sigma but found that, after using both, the 50L was overall better except in the corners. By 1.8-2.0, corners were the same.
I know that the best Bokeh, is subjective and one can prefer the "dreamy" look. But to say that sharpness of the Canon 50mm F1.2 is as good as Sigma Art in the center, and is worse only in the corners ... It seems to me that you used a bad copy of the Sigma 50 Art.

My experience is similar to that found by thedigitalpicture.com the link below.

http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/ISO-12233-Sample-Crops.aspx?Lens=403&Camera=453&Sample=0&FLI=0&API=1&LensComp=941&CameraComp=0&FLIComp=0&APIComp=0

See also compared both in aperture F2.

http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/ISO-12233-Sample-Crops.aspx?Lens=403&Camera=453&Sample=0&FLI=0&API=4&LensComp=941&CameraComp=453&SampleComp=0&FLIComp=0&APIComp=2
 

CosminD

I'm New Here
Jun 25, 2015
16
0
Travelintrevor , the sigma 50 art in better than Canon 50 L in about every way(about the sharpness, the Sigma is a little sharper in the center and a LOT in the corners than the L) , just look at this review https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9yHcoPF9hNE
 
I have a love/hate relationship with my Canon 50/1.4 (on a T3i body) So many of my shots are OOF, I was wondering if it was my technique but with my 17-55 I am much more accurate. I'm really thinking of selling the Canon and going with the Sigma ART, the pictures are simply amazing. Any idea if the price is anticipated to drop in the near future?
 

TWI by Dustin Abbott

EOS 5D MK IV
Oct 4, 2012
2,669
17
www.dustinabbott.net
ajfotofilmagem said:
Travelintrevor said:
I do mainly portraits and the 50L is phenomenal. I could have saved the extra money and bought the Sigma but found that, after using both, the 50L was overall better except in the corners. By 1.8-2.0, corners were the same.
I know that the best Bokeh, is subjective and one can prefer the "dreamy" look. But to say that sharpness of the Canon 50mm F1.2 is as good as Sigma Art in the center, and is worse only in the corners ... It seems to me that you used a bad copy of the Sigma 50 Art.

My experience is similar to that found by thedigitalpicture.com the link below.

http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/ISO-12233-Sample-Crops.aspx?Lens=403&Camera=453&Sample=0&FLI=0&API=1&LensComp=941&CameraComp=0&FLIComp=0&APIComp=0

See also compared both in aperture F2.

http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/ISO-12233-Sample-Crops.aspx?Lens=403&Camera=453&Sample=0&FLI=0&API=4&LensComp=941&CameraComp=453&SampleComp=0&FLIComp=0&APIComp=2
You beat me to it.
 

TWI by Dustin Abbott

EOS 5D MK IV
Oct 4, 2012
2,669
17
www.dustinabbott.net
cannondale1974 said:
I have a love/hate relationship with my Canon 50/1.4 (on a T3i body) So many of my shots are OOF, I was wondering if it was my technique but with my 17-55 I am much more accurate. I'm really thinking of selling the Canon and going with the Sigma ART, the pictures are simply amazing. Any idea if the price is anticipated to drop in the near future?
There has been an occasional sale, but as for a permanent price drop...don't hold your breath. Maybe $899, but I think Sigma is doing pretty with the lens at its current price point.
 
I love Brian's reviews and generally find that my experiences mirrors his data as well but not so with the 50L.
I don't think the Art copy was bad. It was AFMA'd, live view and VF AF showed the same sharpness.
Comparing it wide open to the 135 f/2.0 also does not give me the same results as shown on his comparison page and my 135mm is not a bad copy. Same for the 24-70 II


I would love nothing more than to put some extra money in my pocket by selling the L and purchasing the ART but...there is no compelling reason for me to do so. If I happen to have a stellar copy of the L, then even better :)

Here is the screen grab to show that the attached photo really was at 1.2
 

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Aug 23, 2013
2,324
37
Bahia Brazil
Travelintrevor said:
I love Brian's reviews and generally find that my experiences mirrors his data as well but not so with the 50L.
I don't think the Art copy was bad. It was AFMA'd, live view and VF AF showed the same sharpness.
Comparing it wide open to the 135 f/2.0 also does not give me the same results as shown on his comparison page and my 135mm is not a bad copy. Same for the 24-70 II

I would love nothing more than to put some extra money in my pocket by selling the L and purchasing the ART but...there is no compelling reason for me to do so. If I happen to have a stellar copy of the L, then even better :)
AFMA could not help if your copy of Sigma Art had some decentralized element. That would explain the mediocre performance in image corners, unlike all the good copies of the 50 Art.
 

Eldar

EOS 5D MK IV
Jan 14, 2013
3,247
0
www.flickr.com
TWI by Dustin Abbott said:
cannondale1974 said:
I have a love/hate relationship with my Canon 50/1.4 (on a T3i body) So many of my shots are OOF, I was wondering if it was my technique but with my 17-55 I am much more accurate. I'm really thinking of selling the Canon and going with the Sigma ART, the pictures are simply amazing. Any idea if the price is anticipated to drop in the near future?
There has been an occasional sale, but as for a permanent price drop...don't hold your breath. Maybe $899, but I think Sigma is doing pretty with the lens at its current price point.
The distributor in Scandinavia had a surprise sale last week (lasting for 5 days). The price dropped 35-40% for both the 35 and 50 Art lenses.
 
ajfotofilmagem said:
Travelintrevor said:
I love Brian's reviews and generally find that my experiences mirrors his data as well but not so with the 50L.
I don't think the Art copy was bad. It was AFMA'd, live view and VF AF showed the same sharpness.
Comparing it wide open to the 135 f/2.0 also does not give me the same results as shown on his comparison page and my 135mm is not a bad copy. Same for the 24-70 II

I would love nothing more than to put some extra money in my pocket by selling the L and purchasing the ART but...there is no compelling reason for me to do so. If I happen to have a stellar copy of the L, then even better :)
AFMA could not help if your copy of Sigma Art had some decentralized element. That would explain the mediocre performance in image corners, unlike all the good copies of the 50 Art.

could be...I am always selling and buying lenses and cameras so I will rent another copy this weekend and play around. CPW has the SIGMA ART for $750 so I could pocket some cash if I sell the 50L.