Photography 101: Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens

This is the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens for Canon. It can also be ordered with a Nikon mount for you Nikon fanboys out there. For a prime lens it’s big, heavy and expensive—especially when you compare it to the much smaller and lighter Canon and Nikon Nifty-50. I’m not going to do a review here, instead I’m going to include an in-depth revenue by Dustin Abbott who I greatly respect for his expertise.

I agree with everything he has to say. Everyone should have a 50mm prime lens in their kit, and if you’re a professional, advanced amateur or just appreciate fine equipment this is the lens for you. It out shoots anything Canon or Nikon produces in the 50mm focal length. The only 50mm lens that can out shoot it is the Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 (but it costs $4,000 and is manual focus only). Don’t believe me? Check the reviews.

The build quality on this lens is EXCEPTIONAL and only lacks an ass-gasket (for weather-sealing) to make it perfect. It doesn’t have Image Stabilization but at 50mm and f/1.4 it doesn’t need it. The autofocus is snappy, if not lightning fast, and remember the Zeiss Otus is manual focus only (for $3,000 more). It is tack-sharp wide open at f/1.4 all the way to f/16. Shooting at f/1.4 with its shallow depth of field is tricky, but that’s true for any fast aperture lens.

I am including two images that I recently took at my son’s birthday celebration. You can readily see how sharp the subject is and how creamy-smooth the out of focus bokeh is rendered. Both images were shot on my Canon EOS 5D Mark IV full-frame FX camera. Shooting on a crop-sensor APS-C DX camera body (like my Canon EOS 7D Mark II) the EFOV (Effective Field of View) is 80mm (50mm x 1.6x crop factor = 80mm) which is a nice focal length for portraits.

1/40s @ f/1.4 ISO 100 @ 50mm

1/40s @ f/1.8 ISO 500 @ 50mm

I rarely recommend third-party lenses but in this case it’s a no-brainer. Build quality and optical quality are both superior to Canon and Nikon top of the line lenses in this focal length. The only lens that (possibly) surpasses it is the Zeiss Otus 55mm (manual focus only) at 55mm. If you’re a Newbie or on a tight budget there are other options, but even at $950 this lens is an EXCELLENT value. I receive no money whatsoever for these reviews.

Stephen F. Dennstedt



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