Sydney Wedding Photographers. Est. 2007.
Sigma 50mm F1.4 EX DG HSM Lens Review.
I have owned two copies of this lens in the last 3 years. The first version came with the crinkle finish which was not a pleasant feeling lens, I thought it looked ugly, after 2.5 years of faithful service I retired it and bought the new smooth finish version of the same lens. Why I replaced the a lens with basically the same lens?
Simple. Its good and the new version is probably a hair sharper and feels a bit better which I think is very important.
At F2 onwards its as sharp enough to make one's eyes bleed. At F1.4 also, its not bad at all. I have been using this lens with my 5dmkII and the results were not what i call ideal wide open, so I always used this at F2 and F2.8 from where it starts showing its true abilities.
Today, I tried this lens on a 5d Classic and found that the magic 12MP sensor of the 5d Classic is a perfect match for this lens!
The 12MP sensor is great for any assignment but at the same time does not demand too much from a lens like the 5dmkII. At F1.4 also, the results are amazingly good on the classic. Wow! why didnt I think of this before?
This lens will now be glued permanently to the 5d Classic and I have no hesitation to use it wide open anymore!
No lens is ideal, everything has pros and cons but when I look at the "Sigmalux", this has to be the best bargain in 50mm F1.4 lenses out there.
The best things about this lens:
1: The Image Quality. The photos from this lens just looks beautiful. Very pleasing bokeh. Infact, i think this is the second best bokeh lens I own after the 24mm F1.4 L lens. The Canon 85mm F1.8 is sharp, blurs the background more than this lens but its not really pleasing kind of blur. The colours looks perfect and all photos shot at F2 onwards look have a beautiful combination of sharpness, contrast, pleasing tones and sweet bokeh.
2: The price: It sells for under $400. Can be bought for about $350 in the used market currently!
3: Uses 77mm filters. Although the filters are expensive, its likely that pros already own a 77mm CPL and other ND filters.
4: Feels really good to hold and use because its nice and chunky. Has positive feel about the shape, size and build quality.
5: Build quality, look and feel. The manual focusing feels nice! a million times better than Fuji X100 and as good as a proper L series prime lens.
Things that arent so good:
1: The AF is not dead accurate, it is quite accurate but not precise. One has to be careful when shooting at wide apertures.
2: Some samples may need AF calibration. Luckily both copies I have owned did not have AF issues.
Its a great lens, and shows how far Sigma has come in lens design. I have read that the new 35mm is stellar, easily better than Nikon and Canon equivalents but I havent seen one yet.....sounds really tempting. My Canon 35L was an amazing lens, any 35mm sharper than that lens at lower price should be worth a consideration.
Going back to the point-Overall, I am happy with this lens. I am always after the bang for the buck factor and this lens scores big in that regard.
In canon world, the Canon 50mm F1.4 is the nearest competitor price wise. But I think this lens can also compete with the 50mm F1.2 lens. Its at lest 90% as good as the 50mm F1.2 L for 30% of its price.
I can recommend this lens to even the most demanding pros, but if planning to use it wide open, use it on the Classic 5d, If planning to use it on 5dMkII and MkII, just use F2 and smaller openings.
Last but not least, make sure you buy a Genuine Australian Stock. The local Australian distributor- CR Kennedy Co. will calibrate your Sigma lens for your camera body if the AF isn't satisfactory.I am sure the same holds true for local distributors in other countries as well.