Sigma 50mm F/1.4 Dg Hsm Art Review Essay

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The Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art is a high-performance lens to join the Art line within Sigma's Global Vision series. Ideally suited for both photo and video use, this standard-length prime employs Special Low Dispersion (SLD) glass and Sigma's Hyper Sonic Motor (HSM) system to achieve fast, silent AF and the highest resolution and exceptional rendering performance, even near the edge of the image.

Key Features: Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art - Canon Fit

  • Fast, high performance f/1.4 prime lens
  • Sits in Sigma's Art line within Sigma's Global Vision range
  • Aperture range: f/1.4-f/16
  • Creates attractive bokeh
  • Super Multi-layer Coating reduces flare and ghosting
  • Hyper Sonic Motor (HSM) ensures smooth, silent focusing
  • Minimum focusing distance: 40 cm
  • Lens construction: 13 elements in 8 groups
  • Suitable for full-frame and APS-C DSLRs
  • Compatible with the optional Sigma USB Dock

Art line delivers high-level artistic expression
Sigma is organising all its interchangeable lenses into 3 product lines; Contemporary, Art, and Sports, where each line has a distinctive concept. Designed with a focus on sophisticated optical performance and abundant expressive power, our Art line delivers high-level artistic expression. With the astonishing rendering performance that meets the high standard, along with landscapes, portraits still-life, close-up, and casual snaps, they are perfect for the kind of photography that unleashes the inner artist. Ideal for studio photography, they offer just as much expressive scope when capturing architecture and starry skies and many other scenes.

Astonishing rendering performance
Utilizing know-how and the latest design technology accumulated through the past developments, it corrects the aberration thoroughly and achieves high resolution and astonishing rendering performance even near the edge of the image.

Achieving both high resolution and beautiful bokeh
While pursuing a high level of resolution on the focused point, bokeh in front and behind the point of focus is carefully maintained to have soft rendering. Aberrations including sagittal coma flare and color distortion that affect the image quality are thoroughly corrected. From open aperture, high-definition rendering without blur is achieved. Moreover, by ensuring vignetting at the minimum and preventing color blur around the front and back of the focus point, it also achieves natural bokeh.

Excellent correction of sagittal coma flare
It is ideal for a wide aperture standard lens to have a high rendering performance from open aperture throughout the entire image. For instance, the molded glass aspherical lens elements provide excellent correction to sagittal coma flare. It is perfect for astronomical photography and shooting of illumination because of the reduced blur on the point light sources near the edge of the image. It also creates an attractive bokeh in portraits and indoor shooting.

Correction of axial chromatic aberration
For axial chromatic aberration that is hard to correct even during the image processing, SLD (Special Low Dispersion) glass elements are incorporated, ensuring high image quality throughout the entire focusing range. The lens achieves sharp and high contrast image rendering.

Minimized distortion
It is not possible to compensate for distortion just by changing the aperture values. Thus, the lens development stage was vital in ensuring minimized distortion. The "Sigma 50mm F/1.4 DG HSM" has positioned each glass element to optimize the power layout at respective positions, and succeeded in minimizing distortion.

Rich peripheral brightness
It secures very rich brightness in the peripheral areas, which can be a common problem for a lens with a large diameter. By positioning wide elements in the front group, it has improved the efficiency at large apertures. Since it is capable of minimizing vignetting, very clear depiction across the image is ensured.

Designed to minimise flare and ghosting
Flare and ghosting were thoroughly measured and monitored from the lens development stage to establish an optical design which is resistant to strong incidental light such as backlight. The Super Multi-Layer Coating reduces flare and ghosting and provides sharp and high contrast images even in backlit conditions.

Minimum focusing distance of 40cm
The lens incorporates a floating system that adjusts the distance between lens groups while focusing, thereby reducing the amount of lens movement required. This achieves a minimum focusing distance of 40cm and maximum magnification ratio of 1:5.6. As there is less variation in aberration at different shooting distances, the lens delivers high rendering performance throughout the entire focusing range.

Hyper Sonic Motor ensures High AF Speed
The HSM (Hyper Sonic Motor) ensures a silent, high-speed AF function. Optimizing AF algorithm, smoother AF is achieved. It also enables full-time manual focusing capability which allows sensible focus adjustment by simply rotating the focus ring.

New Customizing Option added to "Sigma USB Dock"
With the optional Sigma USB DOCK and the dedicated special software "Sigma Optimization Pro", you can update your lens firmware, or adjust focus points by attaching this lens to a Sigma USB DOCK connected to a computer.

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Buy Now Pay Later

With our no deposit Buy Now Pay Later option, pay nothing for six months when you spend £250 or more, then either settle the cash price in full by paying a £29.00 settlement fee, or choose to spread the cost over 36 months at 19.9% APR Representative. Please see the repayment example below to see how much purchasing this item on finance would cost.

Finance Example
Item Value (Cash Price)£571.00
Agreement Duration42 Months
Total Amount Credit£571.00
Settlement Fee£29.00
Settlement Payment-
Monthly Instalments35 x £22.35
Final Instalments£22.47
Total Amount Payable£804.72
Annual Rate of Interest19.9% P.A.
Representative APR19.9% APR

Are you eligible for finance?

Applicants must be:

  • Aged 18 years or older from the application date
  • In permanent UK residence for a minimum of three years
  • Fulfil at least one of the following employment criteria:
    • In regular, permanent employment.
    • Retired from regular employment - With a minimum age of 50.
    • Not working through disability.
    • Self-employed.

Note: All applicants will be subject to a credit reference check by the lender.

Credit is subject to application and status. Warehouse Express Ltd trading as Wex Photographic act as credit broker and not the lender. Barclays Partner Finance act as the lender.

Can I repay early? If so how?

No repayments are scheduled in the initial six-month deferral period. However, it is possible to pay off the loan, either by way of a lump sum or in smaller amounts. If the loan is fully repaid within the six-month deferral period, then no interest is payable, but a £29.00 early-settlement will be incurred. Such repayments may be made to Barclays Partner Finance by cheque, debit card or standing order. Unfortunately it is not possible to set up a direct debit within the deferral period. Further information on how to make such repayments will be set out in the loan agreement pack provided by Barclays Partner Finance.

What happens if I don't repay within the first six months (deferral period)?

Following the six month deferral period, Barclays Partner Finance will initiate a monthly direct debit payment for the remaining duration of the loan. Interest will be charged at a rate of 19.9% APR on outstanding balances (backdated to the first date of the loan). Late payment penalties and early repayment charges will apply from this point. Barclays Partner Finance will send a reminder letter approximately one month before the six month deferral period is due to elapse. Note: If you chose to spread the cost and pay monthly, interest is charged from the start of the loan, not from the start of the repayment period.

What will I receive from the finance provider (lender)?

Barclays Partner Finance will send a loan agreement pack approximately four weeks after delivery of the goods, confirming that the account has been activated and, from this point, it is possible to make repayments against the loan.

For further information on how our finance product work, see our Finance help section.

1. Add items to your basket, and click 'Checkout'.

2. When selecting your Payment Option, choose ‘Apply for Finance’, and select your offer and terms.

3. Complete the Barclays Online Application form. Make sure you have your bank details at hand.

Once your application has been accepted, usually within minutes, we will immediately dispatch your equipment.

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This post is the final part of our series of reviews and comparisons related to the new Sigma 50mm F/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens. Below you can find links to the rest of the content in this series. Enjoy!

Sigma 50mm f/1.4 Art – Full Review

Well, that went by way too quickly. Alas, my time with this beautiful lens is done. It is time to put pen to paper and give you my full review on the Sigma 50mm F/1.4 DG HSM Art.

I already talked about my thoughts on the build quality in the Initial thoughts post, so go back and check that out if you missed it. I will just add that my opinion has not changed, this is a very well built lens.

Sharpness & Vignetting Test

This lens is incredibly sharp, even wide open this lens is sharper than many other “sharp”  lenses stopped down. It does suffer from a bit of vignetting around the outer edge wide open at F/1.4, but it is not too bad, and is gone by F/2.8.

Here is a shot of some gravel, you can clearly see the vignetting around the outer edges. This was shot on my Canon 6D wide open at F/1.4.

Click on the images for a larger 1200px wide image so you can inspect better on your monitor. 

Here is the lens stopped down to F/2.8, and as you can see, the vignetting is completely gone.

I think it is pretty clear to see that the lens is sharp throughout, but if I had to peg it, I would say it achieves maximum sharpness around F/5.6, maybe F/8.

Above is F/5.6, Below is F/8. 


Personally, I really like the Bokeh that this lens produces. Though I know from the comments on the comparison posts that many of you are disappointed by it. But, that is the thing with bokeh, it is very subjective.

So, rather than blabber on about how I think it’s awesome for this reason or that, I’ll just share some sample shots so you can see for yourself.

Here is a quick video example of the different aperture settings, and the associated bokeh that you may see:

Additional Handling Notes

This Sigma 50mm is both quick to focus and very accurate. All three of the other lenses that I compared this lens to had AF accuracy issues, while the Sigma was very accurate. It its worth noting though that the AF does have a little trouble in low light, but that could have been a combination of the lens and my Canon 6D. Overall, I am very happy with the AF.

This lens have no image stabilization or weather sealing. I can live without the IS(or OS as Sigma calls it), but the lack of weather sealing is a bit annoying. For a lens build as well as this one is, and costing as much as this one is (when compared to other 50mm f/1.4 lenses), I would think that weather sealing would be a good feature to have. Its not the end of the world, but if it were up to up me it would have had it.

Quick Pro/Con Recap

So you have read my initial thoughts, saw the comparisons to other popular 50mm lens options, now here is a quick recap of it all in one place.


  • Extremely Sharp
  • Good Contrast
  • Very High Build Quality
  • Quick and Accurate AF
  • Incredible Image Quality
  • Creamy Bokeh
  • Price (inexpensive compared to the Canon 50mm f/1.2 and Zeiss Otus)


  • Price (Yes, I put this in both pros and cons. It is quite pricy for a 50mm F/1.4)
  • Slight Vignetting at F/1.4 (Easily corrected in Lightroom, but still worth noting)
  • Slight CA/Color Fringing (Controlled well, and in most cases easily correctable.)
  • No Weather Sealing
  • No Image Stabilization (though no 50mm prime has this, yet)

More Sample Images

How about some more sample images? I know you all love to pixel peep, so the RAW files will be available for download at the end of the post. In the meantime, you can click on the images below to open a larger 1200px wide version for better web scrutiny.

Final Thoughts

I have been thoroughly impressed by this new Sigma 50mm F/1.4 DG HSM Art lens. In my testing, I found that I preferred it over the Canon 50mm f/1.2 as well as my old Sigma 50mm f/1.4. The weight, which I have heard a lot of noise about, was a non issue.

Seriously, if you shoot with a 70-200mm at all, this lens will feel like nothing to you. The weight has been made a much bigger deal than it is. The length on the other hand, is something I can see some people legitimately being concerned about. Again though, in my case, I actually preferred the length. It balanced well with my Canon 6D and felt good in my hands. That is all I can ask for from a lens.

Based on all of my testing, and my experience with the lens over the last 5 days, I am very happy to give this new Sigma 50mm F/1.4 DG HSM Art lens a full 5 out of 5 stars. It offers superior image quality to any other 50mm lens, expect maybe the Zeiss Otus (but even then, the Sigma is close). The only turnoff to some may be the price, but look at it this way, it’s saving you ~$500 off the price of a Canon F/1.2, and you get better performance.

You can download the RAW files used in this review here (268mb).

Purchase Information

If you liked what you saw in this review and would like to go ahead and preorder your copy of this new Sigma, you can do so by heading on over to B&H via this link. It helps support this site and makes more of these kind of reviews possible.

Tags:gear-review50mm LensSigma 50mm F/1.4 Art Review


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