I am Canon user and my lens kit comprises of all Canon lenses. I prefer to use Canon lens as they are sharp and better in terms of quality (bokeh rendering capabilities and depth of field) than 3rd party lens manufacturer. But recently I got my hands on the Sigma 50mm 1.4 art series lens and it changed my perception. As a Wedding & Fashion Photographer, I chose to test this lens as it is widely used in both photography and fashion. This is not an entry level lens but a professional one. When this lens was announced by Sigma, some people were even expecting the price tag of Rs. 1,30,000 as it was being compared to Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T* ZE Lens. However, the price was relatively low (almost half) but the picture quality was comparable. I personally tested this lens and now sharing my review with readers for the same.
Build quality & Ergonomics – The Sigma 50mm f/1.4 Art Lens is quite stylish, heavy and metal build. It looks expensive and feels very solid in hand. The metal build allows it to be used in wide temperature variations.
Its 77mm filter thread makes the common clear, polarizing and ND filters easy to use which also reduces the need to use different filters or adapter rings. The focus ring is positioned well and is slightly above the barrel which makes it easy to use. The lens has a switch that can be used to switch from Autofocus to Manual Focus. The manual focus with ring is very smooth, silent with ideal resistance, and no play while focusing.
Specs – As the aperture is wide enough at f/1.4, it makes it convenient to shoot in low light conditions. Sometimes very less light is available while shooting indoors and wide aperture takes good care of that without any need of external source of light. The high quality “HSM” hyper-sonic motor provides fast and quiet autofocus operation. Focus is fast and crisp images even at wide aperture f/1.4. I tried shooting various people in motion where lens was able to focus precisely and quickly. Unlike any other lens it has less distortion at wide aperture of f/1.4 or f/1.2. It doesn’t have optical stabilization as yet (no other lens wider than f/2.8 has), which makes me use high shutter speed when moving fast.
Depth of field is amazing and produces nice bokeh. Bokeh rendering capabilities are amazing, forms nice defined shapes rather than distracting shapes in some of the lenses. Being a Wedding Photographer in Delhi, this lens has become a must have in my kit.
The only problem in this lens, according to me, is that it doesn’t have weather sealing. While the lens itself is quite sturdy, the lens mount is not sealed with a rubber gasket which means that dust can easily enter the mount and eventually into the lens and camera. So, I would recommend you to keep the rear metal mount area clean at all times. Also, you need to take good care of it in rainy weather and keep it dry.
Overall, the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 Art is a great lens in terms of its features, optical performance and price. If your photography genre has a wide use of 50mm with wide aperture, then this is the best choice among its competitors. For me, it is a must have in the photography kit.