Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM A £700, $950

For a 50mm f/1.4, it’s a big lens that costs big money to buy, but it’s worth ev­ery penny

NPhoto - - Test Team -

Com­pared with the diminu­tive, light­weight Nikon 50mm f/1.4G (see page 98), Sigma’s new 50mm Art lens is a mon­ster. It’s phys­i­cally longer than the 85mm lenses on test, mea­sur­ing 85x100mm, and it’s the heav­i­est lens in the group at 815g. It’s there­fore not ideal if you want a 50mm prime to squeeze into a small cor­ner of your gad­get bag, or for shoot­ing un­ob­tru­sively. In­deed, it’s about the same size, and slightly heav­ier, than the Nikon AF-S 24-120mm f/4 zoom lens. The Sigma isn’t cheap ei­ther, cost­ing more than twice as much as Nikon’s 50mm f/1.4G.

The good news is that, as with Sigma’s 35mm Art lens that’s also on test, there has been no com­pro­mise made in the de­sign and build of this lens. It’s beau­ti­fully crafted, solidly put to­gether, boasts fast and highly ac­cu­rate aut­o­fo­cus, and is com­pat­i­ble with Sigma’s op­tional USB Dock.

Per­for­mance

This lens de­liv­ers ex­cep­tional sharp­ness and con­trast, even at its widest f/1.4 aper­ture. De­spite this, de­fo­cused ar­eas look won­der­fully creamy, and the tran­si­tional re­gions be­tween fo­cused and de­fo­cused ar­eas follow a par­tic­u­larly smooth pro­gres­sion. There’s prac­ti­cally no dis­tor­tion and over­all im­age qual­ity is sim­ply stun­ning.

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