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
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.
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.