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Thread: Sigma 50 mm f/1.4 Art

  1. #11
    Administrator Sean Setters's Avatar
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    Technically speaking, I don't "need" the wide apertures very often. A couple of notable exceptions include indoor event photography (where the 35mm lens is my go-to choice) and indoor basketball (where, for now, the 50mm f/1.4 fills that need). I almost never use the 50mm f/1.4 at f/1.4, though - it just isn't sharp enough for my taste.

    I'm hoping the Sigma 50mm f/1.4's AF is as good as the Canon. If so, I'll definitely be using it for indoor basketball among other things.

    Another way I like to use relatively wide apertures is portraiture. Just last night Amanda and I did some shooting on the street that I live on. I used the Canon EF 85mm f/1.2 L II with a Singh-Ray Vari-N-Duo to allow me to achieve a relatively slow flash sync speed while still using a wide f/2.5 aperture.



    A hint of fill light on the left side (to illuminate the inside of her hair) would have been optimal. But I was trying to keep the lighting simple with a single monolight diffused by a Mola Demi. Oh well...we got some other decent shots too.

  2. #12
    Super Moderator Kayaker72's Avatar
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    Looks like Bryan's tests are up for the 50A.

  3. #13
    Administrator Sean Setters's Avatar
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    :-)

  4. #14
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    Wow. Now that's a nice lens!
    On Flickr - Namethatnobodyelsetook on Flickr | On the web - http://www.GrassStainedPhoto.com
    1DsII | 7D | 7DII | 10-18mm STM | 18-135mm STM | 24-70mm f/4L | Sigma 35mm f/1.4 | 50mm f/1.8 | 85mm f/1.8 | 70-300mm f/4-5.6L

  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidEccleston View Post
    Wow. Now that's a nice lens!
    My 50L is crying in a corner. Then again, I got it as upgrade to the LensBaby SoftFocus, so I'm quite happy with it's sharpness, and sometimes it outright surprises me :-)

  6. #16
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    Wow indeed. You have to give some props to Sigma on their recent offerings. It seems that the "mid level" i.e. $500 to $2,500 pricing points for various lenses are getting darn competitive from an image quality standpoint from 3rd party manufacturers.

    This make some sense as the market for the $2,500 and up price point is not the place too many enthusiasts tend peruse all that often.

    I simply don't want to get into the the pixel size/lens capability debate.... yet.... but it is coming.
    If you see me with a wrench, call 911

  7. #17
    Senior Member conropl's Avatar
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    If they had not made the claim that they were going to beat the Zeiss Otus, then they could be doing a lot of bragging right now. However, based on Bryan's charts, it does not beat the Otus for sharpness. It can be argued (and probably will be) that it beats the Otus if you factor it vignetting and price, because it does do better on both those points, but you need to stop down to f/2.8 on the Sigma before it starts getting comparable to the Otus wide open at f/1.4.

    Really nice lens, but not quite to the level they claimed it would be.

    Pat

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    Last edited by conropl; 04-16-2014 at 01:47 PM.
    5DS R, 1D X, 7D, Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6, 24mm f/1.4L II, 16-35mm f/4L IS, 24-105mm f/4L, 50mm f/1.8, 100mm Macro f/2.8L, 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II, 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L, 580EX-II
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  8. #18
    Administrator Sean Setters's Avatar
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    It's true, it doesn't *quite* beat the OTUS. However, considering that you get AF, it's 3k less expensive AND it's significantly better than the rest of the 50mm crowd - I think Sigma has created something to be proud of.

    We'll see what Bryan thinks of the AF, though.

  9. #19
    Super Moderator Kayaker72's Avatar
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    Looks like Bryan's review of the 50A is up.

    Two quotes jumped out at me:

    "What I learned from the many hours (actually extended into days) spent shooting and analyzing thousands of images is that the 50 Art lens' AF cannot be completely counted on. Sometimes, most images are properly focused and when my shots counted, this lens delivered. But sometimes, more images are out of focus than I am comfortable with."

    I recently bought the 35A. I am still getting to know the lens, but this is almost exactly what I am seeing. I used it at my niece's 1 yr birthday party along with the 70-200 II. When the shots were in focus, they are sharp and really jump out at you. Maybe a bit of a "gold" color too them, but very nice photos. But the AF missed more often than I am used too, especially compared to the 70-200 II.

    I set up a test, actually somewhat similar to Bryan's book with a butterfly. But I had a pattern surface beneath a box and the single point AF set up on the box. I took 10 pictures at f/1.4. You could see the focal plane vary just behind to just in front of the plane of the box. All lenses I've done this with do it a little, my 100-400L does it a lot. But the 35A did it more that usual.

    Quick other note, but in bright light, the 35A did better, but in lower light (the purpose of the lens for me) the AF accuracy seems to fall off more than other lenses I own. I am still testing that observation.

    But then Bryan says this:

    "While I will dock a few points from this lens for occasional AF inconsistency, the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens is now the overwhelming favorite in the 50mm field. This lens delivers excellent image quality, has a beautiful design and for what you get, a very attractive price. The Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens is the easy 50mm choice for those with a moderate budget."

    I haven't canceled my preorder, but I am thinking about it. $950 isn't that far away from the 50 L.

  10. #20
    Senior Member neuroanatomist's Avatar
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    This is a departure from the norm for Bryan's lens tests:

    "My evaluation lens was a short term loan from Sigma, as they offered the production-grade lens before it was commercially available."

    Any time a manufacturer supplies a product to a well-known reviewer, a big unanswered question is whether the provided copy is truly representative of units purchased retail. Clearly, it would be in Sigma's best interest to pre-test a batch of them and pick the best copy they can find for review (in fact, they are supposed to generate measured MTFs for every lens they produce, so they have the data already).


    I've always felt that one of the strengths of Bryan's reviews (in addition to their thoroughness and readability) is that he purchases review copies through standard retail channels (B&H may put him near the top of the preorder queue, but that's fine), and therefore avoids the potential confound of bias introduced by testing a 'hand-picked' lens from the manufacturer. I hope Bryan chooses to test one or more copies of the lens purchased retail to see if the results align with the copy provided by Sigma.

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