Sigma AF 50mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM (Canon) - Review / Test Report
Lens Reviews - Canon EOS (APS-C)

Review by Klaus Schroiff, published August 2008

Special thanks to Jonas B. for providing this lens for testing purposes!


The Sigma AF 50mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM is a quite uncommon lens. It is Sigma's first-ever large aperture AF 50mm lens which is quite surprising regarding the market significance of the company. It is also refreshing to see a newly designed, state-of-the-art 50mm f/1.4 standard lens. We have seen the new EF 50mm f/1.2 USM L lately but all other genuine manufacturer 50mm AF lenses rely on designs which date back to the 70s or early 80s at best. However, it seem that the species is generally ready for a revival thanks to APS-C DSLRs where the field-of-view is equivalent to 80mm (1.6x crop) - a pretty sweet spot for portrait photography. Anyway, coming back to the Sigma ... unlike other full format 50mm f/1.4 lenses it features a massive front element (77mm filter thread) and it takes advantage of an aspherical element and both aspects are pretty unique design decisions for a 50mm f/1.4 lens. Sigma is obviously quite confident regarding their new baby because they are bold enough to ask a street price beyond the other 50mm f/1.4 AF lenses - around 400€/480US$.

The build quality of the Sigma lens is excellent - the outer body is obviously made of some kind of metal applied with the typical Sigma EX coating (crinkle finish). The focus ring operates very smooth. Unlike most 50s it has a constant physical length regardless of the focus setting.

The HSM ("Hyper-Sonic-Motor") AF is very fast and virtually silent. The tested sample had a fairly strong back-focus problem but this may be an isolated issue and not a general characteristic of the series. However, the lens does also suffer from focus shifts when stopping down (RSA).

Equiv. focal length80 mm (full format equivalent)
Equiv. aperturef/2.2 (full format equivalent, in terms of depth-of-field)
Optical construction8 elements in 6 groups inc. 1x aspherical element
Number of aperture blades9 (circular)
min. focus distance0.45 m (max. magnification ratio 1:7.4)
Dimensions85 x 68 mm
Weight505 g
Filter size77 mm (non-rotating)
Hoodpetal-shaped, snap-on, supplied
Other features-

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