Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM | A ("Art") - Full Format Review / Lens Test Report
Lens Reviews - Canon EOS (Full Format)

Review by Klaus Schroiff, published June 2014

Note: This is the full format test of the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM | A. Most of the findings from our prior APS-C format test remain valid thus we've reused most of the text for obvious reasons.


Weird things are happening in the photo industry at the moment ... a war is going on. A war about providing the very best 50mm lens around. It all started a few years back when some of the market players rediscovered the "nifty fifties" again. The most prominent or at least the most expensive representative is the Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4. Zeiss claimed it to be the very best of the species ... at a price of 4000US$. Now how crazy is that considering that most 50mm lenses used to be in the sub-500$ league ? Then Nikon rushed in with a 58mm f/1.4 for ... 1700US$ which is still insane. And now Sigma has its turn with the new Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM | A. At a price of "just" 950US$ it is at least not completely off the radar for normal mortals and given Sigma's recent run for top quality products, this one should be interesting.

Sigma's "Art" series tend to have a superb build quality and the 50mm f/1.4 is no exception to the rule. Besides some metal parts, Sigma uses a new material called TSC (Thermally Stable Composite) which contributes to the high quality perception. The broad focus ring is nicely rubberized and operated smoothly. Thus everything screams premium here really although some may still struggle to believe this. To ease the non-believers - the lens hood is still made of plastic though. ;-) Other than that it is a brick really - it has almost the triple weight and double size of the "pre-war" Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM but compared to the Zeiss Otus this is still "compact".

The physical length of the lens remains constant at all focus settings and the front lens does not rotate during focusing. So, using a polarizer is no problem. The lens features HSM, which is Sigma's version of ultra-sonic drive. Typical for many HSM lenses, the AF is virtually silent and very fast at least in conventional phase-detection AF mode. Contrast AF in Live-View mode isn't that hot. The lens is also compatible with Sigma USB dock so you can tune the AF calibration at will if you see the need and are willing to invest a little extra.

Optical construction13 elements in 8 groups inc. 3xSLD & 1x aspherical elements
Number of aperture blades9 (circular)
min. focus distance0.40m (max. magnification ratio 1:5.6)
Filter size77mm (non-rotating)
Hoodpetal-shaped, snap-on, supplied
Other features-

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