Sigma 56mm f/1.4 DC DN Contemporary (Sony E-mount) - Review / Test Report - Sample Images & Verdict
Lens Reviews - Sony Alpha/NEX (APS-C)

Sample Images

Click on an image for downloading the full-size variant.

MakeSONY
ModelILCE-6300
ISO Speed100
Focal Length56.0mm
Aperture:f/1.4
Exposure1/4000s

MakeSONY
ModelILCE-6300
ISO Speed100
Focal Length56.0mm
Aperture:f/1.4
Exposure1/1250s

MakeSONY
ModelILCE-6300
ISO Speed100
Focal Length56.0mm
Aperture:f/4.0
Exposure1/400s

MakeSONY
ModelILCE-6300
ISO Speed100
Focal Length56.0mm
Aperture:f/1.4
Exposure1/4000s

MakeSONY
ModelILCE-6300
ISO Speed100
Focal Length56.0mm
Aperture:f/5.6
Exposure1/500s

MakeSONY
ModelILCE-6300
ISO Speed100
Focal Length56.0mm
Aperture:f/1.4
Exposure1/4000s

MakeSONY
ModelILCE-6300
ISO Speed100
Focal Length56.0mm
Aperture:f/5.6
Exposure1/1000s

MakeSONY
ModelILCE-6300
ISO Speed100
Focal Length56.0mm
Aperture:f/4.0
Exposure1/800s

MakeSONY
ModelILCE-6300
ISO Speed100
Focal Length56.0mm
Aperture:f/2.8
Exposure1/3200s

MakeSONY
ModelILCE-6300
ISO Speed100
Focal Length56.0mm
Aperture:f/2.0
Exposure1/3200s

MakeSONY
ModelILCE-6300
ISO Speed100
Focal Length56.0mm
Aperture:f/6.3
Exposure1/640s

Competition

There are numerous 50mm-ish lenses competing with the Sigma 56mm f/1.4 DC DN (to the left below). Among the more obvious ones are the Zeiss Sonnar T* 55mm f/1.8 ZA (center) as the Samyang AF 50mm f/1.4 FE (to the right). Interestingly, the Sigma is a little sharper than the Zeiss lens (and probably also the Samyang). The more expensive Zeiss lens is comparable in size - because it has a smaller max aperture - whereas the Samyang lens is clearly bigger and as such less attractive for APS-C users. There are many more options including the Sony FE 50mm f/1.8, Samyang AF 45mm f/1.8, Sony E 50mm f/1.8, Zeiss T* 50mm f/1.4 ZA, Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG DN ART ... plus several manual focus lenses. So yes, this is a VERY crowded place indeed.

Visual comparison courtesy of camerasize.com.

Verdict

The Sigma 56mm f/1.4 DC DN Contemporary is an excellent example for how mirrorless lenses should be. It's small and well built with a focus on the optical characteristics where it counts the most while compromising on secondary aspects that can be corrected without too many headaches. Namely the sharpness is very good at f/1.4 and downright superb between f/2 and f/8. The laternal CAs are very low. This can't be said about the original distortion which is on the high side for a prime lens. Vignetting is also very pronounced at f/1.4. However, these two aspects are mostly corrected with image auto-correction either in-camera (with JPGs) or in RAW converters. A strength of the lens is the quality of the bokeh with nicely rendered out-of-focus highlights and a smooth blur in the focus transition zones. Bokeh fringing is present at large aperture but that's rather normal for such a lens.

The overall build quality is very good. The lens body is made of metal and the big, rubberized focus ring is both smooth as well as very grippy. It also has basic sealing of some kind. On the downside, manual focusing is way too coarse to be useful at shorter focus distances. The AF is about average for a modern mirrorless lens - thus it's quite fast, noiseless and accurate. You won't use it for action photography though.

The sum of its qualities combined with the very reasonable price tag make the Sigma 56mm f/1.4 DC DN Contemporary an obvious choice in its class. Therefore - highly recommended!


Optical Quality:    
★★★★★
Mechanical Quality:
★★★★★
Price/Performance:
★★★★★

What does this mean ?