Sigma 50mm F1.4 DG HSM | A Lens review: Sigma's winning portrait lens

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CNET Editors' Rating

4 stars Excellent
  • Overall: 8.0
  • Design: 8.0
  • Features: 8.0
  • Performance: 8.0
  • Image quality: 8.0

The Good The Sigma 50mm f1.4 lens is a well-designed lens that performs very well for its price.

The Bad It would be nice if it had image stabilization.

The Bottom Line While it's not cheap, the Sigma 50mm f1.4 lens provides great value for the money.

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My reaction to every fast lens Sigma release seems to be "I can't believe something this good costs less than $1,000." A new favorite -- the 50mm f1.4 DG HSM -- joins Sigma's Art series of lenses, which already includes two of my all-time sub-$1K favorites, the 35mm f1.4 and 18-35mm f1.8. Designed to work on full-frame cameras (but, as always, compatible with APS-C models), the 50mm f1.4 has a premium-feeling build quality and excellent tension and tactile feedback on its focus ring, and it produces sharp, bright images with little distortion. There's some softness at its narrowest aperture, f16, and off-angle wide open it has a tendency toward chromatic aberration, but these are typical problems. (Caveats: I had only a day and a half to test the lens, and due to renovations in our office I could not run my usual array of tests. If you're looking for test geekery before you buy, I suggest you check out Imaging Resources' results.)

Sigma 50mm f1.4
A crop from a portrait shot at f1.8 with the Canon EOS 5D Mark III. Lori Grunin/CNET

A note about the image samples: all are raw files with no luminance noise compression, which blurs the photo slightly, so that the most detail possible is preserved. As a result, your mileage may vary.

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Quick Specifications See All

  • Lens Aperture f/1.4