Sigma 50mm F1.4 EX DG HSM A-mount lens reviews

reviews found: 57    1 2 >>
reviewer#19378 date: Oct-15-2015
sharpness: 4
color: 4
build: 4
distortion: 4
flare control: 3
overall: 3.8
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Minolta AF20RS. Minolta AF28f2. Minolta AF35f2. Zeiss FE2,8/35. Minolta AF50. Sigma 50mm f1:4. Zeiss 85mm f1.4. Zeiss 24-70 f2.8.
price paid:£365.00
positive:Impressive look when mounted on your camera.
negative:Mines bigger than yours approach to lens building. Heavy for a 50mm. No improvement on £65.00 Minolta AF 50mm f1.7
comment:Earlier examples....
No better than a Good Minolta AF50 f1.7 and much more of a pain in the *** to live with. Best used as a 75mm portrait lens on cropped sensor cameras.
Later examples....
I have recently acquired a late model with the smooth black finish and it is greatly improved. It's still the same size as most 85's but the new example is really sharp with great contrast, fast focusing and very quiet.
reviewer#16309 date: Jul-16-2015
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.8
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Minolta AF50 1.7
ZA 85 1.4
ZA 135 1.8
Minolta AF80-200 2.8 HS G
price paid:$225 CAN used
positive:Sharp... very sharp even wide open.
Just a great "look" to the shots. Fabulous in BW or colour.
Great Bokeh.
Very fast ssm focussing.
negative:Manual focus very rough feeling.. I understand this is just the way it is with this lens. So my build rating of 4.
comment:I have never been a "nifty fifty" sort of guy. That is, until this lens. The IQ is something really special I think. Very, very sharp wide open in the center area of the frame with lovely bokeh. Very fast, accurate focussing. This is my fastest focussing lens, even faster than my 80-200 HS. I love this lens for event shooting, street shooting and especially my kids in action at the playground or wherever. Highly recommended. I like it as much as my Zeiss's. I would love to try the "art" lens, but I doubt I ever will. I don't feel a need for a "better" 50mm 1.4.
reviewer#11516 date: Dec-3-2013
sharpness: 4.5
color: 4
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.7
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sony 50 f/1.8 DT SAM
Minolta 50 f/1.7 AF
price paid:400 USD (new)
positive:- Ring HSM with FTMF override
- sharp wide open, and extremely sharp from f/2
- professional build and look at a relatively low price
negative:- Sigma colors aren't as nice as Sony/Minolta colors, but easily fixed in post.
- large size means heavy and not discrete, but i'm picking nits really. This lens is seriously awesome.
comment:- Build is excellent. No wobbles, creaks, or miscellaneous noise.
- HSM is fast, accurate, and very quiet.
- Full time manual focus override is an awesome convenience feature. No playing with switches or buttons.
- Sharpness is good wide open, and tremendous from f/2
- Colors aren't as warm or saturated out of the lens as a Sony or Minolta lens, but that's easily fixable in post processing.
- I haven't seen any distortion, and the recessed front element and deep hood prevent any unwanted flare.

If you're in the market for a 50/1.4, you really can't go wrong with this one. Make sure to buy a new one or a recently put up used one, as copies manufactured before a certain date may have issues with Sony's SLT technology.
reviewer#10972 date: Mar-12-2013
sharpness: 5
color: 4
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.8
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:sigma 30 f1.4
sigma 17-50mm f.8 os
price paid:530usd new
positive:f1.4 good for low light situations.
price is good.(i got mine over a year ago)
no more crinkle black paint
very sharp lens when stopped down a little
77mm filter thread
negative:CA when wide open
bigger than other 50 1.4 lenses
comment:one of my favourite lenses. very sharp from f2 onwards.
reviewer#10922 date: Feb-15-2013
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 4.7
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sony SAL1650
Sony SAL2470Z
Sony SAL70300G
price paid:315 EUR (used)
positive:Sharp (when one learns to use it properly), beautiful bokeh, fast as lightning
negative:The lens tests you and not the way around! It's not a real con, but any potential buyer must be aware of it!
comment:My first high-end prime lens, so we had harsh times until got used to each other. Had to learn how to handle this lense (as one always has when getting close to a prime for the first time). But after becoming friends we produce great results! The lens even made me realise that my a5080 had some slight BF issues which had to be coorected manually (as there's no software solution in the a580). Its weight balances right with the camera and this combo is not for weak-handed little girls, I must admit. But as I'm not that kind I enjoy having it in hand for a whole day (or more). I'd suggest everyone to buy it, it's great fun to shoot with it!
reviewer#10647 date: Nov-4-2012
sharpness: 5
color: 4
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 3
overall: 4.2
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Minolta 50/1.7
Minolta 35-105
Tamron 28-75
price paid:
missing
positive:Fast, acurate focusing
Very nice bokeh
Sharp
negative:colour fringing (usually green) in high contrast situation
comment:A very nice lens.

Very nice bokeh

Very fast, accurate focus - focusses reasonably accurately at a child's face which is close to you and quickly moving toward you
reviewer#10487 date: Sep-5-2012
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 3
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.6
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sony 16-50mm f2.8 SSM
Minolta 50mm f1.7
Sigma 10-20mm f4-5.6
Tamron 90mm f2.8 Macro
price paid:£299
positive:Body build (focus ring excepted)
Sharpness wide open
Superb creamy bokeh
negative:Focus ring feel
HSM AF inconsistant
450mm MFD
comment:Out of the box

The Sigma 50mm f1.4 has a similar size and weight to the Sony 16-50mm f2.8, but has the appearance of the Sigma 10-20mm f4-f5.6. My copy was marked SLT-A65/SLT-A77 compatible on the box and has a smooth black finish rather than the rubbery matt finish of 10-20mm. The build is best described as solid with its massive glass elements both front and rear. I don’t really understand why there are complaints about Sigma’s rear caps, as it seems perfectly OK to me, as does the front centre-pinch cap. The hood is a reversible bayonet type, the same 77mm diameter as the hood on the 10-20mm, but NOT the same fitting – for some inexplicable reason, they are not interchangeable. A fairly decent generic case is included with the lens, but it has a square profile which is not a particularly snug fit for the lens. The case has a belt loop, but no Velcro release tab.

Operation

There are a couple of areas of concern here. Firstly, the focus ring is quite stiff and more importantly not particularly smooth, especially when compared to the Sony 16-50mm. The movement has a tight gritty feel, which will hopefully slacken a little with extended use. Secondly, the front element moves by about 8mm between the two focusing extremes. However, it does this in a way unlike any other lens I own, on a cylinder within the filter area, rather than behind it like most zooms. This internal cylinder looks to be rather susceptible to picking up dust and dirt, so I would say that using a protector filter is highly advisable with this lens to help prolong its life. This movement of the huge front element cylinder may go some way to explaining the unpleasant feel of the zoom ring.

Focussing

This is my first lens featuring Sigma’s HSM focussing system and to be honest, I am not exactly blown away by it. AF is both quiet and reasonably fast, however, its accuracy seems a little variable, especially wide open. Unlike the SSM on the Sony 16-50mm, which invariably nails the focus at the first attempt, the HSM seems to miss slightly and then adjust, ie. two movements rather than one. The net effect is that HSM focus takes slightly longer to lock than with SSM. Wide open, the full time DMF helps, as it is easy to tweak the focus manually after it locks. From the Dyxum reviews it seems that front focussing appears to be a recurring feature of this lens (on A-Mount at least) and this is true of my copy which required a +10 micro-AF adjustment on my A77. Without this adjustment, shots at f1.4 were a little soft, a point worth noting for owners of bodies that do not have this feature. Once adjusted, shots are sharp at f1.4, very sharp at f2.0 and exceptionally sharp at f4 through f11. I would say that it rivals (maybe surpasses) my Tamron 90mm macro for sharpness at f2.8. It is easy to forget that this is not a macro lens until you try to get in close... at which point you soon hit the 450mm MFD.

In Practice

The handling of this lens is great on the A77, focus ring excepted; it balances well and fits nicely in the hand, unlike the Minolta 50mm f1.7 which has horrible handling. There is an AF/MF switch on the lens, but this is somewhat superfluous with the A77. In strong light, this lens encourages you to choose very low ISO settings to avoid straying beyond f11. With a minimum aperture of f16, I can see circumstances where a ND or polarising filter would be necessary to get correct exposure… but you’d probably have reached for a slower lens by then! From f4, this is as good as, but not necessarily better than, any other quality prime lens. However, it is below f4 that this lens really performs. Bokeh is absolutely outstanding, with OOF areas both in front of and behind the subject, merging together in a totally seamless way. Someone wrote that the bokeh is as smooth as the head on a pint of Boddingtons… I could not disagree less! Wide open there is some CA which appears as colour shift in high contrast areas rather than fringing – this disappears as the lens is stopped down slightly and is not really an issue. I have not noticed any flare, but then again I naturally tend to avoid shooting towards the sun. It seems unlikely to me that flare would be a major issue with any 50mm prime.
reviewer#10482 date: Sep-3-2012
sharpness: 5
color: 4
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.8
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Minolta(1985) 50mm f/1.7
Tokina ATX-Pro II 28-70mm f/2.8
Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8
price paid:450 CAD
positive:Incredible Sharpness
Silent and Fast Focus
Full Time manual override focus
Solid Build
Very good glare resistance
Wonderful portrait lens on APS-C @ 75mm and f/1.4
negative:Colors appear muted to me compared to the Tokina and Minolta's
comment:Was very back and forth with this lens because it's almost twice the cost of a Minolta 50mm f/1.4 and 25-30% more than a Sony 50mm f/1.4. Both of which are well made and reviewed very well.

That said I don't regret buying the Sigma one bit, it's my 3rd Sigma my other being 10-20mm EX. Although both are under their EX line I feel the 50mm 1.4 is just levels above the 10-20mm.

I used the lens today during and outdoor shoot and it's sharper than my Tokina 28-70 bit a noticeable amount. The lens is a dream to use the focus is just so fast and silent, I could really concentrate on my shots without worrying about focusing issues.

I got my a77 body only without the 16-50mm SSM Sony which is a regret of mine. However the 2 of 3 reasons for the regret I know have the Sigma to cover. The HSM motor is so silent I can definitely shoot video without worrying about the Mic picking up the focusing sounds. Second, I got a lens sharper than my Tokina 28-70 and the focal lens and wide aperture is perfect for portraiture.

I couldn't be happier with this purchase.
reviewer#10433 date: Aug-6-2012
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:
missing
price paid:450 USD
positive:- Sharp
- Superb bokeh
negative:- Rear cap lens from plastic
comment:Worked on my a77
reviewer#10425 date: Aug-2-2012
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 4.7
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sony 50mm f1.4
price paid:250GBP (second-hand)
positive:HSM
Brokeh
Colour
Size
negative:AF Accuracy (occasionally)
CA Wide Open
comment:I bought this lens second-hand, it's practically new and had already been calibrated by Sigma for the previous owner. However, it is still off on my A77 by -6.

AF adjusted, both lenses are the same wide open, I really could not tell them apart.

The Sony is small, light and fast to AF.

The Sigma is quiet and I like the size, it balances better on the A77 and the focus ring is big for DMF. It is also a little wider, more like 48mm, so no bad thing for me.

I feel that the Sony AF hit rate is higher than the Sigma, but not enough to scare me off.

Frankly, I don't see what the fuss is about regarding sharpness wide open. I think my expectations were too high for this lens, however due to the positives I'll keep it over the Sony.

You'll be happy with either lens...once calibrated.
reviewer#10381 date: Jul-15-2012
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sony sal 50mm 1.8
price paid:E450,00
positive:Superb lens
Superb bokeh

negative:Only negative is that I have to think too much about the negatives that i can not find
comment:Very good lens. Almost all the time on my camera
reviewer#10378 date: Jul-13-2012
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Rokkor 58/1.2
price paid:499 USD (new)
positive:Excellent build quality
Excellent image quality
Great bokeh
Great low light performance
Good price
negative:At f/1.4 sometimes autofocus has to hunt.
comment:Awesome lens. I take a lot of shots of musicians in dimly lit bars, and for those situations I bring this lens and my CZ 24/2. I call them my "rock & roll lenses."

I had read about quality control issues, in particular auto focus accuracy. I have found nothing to complain about. Maybe I got lucky, but I suspect those issues were confined to early production runs (I bought mine in April 2012).

At f/1.4 the depth of field is effectively the width of a human hair, so I am not too surprised that the autofocus has to hunt every now and then. The manual override works perfectly, and on an a77 the peaking makes this easy. I have shot entire sets at f/1.4 and manual focus with great results.

The bokeh is wonderful, and it seems even better in low light. It really makes "melting the background away" work. Not surprisingly, it works very well as a portrait lens. I have often been walking around the city (any city, really) as the sun goes down, and from noon to midnight I am still able to capture great sharp shots. The minor flare from sunlight is attractive (I sometimes use flare as an artistic element), but easily manageable with the hood. Unexpected bonus: with macro tubes I can get a magnification level better than 1:2!

The lens is (for the most part) a fairly simple double gauss construction, with a pretty big front element. I don't find this lens to be particularly heavy or large. If you want f/1.4 (I do), a huge front lens element is inevitable. Glass is heavy, and more glass is more heavy. With that in mind, I think this lens is as small and light as possible for the features and performance.

Highly recommended.

Update: I am using this on my a99ii, and it is spectacular! Take everything I mention above, and add very accurate AF-C and facial tracking with the a99ii. Killer combo for low light concert photography!
reviewer#10191 date: May-12-2012
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 4.8
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sony 1.4 / 50mm
Minolta 1.7 / 50mm
price paid:€ 250 mint
positive:Speed, sharpness, bokeh, looks and overall IQ.
negative:err... okay, when I'm thinking of it; size and weight.
comment:This is the lens I sold my Sony 1.4 / 50mm for. Mostly because of the better bokeh (imho). Having it re-chipped I can use it i.c.w. the A77. This lens is for me ideal for portraitphotography. It reminds me of a Beatles song:

I want you... I want you so bad. She's so heavy!

The combination A900, this lens and a 1.7TC makes it an ideal 85mm f/2 combination for portraits. A little soft in the corners is no problem for portraits, so the loss of IQ due to the TC is taken for granted.
reviewer#10132 date: Apr-21-2012
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 3
overall: 4.6
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sony 50mm 1.4
Minolta 50mm macro RS
price paid:
missing
positive:Exceptional bokeh
Great colour
(Near) silent HSM
negative:Prone to flare
CA at wide apertures
Moderate AF speed
Large
comment:The 2 things which really stand out on this lens is the wonderful bokeh and colour.

Wide open the sharpness is comparable to the sony 50mm f1.4 for all the talk of this being the sharpest I see no real difference wide open, in fact the sigma seems to suffer marginally worse CA at f1.4-2 (though not a real life issue, only noticeable when pixel peeping), stopped down F5.6+ this lens noticeably overtakes the sony and reaches macro level sharpness at that peak it is exceptional.

Unfortunately it seems to be noticeably more prone to flare than the sony.

I love the perks of the HSM motor (near silent and MF override) but AF speed actually feels slower than the sony (suppose it has more glass to move). AF accuracy also appears to be less consistent (say 2 times out of 10 the sigma will just totally miss focus and be fine the rest of the time) which seems bizarre as the HSM on my sigma 70-200mm is probably the best lens I have for AF accuracy.

With regards to micro-adjusting... annoyingly the lens ID clashes with my sigma 70-200mm 2.8 mk2 so I can't store both those lens adjustments at the same time, big annoyance if you have other sigma lenses.

Needless to say but this is quite a large and heavy lens, it's not so bad on a FF body but on a APS-C body it would feel very unbalanced (for a sub 100mm lens anyway).

My copy is pre SLT but thankfully still worked on my friend's A77

The sigma is a great lens but if you have the Sony already it does not offer huge gains and it comes with noticeable drawbacks making such a upgrade a bit of a double edged sword. That said lenses such as the much loved minolta 85mm suffer from even more severe drawbacks that doesn't stop it having a die hard following of people who love it's image characteristics and I suspect the sigma 50mm will be no different.
reviewer#9988 date: Mar-3-2012
sharpness: 4.5
color: 4
build: 5
distortion: 4
flare control: 4
overall: 4.3
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:
missing
price paid:500
positive:Bokeh
Speed
Built
negative:Weight
Cheap plastic material for rear lens cap ( like most sigma)
annoyingly easy to get dusty on the inside
comment:Overall a good quality lens except for the cheap plastic used for the rear lens cap, there is micro dust on the interior of the rear lens element after 3 days of use, even though no effects on picture but it's annoying.

Real nice bokeh and excellent for low light shots
reviewer#9787 date: Jan-13-2012
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 4
flare control: 4
overall: 4.6
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:- Min. 50 1.7
- T 90 2.8
price paid:490 € (new)
positive:- can't get sharper than this
- HSM!
- colors
- contrast
- bokeh
- feel both on FF and aps-c
negative:- flare at wide apertures
comment:Wow. This is my favorite lens so far. Got it with a mild FF issue and the local Sigma reseller fixed it immediately. Will definitely buy the 85 from Sigma, too, as I can't imagine the CZ are worth the difference.

It's actually an F1.3 lens, I have been told by the Sigma reseller, and this is the whole trick why this lens performs better than any other 50mm 1.4. This is also the reason why it's bigger and heavier and pricier than any other in it's category, but worth every penny.

As this is also my first HSM lens I am totally thrilled by the AF performance. On both FF and aps-c the lens shines, is great for indoor portraiture, allows me to work at iso 640 and lower at events and weddings, which definitely is the biggest bonus for me. It actually gave my a700 new purpose.

At 1.4 sharpness is already wonderful. At 1.7 it gets amazing and above that it's stellar.

In studio it's also a fantastic performer. Would buy tomorrow a new one if I had to.

Edit: The only downside is flare or call it even reflections when shooting wide open in a contrasty situation, i.e. a bright lit open door or window will vertically+horizontally mirrored appear on the photo in a different corner. Not too much of a problem but still annoying sometimes, depending where the flare appears.
reviewer#9646 date: Nov-29-2011
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.8
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sony 50mm 1.8
Sony 50mm 1.4
price paid:379 GBP (NEW)
positive:SHARP!!!
FAST!!!!
High build quality
HSM
negative:Big and heavy
Needs rechipping for a77
comment:I love this lens - well made, acceptably sharp in the centre at 1.4, sharp across the frame from 2.2-2.8. Very high resolution on an a77, AF is fast thanks to the hsm and it has DMF override so MF is easy. Feels a little heavy sometimes, but then that's a big chunk of glass and solid build quality. I have the newer, smooth version which was labelled a55 compatible on the box but still had to get it chipped for the a77 (hence I deducted a point from build quality for want of a better place to do it). I have the easy choice Sony 50mm and whilst I like that lens, this really does outperform it in all ways except price and weight. By contrast, I also had the Sony 50mm 1.4, a lens i never warmed to - this lens kicks that one (my copy at least) into the dirt.
reviewer#9617 date: Nov-22-2011
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.7
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sony 50/1.4
Rokkor 58/1.2
price paid:499 USD
positive:Creamy bokeh
center sharp from 1.4
color
silent HSM focus
negative:size and weight
barrel coating feels chintzy
comment:50mm (i.e., the equivalent of it) used to be my most often used FL on my a700. 52.5, to be precise, and it was the 35/1.4 that gave me this angle and view.

Fast forward to the a850. I wanted a good 50mm lens and started with the Sony 1.4. Liked (loved!) its build, size and look, hated (hated!) its IQ at open apertures and its bokeh. So I sold it and replaced it with a used sigma 50/1.4. Liked the bokeh but wasn't too happy with the sharpness on my 850. So I sold it again, looking for yet another solution. I used to have a Rokkor 58/1.2 back in the MF film days and I loved it then, so I gave it a new try.

Not it! The copy I had was way too stiff on the focus ring, and I found out that I had become an AF person. So, after re-reading the reviews here on the Sigma, I thought I give it another try, this time with a new one that I can return or exchange if I am not happy. But I WAS happy! This copy is good, sharp from the start—at 1.4 sharpness is limited to the center, but that's fine, I can live with that. Sharpness (and its area) improves with stopping down, so I cannot reproduce what some reviews are reporting ("no sharpness improvement or even deterioration with smaller apertures"). Also, I tested for focus shift and could not detect it. I do have front focus, though, but with micro adjust set to +10, it is nicely compensated and stays there also with smaller apertures.
I posted some initial pictures in the sample thread, and those show the oh-so-creamy bokeh that I wanted (and that I missed from the 58./1.2).

So, in a nutshell for me: more convenient, sharper from the start, similarly good bokeh than the Rokkor but less expensive and with HSM; all-around better (but bigger/heavier/more expensive) than the Sony offering.

Distortion and flare control have not been tested, so I will give them the benefit of the doubt and correct once I have different experience.

Recommendation: buy
reviewer#9487 date: Oct-11-2011
sharpness: 5
color: 4
build: 4
distortion: 4
flare control: 4
overall: 4.2
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Many lenses
price paid:45,000 JPY (new)
positive:Sharpness
Quick and silent AF
Well balanced of weight
negative:Sometimes difficult to focusing
comment:Very good lens among any other 50mm's.
I highly recommend this lens even if the prince is more expensive than any rivals.
Smaller than f2.8, it shows us gentle images. Lens aberration works well especially for portraits.
Larger than f2.8, You can see the supreme sharpness from the view of full pixel size on your PC.
reviewer#9382 date: Sep-3-2011
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Tamron 17-50 2.8
price paid:495 CHF
positive:Sharp as hell
Colours great
Sits nicely on the A300 sized camera, well balanced
negative:Struggles a little with A300 low contrast focusing
comment:This lens is incredible. It is my first 1.4 lens and I am amazed at how much flexibility it gives particularly on an older camera with not so much flexibility with ISO. The weight of the lens is also well balanced with the camera (not too heavy). The wife likes it too so another bonus.
reviewer#9370 date: Aug-30-2011
sharpness: 5
color: 4
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.8
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sony 50mm f1.8
price paid:£379
positive:Very Sharp right from 1.4
Superb from from f2.8
negative:out of focus highlights at f1.4 a little unpleasant, from f2 OK
comment:A superb lens and improved image quality over the Sony 50mm f1.8 that was traded in. (Reduced purchase cost to £300).

The principal reason for change was to get a FF standard lens, with low light capabilities. So far not let down by this lens.

Large and chunky it feels very solidly built and more in keeping with the scale of the a700/a900.
reviewer#8840 date: Mar-28-2011
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.8
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Takumar SMC 50mm 1.4
tokina 19-35
min 28-135 f4-4.5
price paid:298GBP new
positive:very sharp lens wide open
negative:only goes to f16
comment:Ultra sharp quality lens, it you need to have the best 50mm prime look no further, Takumar is now up for sale
reviewer#8673 date: Feb-19-2011
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 4.8
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:
missing
price paid:€ 400 (new)
positive:- Sturdy build quality
- Continuous manual focus - correction
- Silent
- Fast
negative:- Price (€ 400 in the Netherlands)
- Flare sensitivity with filters at large aperture
- Only goes to f/16
comment:This lens does exactly what I need it to do. I was looking for a fast lens to shoot horse jumping indoors, which means fast subjects in low-light conditions. This lens is perfect combined with the 7 fps at speed priority of my A550.

One thing that gave me some work was the very narrow DoF. This actually caused me to notice a slight error in mirror alignment. The misalignment caused front focusing which was very clear, and annoying, at large distances shooting wide open, missing the focus. After manual calibration of the camera, all my lenses now focus noticeably better :)
reviewer#8606 date: Feb-1-2011
sharpness: 5
color: 4
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.8
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sony 50/1.4
KM 50/1.7
Sony 35/1.4
Sigma 70-200
price paid:$450 USD (new)
positive:Better than Sony wide open
Silent HSM
Solid
Bokeh
Case included
negative:None
comment:Shooting natural light portraits is my thing and I've always loved shooting with 50's on crop sensors. This is by far the best of the bunch I've tried. The bokeh is wonderfully smooth, the focusing is quick and silent. I know the main knocks on this lens are the weight and size, but for me I am thrilled with both. Now I can use those pricey 77mm filters on more than just my 70-200. Sigma has won me over lately with their higher end lenses so much so that I'm planning on picking up the new 17-50 to round out my lineup. For me the Sigma 50/1.4 compares very favorably to the Zeiss 85/1.4 optically and feel wise. Now that the price has come down a bit, there's not much reason to consider the Sony version over the Sigma. Maybe when Sony gets around to updating their 50mm I'll change my mind. But for now, I can't imagine being happier.
reviewer#8543 date: Jan-19-2011
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:
missing
price paid:675 USD (new)
positive:Very sharp, even wide open.
Built like a tank.
negative:None
comment:Focus is really, really fast with my A700, definately my favourite lens!

I gave this lovely prime all 5's and it really deserves it, I would even give it 10 out of 10 if I could!

The only downside is that it is quiet expensive here in Sweden...
reviewer#8515 date: Jan-12-2011
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Minolta 20/2.8
Minolta 85/1.4
Minolta 70-210/4
price paid:470 USD (new)
positive:Very sharp starting from f/1.7
Very nice bokeh
Very well built
negative:None
comment:If you need a pro all-around 50mm with big aperture for your FF, just get it. It's a bit heavy, but damned sharp and solidly built.
reviewer#8476 date: Jan-4-2011
sharpness: 4
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.8
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I used to own this lens
compared to:- Sony/Minolta 50/1.4
- Sony/Minolta 85/1.4
- 35/1.4 G
price paid:500$ MINT
positive:+ Very good sharpness (better that Sony/Minolta 50/1.4)
+ HSM (Fast and silent focusing)
+ AF works on NEX cameras
negative:- big and heavy for 50/1.4 lens
- expensive
- non weather resistant
- Sigma's quality control
comment:Very good lens. Optically it's better than Sony/Minolta 50/1.4. sharper and smoother bokeh. But for me compactness of Sony 50/1.4 lens is more preferable. Also find good copy of sigma lenses is not very simple.
reviewer#8472 date: Jan-4-2011
sharpness: 5
color: 4
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.8
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sony 50mm f1.8
Sigma 30mm f1.4
price paid:
missing
positive:Amazing bokeh and sharp focus
Fast HSM
Basically no distortion or vignetting on APS-C
negative:Expensive
Heavy and big
Filters are expensive too
Difficult to AF on dark or very low contrast subjects
comment:50mm is an excellent portrait lens for APS-C and perfect normal lens for FF so it's important to invest in a good lens as it will likely stay in your kit permanently. This Sigma is the only modern design 50mm and includes a super fast and silent HSM motor, others are all based on designs from the 80's with minor coating updates.

Reviews have consistently praised this lens and my experience confirms it. It focuses quickly and accurately, is very sharp, and has amazing bokeh. Tests and real-world use show little to no visible distortion or vignetting. Flare is well controlled. Chroma is supposedly well controlled too but with my SLT it is harder to determine if it is lens or body based.

The Sony 1.8 is a good lightweight lens but the sharpness and bokeh are markedly improved by the Sigma. This lens adds a welcome HSM motor over the Sony 1.4 as well as moderately better optics. The Sigma 30mm for Sony lacks HSM (why?!?) and is APS-C only so has more distortion and vignetting than this 50mm but has a better focal length for indoor shooting.

However, this lens is expensive, large, and heavy! On my SLT-A33 the lens is taller than the camera so when I set it down the lens filter ring acts as the front foot. It is also as heavy as a moderate size zoom due to all the glass.

Thankfully my copy of this lens does not have any apparent front/back focus issue. However it is advised to check any Sigma lens for this very common (to them) problem. I do note that the lens color does have a slight shift compared to Sony and Minolta lenses but I don't have any problem with that. It also appears a bit darker in the viewfinder possibly due to the additional glass and thus lower light transmission. The biggest negative to me is that the lens appears to have more difficulty with AF on dark or very low contrast subjects than I would have expected.

Overall I am very pleased with this lens and it is the one that spends the most time on my camera. This top of the line 50mm prime combined with Sony's in-body image stabilization is the one for competitor's to beat at this standard focal length.
reviewer#8401 date: Dec-14-2010
sharpness: 5
color: 4
build: 5
distortion: 4
flare control: 4
overall: 4.4
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sony 50mm 1.4, Minolta 50mm 1.7, Sony DT 50mm 1.8
price paid:270 USD (Used)
positive:Super Sharp
Lightning fast and quiet AF
Military Built quality
Weight balances the A700 well
negative:Price when new more expensive than the OEM lens
Weight not useful for all Alpha range

comment:I had the DT 50 1.8 and though it was a very good lens in optic quality. i wanted something faster and solid built for my A700. I purchased this lens in mint condition used for a great price. A lot of glass with the lens and it also comes with a nice bag.

Well all i can say is that i cannot part with it now. Its a super fast prime and great for indoors. Very sharp on all stops. The bokeh is the best i have ever seen.The HSM motor is silent. This lens looks very professional on a A700 body n also the Full Frame cameras. This lens along with my SAL18-200 & DT 30 macro is all i need right now.

Edit- Mines a 2009 copy and am using it now with my new A77. Works perfectly without any errors. No software updates or rechip done
reviewer#8215 date: Nov-9-2010
sharpness: 5
color: 4
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 4.6
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:minolta 1.7
price paid:
missing
positive:sharp wide open at 1.4
solid build
quiet fast AF
negative:maybe price, but you pay for sharp 1.4-2.8
comment:This one was everything I wanted. It is sharp right from 1.4 and only gets better stopped down. Focus is quiet and accurate. Nothing bad about this lens, maybe the Sigma colors compared to Minolta/Sony.

I would buy again.
reviews found: 57    1 2 >>

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 57
  • sharpness: 4.78
  • color: 4.72
  • build: 4.68
  • distortion: 4.88
  • flare control: 4.65
  • overall: 4.74

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