Sigma 50mm F1.4 EX DG HSM A-mount lens review by godsakes

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; 61MP61 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sony 50mm 1.4
Minolta 50mm macro RS
price paid:
positive:Exceptional bokeh
Great colour
(Near) silent HSM
negative:Prone to flare
CA at wide apertures
Moderate AF speed
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.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 61
  • sharpness: 4.75
  • color: 4.67
  • build: 4.64
  • distortion: 4.82
  • flare control: 4.59
  • overall: 4.69 - Home of the alpha system photographer
In memory of Cameron Hill - brettania