Sigma 50mm F1.4 EX DG HSM A-mount lens review by MediaArchivist
|MediaArchivist#10378 date: Jul-13-2012|
flare control: 5
|ownership:||I own this lens|
|compared to:||Rokkor 58/1.2|
|price paid:||499 USD (new)|
|positive:||Excellent build quality|
Excellent image quality
Great low light performance
|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.
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!