Sigma 50mm DG HSM Art Lens Tested, See How it Stacks Up Against the Otus


Sigma made quite a splash at CES this year when the company not only announced that a 50mm f/1.4 lens would be added to its superb Art series, but claimed that this lens would be so good that its competition wouldn’t be Nikon or Canon, but the indisputably exceptional $4,000 ZEISS Otus.

Well, thanks to the website Xitek and their recently posted lens test results, we finally get to see if the 50mm’s bite measures up to its bark.

This is exciting news. With this lens, Sigma could potentially bring Otus quality within reach of the masses. At $4K, people won’t be lining up to buy the Otus (even if they want to). But if Sigma was to release this lens at a fraction of the cost, they could see huge demand.

But enough background, let’s see how the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art series lens (top left corner in the images below) compares to the Sony Planar T* 50mm f/1.4 ZA SSM (top right corner), the Nikkor AF-S 58mm f/1.4G (bottom left corner) and the ZEISS 55mm f/1.4 Otus (bottom right corner):

Click here for high res.

Click here for high res.

Click here for high res.

Click here for high res.



What do you think of the results? To our eye, the Sigma lens more than keeps up with the Otus and obviously outperforms the other two lenses, particularly in the corners.

Sadly, pricing and availability info is still TBA as of this posting, but we’ll be sure to keep you up to date as more info streams in. In the meantime, head over to the official announcement to read more about his and the other lens Sigma debuted at CES.

(via Photo Rumors)

Image credits: Lens test images and graphs by Xitek

  • 3434324

    why do you post such crap?
    there is no info about this “test” was done.
    no info what bodys used, aperture etc.
    i can fake review in 15 minutes too.

  • 43453423423

    ps: you can preorder for 799 $

  • Michael Comeau

    What they should do is shoot real, identical subject matter with both lenses, make prints of varying sizes, and then do a Pepsi challenge. This is BS.

  • John Oliver

    oh, the little computer fan boys will seize on this posting and spend hours spewing their “crap” comments…but good for them, gives them something to do -no one takes pictures anymore

  • tikkasriharsha

    Compared to canon 50mm f1.4 how does this lens stand out?

  • Stephen

    I’m interested in this lens. I have strongly considered buying the Zeiss Otus, and I’m reserving my decision until I know more about this lens or get a chance to try it. I own the Sigma 35mm 1.4, and I need a 50mm. So I’m squarely within the target audience for this lens.

    That said, I don’t mind these lab tests but I don’t care about them. They aren’t useful to me. I care how a lens performs in the field. I want to see color, contrast, the character that a particular lens design creates. Zeiss’s next Otus is rumored to be an 85mm and I bet its lab tests will outperform the Canon 85L II, but the Canon has a magical quality to it (at any aperture!) that the Zeiss will have to prove it can rival.

    When Huff, DPReview, Imaging Resource, and yes, Rockwell begin posting actual photos from the new Sigma 50mm, that’s when I’ll be interested. I’m also very curious about a price and release date.

  • mskutispwet

    specs are good but we need images – i’m not selling my 50/1.4 canon

  • Peter “Pots”

    I don’t think that there is too much difference; however, to my old eyes the Otus still has it….but at a significant price point.

  • jon

    it will destroy the Canon 50 f/1.4

  • jon

    I don’t know why anyone would be angry about this lens. It will be one of the best, if not the best, normal lenses on the market. And at a great price in comparison to others (the Otus 55 and the Sony 55 FE). We’ll see how its color and character look, but in terms of sheer performance, there is nothing to be angry about. Sigma is the most exciting camera/lensmaker in the market right now, for my money.

  • Andrei C

    if Zeiss will make an 85 1.2 it will distroy Canon 85 1.2….:)

  • Andrei C

    another little piece of Sigma magic :)

  • Andrei C

    135 f 2 OS and 24-70 f 2 OS please :D!!!

  • Julian


  • Julian

    And it has autofocus! The Otus might be fantastic, but is still a $4K manual focus lens… The Sigma is going to be awesome.

  • Julian

    The next Otus will be a 85mm f/1.4. I’m sure it will destroy the Canon 85mm 1.2 @ 1.4.

  • Julian

    The 24-70mm f/2 sounds like a myth to me… yes, they managed to pull off a 18-35mm f/1.8 but that is a 2x zoom. 24-70mm = 3x zoom… a 24-70mm f/2 would have something like a 100mm filter thread. Na, no thanks. I would buy a Sigma 24-50mm f/2 though if as good as the 18-35mm on aps-c.

  • Andrei C

    if 24-70 will be 2.8, will be as good as the new lenses from Sigma are, and will have OS and the price around 900$ will be great :D!

  • ms

    Wow, way to go Sigma!

  • docholliday666

    I’ll stick to the Otus, the Stigma doesn’t look as good…

  • Cinekpol

    It will destroy pretty much anything out there in ~50mm focal length :)

  • Odura

    It’s not about the sharpness in the corners, who cares about the corners. For me it’s about the out of focus areas, how nicely the sharp part blends in with the out of focus area…

  • Chris Cheek

    And will be manual focus..Boo

  • Eric

    Time to up your prescription on your glasses, ’cause you’re blind.

  • Eric

    So you always place your subject in the center?

  • Spongebob Nopants

    That vignetting chart is utterly meaningless. This might as well be a hoax.

  • ohnocanon

    My thoughts exactly…This is PURE 100% CRAP. The so-called photographers on MM..them idiots think they saw the return of Christ! NO CLUE. What is it I am seeing? What Camera was used? and so on. Pure Crap. I will wait till DXO Mark reviews and test the lens…This is bad as Flim Flopwell!

  • Gavin Lister

    I think it is more expensive than the Sony from what I’ve heard rumoured…. From my point tho, I hope it has some character and isn’t all about sharpness. For example the Nikon 58mm apparently has lovely rendering, this lens is not purchased at the price for sharpness. I want a nice character 50mm for portraits n stuff. However a super sharp lens corner to corner without character maybe will be great for architecture and landscape. Just curious what people are investing in the otus and what they are using it for

  • Gavin Lister

    why do we always want to destroy things, I want a nice lens not a nuclear warhead. Are you really going to notice that much in your photos that other people will say wow that lens destroys my lens?

  • David Drufke

    They could do all these tests with it, but they couldn’t weigh it? Seems shady. Is this normally a legit site?

  • Me

    What cameras were used?Sorry too much missing information to be useful.

  • Adam Cross

    you should, that 1.4 is terrible, even the 1.8 is better

  • austin_rogers

    Still waiting for Sigma to make an 85 1.4 “A”. *Sigh*.

  • solomonshv

    this lens competes with the 50mm 1.2L, a $1500 lens, not the cheapo f/1.4

  • Nathan Caulford

    Yes :D

  • Fed Up with weirdos like you

    What a mess…..Zeiss and their overpriced snob toys……that look good and fair compared to what the weirdos over at Leica are trying to sell with straight faces….thing is with Sigma….I own Sigma gear…..sometimes you get lucky…sometimes you get screwed by low quality…they are a really really really strange company.

  • TommyBoy

    I still use the old sigma 50 mm 1.4…and LOVE it!

  • ohnocanon

    Those freaking dumb ass so called Photographers on Model Mayhem…THINK they see gold…and all they see is pure dog do…IT is the internet feeding those dumb asses and they take the dumb bone and run with it…THIS tells me zero..but those dumb ass dummies on MM see it differently…They are true dumb asses.

  • mskutispwet

    I’ve had the 1.8 and I sold it for the 1.4 – what do you have?

  • Adam Cross

    I have the 1.8, I borrowed a friends 1.2L and rented a 1.4, was going to buy the 1.4 but bought a 1.8 to test out because it was so cheap and I ended up keeping it, it’s sharper and focuses faster and more accurately than the 1.4 and image quality wise there isn’t much different with the 1.2 at all apart from the bokeh difference when wide open but I mostly shoot at 2.8 and the difference between the 1.2 and 1.8 at 2.8 is literally nothing. Sure having a USM and manual focus override on the 1.2 and 1.4 is useful but it doesn’t slow you down without them on the 1.8. Personally I think the 1.8 is the best fast 50 that Canon make, sure the 1.2 has better coatings, more glass and a faster aperture but the image quality advantages are so minimal you need a hawks eye to really pick them out. This new Sigma 1.4 might be the only lens that would see me upgrade but at the moment the 1.8 does everything perfectly

  • Tom A

    Do you like the out of focus highlights? The 1.2 has much less noticeable circles, compared to pentagons from the 1.8. Color an contrast is more pleasing to my eye on the L also. But if you have photoshop and don’t mind the shape of the highlights, then go with the 1.8. Don’t bash the other lenses though. They have their place too.

  • Tom A.

    If Zeiss made an 85 1.2, 95 percent of the handheld photos would be out of focus. It will not destroy the canon lens. The canon lens has some magic in it. Have you tried it?

  • Adam Cross

    I’m not really bashing the other lenses, they’re perfectly fine lenses (I still think the 1.4 lens is worse in many ways than the 1.8), the 1.2 and 1.4 are just over-priced for little to no improvement other than build quality and a USM. Colour and contrast reproduction are almost irrelevant with the power of RAW processing these days, are there honestly people out there that present/print images directly from the camera with no alterations? and that also depends on your camera body as colour and contrast can differ in different models. The 1.8 has perfectly good circular out of focus highlights at 1.8, they’re not pentagonal until you stop down.

  • mskutispwet

    yeah! that would be awesome but I’m afraid it would cost an arm and a leg perhaps but still would be great for portraits on a FF body

  • Andrei C

    yup….1.2 si lovely
    but way to soft and the chromatic ab. are just awful(even Sigma has much less, and has a price of 1/4*Canon).
    Comparing to my Nikon 1.4
    regarding the sharpness, the Canon is at 1.6 as sharp as Nikon is at 1.4….so
    for an awful amount more of money… thanks ….no need here for
    “magic” :)