First Sigma 50mm Art Lens Review Claims Nikon and Canon Aren’t On the Same Level


When Sigma announced their 50m f/1.4 DG HSM Art lens, they included some extremely dramatic statements. Not only did they say that they wanted to beat out Canon and Nikon, they intended to blow them out of the water, stating that they were aiming to make the lens as good, if not better, than the $4,000 Zeiss 55mm f/1.4 Otus Distagon T*.

Last month we shared a somewhat shady review of the lens, which came with plenty of skepticism, so today we’re sharing with you a review from a much more reputable source, SLR Gear.

SLR Gear got their hands on the first of these beauties to hit US shores and have confirmed both what the initial test shared, as well as what Sigma stated at CES — namely, that this lens is an absolute optical beast. Here’s a snippet from SLR Gear‘s conclusion:

The Sigma 50mm f/1.4 Art is the most exciting lens we’re likely to review this year. All competing lenses from Canon and Nikon fell short when compared to the resolving power of the 50mm Art. We haven’t (yet) tested the very best from Zeiss, but we are confident Sigma will trounce it in one key area: price. […] Put simply: it trounces any similar model available for less than $4,000. If it comes in significantly cheaper than the best of Canon and Nikon, Sigma will have made a friend of every full-frame shooter in the land.

The only question left is how much the 50mm Art lens will set buyers back. SLR Gear says it’s likely to come in at under $1,700, which is around the price range of both Nikon and Canon’s best 50mm options. But, with the Sigma outperforming both of those options across the board, the overall value/dollar is substantially better.

The price and availability info is expected to drop this month, and we’ll be sure to share it with you just as soon as it’s official. In the meantime, prepare your wallets for a hit and head on over to SLR Gear to read the detailed, glowing review for yourself.

(via Imaging Resource)

  • Bob

    You sound like you have buyer’s remorse or something, and have a strong need to defend your previous purchases. No one is making you buy this as-of-yet-unreleased lens you know ;-)
    Your Nikon lenses, especially the single focal length G lenses, will probably last you the rest of your life. They’re great optics.
    Given the build quality of the new Sigma lenses, and that this particular lens is a single focal length, with internal focus, I’d be willing to be that it will last a long time too.
    Regarding sharpness, SLR Gear rates the lens on numerous aspects besides sharpness (focus, handling, CAs, vignetting, distortion, etc.). I don’t think any legitimate reviewers out there are actually evaluating lenses on sharpness alone.

  • Bob

    The current Sigma 85mm f/1.4 HSM already matches the Canon 85mm f/1.2 L II (measured at f/1.4 even) in terms of sharpness, and does it will less color fringing and much faster focusing (although that is because it has a shorter focus throw, which means slower manual focusingas a tradeoff).
    The only advantage of the Canon is that it has that extra half-stop of aperture. They are very close in vignetting and distortion. You can use the comparision tool at the “the digital picture” website to see for yourself.
    I can’t wait until Sigma releases an updated version – an 85mm f/1.4 “Art”. It will probably blow away any other 85mm lenses out there.

  • solomonshv

    you can recite every benchmark you saw on dxo mark or lab test in the world. it won’t mean a god damn thing. if you would have owned an 85mm 1.2L you would “get it.” the bokeh is just mind blowing. this lens isolates your subjects like nothing else.

  • Zos Xavius

    Its no secret that the FA50 1.4 is probably not pentax’s best 50 by a long shot. I would absolutely love a DA*55.

  • Zos Xavius

    I’m a huge proponent of getting more with less and being a very budget minded photographer has taught me how much you can get by with very little. For long stretches I will just use one lens, because it forces me into a creative box and then that’s all I really need after a while. Gear matters though. I couldn’t get the images I get with a point and shoot unless it was maybe a GR-D. :)

    I didn’t meant to sound so snarky, but it kind of bothers me when people say gear doesn’t matter. You can take interesting pictures with any kind of camera really, sure. An artist can only paint a painting as fine and detailed as his brushes though, and someone that has dedication to quality would surely only want the best tools available/affordable to them. I guess I picked the rebel because it represents a basic cheap camera with scenes on the mode dial and not a professional tool. Certainly not the kind of camera I would want as a constant companion.

  • Valerie

    ^ THIS.

  • John

    I just sold all my Pentax gear as I really needed to get a serious digital camera in addition to my film setup and couldn’t wait for Ricoh anymore (I was hoping the K-3 would be that FF we all waited for, but no) So I Re-bought the works in Nikon instead, a bunch of great MF lenses, a cpl of classic Nikon film bodies, and a D610 and a cpl of AF lenses for it. Now I really can’t understand why anyone is still shooting Pentax at all… Yes, there’s a bunch of nice lenses there, but the same is totally valid for Nikon, but who also happen to have some REALLY amazing film bodies, and bunch of GREAT FF digital bodies….

    Each to his own… And oh, I’ll prolly grab both the 35 and 50 Sigma ART, the test results on DXO Mark on the 35 1.4 is stunning….

  • John

    I don’t agree, and I’ve shot Pentax for years before jumping to Nikon…. Get your hands on a Nikon D610, NIkon’s cheapest and smallest lightest FF, use it for a cpl of days and come back and talk about Nikon as a Marketing gimmick only… Next up, check the DXO Mark scores, and you’ll find that you’re wrong, both in terms of how beautiful, feature filled, and ergonomic the nikon digital FF’s are, AND how superior their sensors are ….

  • Uncle Wig

    To each is own. But: if you can’t understand why people shoot Pentax, or think the K-3 is not a serious digital camera, than you are quite myopic indeed.

  • John

    I did it for years, Pentax’s gear is absolutely not bad, but imho the Nikon’s are in a different class, the things I can do with my D610 are amazing, the results I get are like well scanned great stabile film! And I didn’t chose NIkon for the brand when abandoning Pentax, it was a long transition with a lot of homework done, and finally the choice fell on Nikon, and I don’t regret it! Will be interesting to see if Ricoh finally one day goes FF, I’d definitely have serious a look at it!

  • josh

    ….. this thing is already out at 800 bucks or 900 bucks..try again

  • David Hammond

    yes that is very true…price truly counts when it comes to photography.

  • David Hammond

    i am displeased with the 35mm as well. I’m looking to trade it in, it’s terrible. I usually just stick with the 18-300mm nikkor lens i have.

  • Bob

    Ah yes, the old “data doesn’t matter” argument. It works great for denying the existence of evolution and the effectiveness of vaccines too. ;-)

  • Mr.Mister

    I got a used one for 350.00 and the 1.8 for like 100.00 both are awesome lenses and rock … Some one is out of touch with the pricing…

  • Mr.Mister

    There is people out there still shooting with Crop Sensors like a Nikon D40 with good glass that can smoke ones with a D4 and a Zeiss… It’s the talents and skills of who’s behind the Camera.

    It helps those who are good get better results but it wont make a novice or snap shooter any better to have more expensive gear.

  • Chris Pickrell

    So those people with pinhole cameras were just screwing everything up?

  • Chris Pickrell

    I don’t know, my 50 1.4 comes out pretty sharp. Especially when I shoot it at 3.5 or 4.

    And then there’s photoshop, which even the top gear would still require PS.

    I’m not saying it’s just as good. I’m saying it’s not ruining the image either.

  • Dario Toledo

    Pentax is always a good excuse when it comes to your incapability as a photographer.

  • Aaron Michael Miller

    I just pre ordered mine from B&H for $949. There is a huge bang for your buck, but I wouldn’t evict less from the ART line.

  • John Thornton

    Until Sigma focus the same direction as Nikon, I wouldn’t touch them with a barge pole.

  • John

    How do you mean?