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50mm lenses Insights & Thoughts

The Best 50mm I’ve Ever Used That I Would Never Buy

By Joseph Cha on June 5th 2014

My Love For 50mm Lenses

If I had a week, I wouldn’t be able to list all the reasons why I love the 50mm focal length. When I bought my first prime lens, I bought the Canon 35mm f/1.4 L so I could get close to a 50mm focal length on my Canon 40D. Now, I use the Canon 50mm f/1.2 L on my Canon 5D Mark III and the Voigtlander 50mm f/1.1 on my Sony A7. I also have, as near as makes no difference, 50mm equivalents on my medium format film cameras. I just love the field of view, the depth of field, and the compression you get from a 50mm lens.

50mm lenses

When the Sigma 50mm 1.4 came to our doorstep, I was extremely excited. I’ve heard great things about their Art series of lenses so I organized a few shoots over the weekend so I could see what all the buzz is about.

Read our full review on this lens: [Rewind: Sigma 50mm 1.4 Art Lens Review]

Minimum Focusing Distance

The first thing I noticed when shooting with the Sigma 50 was that the Minimum Focusing Distance (MFD) was very short. It was a pleasant surprise because that opens up more composition options. I was shooting newborn portraits for my nephew Gus and I was pleasantly surprised at how many different compositions I could get without switching lenses.

Sigma 50mm Art Newborn

1/100sec f/2.8 ISO400

sigma 50mm newborn photography

1/100sec f/2.8 ISO400

Sigma Newborn

1/250 sec f/1.4 ISO400

Newborn Photography

1/250 sec f/1.4 ISO400

Quick and Responsive

My nephew also has a 20mo old sister, so naturally I got her involved in the photos. I was really happy with how quick the AF was on the Sigma and how focus hunting was not an issue. When photographing babies, it’s always good to be prepared to shoot, because the photogenic moments only last for seconds at a time. Having a lens that’s just as fast and responsive as you are can make the difference of getting the shot and not getting the shot.

Sigma Newborn Portrait

1/125 sec f/4,0 ISO1250

Sigma Newborn Portrait

1/125 sec f/4,0 ISO1250

Shooting Wide Open Outdoors

I love shooting natural light portraits wide open outdoors, and many times I get plagued with chromatic aberrations and blooming. I wanted to shoot this lens wide open in bright sunlight using some singh-ray filters and the Profoto 3.0′ RFi Octa Softbox so I could see just how well it performs wide open.

Sigma Portrait

1/160 sec f/2.0 ISO100

Sigma Portrait

1/160 sec f/2.0 ISO100

sigma 50 art portrait

1/200 sec f/1.4 ISO100

The chromatic aberrations were well controlled, and I was amazed at how great these images looked straight out of camera. I’m beginning to see what all the fuss is about.

Sigma 50mm Portrait

1/200 sec f/1.4 ISO100

Sigma 50mm Portrait

1/200 sec f/1.4 ISO100

Sigma 50mm Portrait

1/200 sec f/1.4 ISO100

It’s The Best 50mm I’ve Ever Used, But I Wouldn’t Buy It

I have no reservations about recommending this lens. It’s without a doubt a great lens to buy, just like a Honda Accord is a great car to buy, but a Honda Accord isn’t for everyone. Sometimes you just need to be a little daring.

This lens does everything perfectly, and that’s what a lot of photographers need, but that’s what makes it a little boring. It’s solid, well designed, and performs like a champ, but where’s the fun in that? I like struggling with my lenses, learning the quirks and characteristics, and finding the best qualities about the lens.

If you’re looking for a great 50mm to buy under $1000 then the Sigma 50mm 1.4 Art might be the lens for you, because honestly there is no better alternative. But for a lens to make it into my bag, it doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to show some character.

Sigma 50mm Beach Portrait

1/100 sec f/2.8 ISO100

Sigma Beach Portrait

1/100 sec f/1.4 ISO100

Conclusion

Let me clarify that the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 is a remarkable lens and I applaud Sigma for their achievement on making a lens that is not only technically better than their competitors, but also a better value. One thing that I do want to emphasize is that not all photographers are the same. If every photographer started using the same camera and lenses, then where would the originality be?

Before you buy this lens you should consider what you’re shooting and your style of photography. For 99% of you, the Sigma 50mm 1.4 is a fantastic choice, but for others there’s going to be better alternatives. I can’t tell you exactly what that is, but when you find it you’ll know.

About

I’m a photographer and cinematographer based in Southern California. When I don’t have a camera in my face I enjoy going to the movies and dissecting the story telling and visual aesthetics.

84 Comments

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  1. jd kizzo

    Good article, I personally hate the 50mm FOV, but the comments on the lens are still good. It is the reason I shoot with a few older D lenses. I do have a modern mid range zoom as well when I want the “modern nano coated” look… (this is usually just for press events or walking around/whatever shots). I usually shoot street and portraits, so I’m not really going for max sharpness to the corners and stuff like that (stuff Sigma excels at)… I’m looking more at the shadows/color/bokeh/lack of distortion… 

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  2. Paul Empson

    I’ve an old version of the Sigma 50mm and it works great, in the centre AF point…. but is just not quick enough away from that spot… my ancient 50mm f/1.8D Nikon is still fabulous… if a little hexagonal in the Bokeh esp compared to the Sigma’s rendering…

    At the end of the day they are just tools for the job.. I use whatever lens can dependably get the job done… for fast paced work my Sigma though superior in output stays in the case..

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  3. Victor Zubakin

    Hmmm…don’t give up your day job Cha.

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  4. Jacob Jexmark

    Wow, lots of comments on this article, I can’t see why ppl take offence of the articles posters opinion. I don’t use primes that much, I have the 50 1.8 II “plastic fantastic”, but after trying out a friends 50 Art, I’ve put this lens pretty high on my “To buy” list. After the great successes of the 35 and 50 Art, I really wish Sigma releases a 80 Art with the same optical quality.

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  5. Adnan

    I had faith in SLR Lounge, but reading this article it seems that i will not waste my time on a website which wants to run a meaning less article just because the title of that article is captivating. What does the author implies to as “Character”?

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  6. Dennis K.

    Pretty sure I heard Zack Arias say a similar type of thing about fighting and struggling with his creativity or equipment or something or other.

    I think in this case, it’s just very poorly worded. I can understand situations where lenses that have certain characteristics that a photographer is drawn to or that makes up his style. Also something to be said for brand loyalty too I guess – i.e. this lens seems amazing, but I’m still leaning toward the 1.2L from Canon, go figure.

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  7. Birk

    Wow, what a controversial comments section. This just shows we are all artists and not technicians!!!!!!

    Thanks Cha :)

    And everyone just keep up the good work and never stop being creative.

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  8. ajfudge

    “One thing that I do want to emphasize is that not all photographers are the same. If every photographer started using the same camera and lenses, then where would the originality be?”

    From the photographer. And it’s a big factor too. You said it yourself that not every photographer is the same.
    You’re kinda contradicting yourself :)

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  9. Josh

    It’s pretty telling that most (though not all) of the comments defending this poorly written opinion are other contributors to SLR Lounge.

    j Cassario wrote almost as many words as Cha did in his original article trying to better explain what he feels Cha really meant… And that is the real issue with this article. His position isn’t indefensible, it’s his explanations and wording that were poor… You can’t call something the best performing anything and then compare it to a Honda Accord and not expect to get rightfully laughed at… And you can’t say something does it’s job so perfectly that it some how stunts creativity and not get laughed at.

    The best defense of the article comes, again, from other contributors who, by the way, don’t even have much of a good argument either… creativity is lens flare, and corner softness, ha! Don’t think because you use flair it makes you artistic or original because anybody with a camera and basic knowledge of photography can learn and repeat that trick. Creativity comes from composing a shot, seeing different angles and finding a new way to tell a previously told story.

    In short, this article is lens snobbery disguised by fellow contributors as “artist interpretation” using corny photography tricks like lens flare as evidence… It’s is essentially the quintessential SLR Lounge soullessness posing as soulful, it’s the perfect article for this site.

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  10. Osvaldo Rivera

    Maybe this is some sort of reverse psychology trick to make us buy the Sigma…

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  11. Alex

    I agree… photographs need to have some kind of “character”. Unfortunately, character comes from the photographer not the lens. And looking to the kind of pictures you made with an amazing lens, I know why your pics are missing characters. I hope your nephews are not as ugly as on these pictures and that your model has someone else to make her book. Seriously, if you are not able to make better pictures, with more “character” with such a lens, you are right to look for bad lenses. They will give you an excuse for your bad photographs !

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  12. John dough

    Forget the lens.. does anybody else think that CHA needs to take the Newborn Photography workshop course? Worst article I have ever read on a photography website. Worst!

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    • Alex

      And worst baby pictures ! old fashion background, not smiling babies and awkward positions… really nothing interesting. Hope the parents have a point and shoot camera to “struggle with” and get better pics.

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  13. robert

    what a crock of garbage. I wouldnt buy the lens because I dont believe in spending $1000 for a 50mm lens. if it was priced at $600, I would. for me though the nikon 50 1.8g is fast and sharp and thats just fine. the 1.4g is slow as molasses and less sharp.

    btw, stick to eating burgers because as a reviewer you really arent good. and as a photographer…well, the model is pretty.

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  14. dave c

    Good article because it got people talking. The lens may or may not be good for you but most readers already made up their minds before reading this article. Thanks for the insight.

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  15. RL

    some of the comments on here are just complete and utter rubbish

    i dont agree with some of the stupid comments at all. he’s allowed to have an opinion

    and to be perfectly blunt and honest…. photography is about what appeals to YOU and YOUR intended audience.

    The average joe isnt going to look at the photo and go “oh thats not as sharp as the sigma 50 1.4 of the Otus 50mm” blah blah

    people respond to images that has a mood a character.

    i also have the Voightlander 50 1.1 and its blunt as a butter knife… but i love the images that it produces on the A7R and its permanently stuck to my A7R…. i also have the Zeiss 55mm F1.8 on my A7R for when I need fast AF…

    if AF wasnt an issue i’d pick up the Voightlander ANY day of the week for the images it produces… even tho the ZEISS flogs the living daylights out of it…. for everything else

    i also have the canon 50L 1.2 … and seriously considered buying the 50 ART 1.4

    at the end of the day for MY intended purpose….. its not about super sharpness and chromatic aberrations etc… its about the image

    anyone who argues any less is just a technical snob and buys camera equipment for bragging rights and technical superiority and nothing else

    i 100% agree with the reviewers comments… and dont think he’s an L Snob at all

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  16. Jason

    I think I understand what the author is trying to say, I just don’t think he said it in the best way, or perhaps failed to elaborate.

    There are a handful of objective and subjective parameters you can judge a lens on, the objective ones being build quality, autofocus speed and accuracy, resolution/sharpness, distortion, light transmission and vignetting, contrast, and optical aberrations (i.e. color fringing), and on the subjective side, there’s how the lens renders the out of focus areas and how it renders different colors.

    The Sigma, from all the reviews I’ve read, absolutely excels in all of the objective measurements, and at a very reasonable price. However, the chief complaint I hear is that the bokeh is not as pleasing as the 50L, which is exactly why although I’m considering upgrading from my Canon 50 f1.4 to either the Sigma or the 50L, I’m leaning towards the 50L because although the Sigma delivers technically better image quality, I prefer the overall look and feel of the photos from the L. Even if the L isn’t quite as good in those subjective areas, it’s still certainly good enough, and unless you’re making large prints or frequently viewing your photos at 100%, I doubt the increased sharpness of the Sigma is going to actually make a difference for most people in most photos, whereas the (in my opinion, subjectively) better rendering the L will. That said, I’m hoping to borrow a 50L from CPS and rent a Sigma for side-by-side testing sooner or later, since I haven’t tried the Sigma yet for myself.

    At least that’s what I’m assuming the author means… I highly doubt that when he says he’d rather use a lens that “has more character.” he means one that doesn’t autofocus properly and isn’t sharp. I think that he’s saying that while the Sigma is technically excellent, he just prefers the overall look and feel of photos taken with other lenses, absolute resolution be damned.

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  17. Chris Warkocki

    … Buying a Tilt and Shift because everyone owning a tilt and shift would be a little lack of originality but I’m still trying to grasp the fact you put a 50mm lens, the best for the price in fact, in a group of lenses that shouldn’t be purchased because it lacks originality. You wrote this article with no purpose but to say, “this lens is awesome… it’s not for me because I’m a hipster and Sigma is too mainstream now.” Really???

    If you’re going to spend the time to write a gear review then by all means feel free to do so, but if you decide to write a gear review that basically tells me you’re not buying the lens because it’s too mainstream and owning the best 50mm for the price makes you unoriginal then feel free to never do so again.

    Owning a better 50 doesn’t make you unoriginal. Using the same pose as photographer B in every single wedding you shoot makes you unoriginal. Owning the gear you do does in no way shape or form make you unoriginal. Might as well sell all the Canon gear you own buddy cause guess what… it’s far too mainstream.

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  18. Pat

    This is the best article ever because it totally sucks! Think I’ll sell my macbook pro to buy an old IBM think pad with Windows 2000, that thing has caracter! Hope the industry reads that article and make more shitty gear to make us happy! Shame on you Sigma! Making awesome gear that works well? That is insulting!!

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  19. Barbie

    http://online.wsj.com/articles/a-photographer-covets-an-old-camera-lens-1401831262?mod=ST1

    The above recent article is from the Wall Street Journal about fashion photographer Erik Madigan Heck. It appears he will only shoot with a defective Cannon lens his mother gave him when he was a teenager. An excerpt from the article: “Part of me is afraid,” Mr. Heck says, “that maybe, if Ii don’t shoot with that lens, maybe the magic is gone.”

    Interesting in light of the present article and comments.

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  20. Alex

    I can sort of see his point of view. It’s like comparing a Nissan GTR and an Audi R8.

    The GTR is faster round the track and technically superior, but where’s the fun of that?

    I can see why someone would prefer the R8 because it has its quirks and more fun to drive with higher driver involvement.

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    • Jason

      I like this car analogy better than the Honda one. The author isn’t the only photographer that prefers lenses with character. One of my all-time favorite photographers, Sam Hurd, shoots with a Nikon 58 1.4G, which many technical lab results have found to be soft (as well as feeling mechanically “cheap” for the price of the lens). Despite this, Sam has gone on record saying that he loves shooting with this supposedly inferior lens because of the way it renders images. That lens is certainly less sharp than the new Sigma, but Sam consistently gets killer shots from it. I guess the point is, sometimes being technically/optically perfect isn’t everything. I shoot Canon so I’ve compared the Sigma with the Canon 50L. While I don’t like shooting with the 50L, I have to admit that I prefer the way it renders images to the Sigma. The Sigma is a bit too contrasty in my opinion. Oh well… Different strokes for different folks.

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  21. Jonny Cash

    For those of you who understand the writers point, I’m sure you completely agree with him and know where he is coming from. Those are most likely the more creative and artist photographers of the bunch. For those that don’t understand, im sure another review having this lens up would have made you perfectly happy, that’s what you want to see. As far as ripping the writer, I now know why they still have the Auto feature on DSLRs, it takes the perfectly exposed shot everytime, I mean you can’t risk messing with settings, God forbid you miss a shot. Photography is an art, and the lenses and cameras are your tools. The Sigma does lack character, when compared to other lenses, and Im sorry to say that I don’t have scientific data to back that up. However, it’s a great lens at a great price. Go Sigma!

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    • wjp

      ” I now know why they still have the Auto feature on DSLRs, it takes the perfectly exposed shot everytime.”

      Now those are the words of someone who has not been paying complete attention to articles here and elsewhere on why you shouldn’t be shooting in Auto. In summation, those articles make the point that an algorithim is less likely to make a perfect shot in less than perfect conditions every time than a person who knows how to operate their camera properly.

      Now stop reading and commenting and go shoot something!

      Oh, and “Go Sigma!” I can agree with that.

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  22. Skyking

    If this was an article to stir up conversation, it seems to have worked. If it has value, it’s to very few photographers with the skills and inclination to work with ‘quirky’ lenses. The next article could be on how many’quirks’, as opposed to none, a lens should have to derive the ultimate satisfaction. What I’ll take away from this article is that it’s a great lens and a great value. The rest is just artistic ‘look at how deep I am’ as opposed to most of you lesser hacks who can’t appreciate stubtle nuiances.

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  23. Drihan Bester

    Is this for real? It’s like buying a car that is 30 years old for 100k and gives you a few hiccups every now and then, or you can buy an equivalent car that is brand new for 50k and that works the way it should! I understand the point the writing is trying to make about character, but that should belong to a person blog.

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  24. Another photographer

    Hi Cha,

    I respect your opinion. Yet, I have a different view. I think that the less your equipment requires effort from you and stays an invisible tool, the more you can concentrate on your picture, your subject, your framing etc.. this is when you can become truly creative. A good painter should master his brush so that she no longuer has to think about it while painting. Same for lenses.

    To support this, I don’t think that I have met a many gearheads who are good photographers. I have worked for Magnum photos for 20+ years and know most the photographers there. They only want their equipment to not stand in the way and could not care less about it. They certainly don’t expect their camera to give character to their pictures…because it won’t.

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  25. Lukas gisbert

    I can’t believe what you are saying, should the perfect equipment not help you to forget about your equipment and focus in the client and job to do. Your vision and art should come first and not struggling with the equipment you use. That is one of the stupidest article I’ve read in a while. Absolute nonsense.

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  26. Bogdan

    Now I want that Sigma even more. Not one single review out there saying anything bad. After reading the title I thought this might be some food for thought about it, but nope. 100% decided on getting it now.

    Well done Sigma! (I can finally say that)

    Regarding Cha’s article, it’s in the “Insights & Thoughts” section, so it doesn’t want to be a “review-ish” opinion. It’s just an opinion, and you can select whatever you want from that article. In my case is “Sigma made a terrific lens, both regarding price and performance.”

    Voltaire said “I disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it”. Think about that.

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    • Jason

      I don’t know if I would say that there are no articles criticizing this lens. Do a quick scan of some Canon forums or that popular British photo website that does camera and lens reviews (not sure of the rules here about discussing other websites). Point being: plenty of people that own this lens have been complaining about it’s focusing issues. They all say that the Signa is fantastic when it nails focus (and these people have used calibration targets and the Sigma dock to dial the focus in), but many have found that the lens’ ability to focus seems arbitrary. This lack of reliable focusing is what has kept me from purchasing the lens. Who wouldn’t want a super sharp, contrasty, affordable, low light monster? The only problem is… a lens with fantastic image quality isn’t worth a damn if it deeps giving you shots that are out of focus. It’s a shame because I really really wanted it to replace my Canon 50 1.4 (Canon 50L isn’t sharp enough to warrant the upgrade and it’s slow to focus and has focus breathing issues). I guess I’ll just have to wait for Canon to upgrade their 50L. I guess I can thank Sigma for at least keeping Canon on their toes.

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  27. I Want To Be Cha

    I agree with this article entirely! I mean, when I wanted a new camera, I decided against going a Canon 5DMkIII, because that crap is boring and always works! Instead, I shoot weddings with a pinhole camera made out of a tissue box with a toilet roll for a lens.

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  28. Valdemar

    I can’t imagine anything more stupid than this article.

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  29. Jeff

    “If every photographer started using the same camera and lenses, then where would the originality be?”

    Hopefully in their photographic style, approach, etc, etc

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  30. fotosiamo

    The Sigma 50mm f/1.4 ART lens. The anti-Hipster lens, lol.

    Well, while I haven’t personally used this Sigma 50mm lens, I think what Joe’s trying to say that for his style of photography, the Sigma lens is very technically sound but perhaps a little too clinical.

    It is as if you hear a violinist play a beautiful solo, then hear a computer play the same exact solo. Somehow, the artistic nuances may not translate.

    Now, I don’t think this means that Joe will take a poor performing lens, but he rather sacrifice some of that technical brilliance for some desirable “imperfections” and “character” in the bokeh, contrast, glow, etc.

    So to me, it’s not that there are better alternatives to the Sigma 50mm, only that there are other alternatives depending on what criteria you find most important in a lens.

    If autofocus is the only defining factor in what makes a superior lens, then people would not be buying the manual-only Zeiss primes for Canon mounts.

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    • Lukas

      “If autofocus is the only defining factor in what makes a superior lens, then people would not be buying the manual-only Zeiss primes for Canon mounts.”

      No. It’s because Sony does not have a good professional camera for Sony-Zeiss autofocus lenses. Therefore, photographers combine with canon/nikon professional bodies with manual Zeiss lenses. I think it’s the only way to fully exploit the potential of Zeiss lenses. : (

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  31. Bokeh Monk

    Bravo Cha! I can’t wait to get my hands on the new Nikkor 58mm ƒ1.4 . . .

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  32. J. Cassario

    Spot on Andrew

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  33. Marc B.

    Please do a review on the worst lenses available so I’ll know which ones I should buy….. smh.

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  34. Andrew

    This article is spot on. I went through the same experience when I was shooting digital and was really into exotic lenses. After spending lots of money on both Zeiss and Leica lenses I decided that although technically superior the Zeiss lenses were just too clean and clinical to the point of being boring. Now these were lenses for DSLR shooting and I used the old Leica R lenses adapted for use with a Leitax adaptor. They had character and I loved that about them.

    It’s funny all the people who are trashing the article’s author as if the pinnacle of imagery is technical perfection what’s even funnier is that I use to be like that. You will always be chasing the next thing instead of focusing on the content of your images and how they say what they say and that is far more important than technical perfection.

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    • Lukas gisbert

      The thing about using perfect equipment is that it makes you forget about it and open your possibility to be creative and focus on the client. The sigma is better and cheaper than the competition, why would you want to go and pay more to get a lens which doesn’t perform as well.

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  35. Philip Sharpe

    If I ever read an article like this in SLR Lounge again I’m out’a here. This crap is a reflection on the site, not just the author. Come on, guys. Who the hell edits this site?

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    • Hanssie

      I believe you are referring to me. I am the Managing Editor here and I review the articles. This article is an opinion piece by someone who has used the lens. He simply does not believe it fits within his style and his photography. If it fits your style, then more power to you.

      If you would prefer a full review of the lens, you may find one here: https://www.slrlounge.com/sigma-50mm-f1-4-dg-hsm-art-full-review

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    • Dave Kai Piper (@DaveKaiPiper)

      If everyone liked the same thing, our world would be a very boring one for sure.. I love the Lens and can not wait to get on my D800 and get shooting !! I have loved it in Canon fit but I think it really will be amazing on the Nikon as everything is optimized for the higher MP count

      I have been a big fan of the new Sigma stuff and I am sure they agree that people should be able to speak out in what ever way they wish to ? If someone feels like the lens does lack something that they need, why should they not have the chance to say so ? All credit to an editor who is going to be fair and balanced of all views and not push comments in one way over another. Look at it this way.. with SLR lounge you know you will get ALL sides of the story, and you can pick what you want to read and agree with and also have points to disagree on, while it still being a home of balance.

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    • Bernie Ess

      Wow – how unfriendly people are once they read an article that doesn’t match their opinion. This site here offers reviews and (opinion) and is free, right? Maybe you overestimate your own point of view….

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  36. Keith Axelrod

    The debates in the comment section and the article itself are both pointless. I’m still a shitty cook no matter what kind of oven I use.

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  37. Braden

    I think a lot of you are taking this article a little too seriously/literally. Yes, we all love shiny perfect digital images and the tools that can create them. There was also, once upon a time, this thing called film. As one who appreciates shooting both digital and film I think many have forgotten, or never experienced the value of that medium and the systems available to shoot with it. Many professional film photographers choose their camera systems not because of the feature set but because of the look, the tone, etc it provides. Those older systems really do have different visual characters. Whereas most DSLRs are pretty dang similar when you get down to it. Especially with digital post production involved in the process. If you just want to churn out shiny plastic images then go for it, that’s just fine. Whatever your job demands. How you use those cameras and process the images makes a big difference of course. I think many are moving too quick though to put down someone who likes to go after a certain look by using equipment with a bit of character. Especially when most end up trying to add character after the fact in the form of post processing.

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    • Matthew

      Agreed.

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    • J. Cassario

      Agreed

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    • Kishore Sawh

      ‘Plastic images’ – finely put. Ageed, also

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    • Bernie Ess

      You write: “Yes, we all love shiny perfect digital images and the tools that can create them.”

      I have to say “no, we don’t”. At least not all of us. I personally prefer a slightly gritty style with a soft vignette added, this style has much more emotional impact on my than “shiny perfectly” boring digital looking images. The success of film plugins like VSCO (just have a look at flickr) shows that many are feeling like that.

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  38. Lukas

    Voigtlander 50mm f/1.1 on Sony A7 is like stock steel wheels on Ferrari. :D Cha, have you heard about Carl Zeiss? :)

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  39. Matthew

    I agree with you about the boring part of having a lens perform just so, it’s a personal thing and something that adheres you to your gear. You work with what you have, not what you don’t. It’s like an old car that you love that gets you to A and B, and you love it for its flaws, its personality.

    On the other hand, I understand those that don’t see that point of view. You do want something that works flawlessly, in a professional situation, and you don’t want to be focus hunting and missing a shot.

    Myself, I don’t like the colours or the bokeh of the Sigma samples. Again that’s a personal view and could change if I ever used it. I had the same feeling about the Canon EF 40mm 2.8 until I used it and it is now one of my favorite lenses!

    I thought it was a great opinion article and I get that some other people may not get it and that’s their right. It would be a boring world if we all agreed on everything.

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    • Kishore Sawh

      It’s nice to have this kind of objective commentary Matthew. Cheers for that

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    • Willis Dart

      @Kishore: there’s nothing objective about what Matthew is saying here. Indeed, the whole point of his comment was about subjectivity.

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  40. DSH

    A lens isn’t the only place to get your “character” from.

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  41. alan

    Sorry. Lenses are not cars. That Ferrari soul crap won’t fly here

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  42. Dave

    I find the sentiment of wanting gear with quirks and more of a chore to use, rediculous. I’m not trying to be a troll here. I just don’t know a single pro who would agree with this. If the lens works and captures the image correctly, the appeal or, adversely, the “boringness” of an image are dependent upon composition, subject matter and light.

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    • J. Cassario

      It comes down to Joe’s personal preference, style, and taste. I won’t be buying the lens for the same reason, and its because the lenses that I already have do a better job at creating the images I want, even though they arent as perfect on paper. The Nikon 58mm has horrible edge sharpness. Its only tac sharp at the center of focus when shot wide open and then it gets soft. This “flaw” is what I love so much about it. The fact that the Sigma is sharper means nothing to me if it doesnt create the look I want. Yes, it is better on paper, and that is what Joe is trying to say, but in real life, the lenses he has…and I have, do the job better. If you shoot Nikon, the Nano coating is great and keeps flare down. I personally want flare at times, so the Nano coating hinders the look I want, and I go to cheaper lenses. No, they are not as good as the more expensive options, but they do the job I want. Lenses are tools, and if the 50mm lenses that Joe already has give him the look he wants, then the Sigma isnt for him. It isnt for me either. Thats all the article is talking about.

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    • Matthew

      I find it also depends on how the lens captures what you want. The lens character, for me, really comes into it, like J. Cassario says. If I want edge to edge sharpness, I will choose a certain lens, and if I want a soft edge, I will choose another. (perhaps a Canon 50mm). I especially love seeing the difference between how a Nikon captures the scene versus a Canon. I love comparing and getting the best out of doing my research. I find it starts to show in my photos.

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    • Dave Kai Piper (@DaveKaiPiper)

      I want kit with drama and character too !! But.. I have to say.. I think the Sigma does.. in the same way Zeiss lenses do.

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  43. Lukas

    I just meant. Why he hasn’t added photos from all three lenses to compare its abstractions?

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  44. J. Cassario

    Alright…you got me Lukas :)

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  45. J. Cassario

    Lukas, this wasn’t a review. We already have a review posted by Anthony here – https://www.slrlounge.com/sigma-50mm-f1-4-dg-hsm-art-full-review if you are looking for a review.

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    • Lukas

      “Awesome review Joe, and to be hone….”

      Those are your words. :D

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  46. Nicholas

    HAHA! So you don’t want to buy the lens because it’s perfect? Oh my.

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  47. Jay

    I like to struggle with my equipment, said no one ever. That just reads photo snob to me. Perfect lens, but I don’t want it. Pbbbbbb….

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  48. Lukas

    This is the worst review I’ve ever read. Where are the test photo? Why not learn how to take test pictures first?
    (And I’m not a fan of Sigma. And I do not own any Sigma. Nor would I have bought this lens.)

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  49. Jay

    I don’t mean to hurt your feelings Cha, but your conclusion, that we should want inferior lenses that have “character” is like arguing that someone should buy Firestone tires from 2000 because they make the driving experience more exhilarating (I mean you never know when they will fall apart!). In wedding photography, if the lens misses focus at the wrong moment, you could miss something really important and have disappointed clients. You would rather an inferior lens just for the fun of it? That is just odd…

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  50. Derek

    err……… lol. that conclusion -____-

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  51. J. Cassario

    Awesome review Joe, and to be honest, I had thoughts on writing something similar to this myself, yet I havent even shot with it yet. I have seen the reviews, test shots, real shots, and now your review…and I completely agree. This lens is a good all around lens, and because of that, Im not even really interested in shooting with it. I love the 50mm focal length just like you, and since I shoot both Canon and Nikon, I already have a 50 for both that I would rather shoot than the new Sigma. The Canon 50L has more character and creates some of the best lens flare I’ve seen from my lenses, and while flare isnt for everyone, I have clients request it…and I personally love it. For Nikon, I have the new 58mm f/1.4G which is my favorite lens I own, which the Sigma beats “on paper” in almost every catagory…except bokeh. The 58 has more character than any lens Ive ever shot, and produces a look that is very unique. So, I completely agree with everything you wrote Joe, great stuff. Photography is an art, and a lot of us look for specific tools to create the imagery that we want, and its not always the perfect tools out there that are the best for bringing that image to life. Yes, the Sigma is a fantastic lens, for the price, and in quality, but for my personal style, as well as yours Joe, there are better tools out there. Some will understand this and others wont.

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  52. Julian Gehring

    SO you say we should buy a more expensive lens that isnt as good as the sigma because its shitty? Yeah whynot Ilike tospend more money on shitty lenses ;)

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  53. Luka Boskovic

    I like the comparison with the Honda Accord. It’s the worst comparison in the history of photography. Honda Accord ain’t special in any single way, and actually, all that it is, is for everybody.

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  54. Clayton

    “I like struggling with my lenses” huh? You want your lenses to cause to troubles?

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  55. Felsina

    That might just be the worst photography-related article I’ve ever read.

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  56. Tom Bicknell

    Was this satire? I can’t even tell any more.

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  57. David

    You should get the Canon 50mm 1.4 it has lots of “character”. I like to call them reasons the lens sucks, but that is me. lol

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  58. Bob Dart

    Although I understand the gist of what the author wants to say, the conclusion is unsubstantiated, unprofessional, and perhaps immature.

    I’m afraid this sort of article will in the end hurt Cha’s credibility.

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  59. gg

    What the hell did I just read!
    We want shit that works. And we have been waiting for this kind of product to break through the mainstream.

    So you’re saying that a small company creates the second best performing lens in its class that’s affordable, dependable, and amazing at its job and you would rather have a duck taped pos lens. How is this a good article?

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  60. keith Axelrod

    I’m sorry but this was a pointless article.

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    • Felix

      extactly. When i’m on a job I want a lens that is boring. I dont wanna struggle with it, it needs to work, not like a damn sluggish 1.2

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    • Freeman

      Had he correctly defined what the character of this lens is, that being exceptional, and compared some or other defined characteristics of a few particular lens’ he may have been able to form some kind of base to what he was supposedly trying to say which would have given this article substance and credibility. However in fact this article is a well covered smear of a landmark lens. His car analogy likens this lens to that of a Honda Accord, when in fact it is beyond any S Class Mercedes or similar model from any other high end brand and appears to even be superior in some aspects to a Rolls Royce or Bentley according to sites like DxO. It’s an incredible lens by every other account given so far, redefining what the world should expect in a modern optic. So this article is really a glorified ‘trolling’ of this lens, which is a pity because had it been a true comparison of actual characteristics of different lens’ it could have been useful. A poor show from SLR Lounge.

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