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Comparing Sigma’s New & Old 50mm F/1.4 Lenses

By Anthony Thurston on March 9th 2014


This last week while at WPPI, I had the opportunity to get a first hand look at the new Sigma 50mm f/1.4 lens, and I was very impressed. Since Sigma has still not finished tweaking the lens before production, I was not able to shoot any images with the pre-production model, but I was able to do a quick comparison with my old Sigma 50mm f/1.4.

As you can see in the image below, the new 50mm is quite a bit larger (even accounting for having a rear lens cap on and the old one not). The lens takes its style and shape from the rest of the Sigma Art series lenses.


The optical design in the new 50mm has changed considerably from the old version – which by the way, is every bit as good, or even better if you can get a good copy, than the Canon or Nikon 50mm f/1.4 lenses. The new lens contains 13 elements in 8 groups over the 8 elements in 6 groups that old one contains – a much more complicated design.


The other difference, though minor, is the minimum focusing distance. The new Sigma 50mm can focus 5cm closer than the old one at 40cm vs 45cm. Not a huge difference, but could be noticeable if you need to get close to your subject.


Now for the weight…everyone wants to know about the weight. I keep hearing everyone fuss about the weight of the new 50mm. I can say, having held it myself, that it did not feel noticeably different from my old Sigma 50mm. That is not to say that they could change something, but I doubt that anything that they change will add or remove a ton of weight. To me the weight is a non issue, its a 50mm F/1.4, not a 300m F/2.8 people.

So there you have it, Sigma’s new 50mm – while looking quite a bit different – is actually not all that different spec wise from the old one (optical design aside). According to Sigma reps, the lens should be expected no later than April of this year, so hopefully sooner than later. Now, all we need to find out is what the final weight will be as well as the all important pricing info.


What are your thoughts on this comparison? Are you surprised by anything or do they compare about how you would expect? Share your thoughts in a comment below to join the discussion.

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Anthony Thurston is a photographer based in the Salem, Oregon area specializing in Boudoir. He recently started a new project, Fiercely Boudoir to help support the growing boudoir community. Find him over on Instagram. You may also connect with him via Email.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Sean

    I second the others’ comments about click-baiting.

    Can you comment on which lens was heavier, at least? The “rumored” weight of the 50 Art that you quote is lighter than the previous Sigma 50. Sigma itself says that the new lens is 60% heavier than the old one. Which is it?

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  2. Matthew Saville

    Sigma confirmed that their new 50mm 1.4 ART is going to weigh a whopping 28.7 oz, nearly two pounds.


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  3. Joven

    This felt like click bait :(.

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  4. Andrew

    Personally, I object to the use of the word “&” in the title. It’s offensive.

    No, really, thanks for the info. Like everyone else, I’m excited to learn more about this lens. I’m not quite as testy about it, though ;-).

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  5. Marc

    How about not posting a “comparison” until you have something meaningful to say? This just lame click-bait.

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  6. peter

    i think just changing the name of the article. i chose too at the article to read a comparison and – i guess i expected the same as jason. real comparison. not just ‘both cars have four wheels, one is bigger’. if you’d call the article just ‘sigma introduced new 50mm lens’ and you would just highlight the differences with the ‘old’ 50mm in the article – then jason would not write i think. and me neither :) but thanks for bringing us news

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  7. Jason

    This is a pretty low quality comparison IMO. There is no real comparison, rather you are just comparing information that is provided with no real insight.

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    • Anthony Thurston

      Im sorry you feel that way. Sigma did not allow us to take images with the new one, so comparing image quality or anything like that will not be possible until the new one is released.

      Beyond that, im not sure what else you could want from the comparison? I talked about the weight, size, and pretty much everything else I could regarding these lenses. Even the picture (with Sigma M&Ms -lol- for size reference).

      I am open to suggestions though, what is missing here that you would have liked to see? (Besides images samples, which we -nor anyone else- are not able to provide at this point in time.)

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    • james


      I agree with the other comments, this was pretty lame. A side by side shot and list of spec comps? So Sigma didn’t allow you to shoot with the new lens… you know that means? It means you don’t have a story.

      The content of this site lately makes it pretty clear that some of you guys are getting paid per post so you’re struggling to find anything and make it into an “article”.

      You’re better than that Anthony.

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