Sigma 50mm F/1.4 DG HSM Art Review Series

This post is part of our ongoing series of reviews and comparisons related to the new Sigma 50mm F/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens. Below you can find links to the rest of the content in this series. Enjoy!

New Sigma 50mm vs Old Sigma 50mm

One of the biggest comparison tests with the new Sigma 50mm that I have personally been interested in is the one against the old Sigma 50mm f/1.4. I currently own the old version of the lens, and so I am wondering if it is worth upgrading to the new one. Let’s take a look and find out…

20140414-IMG_3283

Disclaimer: This is not meant to be a comprehensive review for either lens, just a quick comparison and overview of how the two lenses compare to one another. RAW files will be provided for download at the end of the article so you can download and compare on your own screen for anything I may have not compared directly in this post. 

Size & Build Quality Comparison

These two lenses vary greatly in size, with the newer Sigma coming in quite a bit longer than the older Sigma 50mm. The new Sigma has the latest “Global Vision” styling that all the new Sigma lenses have, and the old Sigma has the classic matte black Sigma finish.

Sigma50mmF-1.4-DG-HSM-Art

In terms of build quality, these two lenses are both very solid, but the edge here has to go to the newer Sigma 50mm F/1.4 DG HSM Art. The focus ring on the new model is smoother and provides and better grip, being roughly 3 times the size of the old model’s focus ring.

That is not to say that the older model is not well built – it is a solid lens in its own right – just when compared directly to the new model, you see some slight shortcomings.

Handling Comparison

I will not talk about this much, because honestly, both of these lenses are great to use. Both feel solid in the hands and fit well on both my Canon 6D and EOS-M. Obviously, the two lenses balance a little differently with the older model being more compact, and the newer model being longer.

In terms of AF, both lenses focus quickly in normal lighting, though both struggle a little in lower light situations. In terms of AF accuracy, the newer model seems to have an edge in accuracy, with the older model having a few “misses” where the new model did not have any.

Image Quality Comparison

The first and most obvious difference between these two lenses is that they have a slightly different field of view. They both claim to be 50mm lenses, but the older model has a slightly wider field of view.

It is worth noting that in my testing, the new model has the same field of view as the Canon 50mm f/1.2, so if I had to guess I would say that the old model Sigma is just not quite a full 50mm focal distance, maybe more like 45mm.

Compared Wide Open at F/1.4

You can click on the images to view a larger size (1200px wide), these RAW files will also be available for download at the end of the article.

Sigma 50mm F/1.4 DG HSM Art, Canon 6D, ISO 100, F/1.4, 1/400th 

Sigma50mm-Art-Vs-Old-Sigma-3225

Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM , Canon 6D, ISO 100, F/1.4, 1/400th  Sigma50mm-Art-Vs-Old-Sigma-3227

As you can see, the new model has a bit more contrast than the old model. The color rendition is virtually identical. In terms of sharpness, they are both sharp, but the new model is definitely quite a bit sharper than the old model.

new-sigma-100-crop old-sigma-100-crop

Compared at F/2.8

You can click on the images to view a larger size (1200px wide), these RAW files will also be available for download at the end of the article.

Sigma 50mm F/1.4 DG HSM Art, Canon EOS-M, ISO 100, F/2.8, 1/200th 

Sigma50mm-Art-Vs-Old-Sigma-2529

Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM, Canon EOS-M, ISO 100, F/2.8, 1/200th  Sigma50mm-Art-Vs-Old-Sigma-2530From what I can see, it seems the two lenses are almost the same by F/2.8. They are equally sharp and both display good center to edge sharpness.

new-sigma-corner-crop old-sigma-corner-crop

The Test

Ok, now I have walked you guys through a couple of comparisons. Here are some more sample shots with these two lenses. Can you tell which lens shot which images?

1

Sigma50mm-Art-Vs-Old-Sigma-25382

Sigma50mm-Art-Vs-Old-Sigma-2542

3
Sigma50mm-Art-Vs-Old-Sigma-3257

4Sigma50mm-Art-Vs-Old-Sigma-3260

[poll id=”58″]

In Conclusion

Overall, I came away from this test feeling really good about how my old model Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM stacks up to the new model. It is not quite as sharp, and the AF is not quite as accurate, but overall, it compares very well to the new model.

Based on this, I will probably be holding on to my old Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM for a while longer yet. I am in no hurry to upgrade. I do plan to upgrade to the new model in the future, just not right away.

If you would like to check out the RAW files from the images used in this shoot please feel free to download this zip file (236mb). So, start your download and compare away. I think you will see, as I have, that the old model holds up very well,with the new model edging the old model in sharpness, contrast, and the creaminess of the bokeh.

Please leave a comment below once you have had a chance to compare the images from these two lenses. Do you agree with my assessment? What stood out to you?