WEDDING SEASON SALE! 30% Off Training Systems!

Your content will be up shortly. Please allow up to 5 seconds
Gear Reviews

Sigma 50mm F/1.4 DG HSM Art – Unboxing & Initial Thoughts

By Anthony Thurston on April 11th 2014

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!

Initial Thoughts on the Sigma 50mm F/1.4 DG HSM Art

This Sigma 50mm F/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens is probably going to be one of the most anticipated lenses of this year. Now that the pricing is announced, it is just a matter of waiting for orders to ship and all of that good stuff. I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to receive a pre-release (but production) copy of this lens to review over the weekend.

Sigma 50mm F/1.4 DG HSM Art Unboxing and Initial Thoughts Video

Some Initial Thoughts & Product Shots

This lens is beautiful. I am a huge fan of Sigma’s new styling and am happy to see that the 50mm is just as pretty as I had imagined it would be. The build quality is very solid, pretty much what you have come to expect from Sigma’s recent releases.

I have only had it for a few hours now, and while I am impressed with its performance, I really cannot comment on it fully until my full review next week after I have had some more time to really put it through its paces. It looks very promising, and if it continues down this road I will likely be placing a pre-order and selling my old Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX.

20140411-IMG_2874 20140411-IMG_2875 20140411-IMG_2877

Sigma 50mm F/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens Sample Shots

I had the opportunity to run out to the park for some quick test shots with this lens. I took my 5 yr old son as my model, something he was not too thrilled about doing (he wanted to play on the playground). Here are a few sitting shots I managed to get while he was cooperative…

(All shot on a Canon 6D, in Aperture Priority @ F/1.4)




Here are a few shots from the Park where he was playing around, moving quickly. I was pretty impressed with how well the lens focused at F/1.4 with him running around and being so active.

Sigma-50mm_3 Sigma-50mm_4


If the 100% crop looks a little soft, it is because it is straight out of camera RAW to JPG. No sharpening was added. Here is a shot from the Canon 50mm f/1.2 shot at the same time, and then look at the 100% crop from that lens to compare.


Some Final Thoughts

So far I am very impressed with this new Sigma 50mm on its own, and it holds up well against the Canon 50mm f/1.2. Before I make any conclusions about it though, I want to do some testing in a slightly more controlled setting (maybe some food photography), so I can remove the variable of the camera being hand held and a child being squirmy.

My full review on this new Sigma 50mm F/1.4 DG HSM Art lens will be out sometime next week, so stay tuned. If you have some questions about the lens, leave a comment below and I will do my best to answer them.

If you like what you see you can pre-order the Canon and Nikon mount versions of this lens now over on B&H. The Canon will start shipping on April 25th, with the Nikon following sometime after that.


This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links, however, this does not impact accuracy or integrity of our content.

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

Please or register to post a comment.

  1. Yechwando

    Zoom ring. Nice.

    | |
  2. JuankyAlvarez

    I own the 35Art from Sigma and it’s stunning. This 50Art will definitively be a worthy companion, however… It’s known that Canon is focusing this days on glass rather than cameras. With that said, I’m holding out my wallet for the time being expecting some 50/1.4 IS popping out soon… NO IS? Well, Sigma might be the better choice…

    | |
  3. Matthew Saville

    Subtract 26mm and I’d be a whole lot more excited, but either way this is VERY good news for the future. Sigma now owns the market for autofocus 50mm’s, period. I guess they’d have to make a $99 50 1.8 in order to truly own the market, but you know what I mean.


    | |
  4. q3photo

    3 and 4 pics lovely sharp and contrast. I rather not have to sharpen in post, to keep it natural looking, and sharpness in the lens is much coveted. but couldn’t help but be drawn to the bokeh, somewhat disappointly. at first I thought the bokeh should have be smoother wide open, but saw again and it is on a crop sensor. but then I double take and just the shape of the bokeh quality in the trees foliage in the far background looks very “busy”??

    | |
    • Luke

      Friendly correction – He used a Canon 6D, a full frame DSLR to conduct the test shots. :D

      | |
    • Anthony Thurston

      It doesn’t look any worse than the Canon 1.2’s bokeh in my opinion. But, to each their own.

      | |
    • Mike

      Same impression about the bokeh. I’ve used the original Sigma 50mm f/1.4 on a Nikon crop body and the bokeh seemed less nervous or busy than that but until it can be compared directly, it’s hard to be sure. I know bokeh rendition is subjective but it’s something the original Sigma 50mm did really well (at least for me).

      | |
    • Matthew Saville

      Bokeh always gets more worse in the corners, that’s why medium format always seems to have gorgeous bokeh in the central area yet with that weird circular effect if you point it a background that is perfectly equidistant.

      That, plus keep in mind that twigs and sticks at a distance of 20-50 feet are pretty much bokeh’s worst enemy. So that right there is a worst case scenario. 99% of other things are going to look utterly gorgeous probably.

      Besides if you ask me, it looks like the Sigma ART is beating the Canon L for bokeh in the corners! Ouch!

      | |
    • Matthew Saville

      BTW I will say that this is actually one great argument in favor of using full-frame lenses on a crop-sensor camera, strangely enough. Let’s be honest here, F/1.4 with good quality bokeh is more than enough on a crop-sensor most of the time, you don’t REALLY need full-frame in order to achieve the best bokeh, just the best DOF. BIG DIFFERENCE, once you start realizing things like this about how the corners suffer on full-frame bokeh.

      This is part of why I’m seriously considering using crop-sensor cameras more and more in my portraiture and even wedding photography. A lens like this, on a Nikon D7100, would make a KILLER substitute for my full-frame 85mm f/1.8 G.


      | |
    • Jacob Jexmark

      So, Q3PHOTO do you shoot only JPG? For RAW, sharpening in post is certainly a must.

      | |
  5. Sean Goebel

    For the sake of all things good in this world, PLEASE do a coma test.

    | |