April 26, 2014

Sigma Adds a 50mm F/1.4 to Their Outstanding 'Art' Series Lenses (& the Price is Right)

Sigma 50mmIn the never-ending backlog of new products that we have yet to cover, there's one product that many of us have been waiting on for quite some time. I'm talking, of course, about a new addition to Sigma's steller Art lineup of lenses, the 50mm f/1.4. Anybody who has used the 35mm f/1.4 or the 18-35mm f/1.8 knows that Sigma means serious business with their Art lenses, both in terms of performance and price. Needless to say, this is an exciting announcement for people who love the traditional 50mm focal length. Read on to get all of the details!

First, here are the basic specs on the new lens, as well a video review from the folks over at Fstoppers.

  • Lens Construction: 13 Elements in 8 Groups
  • Angle of View: 46.8º
  • Number of Diaphragm Blades: 9
  • Minimum Aperture: f/16
  • Minimum Focusing Distance: 40cm/15.7in
  • Filter Size (mm): 77mm
  • Maximum Magnifications: 1:5.6
  • Dimensions (Diameter x Length): 85.4 x 99.9mm/3.4 x 3.9in
  • Weight: 815g/28.7oz

With their Art lenses, Sigma is aiming to provide serious competition to the likes of Canon, Nikon, and Zeiss in the high-performance photography lens market. The folks at DxOMark recently compared a few of the highest performing standard focal length primes including the new Sigma Art 50mm, the Canon L Series 50mm f/1.2, and the Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4. We've written about the Zeiss Otus prime before, as it's literally the highest performing stills lens of its type.

Here are the results of that test, which are somewhat surprising and rather flattering for the Sigma 50mm:

Sigma 50mm Comparison

Nobody in their right mind would expect the Sigma 50mm to optically outperform the Zeiss Otus, which is widely considered to be the world's best stills lens. However, when thrown on a 5D MarkIII, the Sigma actually comes within striking distance of the DxO score of the Otus 55mm, which is pretty incredible considering that the Otus is a $4000 lens, whereas the Sigma comes in at a reasonable price of $950.

Of course, this lens will be most attractive to photographers because of its high performance and speedy autofocus -- not to mention its price. However, like its Art Series brothers, the 35mm f/1.4 and the 18-35mm f/1.8, the 50mm will likely find a place among videographers and filmmakers alike. For folks looking for the most "bang for their buck" with a high-performance 50mm prime, the Sigma will almost certainly be the best choice.

The Sigma 50mm f/1.4 is currently available for pre-order over at B&H.

What do you think about this new lens from Sigma? Will it be as big of a hit in the filmmaking community as the 35mm and 18-35mm? Let's hear your thoughts down in the comments!

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Your Comment

37 Comments

They should offer their Art series in a bundle at a discount! please...?

April 26, 2014 at 9:39PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Tyler

They're already cheap as, be thankful!

April 27, 2014 at 5:13PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Phraseking

What are the types of differences between these type of lenses versus cine-lenses? Visually, are there the differences drastic, or considered subtle?

April 26, 2014 at 10:07PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Nigel

Photo lenses have very short focus throw and does not have smooth manual iris/aperture. Also, cine lenses of the same set are matched in color, size, shape, and position of things such has focus ring, zoom rings, etc. That way one can switch lens without having to reconfigure their whole set up. Cine zoom lenses also have minimal focus breathing, and are parfocal.
When speaking of Cine lenses, there are also anamorphic lenses. There are few lenses in the photo world that have similar effect as an anamorphic lens.
If one were to compare the high end glass of photography to the cine lenses, then the difference would probably be very little visually.

April 26, 2014 at 10:25PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Derek

Thanks Derek. I'm considering ordering the Blackmagic Ursa and was wondering what type of lenses I should get, be it EF mount (photo lenses) or PL mount (cine glass). I have a 16k budget, so I'm trying to get the best bang for my buck. Thanks again.

April 26, 2014 at 10:36PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Nigel

If you have 16k budget for lenses, I'd say take a look at the Zeiss CP.2 series. The optics are the same as Zeiss ZF photo line of lenses, but their housing is a cine housing. Also, the special thing about CP.2 lenses is the fact that it has an interchangeable mount, so if you decide later on you need a different mount, you can change it.

But if your 16k budget is including the camera, there isn't much choice left, unless all you want is just 1 or 2 cine prime lenses, with the exception of the Rokinon Cine lenses. Those are very cheap in comparison to other cine lenses, but obviously, the optics won't be as good in most cases. Other than the Rokinons, your only option would be photo lenses. As I said before, optic quality would not be a problem, so your image would look fine.

Obviously everything said will also depends on what you're shooting. For instance, if what you're shooting needs zoom lenses, you'd have to go with photo zoom lenses cause cine zooms are really expensive.

Just a side note on the Blackmagic Ursa. From what I know, they're using the same sensor (at least for now) as the one in the Blackmagic Production Cinema Camera 4k. I own the BMPCC4k and can tell you that this is absolutely NOT a low light camera. So keep in mind what type of shooting you'll do.

April 27, 2014 at 2:37AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Derek

We use the Duclos ZF2 conversions a lot. They're fabulous, and the 50mm is the best of the bunch. Sharp as a razor wide open and fast with a beautiful look. The fact that the Sigma is most likely exceeding it's performance is amazing. I'm very stoked with what they're doing these days. Now make a fast and parfocal 24-70 competitor!

April 27, 2014 at 3:50AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Paul Watt

Zeiss is good but zeiss is not the same for all cameras, cameras like the black magic camera do not have oplf filters so therefore the picture is sharper and trade off is that you get more moire and aliasing so you have to "kinda" choose your shots, props , and scenery before you press record, so it would be a better choice to choose nikon glass (budget) or rent cooke lens because they allow more contrast and warmer skin tones

Also the new zeiss lens is not the same as old lens, from what i hear contrast and everything is is on another level, im hearing that basically the megapixel technology limites the output,, the best camera for that lens would be high megapixel hassleblad

April 27, 2014 at 4:42PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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NoWhiteInMyCup

Thanks again, Derek. You've been really helpful. One last question, as you seem quite knowledgeable on the issue. If it were your choice, which mount system would go with, EF or PL? And more importantly why? We're shooting for a more filmic look to projects. I know there are different adapters for either mount, but some of them exclude working with certain types of lenses/manufacturers.

April 27, 2014 at 10:25PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Nigel

From my experience, the filmic look could be attained with both EF or PL lenses, it's more of a matter of things such as lighting.

I obviously don't know all the details about your situation, but at least for myself, I would get EF. For me, PL glass, in most cases, is really expensive to own, and I can't justify the price, at least not at this moment. Also PL lenses are almost always significantly larger and heavier than EF counterparts which, for the stuff I do, makes it more troublesome to work with logistically. Another point I would bring up is that its much easier to get hold of EF lenses if something unexpected comes up (ie. need focal length you normally don't use, your lens breaks, lost baggage, etc). Lastly, I already own EF lenses and Canon DSLRs, so it just makes more sense.

Once again, this is what works for me. What works for me may not work for you at all. It's up to you to decide what you need for what/how you shoot.

April 29, 2014 at 9:03PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Derek

Hi, Derek!
Have you already worked with a "cheap" and "not so good" 35 mm 1.4 Rokinon/Samyang Cine Lens? Just a simple question...

May 2, 2014 at 4:02PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Álvaro Serpa

" When speaking of Cine lenses, there are also anamorphic lenses. "
All Cine Lenses are not anamorphic

April 27, 2014 at 5:18AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Vince

I think this is quite clear on the original post that not all of them are anamorphic, just some of them if that is the look you want to have

April 27, 2014 at 8:12AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Ts

I like the look of the lens and it looks like it's built pretty solid. I do wish it had manual iris control though.

April 26, 2014 at 10:23PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Adam

+1 would love to see this art series also end up with cine versions like the Rokinons

April 26, 2014 at 11:39PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Brian

It would be cool to see a lens manufacturer create some type of hybrid physical-electronic aperture control system on a lens. Right now, there are auto focus systems that can seamlessly switch between manual and automatic, so having the same control over aperture would be cool. A user could use the electronic dials when on a native camera mount shooting stills, then shift to manual control either when shooting video or when adapting the lens to another system.

April 26, 2014 at 11:59PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Mr Blah

GL optics does a cine mod for the 18-35 that's really impressive. I wouldn't be surprised if they do it for the new 50 as well

April 27, 2014 at 1:00AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Michael Solomon

They did these mods for zeiss ZE lenses when they started, but they stopped doing them. It probably wasnt financially as beneficial as doing other lenses they do now. For this reason i would be surprised if they started to do it for sigma primes.

April 27, 2014 at 8:17AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Ts

yes GL optics do mods for cine lens but it comes out to about 3,500 or $4000 for that same price one could wait for the new sigma cine lens that are coming out that are like $500 cheaper

April 27, 2014 at 4:45PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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jaye

Im sorry Correction Tokina has cine modded lens 11-16 which is still a nice piece of glass

April 27, 2014 at 4:47PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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jaye

You can call any manufacturer, connect to the tech department, and talk to them about what you wish a lens would have. Companies want input from people who know what they are talking about. They want to know what will make their product more usable and attractive.

April 27, 2014 at 8:10AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Gene

Oh, damn. Was getting very excited a d considering trading in my Zeiss zf2 1.4 for this, which I consider by the weak point in the range, until I read this comment. Note to NoFilmSchool... Wether a lens has an aperture ring or not is absolutely key for m ah video shooters when buying a lens.

April 27, 2014 at 7:38AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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They announced a 24mm art lens next.

April 26, 2014 at 10:58PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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VinceGortho

I'd like to see how a Nikkor 50/1.2 or 1.4 hold up against these lenses.
I would assume maybe not as well but, it'd be cool to know.

April 27, 2014 at 12:17AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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The Nikon old 50mm and 28mm contrast is amazing and are a poor mans solution to Cooke lens in contrast in skin tones

April 27, 2014 at 12:41AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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jaye

which ones. The AIS?

April 27, 2014 at 2:14AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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VinceGortho

Hi Jaye,

Which ones are you referring too? Poor man's Cooke sounds right up my alley (s4?)

May 1, 2014 at 8:49PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Rego

haha what was that video !!??? lolz

April 27, 2014 at 2:21AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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jon smith

I picked up three things from that video: that the lens is sharp, heavy and that I wouldn't want to do fashion photography for an money in the world!

April 27, 2014 at 7:09AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Raul

*any money in the world...

April 27, 2014 at 7:10AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Raul

yeah, i didn't get the skateboarding motif either. skateboarders are, after all, a hot clientele, and the subject of so much of high end photography....... ;0)

April 27, 2014 at 8:21AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Gene

Has anyone used this lens--- Panasonic 42.5mm f/1.2 Leica Nocticron?

photo samples: https://www.flickr.com/photos/97470426@N06/sets/72157639837053974

video samples: http://vimeo.com/92518628

[ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HGvAjksKyOE ]

[ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=la6k5Y7Ec24 ]

April 27, 2014 at 8:52AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Gene

Fantastic lens, but its really short focus throw is quite a problem. It's only 90 degrees, basically same as the Canon 50mm/1.8. Very difficult to use properly, unless you have some kind of elongated gearing for it. Even the 18-35 has a longer, 120 degree, focus throw. Which is a tad better. I've sent emails to Sigma before, pestering them to do something like Rokinon and sell these lenses with cinema gearing for 2k each. They'd make a killing. Fast, sharp, half priced.

April 28, 2014 at 3:58AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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IAn

"Nobody in their right mind would expect the Sigma 50mm to optically outperform the Zeiss Otus, which is widely considered to be the world’s best stills lens."

Why not? Don't be so gullible in regards to marketing hype and advertising palaver. Zeiss is laughably over priced and their real world performance aint what it used to be (and I've used Blads and Rollei SLX's since the 1970's).

In fact this can depend on what criteria are used. For astrophotography (night sky and time lapse) the Sigma 35mm 1.4 totally out-performs the Canon, Nikon and Zeiss...in fact the Zeiss 35mm 1.4 was by far the worst in terms of coma and vignetting (peripheral fall-off). Got rid of my over-priced Nikkor 35mm 1.4 since my Sigma 35mm 1.4 easily outperformed it.

The same is true of the Samyang/Rokinon 24mm 1.4...blows the competition away in terms of star field coma.

...and if you think that Brand Name trumps all...well Zeiss are made by Cosina, for fucks sake!

April 29, 2014 at 8:10PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Skeptikal

Some Zeiss are made by Cosina. Others are made in Germany.

May 27, 2014 at 5:12PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Tom

Nice....Thank you for sharing. I think it would be helpful for all.
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June 13, 2014 at 1:47PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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June 13, 2014 at 1:55PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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