Sigma 50mm F1.4 DG HSM A Canon lens review: Art for Art’s sake?

By Kevin Carter - Thursday April 17 2014

Lens Review
Introduction | Sigma 50mm F1.4 DG HSM A Canon lens performance | Sigma 50mm F1.4 DG HSM A Canon versus Carl Zeiss Otus 1.4/55 | Conclusion

Sigma 50mm F1.4 DG HSM A Canon Versus Carl Zeiss Distagon T* Otus 1.4/55 ZE Canon Versus Sigma 50mm F1.4 EX DG HSM Canon, all three mounted on Canon EOS 5D Mark III

The Zeiss Distagon T* Otus 1,4/55 is the lens to beat in terms of image quality, and in that respect the Sigma comes seriously close. And, perhaps unsurprisingly given the close to doubling of the price, the new Art series lens easily outperforms the older 50mm f1.4 EX DG HSM model in most ways.

That said, the extreme performance of the Zeiss is noticeable in some subtle ways. At wider apertures, the Art lens can’t quite match the sharpness of the Zeiss in the outer field but that won’t be a concern for all but the most fastidious of users.

At f2 the Sigma is almost on a par with the Zeiss, only it can’t quite match the Zeiss in the corners – though the difference in real world terms is trivial. The new Sigma can boast of slightly better control of vignetting and, arguably, chromatic aberration at maximum aperture, though there’s some fringing evident in the extreme corners. The Zeiss has remarkable transmission but, at close to $4,000, nothing short of exceptional performance is expected.