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Sigma 50/1,4 - First impression

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by Paul.r.lindqvist, Sep 18, 2008.

  1. Picked up the Sigma 50/1,4 a few days ago, i havent spent all that much time with it, and im a bit limited on subjects(though the subjects here, is my primary usage for this lens) since im ordered not to walk around and about to much (doctors orders for two weeks, cause of my leg) But iv managed to snap a few, and compare it a little to the Zeiss 50/1,4.

    Here's some snaps of the lens.


    As i mentioned in another thread, i have mixed feeling for this lens. BUT it should be taken with a fist of salt.. to put things in perspective i also have mixed feelings for the 24-70/2,8...:eek: 

    Main reason for me not jumping up and down of excitement is because what iv grown accustomed to(shooting primarily with Zeiss).

    I simply dont like the handling, or build of this lens. The af isnt that fast (Still fast enough for most situations) and the manual focus is terrible (not that it should matter if i want to shoot manual ill pick up one of my manual 50's duh)

    The build is also alot better then the current Nikkor af, but still feels very fragile in my hands.

    So my mixed feeling is based on how the lens handles and feels, optical its really nothing wrong with it, sure its not perfect, but no lens is.

    Compared to my Zeiss 50/1,4 its not any better wide open (close to medium distance, have yet to try at infinity) and once you stop them down the Zeiss takes the lead.

    Bokeh , is however smoother and has a less tendency to be "nervous" then either Zeiss or Voigtländer or Nikon for that matter. (wide open)

    So why did i buy this lens if all i complain about is that its not well buildt and its not manual and it has no zeiss logo !?!?:confused: 

    Well i wanted a 50/1,4 on FX with AF that performed well wide open and that i could use for kids snaps, and family gatherings. I really liked the sigma 30/1,4 on DX for its fov and performance wide open. And with the D3 i wanted a similar fov and the ease of AF when taking snaps of the kids running about.

    And the Sigma 50/1,4 really fit that bill, sure im not crazy about he colors (to much red) or the overall IQ (compared to zeiss) and im not excited about the build or handling, but in the end it delivers for my intended purposes for this lens, and that is all that matters.

    Here are same snaps with the D3 @F/1,4
    All images are full frame (no cropping done in pp)
    No sharpening applied in PP, just resized for web








    Did pretty well for a leaf torture shot..:biggrin:

    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 18, 2008
  2. charly1


    Aug 25, 2008
    Hi Paul,
    thanks for your impressions, great pics. I feel similar about this lens, I sold the ZF 50 1,4 and kept the Nikkor 50 1,2. However, on the FF the bokeh is ok and better than the ZF. If Nikon provides something new not too expensive it may go, but for the time being its my favourite 50 lens.
    best regards
  3. Thanx Karl!

    The Sigma 50/1,4 a very nice lens for being AF. .-)

    Buying it actually made me appreciate my Zeiss 50/1,4 more, wich often falls in the shadow of the 50/2 planar.
  4. charly1


    Aug 25, 2008
    I agree, the 50/2 plays in a class of its own!
    I love the ZF's, particularly the 100 and 35, i have some mixed feelings on the 18, however, these lenses brought back a special feeling of photography. I'm now looking forward to the 21 2,8.
    I used the ZF 50 1,4 on the D300 and was somehow disappointed, maybe it would be a differnet story on the D3.
  5. mood


    Jun 27, 2007
    So Fla
    thanks Paul

    have you ever used/ tried/ owned the 50 1.2 AIS ?

    and if so...what are your impressions regarding it vs this Sigma
  6. Karl
    I love the ZF 18, it actually gets more time on my D3 then the 14-24/2,8.

    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 18, 2008
  7. Frank

    No sorry i havent. I only own 2 nikkor ais, 135 and 180.
  8. LindaZ


    Jul 29, 2007
    Wilmington, NC
    Amazing contrast though
  9. Yes nothing wrong with the contrast, eventhough should be mentioned that these has gone thru my usual workflow/pp.
  10. forget the lens... you have some adorable little models....:) 
  11. Phillip Ino

    Phillip Ino

    Nov 26, 2007
    You do have some great models and you always have incredible product shots. The 5th and 7th ones are awesome! Leaf torture is so brutal on a lens...really shows it's ugly side:tongue:. If this one is staying in your bag, I'd say it's surpassed the threshold of your standards...not bad not bad :smile:
  12. kwanying


    Sep 15, 2008
    How does it compare to zeiss 50f/1.4 at dim light?
  13. Michael:

    Hehe yea, they make for good snaps dont they ?.-)

    Thanx, yes im still not sure if im gonna keep it or not. .-)

    Dont know, i dont shoot night scenes.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 19, 2008
  14. The Sigma 50mm 1.4 was my last hope AF 50mm for Canon and unfortunately while it gave great results at 2.8 and up it failed miserably to produce anything worth keeping below (even using test chart, tripod, etc!) Got a refund. Build is decent but didn't produce the magic that the 30mm 1.4 was always capable of. Still a good lens if you have a good copy. I shifted to the Zeiss 50mm 2.0 and then that meant shifting to D700 to maximise potential as wasn't keen on adaptors with my ex 5D. Good to get your opinions and those are stunning little models you have there.
  15. Thanx Dave!

    Iv actually packed it and will return it by monday...

    I simply cant justify keeping it when i get better results with my Zeiss 50/1,4, i think i overestimated the need for AF for capturing the kids, since i have done it all manual since last summer... .-)

    Not to say this lens isnt a great for the money, cause it is (as long as you get a good copy) but it didnt outperform my Zeiss 50/1,4, so the penalty (color, overall IQ, build,handling) for AF simply to high for me.

    Im glad i had a chance to try it out though, and it really made me appreciate my Zeiss 50/1,4 alot more. I never really used it that much since i have the 50/2 ZF, but as long as you nail the focus @*F/1,4 its as good as the sigma (in my opinion better).

    Summary, Sigma 50/1,4 is a nice lens for the money, but not a lens for me (my taste my needs)

    Zeiss 50/1,4 @ F/1,4
    No sharpening applied in PP, "full frame", pretty much straight from the camera
  16. Nice review. It's refreshing when one comes to their own conclusions on a lens instead of relying on other opinions.

    Important qualities to one person may or may not matter to another individual. Thanks for sharing Paul.
  17. V_kids


    Jul 4, 2006
    Hi Paul.
    thx for the short review, I almost buy this lens too... however, after seeing all of this, i think i decided to stay with my Zeiss 50/1.4
    IMHO Zeiss 50/1.4 is under rated for most of the time. In fact this lens is really sharp, I love mine

    Zeiss 50/1.4 + Nikon D3 @F2.8
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


    Crop 100%
    View attachment 254361
  18. Ed glad you found it useful.

    Andree your absolutely right.

    Here is another one from the D3+Zeiss @ F/1,4
  19. Steinar


    Aug 16, 2007
    Paul, thank you for this review - now I will wait and see, what Nikon can do in few days.

    I see your lovely daughter again, but I think the Zeiss 35mm f/2.0 did it better (the Christmas tree, remember ?), but now I also fall in love with your son - his chin on the sofa: "Daddy now again" :smile:
  20. bigshot


    Aug 17, 2008
    Hollywood, USA
    I got mine today and I just pulled it out and shot a few test shots. The focus is fast and totally quiet. The lens isn't as big or heavy as I expected, but the front element is huge. It feels solid and the finish is odd, but it sparkles nicely in the sunlight. Nice case included. With my fumble fingers, I definitely need a UV filter on this one.

    See ya
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