Sigma 50mm f/1.4 Art lens review: Yes, it really is that good!


posted Friday, April 4, 2014 at 7:27 PM EDT


When we sat down for a chat with Sigma at this year's Consumer Electronics Show, we got some hands-on time with the company's brand-new 50mm f/1.4 Art lens, a ground-up redesign that replaces its previous "fast fifty" with a model blessed with the new 'Art' designation. We're now thrilled to publish our review of this lens!

Back at CES, we were plenty impressed by this new prime's exceptional build quality, but what really got our attention was Sigma's off-handed remark that it wasn't looking to surpass Nikon and Canon, but rather the Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 -- a monster of a lens costing US$4,000. Knowing Sigma's lofty ambitions for its new baby, it's no exaggeration to say that the 50mm f/1.4 Art was among our most eagerly-anticipated reviews of the year.

The precious: We've been waiting eagerly since January to review the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 Art.

Earlier this week, Sigma let us know we were at the head of the line to receive the very first review sample of the 50mm f/1.4 Art lens in the US market, kicking our anticipation into overdrive! Suffice to say, we dropped everything, cleared our test bench and sat with bated breath, awaiting its arrival this morning. And then... tragedy! When we awoke, the package showed as delayed in shipping due to storms that were rolling across the eastern US. We steeled ourselves for a disappointment, but it seems the patron saint of photography was smiling down on us: Around noon, the package landed on our doorstep, despite the weather delays!

Our day since then has been a blur of testing, writing, and most important of all, shooting countless test images with our precious (a little Lord of the Rings reference, for the sci-fi/fantasy geeks among you), the lens we'd been waiting for with such anticipation these last few months. But could it live up to all of our breathless excitement? Well, there's only one way for you to find out. (As if you can't already tell from this news item, that is!)

This lens, says Sigma, is intended to best the US$4,000 Zeiss Otus. Lofty ambition indeed!

Read our exclusive review of the US market's very first Sigma 50mm f/1.4 Art lens, and get our verdict on the lens everybody's been talking about! Watch this space tomorrow for some of our standardized lab test images, and hopefully some real-world images before the end of the day. (We're also working to get a sample of the Zeiss Otus to compare the Sigma 50/1.4 Art to; stay tuned for that as well.)

And of course, if there's anything you want to know while we still have the lens in-hand, be sure to sound off in the comments below!

(UPDATE, 4/8/14): We've now added a set of gallery photos taken by Rob, our senior lens technician, using the Canon 1Ds Mark III. They can viewed, including full-resolution versions, over on our Flickr page.