When Pamela Giordano McLennan from Fraser Luis Photography purchased the Sigma 50mm f1.4 lens from our Glasgow store to extend her range of lenses to go with her trusty Nikon D3S, we’ve asked her if she’d like to review the lens for us. She happily agreed to undertake the task and here’s what she thinks about the lens.
First impressions of the Sigma Art lens
This is one heavy mama of a lens for a 50mm! (Worth mentioning though that I’m not walking around for hours on end with the camera around my neck, so for me – the weight isn’t an issue.) On the upside – it’s excellently built, and it does feel to be a solid piece of optical equipment – I felt as if I were holding a pro lens in my hands. The barrel of the lens is pretty long too for a prime, 100mm length I believe.
The first ‘mission’ I embarked upon with my trusty Nikon D3S, was my son – Davie – and his Playdoh collection (boring to some – but certainly not to my 3 years old!). All images were shot with natural light. This lens is fast, and it’s quiet too (unlike the noisy D3S!). Autofocus seems sharp and smooth, manual focus ring is easy to work with, and also smooth. This is the first f/1.4 lens I’ve had the pleasure of owning, and to start with, I did find it fairly easy to misfocus when Davie was moving around. Not at all a fault of the lens though – only the shooter! Back button focusing and 3D Tracking on the D3S helped a lot though.
The Sigma’s real life performance
On reviewing the first batch of images (using Adobe Lightroom CC), I found there to be minimal barrel distortion, and a bit of vignetting on the wide open shots. The 77mm front element though is definitely an advantage for shooting at wider apertures and keeping that vignetting under control.
At wide open apertures, the lens produces a lovely bokeh, thanks to its 9 blade diaphragm. Easy to achieve soft circular highlights and backgrounds.
I had to look pretty hard to find obvious signs of this, and it was more apparent in the wide open shots. All gone though in the click of a button in Lightroom, although you can always stop the lens down if you’re prepared to lose a bit of the lovely bokeh I suppose.
My conclusion thus far? I adore this ‘little’ gem of a lens. I can live with the downsides – the weight, and the fact that it isn’t weather sealed. I fully intend to purchase the 85mm and 35mm versions of this lens too. It’s one of the sharpest lenses in my kit at the moment and I intend to use it regularly.