Best 50mm lens for your camera: 8 ‘Nifty Fifty’ lenses tested and rated

Best 50mm lens for your camera: 8 'Nifty Fifty' lenses tested and rated

Best 50mm lens for your camera: Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM

Best 50mm lens for your camera: Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM

Price: £350
You can expect f/1.4 lenses to be bigger and heavier than their f/1.8 counterparts, but the Sigma really does go large in its design.

At 505g, it’s about twice the weight of some f/1.4 lenses on test, and up to four times the weight of the f/1.8 lenses.

Meanwhile, its extra girth is reflected in its oversized 77mm filter thread, where most other 50mm f/1.4 lenses have a 58mm thread (55mm for the Sony).

Extra weight isn’t necessarily bad news, however: the Sigma feels well balanced when shooting on big, full-frame cameras.

As with the Nikon lenses here, autofocus is courtesy of a fast and whisper-quiet ultrasonic ring-type system. It’s accurate, and full-time manual override is silky smooth, with a well-positioned and high-precision focus ring.

Build quality feels tough and dependable, although there are no weather seals fitted to the lens. In common with only the Nikon 50mm f/1.4 lens group, the Sigma features nine diaphragm blades, where most others have only seven.

This helps to maintain a well-rounded aperture, from wide to medium settings. A petal-shaped lens hood and carrying pouch are supplied with the lens, both of which are of good quality.

Performance
A bonus of the Sigma’s large front element is that vignetting is fairly minimal, even when shooting at f/1.4 on a full-frame body. Bokeh is smooth and pleasant, but the lens is a bit of an under-achiever when it comes to image sharpness at wide apertures.

Features: 4/5
Build quality: 4/5
Image quality: 4/5
Value: 5

Overall: 4/5

PAGE 1 – What is a 50mm lens good for?
PAGE 2 – Features to look for in a Nifty Fifty lens
PAGE 3 – Best 50mm lens: 01 Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM
PAGE 4 – Best 50mm lens: 02 Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II
PAGE 5 – Best 50mm lens: 03 Nikon AF-S 50mm f/1.4G
PAGE 6 – Best 50mm lens: 04 Nikon AF-S 50mm f/1.8G
PAGE 7 – Best 50mm lens: 05 Pentax SMC DA 50mm f/1.8
PAGE 8 – Best 50mm lens: 06 Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM
PAGE 9 – Best 50mm lens: 07 Sony 50mm f/1.4 A
PAGE 10 – Best 50mm lens: 08 Sony DT 50mm f/1.8 SAM
PAGE 11 – Image quality comparison
PAGE 12 – Best 50mm lens: Verdict

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