Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM | A review

A big and heavy lens for sure, but this excellent optic shoots super sharply even when wide-open

(Image: © Future)

Digital Camera World Verdict

It’s not small or subtle, but the optical quality of the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM | A more than makes up for it. This is a simply excellent standard prime lens, perfect for general-purpose photography, delivering great results across the board. Despite being a few years old it still stands up alongside its contemporaries thanks to a sophisticated internal optical construction – and autofocus is fast and consistently accurate, too.


  • +

    Near-faultless image quality

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    Speedy, reliable autofocus


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    Big and bulky

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    No weather seals

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Sigma’s previous 50mm lens was renowned as being a heavyweight but the replacement ‘Art’ edition piles on the pounds. The Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM | A, to give the lens its full title, gains 50 per cent in length from the previous model and rises in weight from 505g to 815g. As such, it’s one of the outright largest lenses of its class and focal length. At 100mm, it’s almost exactly twice as long as Canon’s 50mm f/1.4 lens, for instance.

The main reason for the Art lens’s weight gain is that it has a much more complex and sophisticated optical path than its predecessor, based on 13 rather than eight elements. These include one complex aspherical element and three SLD (Special Low Dispersion) elements. The overall aim is to deliver excellent sharpness and contrast, while also keeping colour fringing, distortion and vignetting to a minimum. 

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Matthew Richards

Matthew Richards is a photographer and journalist who has spent years using and reviewing all manner of photo gear. He is Digital Camera World's principal lens reviewer – and has tested more primes and zooms than most people have had hot dinners! 

His expertise with equipment doesn’t end there, though. He is also an encyclopedia  when it comes to all manner of cameras, camera holsters and bags, flashguns, tripods and heads, printers, papers and inks, and just about anything imaging-related. 

In an earlier life he was a broadcast engineer at the BBC, as well as a former editor of PC Guide.