Monday, January 26, 2015

The Sigma 50mm EX DG HSM vs the Sigma 50mm F1.4 Art lens by Jack Howard

About Jack Howard: Jack Howard first picked up an SLR camera as a teenager years ago and has been exploring the photographic process ever since. Starting in the wet darkroom and now exploring cutting-edge digital imaging techniques, he's thoroughly embraced the evolution of the photographic process. 
Jack is Sigma Corporation of America's New Media Specialist, where he blogs, builds community, and shares his passion for photography with loyal and future Sigma customers every day.

The Sigma 50mm F1.4 DG HSM | A sets the new benchmark for fast standard prime lenses for full-frame DSLRs, and is offered at a very fair price for its total performance. And the Sigma 50mm F1.4 EX DG HSM, originally introduced in 2008, is still in production; and it remains an exceptional fast fifty designed for both the performance and build expectations of professional photographers at a price that puts it well within reach of enthusiasts looking for both fantastic optics, and a pro build quality. Choosing either one of these full-frame Sigma 50mm F1.4 stablemates over an OEM lens is a wise choice. Choosing which one is exactly right for your bag really is basically a matter of budget, plus weight and size considerations. But either way, adding one of these Sigma 50mm F1.4s to your kit is a great idea.

To repeat, the Sigma 50mm F1.4 EX DG HSM
is still in production, and ships for a pretty fantastic street price,  especially right now with $100 Instant Savings through February 28th.  

The original high-performance 50mm F1.4 

At 3.3” x 2.7” and weighing in at 17.8 ounces, this lens is heavy and stocky. Packing eight elements in six groups, it close focuses to 17.7 inches at 1:7.4 magnification. Nine rounded aperture blades and an aspherical element make for pleasing defocused and focused image elements, while a full-time manual-focus ring allows for on-the-fly adjustments.

The Sigma 50mm F1.4 DG HSM | A was announced last year and has been the talk of the photography world ever since. 
The Sigma 50mm F1.4 SG HSM Art Lens

Pairing world-beating optics and imaging performance with a hypersonic motor for fast, quiet AF, along with four zone microtuning, wrist-flick Manual focus override and firmware updates via the USB Dock, this lens has already gained a number of prestigious awards, and earned tons of positive reviews from the most demanding photographers around the world. Physically, it is a very large standard lens, at 3.4” x 3.9 inches and weighing in at 28.7 ounces. Much of that weight comes form the 13 elements in 8 groups, so it is a more complex optical design. Super low dispersion glass and super multi-layer lens coatings, along with nine round aperture blades renders photographs with extraordinary image quality. Field distortion is virtually non-existent. Demand is still incredibly high, and supplies are still very limited thanks to its very fair street price but both the Nikon and Canon mounts are in stock at SuperDigitalCity and ready to ship!

So, really, what it comes down to is total performance, budget, physical size considerations, and availability to determine which Sigma 50mm F1.4 is right for you. Especially when offered with Instant Savings, like it is right now*, the 50mm EX DG HSM is an incredible bargain for a lens of this caliber. And it is ten ounces lighter, and overall noticeably smaller, both in the hand and when hauling a camera bag. The 50mm F1.4 DG HSM | A lens is larger and heavier, as it is designed with an eye first and foremost at performance above all else. It is heavy, but it is balanced, and even though it is priced significantly more than the 50mm F1.4 EX DG HSM, it is still more economical than the OEM lenses it leaves in the dust in terms of overall performance and value. 

This is a world-class lens. Worldwide demand remains incredibly high, because photographers and videographers have truly fallen for all this lens offers. Whether you choose the original high-performance 50mm EX or the incredible new Art 50mm, you’ll be adding a fantastic fast F1.4 standard prime to your kit, and both ship with a four-year Sigma USA warranty when you buy from SuperDigitalCity! 

At F4 here both lenses show great focal plane sharpness on the flowers in the foreground and lovely background rendering. But when going wide open to F1.4, the Art lens definitely outperforms the EX version. 

The Art 50 has the edge in close-focusing
over the original EX 50mm.
The same scene captured
with the EX 50mm.

Jack's book, Practical HDRI, 2nd Edition, High Dynamic Range Imaging Using Photoshop CS5 and Other Tools is now available through many bookstores and online book sites.