Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM Lens

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84% Tried & Tested
This lens essentially redefines its class, and for once the results really live up to the marketing hype.”

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Key Features

  • 50mm focal length
  • 75mm equivalent focal length on APS-C cameras, 100mm equivalent focal length on Four Thirds / Micro Four Thirds cameras, 80mm equivalent focal length on Canon APS-C cameras
  • F1.4 maximum aperture; F16 minimum
  • Ring-type ultrasonic-type AF motor with full-time manual focusing
  • 77mm filters
  • 0.45m/17.72" minimum focus
  • Available in Canon EF, Four Thirds, Pentax KAF3, Sony Alpha, Sigma SA, Nikon F (FX) mounts

Product Description

The Sigma 50mm F1.4 EX DG HSM is a fast prime that behaves like a classic 'normal' lens on full frame, and a short telephoto portrait lens on APS-C cameras. It offers impressive central sharpness at large apertures, coupled with unusually low vignetting for its class due to its oversized optics; however this also means it’s rather large. Build quality is excellent, and the lens is available in versions to fit every SLR on the market.


Principal specifications
Lens type Prime lens
Max Format size 35mm FF
Focal length 50 mm
Image stabilisation No
Lens mount Canon EF, Four Thirds, Nikon F (FX), Pentax KAF3, Sigma SA Bayonet, Sony/Minolta Alpha
Maximum aperture F1.4
Minimum aperture F16.0
Aperture ring No
Number of diaphragm blades 9
Aperture notes rounded blades
Elements 8
Groups 6
Special elements / coatings 1 Aspherical element
Minimum focus 0.45 m (17.72)
Maximum magnification 0.14×
Autofocus Yes
Motor type Ring-type ultrasonic
Full time manual Yes
Focus method Unit
Focus notes internal to lens barrel
Distance scale Yes
DoF scale Yes
Weight 505 g (1.11 lb)
Diameter 85 mm (3.33)
Length 68 mm (2.69)
Materials Plastic barrel, metal mount
Colour Black
Filter thread 77 mm
Filter notes Does not rotate on focus
Hood supplied Yes
Tripod collar No
Notes Nikon, Pentax, Sigma, Sony & Four Thirds mounts


DPReview Conclusion

Scoring is relative only to the other lenses in the same category at the time of review.

Score Breakdown
Poor Excellent
Build Quality
Ergonomics and Handling
Image Quality
Tried & Tested
Tried & Tested
84 %
Overall Score

The Sigma 50mm 1.4 has smooth out-of-focus backgrounds, improved sharpness at large apertures, and lessened vignetting due to its large lens barrel. It's a far better portrait lens on APS-C than legacy primes designed for 35mm film, as well as an extremely competent standard on 35mm full-frame.

Good For

Those looking for a sharp, fast normal lens with quick autofocus and good build quality -- especially APS-C camera owners in search of the perfect portrait lens.

Not So Good For

User Reviews

3.54167 out of 5 stars
  • MediaArchivist, Feb 2, 2013 GMT:
    Excellent low light performance

    Awesome lens. I take a lot of shots of musicians in dimly lit bars, and for those situations I bring this lens and my CZ 24/2. I call them my "rock & roll lenses." I had read about quality control issues, in particular auto focus accuracy. I have found nothing to complain about. Maybe I got lucky, but I suspect those issues were confined to early production runs (I bought mine in April 2012). At f/1.4 the depth of field is effectively the width of a human hair, so I am not too surprised that ...

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  • benedictlaig, Dec 12, 2012 GMT:
    Sigma 50mm 1.4 review

    This is my first professional (?) grade prime lens and I'm extremely happy with it. I find it a worthy upgrade to my existing Canon 50mm f1.8. AF is fast and accurate enough and build quality is satisfactory. I bought it used from my friend and found no issues with it. Problems: There are reports of quality control issues with regards to this lens. Be sure to test it in the store before buying one. If you get a good copy, you won't regret it.

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  • Alexandru Stavrica, Apr 14, 2012 GMT:

    This Sigma is better than Canon 50mm F1.4 USM. Best bokeh, best construction ! Buy it !

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  • kaigon222, Jul 30, 2011 GMT:
    Great lens - but you need to learn to use it

    I was used to f/3.5-f/2.8 lenses and found moving to this 50 challenging. Setting the camera (Nikon D700) up for a static shoot to check quality proved how good it is at 1.4, especially in the centre. Using it in the real world wide open is a different kettle of fish. Whereas say with a 70-200 f/2.8 wide open you can just point and shoot at moving subjects and expect a high hit rate, with a f/1.4 lens you can't. I like shooting people and 1.4 allows very atmospheric low light scenes to be ...

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Questions & Answers


Canon 6D + Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM

Hello everyone, I currently have the Canon 60D and 7D cameras. I'm thinking of selling off one of them (since they are both APC Seonsors) and getting the Canon 6D. I'd like to know if anyone has tried the 6D with the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM. What's your opinion? I'm also undecided as to which of my current cameras to trade off (the 60D or the 7D). I mostly shoot weddings, social events, concerts, protraits and still-life images. I'll greatly appreciate any advice. Many thanks, Damell

damell asked
1 year ago


I use this lens on the 5D3 and like it a lot.  It doesn't give you as flattering a perspective as an 85 prime for single person portraits, but it's quite useful for a general prime.  I think it'd be great on a 6D as well.  It's a very good 50mm, and the L is 1000$ more USD. Continue Reading

Keith Z Leonard answered
1 year ago

no personal experience, but I suggest checking the article on standard lenses at DXO that briefly compares several options: Btw, there is a rumour that a new version for the Sigma 50mm is coming, but probably still a long wait. Continue Reading

technic answered
1 year ago

I have the Sigma 50mm 1.4 Lens which I use with my 5D Mk11. This is an excellent combination, both sharpness and colour are first class. I see no reason why the lens should not be equally as good on the 6D. As you will appreciate the DOF at 1.4 is very small so I normally stop down to 2.8 which gives an even better result. Continue Reading

billy2 answered
1 year ago


Sigma 50mm F1.4 EX DG HSM with MFT camera

Hello! Did anybody try this lens on mft camera with 43-m43 adapter? I think that it is the only way to get 50 f1.4 portrait lens with AF... I understand that this lens + oly e-m1 = fase AF = lots of mistakes. But this lens + e-m5 = contrast AF = answer?

Moraddin asked
8 months ago


At 42.5mm and f/1.2, it is nearly the same focal length and a little larger in aperture opening, plus it is a native m4/3 lens. Continue Reading

8 months ago

When I first got my EM1 back in Nov, the Sigma 50 1.4 was one of the lenses I was most eager to try out. It will produce terrific images but the process it puts you through will make you want to throw it out the window sometimes. One, two, three or four seconds to lock and then 25% of the time it will seemingly give up, at least my copy behaves this way. At $500 I feel that I should hold on to it, I don't think I'd be able to get more than $250~$275 for this lens if I did choose to sell. It does balance nicely with the EM1+grip though. Continue Reading

homzy answered
8 months ago

I know about problems of this lens with phase detect af. I hope to find an answer about contrast af experience. Continue Reading

Moraddin answered
8 months ago


Sigma 50mm & 85mm on Nikon Aperture Sharpness Test Results - Good or Bad???

I posted FoCal Aperture Sharpness Test Results for the Sigma 50mm f1.4 and Sigma 85mm f1.4 (both Nikon mount) in the Third Party Lens Talk forum, but didn't get any replies or feedback. I even included pretty charts, pictures, and graphs too! I'm trying to figure out if the test results are to be expected or not. I'm relatively new to photography and lens optics, so I'm not sure.  The test results don't seem to square with what I've seen on DXOMark and other review sites.  I'm also aware that Sigma lenses are hit and miss. Can anyone take a peek and offer some input?

uberjer asked
3 months ago


Thank you for showing us your results. I know how tedious these tests are.  I expect you would get more replies if you included your interpretation. To me you show that for the Sigma 50mm art might be fiction. And the Tamron f2.8 is as good as the 85mm f1.4 at f2.8. That makes me happy because I have the Tamron, and always had a nagging feeling I am not fully equipped without an 85mm, although I am not sure what I would do with it. Continue Reading

engbert answered
3 months ago

Warranty Information

"Beginning July 1, 2013, all brand new Sigma Products purchased from authorized Sigma dealers are covered under the 1 year America warranty (North and South America) and U.S.A. extended warranties for a period of three (3) years against defects in manufacturing and workmanship only. Your warranty period begins the day you purchase your Sigma camera, lens and/or flash and runs for a total period of four years from that date (please refer to the warranty policy included with your product)."

Go to Sigma's warranty registration page for more information and to register your Sigma product. DPReview GearShop is an authorized Sigma dealer in the United States.

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