Pro Moviemaker March/April 2023 - Web



SIGMA 50MM F/1.4 DG DN ART £849/$849

Users of Sony E-mount cameras have a big choice of fast, 50mm AF prime lenses to tempt them. There’s one to suit all pockets and needs, from the expensive Sony f/1.2 G Master to two different macro primes for getting close up, a compact Sony f/1.8, the Sony Zeiss Planar f/1.4, Samyang f/1.4 and more. Also included is the Sigma f/1.4 DG HSM, which is surprisingly affordable and has become a legendary performer. It was designed for DSLRs and modified for mirrorless cameras, so it’s big and has no aperture ring. Now, Sigma has launched the 50mm f/1.4 DG DN Art specifically for full- frame mirrorless cameras, sporting a total redesign and also coming in L-Mount, where there are far fewer 50mm primes to choose from. It sits alongside the whole range of Sigma Art lenses including the 20, 24, 35 and 85mm models – all with a very similar design. They each have an f/1.4 maximum aperture and a locking aperture ring that can be de-clicked at the touch of a button. There is an AF-L button, AF/MF switch and MF lock switch to disable the focus ring. This works so you can manually focus the lens, then hit the lock switch to stop focus being changed. Essentially, they are the same controls as the latest Sony G Masters and just what a filmmaker needs, with nothing left out. What is new on this latest Sigma is that it’s the brand’s first prime lens with a speedy linear AF motor, which transforms autofocus speed.

SPECIFICATIONS Focal length: 50mm Mount: Sony E, Leica L Image coverage: Full-frame

Aperture: F/1.4-16 Aperture blades: 11

Construction: 14 elements in 11 groups, with one SLD and three aspherical elements Image stabilisation: None Minimum focusing: 45cm/17.8in

Filter size: 72mm Dimensions (wxl): 78.2x109.5mm/3.1x4.4in Weight: 670g/1.48lb

BEST BUY The Sigma is a great match for Sony cameras and top value

Allied to Sony’s fantastic AF system, the lens is quick and precise – faster than any other Art lenses – and works with all Sony’s clever AF settings. Slow it down in the menu and it does lovely, controlled focus pulls. Art lenses aren’t usually the best at controlling focus breathing – and this is the same, sadly. Going from wide to near focus, there is a noticeable change in the angle of view. While nit-picking, you can see some colour fringing in out-of-focus areas, but control of flare is good. When shooting specular highlights wide open, the bokeh takes on a cat’s-eye shape at the corners, and onion-ring

shapes in the centre. But stop down to f/2.8 and all is well, including the vignetting. At all stops, there is a nice transition between sharp and out-of- focus areas. However, many people buy an f/1.4 lens to shoot wide open for the bokeh and 3D look. For creative effects, the bokeh and vignette actually create a slightly old-school vintage look that works well for many subjects. Close down to f/2.8 and you have a very sharp, contrasty and natural 50mm lens. It’s like having two in one. The only 50mm AF lens we have tested that is marginally better wide open is Sony’s G Master – significantly more at £2099/$1998. For £849/$849, though, the Sigma offers almost as much performance wide open and is slightly smaller and lighter. PRO MOVIEMAKER RATING: 9/10 There’s nothing like a fast AF prime and this offers great value Pros: Fast maximum aperture, image quality Cons: No built-in image stabilisation

EASY RIDER Shoot wide open and the depth-of-field is very narrow



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