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Will the New Sigma FE 50/1.2 DG DN Art Outperform the Leica 50/1.4 Summilux-SL ASPH and Sony 50/1.2 GM?

Sigma FE 50mm f/1.2 DG DN Art
for Sony FE or L-Mount

I was extremely impressed with the Sigma FE 35mm f/1.2 DG DN Art when I tested it, and still wish I had bought the sample I tested. Now along comes its 50mm sibling, and considerably smaller and lighter too.

The about $1399 Sigma 50mm f/1.2 DG DN Art is an all-new high-speed and high-performance mirrorless lens design for Sony mirrorless and Leica/Panasonic L-Mount.

  • Sony FE and Leica/Panasonic L-Mount
  • Full-Frame Format
  • f/1.2 to f/16
  • Fast, Wide-Aperture Lens
  • High-Response Linear Actuator AF System
  • 4 Aspherical Lens Elements
  • Rounded 13-Blade Diaphragm
  • De-Clickable Aperture Ring
  • Super Multilayer Coating
  • Dust- and Splash-Resistant Construction

The aggressively low pricing of $1399 is the big surprise. Little things like the best lens case in the industry (by far) add up to HUGE value vs the competition.

UPDATE: I looked at some test shots with the 50/1.2 and they are impressive.

About $1399 Sigma 50mm f/1.2 DG DN Art...

Bokeh

The use of 17 lens elements suggests a very high degree of optical correction.

The “suppression of double-line bokeh” is one of the most interesting claims I have seen in a while for lens design—first ever? It is quite ugly on lenses like the Leica 50mm f/2 APO-Summicron-SL ASPH and many other highly corrected lenses—though remarkably, coin-operated reviews can never seem to detect any.

Distortion

The 17 lens elements suggests a high level of optical correction that might even include relatively low optical distortion.

Given the total lack of any discussion of distortion in the Sigma description, I was concerned that it its unmentioned flaw might be distortion and distortion correction. But the EXIF on the Sony A7R V does not flag distortion as requiring correction, and the test shots I see look superb.

Sigma FE 50mm f/1.2 DG DN Art
Adobe Camera Raw Lens Corrections

 

VS Sony and Leica

Can Sigma deliver as good or better quality as Sony and Leica for a fraction of the price?

The 17 elements vs 14 for the Sony 50/1.2 GM suggests high imaging potential. But the Sony lens has a very large extreme aspherical (XA) lens element (eg expensive). Can the additional 3 elements (4 aspherical) get the job done vs Sony’s 3 aspherical elements?

Sony FE 50mm f/1.2 GM

It should prove to be a worthy competitor to the Sony FE 50mm f/1.2 GM. My guess is that the Sony will have better behavior in that the Sony is almost free of focus shift.

Leica 50mm f/1.4 Summilux-SL ASPH

The Leica 50mm f/1.4 Summilux-SL ASPH is IMO a marginal overpriced lens.

My prediction is that the Sigma 50/1.2 DG DN on the Leica SL3 might provide superior performance to the Leica 50mm f/1.4 Summilux-SL ASPH eg higher sharpness, less focus shift , less field curvature , superioc correction for secondary color, half a stop more lens speed, and more pleasing images to boot. At 1/5 the price of the Summilux, Leica SL3/Leica SL2 shooters can afford to experiment.

Optical design for Sigma FE 50mm f/1.2 DG DN Art
Computed (not measured) MTF at f/1.2 @ 10,30 lp/mm for Sigma FE 50mm f/1.2 DG DN Art

Specifications

The 17 lens elements suggests a high level of optical correction that might even include relatively low optical distortion.

Given the total lack of any discussion of distortion in the Sigma description, I was concerned that it might be its unmentioned flaw requiring distortion correction. But the EXIF on the Sony A7R V does not flag it as requiring correction, and the test shots I see look superb.

Sigma 50mm f/1.2 DG DN Art
Focal length: 50mm
Aperture range: f/1.2 - f/16
Iris blades: 13 blades, rounded
Focusing range: 15.8 in = 40 cm
Reproduction ratio: 1:6.2
Angle of view: 46.8°
Number of elements/groups: 17 elements in 12 groups
4 aspherical
Filter thread: 72mm
Weight, nominal: 26.3 oz = 745g
Dimensions: 3.2 X 4.4 in = 81.0 X 110.8 mm
Includes: CASE
LENS HOOD LH782-03
FRONT CAP LCF-72mm III
REAR CAP LCR II
Price: about $1399

Manufacturer’s description

Sigma FE 50mm f/1.2 DG DN Art

Unveiling another SIGMA Art line F1.2 lens. Elevating photographic mastery beyond conventional limits.

The lightest in its class* ― Bright F1.2 maximum aperture and the highest level of descriptive power from SIGMA’s Art line

SIGMA's Art line has been offering new possibilities and surprise for expression, and now the SIGMA 50mm F1.2 DG DN | Art is here to break the standards.

SIGMA's focus with this lens is on the descriptive power that is perfectly usable from the widest aperture, and on portability that allows the high performance to be demonstrated in any field.

In terms of image rendition, SIGMA achieved high resolving power from the maximum aperture throughout the entire focus range, while also enriching the beauty of the large bokeh effect at F1.2.

In addition, the lens construction and mechanical design have been stripped down to the bare essentials, resulting in a significantly compact and lightweight body. The lens is also equipped with a full range of functions suitable for professional use, including high-precision AF using the latest HLA (High-response Linear Actuator) that reduces volume while maintaining the same thrust. We hope users will enjoy the superb Art F1.2, which will transform everything they capture and even their photographic experience into something extra special.

The SIGMA 50mm F1.2 DG DN | Art has been designed with an emphasis on high resolution from the maximum aperture to the full focus range and large, beautiful bokeh expression. The contrast between the sharpness of the focus surface and the melting bokeh effect creates a three-dimensional effect thanks to its F1.2 aperture. In addition, the 13-blade diaphragm allows for beautiful bokeh expressions. Focus breathing is also well-suppressed that the F1.2 rendering can be fully utilized in video recording.

Brightness of F1.2 maximum aperture and high resolution from minimum to infinity focus

The latest optical design achieves high resolving power with each aberration thoroughly suppressed from the maximum aperture. The lens is capable of rendering details without color bleeding in any situation. In addition, the incorporated floating focus is advantageous in improving short-range performance, ensuring a stable, high-level image quality throughout the entire range from the minimum focusing distance to infinity.

Rich and beautiful bokeh without color bleeding

By correcting spherical aberration, sagittal coma flare, axial chromatic aberration, and other aberrations, the lens delivers natural bokeh images that blur smoothly and without color bleeding from the focal plane. Double-line bokeh is also suppressed, allowing users to take advantage of the mellow bokeh effect in their expression.

Rounded diaphragm with 13 blades

The lens incorporates SIGMA's first 13-blade diaphragm, which maintains a circular shape even when stopped down from the maximum aperture. The surface accuracy of the aspherical lens has been enhanced to the utmost to enable smooth and beautiful round bokeh expressions.

Designed to minimize focus breathing

Optimization of the focus group arrangement and aspherical shape significantly suppresses focus breathing. The change in angle of view due to focus shift is minimized, creating a natural-looking focus shift when recording video.

Designed to minimize flare and ghosting

Flare and ghosting, which reduce image quality, are addressed under all conditions of incident light, based on the most advanced simulation technology. High backlight resistance enables clear and sharp images under any lighting conditions.

Lightest weight lens body in its class*, suitable for a wide range of applications

By uncompromisingly pursuing high optical performance and portability, which are inherently contradictory, the highest level of performance has been condensed into the lightest lens body in its class. The SIGMA 50mm F1.2 DG DN | Art can be used not only in limited situations and applications, but in all kinds of shooting environments.
* As an AF 50mm F1.2 interchangeable lens for full-frame mirrorless cameras. (As of March 2024 by SIGMA)

A new system was developed that significantly reduces the volume while maintaining the same thrust of the HLA, which is characterized by its high driving accuracy and quietness, and is featured in each of the two focus groups. This technological innovation has realized both high-speed autofocus and a compact lens body.

A new system was developed that significantly reduces the volume while maintaining the same thrust of the HLA, which is characterized by its high driving accuracy and quietness, and is featured in each of the two focus groups. This technological innovation has realized both high-speed autofocus and a compact lens body.

Each piece of glass is made as thin as possible while employing glasses with a high refractive index and four aspherical lenses. The high level of production technology at SIGMA’s only manufacturing base, the Aizu factory, provides the exacting precision necessary for processing these thin glass elements and making this mass production possible. In addition, the floating focus construction ensures high performance while shortening the overall length, resulting in a compact lens. In the mechanical design phase, emphasis was placed on weight reduction. Through the systematic elimination of individual components, SIGMA attained the distinction of producing the lightest lens in its class, weighing a mere 745g / 26.3oz.*
* These figures are for L-Mount.

A wealth of functions for professional use and excellent build quality

In addition to various functions that support photography, such as the AFL button* and an aperture ring, the construction of the lens body itself and its high-quality touch and feel are also pursued. The SIGMA 50mm F1.2 DG DN | Art is designed with high functionality and reliability to meet the stringent demands of professionals, as well as excellent build quality for long-lasting, reliable use.

Proud to be a tool of expression, excellent build quality with SIGMA’s Art line specifications

By assembling high-precision parts made of lightweight and strong TSC* and other materials, the lens has the high level of rigidity and durability of SIGMA’s Art line specifications without sacrificing portability, as well as excellent build quality that allows for long-lasting and reliable use as a photographic tool.
* TSC (Thermally Stable Composite) is a type of polycarbonate with a thermal expansion rate similar to that of aluminum. It has a high affinity to metal parts, which contributes to high quality product manufacturing.

Various shooting assist functions

The lens is equipped with an AFL button which can be assigned to a range of functions via the menu on selected cameras. In addition to the aperture ring, the lens is equipped with an aperture ring lock switch and a click switch to turn the click on and off.

Dust and splash resistant structure* and water and oil repellent coating

In addition to a dust and splash resistant structure, the front element of the lens features a water and oil repellent coating, allowing photographers to shoot without concerns even in harsh outdoor environments.
* The structure is designed to be dust and splash resistant, but not waterproof. Be careful not to bring the lens in contact with a large amount of water. Water inside the lens may cause major damage and even render the lens unrepairable.

Including a petal-type hood with lock

A dedicated petal-shaped hood is supplied. A locking mechanism is provided for secure attachment.

  • Inner focus system
  • HLA (High-response Linear Actuator)
  • Compatible with Lens Aberration Correction
  • Super Multi-Layer Coating
  • Water and oil repellent coating
  • Aperture ring
  • Aperture ring click switch
  • Aperture ring lock switch
  • AFL button
  • Linear focus / Non-linear focus (for L-Mount only)
  • Focus Mode Switch
  • Dust and Splash Resistant Structure
  • Hood with lock

  • Compatible with high-speed autofocus
  • Supports DMF and AF+MF
  • Compatible with AF assist (for Sony E-mount only)
  • Compatible with SIGMA USB DOCK UD-11 (sold separately / for L-Mount only)
  • Designed to minimize flare and ghosting
  • Every single lens undergoes SIGMA’s proprietary MTF measuring system
  • 13-blade rounded diaphragm
  • High-precision, durable brass bayonet mount
  • Mount Conversion Service available
  • “Made in Aizu, Japan“ craftsmanship
Sigma FE 50mm f/1.2 DG DN Art for Sony FE or L-Mount

Roy P writes:

Surprisingly, this lens for Sony is marginally lighter than the Sony 50 f/1.2 GM. I would have expected the Sigma to be much heavier. Optically, Sigma has had the advantage of seeing what the Sony lens can do, so I expect the Sigma to be close to Sony. Better? Probably not, but probably not inferior either

I do expect the L mount version to clobber the Leica 50/1.4 Summilux-SL in every possible way – sharpness wide open, OOF blur, speed of autofocusing, tracking, construction quality and price, of course.

DIGLLOYD: yep. A lot will depend on per-sample build quality. With the Sigma FE 35mm f/1.2 DG DN Art, I had one sample that was soft at f/1.2, and a replacement that was superb.


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