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Summary

Highly Recommended awardThe Sigma 56mm f1.4 DC DN C is a short-telephoto lens corrected for APSC sensors and available in Sony E and Micro Four Thirds mounts, on which it delivers 84mm or 112mm equivalent coverage, Perfect for portraits and events, not to mention tighter views of urban or natural landscapes, this compact lens delivers pin sharp details across the frame and attractive rendering that rivals much more expensive, not to mention heftier lenses. The focusing is fast and quiet, and the barrel weather-sealed too. In fact the only disappointment is an unremarkable closest focusing distance of 50cm which, while able to fill the frame with a face, a sandwich or a coffee cup, will struggle if you try to get closer still. Owners of older Sony and Panasonic bodies may also lament the lack of optical stabilisation and could end up preferring the Sony e 50mm f1.8 OSS or Lumix G 42.5mm f1.7 (both of which have optical stabilisation), but all new Olympus, Panasonic and Sony bodies feature built-in stabilisation, so it’s not an issue going-forward. Cleverly Sigma has also chosen a focal length and aperture with no direct rivals in the Sony e or Micro Four Thirds catalogues, allowing it to slot comfortably between existing options and for me, become the most compelling portrait lens for both systems. The Sigma 56mm f1.4 boasts aspirational performance at a satisfyingly accessible price point and therefore comes Highly Recommended!

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Sigma 56mm f1.4 review

In depth

The Sigma 56mm f1.4 DC DN C is a short-telephoto prime lens corrected for APSC sensors and available in native Sony E and Micro Four Thirds mounts. Announced in September 2018, it’s a member of Sigma’s Contemporary series and joins the existing 16mm f1.4 and 30mm f1.4 lenses, both of which are also designed for mirrorless cameras with APSC sensors or smaller. Mount the E version of the 56mm on a Sony body like the A6000 series, and it’ll deliver equivalent coverage of 84mm, while the Micro Four Thirds version results in 112mm coverage. This makes the lens a classic short-telephoto, ideal for events, weddings and portraits as well as general street photography or simply picking out details on tighter urban or natural landscapes.

Like the 16mm and 30mm before it, the 56mm sports a bright f1.4 focal ratio which can achieve shallow depth-of-field effects, especially with its longer focal length. The dust and splash-proof design features a rubber sealing at the mount and the lens is supplied with a circular hood. The barrel measures 60mm in length, 67mm in maximum diameter, weighs 280g and employs a 55mm filter thread. The optical design uses 10 elements in six groups, has nine rounded aperture blades and a closest focusing distance of 50cm. There’s no optical stabilisation, but many of the bodies it’ll be mounted on feature body-based stabilisation of their own.

While there are lots of portrait lenses for the Micro Four Thirds system, particularly around the 42.5mm and 45mm lengths, another option is always welcome, but where the new Sigma will really earn new friends is in the Sony camp where native e-mount primes are in limited supply. I tested the Sigma 56mm f1.4 for sharpness, rendering, speed and more for both stills and video, and have presented my complete review with results in the video below. If you prefer to browse through my sample images and results, you’ll still find these pages using the tabs above, plus an expanded verdict on the final page!

 

 

 

 

Sigma 56mm f1.4 bokeh and rendering comparisons

 

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Above, left to right: Sigma 56mm f1.4, Sony e 50mm f1.8, Sony FE 50mm f1.8. All at maximum aperture. Full images.

 

sigma-56mm-f1-4-vs-sony-e-vs-fe-dog-bokeh

Above, left to right: Sigma 56mm f1.4, Sony e 50mm f1.8, Sony FE 50mm f1.8. All at maximum aperture. Full images.

 

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Above: Sigma 56mm f1.4 at f1.4. Full image.

 

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Above: Sigma 56mm f1.4 at f2. Full image.

 

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Above: Sigma 56mm f1.4 at f2.8. Full image.

 

sigma-56mm-f1-4-lamp-f4

Above: Sigma 56mm f1.4 at f4. Full image.

 

sigma-56mm-f1-4-vs-sony-e-vs-fe-lamp-bokeh-f1-4

Above, left to right: Sigma 56mm f1.4, Sony e 50mm f1.8, Sony FE 50mm f1.8. All at maximum aperture. Crops from right side.

 

sigma-56mm-f1-4-vs-sony-e-vs-fe-lamp-bokeh-f2

Above, left to right: Sigma 56mm f1.4, Sony e 50mm f1.8, Sony FE 50mm f1.8. All at f2. Crops from right side.

 

sigma-56mm-f1-4-vs-sony-e-vs-fe-lamp-bokeh-f2-8

Above, left to right: Sigma 56mm f1.4, Sony e 50mm f1.8, Sony FE 50mm f1.8. All at f2.8. Crops from right side.

 

sigma-56mm-f1-4-vs-sony-e-vs-fe-lamp-bokeh-f4

Above, left to right: Sigma 56mm f1.4, Sony e 50mm f1.8, Sony FE 50mm f1.8. All at f4. Crops from right side.

 

Check prices on the Sigma 56mm f1.4 at B&H, Adorama, or Wex. Alternatively get yourself a copy of my In Camera book or treat me to a coffee! Thanks!
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