Sigma 50mm f/1.4 Art Lens Announcement

We sort of missed the new Sigma 50mm lens in the sea of recent announcements. And we should not have. Because, despite that, like its predecessor, it is very heavy by 50mm f/1.4 class standards and very big, this is not an old lens in a new frock. The Sigma 50m f/1.4 DG HSM Art lens is a completely new and very complex design. Worth your attention? Perhaps, if you are into the classic fifty. And, if recent Sigma lenses are of any indication (Nasim adored the 35mm f/1.4 Art), it should be extremely good.

Sigma 50mm f/1.4 Art

1) Overview and Specifications

The first thing that I noticed about the new lens is that it weighs a bit less than the old 50mm f/1.4 DG EX HSM. Mind you, 815g (vs 505g of the old lens) is a lot when a Nikkor AF-S 50mm f/1.4G lens weighs just 280g. The second thing you notice is the lens’ sheer size. It is a whopping 100mm in length – that is nearly 50% more than the already massive predecessor! In fact, it is bigger than the Nikkor AF-S 85mm f/1.4G lens. But then, as soon as you look at the optical formula, things begin to make sense. The optical design consists of 13 elements in 8 groups, whereas the old lens had 8 elements in 6 groups. As you would expect, the lens has aspherical elements, but also super-low dispersion glass (SLD). According to Sigma, the lens is supposed to be sharp corner to corner and well corrected for any optical imperfections, such as distortion and CA. We will see if it performs as well as Sigma would have us believe, but the complex optical design is indeed impressive.

The rest of the specifications are pretty simple. There are 9 rounded aperture blades for circular out-of-focus highlights and it can be stopped down all the way to f/16. The lens can focus down to 0.40m (15.75″) and has a floating focus system to ensure high performance at all focus distances. Focusing is completely internal, but there is still no weather sealing. Here is a short list of key specifications:

  • Mount Type: Nikon F-Bayonet, Canon EF, Sony A, Sigma SA
  • Focal Length: 50mm
  • Maximum Aperture: f/1.4
  • Minimum Aperture: f/16
  • Format: FX/35mm
  • Maximum Reproduction Ratio: 0.18x
  • Lens Elements: 13
  • Lens Groups: 8
  • Floating focus system
  • SLD and aspheric lens elements
  • Diaphragm Blades: 9
  • Autofocus: Yes, ring-type ultrasonic
  • Internal Focusing: Yes
  • Minimum Focus Distance: 1.31 ft. (0.40m)
  • Focus Mode: Auto, Manual
  • Filter Size: 77mm
  • Is 3.94″ (100mm) in length and 3.35″ (85mm) in diameter
  • Weight (Approx.): 1.04 lb (815g)

And here are the MTF charts with the new 50mm Art lens at the left and the Nikkor AF-S 50mm f/1.4G lens on the right for comparison purposes:

Sigma-50mm-f1.4-DG-HSM-Art-lens-MTF-chartAF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.4G MTF chart

The advantage of the new Sigma lens (at least based on the MTF charts) is very apparent – it should be quite noticeably sharper across the frame. Unfortunately, price has not yet been revealed. The old lens was slightly more expensive than its most direct competitors and now costs around $400. I think it is safe to expect the new lens to be somewhat more expensive and if Sigma is not pitching it against the likes of Nikkor AF-S 58mm f/1.4, it will hopefully cost around $450. Or is that wishful thinking?

2) The Slight Problem

We admire the way Sigma changed so quickly. Time and time again we’ve said that the manufacturer’s most recent lenses are up there with the best and, in some cases, even beat brand offerings. They even look good nowadays, much more serious and purposeful. Yet the size bothers me a little… I can understand why the Nikkor 58mm f/1.4G is so big. It is a specialized lens, as is the Zeiss Otus. But if this new Sigma is to compete with regular 50mm f/1.4 class lenses, that size is not going to prove to be an advantage. One of the best things about a cheap fifty is its small size – it is a lens you can always carry with you. Sigma, on the other hand, is pushing it a little. Where mirrorless seem to be going for small size and weight – a welcome change – Sigma keeps getting bigger. I am sure this is something that will turn a few potential buyers off, and that is a pity. It should be a great lens otherwise – we certainly hope to get a copy for a review as soon as possible.

3) Official Press Release

Here is the official press release for the new Sigma lens:

A | Art Sigma 50mm F1.4 DG HSM

In 2008, Sigma released a large diameter standard lens designed for digital SLRs, “SIGMA 50mm F1.4 EX DG HSM”. At that time, products for film cameras were prevalent, yet we spent enormous effort to set a new benchmark for the 50mm lens that optimizes the characteristics of digital cameras, such as compensating peripheral brightness, controlling the point images in the corners, and improving the image drawing, not only around the focusing point, but also other areas in the image.

In recent years, as the DSLR evolves, development of image sensors for higher pixel size has created the photographers’ desire for the lenses with superior performance. In 2012, Sigma has announced the “Art” line that achieves unsurpassed expressive performance to fulfill the higher requirement of photographers. The first lens from the “Art” line “SIGMA 35mm F1.4 DG HSM [A 012]” sought for uncompromising performance, and it resulted in great reviews as well as a lot of awards from all over the world. Based on the accumulated wisdom and know-how to establish the standard for our “Art” line series, we are proud to announce the development of the new high performance standard lens with a large diameter for this new era of superb image quality.

Corresponding AF Mounts: SIGMA, Canon, Sony and Nikon
Accessory: Case, Petal-Type Hood (LH830-02) supplied.
* The Appearance and specifications are subject to change without notice.

Special Features

1. Art line delivers high-level artistic expression

SIGMA is organizing all its interchangeable lenses into three product lines; Contemporary, Art, and Sports, where each line has a distinctive concept. Designed with a focus on sophisticated optical performance and abundant expressive power, our Art line delivers high-level artistic expression. With the astonishing rendering performance that meets the high standard, along with landscapes, portraits still-life, close-up, and casual snaps, they are perfect for the kind of photography that unleashes the inner artist. Ideal for studio photography, they offer just as much expressive scope when capturing architecture and starry skies and many other scenes.

2. Astonishing rendering performance

Utilizing know-how and the latest design technology accumulated through the past developments, it corrects the aberration thoroughly and achieves high resolution and astonishing rendering performance even near the edge of the image.

  • Achieving both high resolution and beautiful bokeh

    While pursuing a high level of resolution on the focused point, bokeh in front and behind the point of focus is carefully maintained to have soft rendering. Aberrations including sagittal coma flare and color distortion that affect the image quality are thoroughly corrected. From open aperture, high-definition rendering without blur is achieved. Moreover, by ensuring vignetting at the minimum and preventing color blur around the front and back of the focus point, it also achieves natural bokeh.

  • Excellent correction of sagittal coma flare

    It is ideal for a wide aperture standard lens to have a high rendering performance from open aperture throughout the entire image. For instance, the molded glass aspherical lens elements provide excellent correction to sagittal coma flare. It is perfect for astronomical photography and shooting of illumination because of the reduced blur on the point light sources near the edge of the image. It also creates an attractive bokeh in portraits and indoor shooting.

  • Correction of axial chromatic aberration

    For axial chromatic aberration that is hard to correct even during the image processing, SLD (Special Low Dispersion) glass elements are incorporated, ensuring high image quality throughout the entire focusing range. The lens achieves sharp and high contrast image rendering.

  • Minimized distortion

    It is not possible to compensate for distortion just by changing the aperture values. Thus, the lens development stage was vital in ensuring minimized distortion. The “SIGMA 50mm F1.4 DG HSM” has positioned each glass element to optimize the power layout at respective positions, and succeeded in minimizing distortion.

  • Rich peripheral brightness

    It secures very rich brightness in the peripheral areas, which can be a common problem for a lens with a large diameter. By positioning wide elements in the front group, it has improved the efficiency at large apertures. Since it is capable of minimizing vignetting, very clear depiction across the image is ensured.

  • Designed to minimize flare and ghosting

    Flare and ghosting were thoroughly measured and monitored from the lens development stage to establish an optical design which is resistant to strong incidental light such as backlight. The Super Multi-Layer Coating reduces flare and ghosting and provides sharp and high contrast images even in backlit conditions.

  • Minimum focusing distance of 40cm

    The lens incorporates a floating system that adjusts the distance between lens groups while focusing, thereby reducing the amount of lens movement required. This achieves a minimum focusing distance of 40cm and maximum magnification ratio of 1:5.6. As there is less variation in aberration at different shooting distances, the lens delivers high rendering performance throughout the entire focusing range.

3. Hyper Sonic Motor ensures High AF Speed

The HSM (Hyper Sonic Motor) ensures a silent, high-speed AF function. Optimizing AF algorithm, smoother AF is achieved. It also enables full-time manual focusing capability which allows sensible focus adjustment by simply rotating the focus ring.

4. New Customizing Option added to “SIGMA USB DOCK”

With the optional SIGMA USB DOCK and the dedicated special software “SIGMA Optimization Pro”, you can update your lens firmware, or adjust focus points by attaching this lens to a SIGMA USB DOCK connected to a computer.

Other Features

Incorporating Rounded Diaphragm

The 9 blade-rounded diaphragm creates an attractive blur to the out-of-focus areas of the image.

Design Concept

With the new product lines, supplied hoods incorporate rubber for the connected part. Lens caps and AF/MF switches are also newly designed in order to improve usability. For the parts inside, metals and a new material called TSC (Thermally Stable Composite), which works well with metals, are located to achieve products with high accuracy. The lens barrel includes the year of release, engraved for users to recognize when the lens was released.

Brass made bayonet mount

This lens incorporates a brass made bayonet mount which has both high accuracy and durability. A special treatment to reinforce its strength is applied to the surface giving it greater strength and making it highly resistant to long-term use.

Evaluation with Sigma’s own MTF measuring system “A1”

We used to measure lens performance with MTF measuring system using conventional sensors. However, we’ve now developed our own proprietary MTF (modulation transfer function) measuring system (A1) using 46-megapixel Foveon direct image sensors. Even previously undetectable high-frequency details are now within the scope of our quality control inspections. The SIGMA 50mm F1.4 DG FISM will all be checked using this “A1” before they are shipped.

*A1: Aizu1

“Made in Japan”

All Sigma’s manufacturing – right down to molds and parts – is carried out under an integrated production system, entirely in Japan. We are now one of the very few manufacturers whose products are solely “made in Japan”. We like to think our products are somehow imbued with the essence of our homeland, blessed as it is with clean air and water, and focused, hard-working people. We pride ourselves on the authentic quality of Sigma products, born of a marriage between highly attuned expertise and intelligent, advanced technology. Our sophisticated products have satisfied professionals and lovers of photography all over the world, because our manufacturing is based on genuine craftsmanship, underpinned by the passion and pride of our experts.

Applicable for the Mount Conversion Service

As an experienced lens manufacturer that has been creating a diverse range of interchangeable lenses, we have started the innovative chargeable service “Mount Conversion Service”. With this service, the mount of your current SIGMA lenses can be changed to another mount of your choice. It gives a new life to your favorite lenses when you wish to use it on a different camera body.

* This “Mount Conversion Service” is different from a normal repair. In order to apply for the service, please contact your nearest authorized subsidiary / distributor of SIGMA.

4) Pre-Order Links

There is yet no word on the price of this new lens. We will update this article with pre-order information as soon as it becomes available.

Comments

  1. 1
    ) eric laquerre
    January 13, 2014 at 2:38 pm

    wow, im pretty sure sigma will have another winner here! I love my sigma 35 1.4

    I already have the usb dock too so it will be a no brainer! I hope they will have nice warmth color and pleasing bokeh.

  2. 2
    ) Roberto
    January 13, 2014 at 2:39 pm

    Please make soon also a comparision witch nikon 50 1.4G, old sigma 50 1.4 DG and others 50mm lens!

  3. 3
    ) Gatorowl
    January 13, 2014 at 3:24 pm

    Pure speculation but I suspect that this lens will cost at least $600 and perhaps be on par with the Sigma 35mm Art series lens in the $900 range. I do think that it will be compared to the Nikon 58 and Zeiss Otus lens, at least I hope so. If it has bokeh that competes with the Nikon and renders a similarly pleasing manner whilst being sharp wide open, I’m all in! If, however, all it offers is enhanced sharpness, then I’ll stick with my 40mm STM pancake, thank you.

    I have plenty of sharp lenses, and I have world class 85mm lenses for portraiture. The only unfulfilled whole is a sharp lens with beautiful rendering that allows landscape and close-in shoot when 85mm is just too narrow.

  4. January 13, 2014 at 3:54 pm

    Personally I strongly disagree that the lens’ size is a bad things. I strongly dislike the small 50mm lenses that Nikon and Canon make because with the exception of specific circumstances the small spherical aberration that it causes in Bokeh is rather distracting. I have been holding off buying a new 50 hoping Sigma would announce this exact lens and that it would be like this.

    Assuming optics and quality control meet that of the 35 this is the best news for me in ages.

    • January 13, 2014 at 4:05 pm

      I do understand what you mean, Ryan, to each his own. The size is also not a problem in a studio, for example. Yet, for my needs, I prefer something a bit more compact with that sort of focal length. :) Part of the charm for me.

  5. 6
    ) DR
    January 13, 2014 at 5:59 pm

    If this lens matched the quality of the Sigmas 35mm, and it was closer to the size of Nikon’s 50mm 1.4G, I’d definitely buy it. It seems silly to make such large primes, when the full frame camera bodies are getting smaller. Part of what sold me on upgrading from my D90 to the D600 was the size. It’s disappointing to see Nikon and Sigma releasing these large bulky primes.

  6. 7
    ) Global
    January 13, 2014 at 6:36 pm

    I’m going to disagree on the size being a disadvantage (within reason).

    The Sigma 50/1.4 was the first lens I bought (other than a terrible zoom) — and it was the first lens that a LOT of full-framers buy — and I was incredibly impressed by just holding this huge chunk of glass in my hands, which produced such pretty results. That feeling — that impression and awe is indelible in my memory — a huge part of the full-fame experience.

    Later on (here’s where the “within reason” comes along) I did realize that LESS WEIGHT is a virtue. And have even considered cropped bodies again (due to the weight of full frame bodies). And I completely understand what you are saying. But when compared to that “awwwe” moment and also the weight/size of other FX lenses (much, much heavier/bigger than this one), its tolerable, especially if the impression and class of lens is extraordinary.

    UNFORTUNATELY for the crappy Sigma of the past (?? yet to be seen how long term reliable they are..), my lens would horribly back-focus. It was so poor at its job, despite body adjustments in the D700, that I got frustrated and just exchanged it for a Nikon (which worked perfectly every single time, even if it was missing that “awe” effect — Sigma truly felt like a “jewel” for a first time full-framer).

    If Sigma improves its Quality Control SIGNIFICANTLY (not half-assedly), then this lens will be a winner and create many more moments of “awe” for new full-framers for years to come. As for the weight of my bag? I can’t really complain when there is a 14-24 and 70-200 in there! ;-)

  7. 8
    ) Ian
    January 13, 2014 at 7:42 pm

    I think Sigma’s strategy makes sense. The future of the DSLR is going to be similar to its present. They’ll be the same size, and still heavy, at the pro level anyway. This lens weighs a bit less than a 50mm 1.2L so people will tolerate its size if it really performs, and Sigma’s new 35/1.4 is in some ways better than the 35mm/1.4L for much less money, which again justifies its size.

    I think the small DSLR segment of the market is set to die anyway, thanks to mirrorless cameras, and anyone in that T3i range would never bother going better than a 50/1.8 or 50/1.4 (which this lens will no doubt badly out perform). In America there’ll probably be a bunch of mirrorless SLR lookalikes for a long time to come, but I think Sigma is going to try to appeal to the prosumer market that wants a mirror. Anyone who wants a lighter camera has so many great mirrorless options that will always inherently out perform and SLR.

  8. 9
    ) Adam
    January 13, 2014 at 7:42 pm

    FWIW, the Nikkor 58mm f/1.4G is big because it’s filled with air, not because it’s specialized. The cutaway diagram is horrifying (thanks to Ken R. for illustrating this in his review).

    A light and cheap 50mm is very nice. I’m betting that the Sigma will be special, though. My 35mm f/1.4 Art is delightful.

  9. January 13, 2014 at 10:32 pm

    One has to be really lucky to get a good copy of sigma. May be these lenses are really good, but i bet not all copies. Though I have read it on Internet, I never believed. I recently purchased 50mm 1.4 EX DG HSM (which many sites like dpreview claimed to be the best 50mm @ 1.4). Its not anywhere near to my Nikon 50mm 1.8G.
    Those who are really considering SIGMA, test it before you buy it. (Check the return policy before you buy).

    • 13
      ) Jorge Balarin
      January 16, 2014 at 2:27 am

      The 50mm that you bought has mixed reviews. So I never bought it; but the 50mm of the “Art” series is in a completely different category. I love that lens, so I’m optimist about the new 50mm.

  10. 11
    ) Murilo
    January 14, 2014 at 5:46 am

    I have no problema whatsoever with the size, as long as the performance is great.

  11. 12
    ) Jorge Balarin
    January 16, 2014 at 2:23 am

    I like the Sigma 35mm very much. It is a very good lens. I think the 50mm is not going to be less. I think perhaps it is going to be as good as as the Nikon 58mm for less money. I have not problems with the size. The Nikon 58mm is also big and that is not a problem for the ones that like it; however, the price of the Nikon is too high, and tha’s a real inconvenient.

  12. 14
    ) Manuel
    January 18, 2014 at 4:59 pm

    This Sigma lens could be a winner.

    The Nikon 1.4/50mm G is quite prone to coma, as well to flare. The new Nikon 1.4/58mm G seems nice, but way overpriced, IMHO.

    The Sigma may be it for handheld night photography in this range of focal length. A significant reduction of coma flare would also provide for better contrast at daylight.

    Has anybody here personal experience with the Nikon 1.8/50mm G regarding coma flare? As it is the only 50mm lens from Nikon with an aspherical element?

  13. 15
    ) Paul
    January 20, 2014 at 4:17 am

    I trust you have plans to thoroughly compare this lens to the 58mm noct and 55mm Octus?

    • January 20, 2014 at 4:18 am

      Yes, Paul, of course, such a comparison is planned, but you will need to wait for it a while longer, there are so many things that we need to do first. :)

      • 19
        ) Paul
        March 2, 2014 at 12:25 am

        Someone in China has gotten his hands on a pre-production model of the Sigma 50mm Art and published a few interesting and shocking results. See link below.

        http://www.imaging-resource.com/news/2014/02/28/first-test-pics-of-sigma-50mm-f-1.4-put-it-on-par-with-zeiss-otus-55mm-f1.4 (one interesting thing to note in this website: “In discussing lens-design tradeoffs with IR founder Dave Etchells, Mr. Yamaki said they chose to make a very small compromise on sharpness in order to deliver significantly better local contrast… Overall, the Otus rendition is just muddier.”)

        Look forward to reading your in-depth review of this lens, especially if it takes into account aspects that are not usually measured or talked about, such as as colour, microcontrast, local contrast, optical vignetting, and if it delves into things what I’ve mentioned in my previous posts such as “Zeiss/Leica” rendering (see post #17, below).

      • 20
        ) Paul
        April 8, 2014 at 7:48 am

        SLRgear has published its review of this lens.

        You can find it here: http://slrgear.com/reviews/showproduct.php/product/1677/cat/30

        I would be very interested to know how much worse the CA is on the Sigma than Nikon 58 and 50 versions among other things mentioned in post #17 (see below). Bokeh will be a huge deciding factor.

        The 35mm Sigma has nervous bokeh and I wouldn’t get one even if it’s the sharpest 35mm around.

    • 17
      ) Paul
      January 25, 2014 at 6:30 am

      Excellent!

      In your review, it would be great if you could delve into detail about the differences in colour, microcontrast and bokeh as well as whether it has a zeiss/leica look. :) Here’s some food for thought:

      Colour.

      *numbers in (brackets) indicate footnotes since rich-text formatting is lacking.

      Lenses apparently render different colours. Diglloyd claims that Zeiss lenses have superior colour than any other lenses (1). Naism himself agrees that there are differences between Nikon lenses (2), (3), (4). Other authors concur with Naism (5), (6). Perhaps consider renting equipment to test how transmission levels vary against different wavelengths, like what lenstip does (5), to investigate the validity of Diglloyd’s hypothesis.

      (1) http://diglloyd.com/articles/ZeissZ/ZeissZ-discussion.html
      After working with the ZF lens line for over a year, there can be no doubt whatsoever that the color of the ZF lens line is the most pleasing I’ve encountered. The ZF lenses consistently produce images which are gorgeous. Adjusting color temperature in RAW-file processing for the other brands (even Leica) does not necessarily produce the same pleasing result as the ZF lenses; it’s about an entire tonal rendition, not a simple white balance issue. My theory is that the “warmth” is due to superior transmission throughout the visible spectrum. The new “nano crystal” coatings offered by Nikon and similar offerings from Canon definitely bridge the gap somewhat.

      (2) http://photographylife.com/why-are-some-lenses-so-expensive
      In addition, professional lenses are often made with special coating such as Nikon’s Super Integrated Coating (SIC) and Nano Crystal Coat, which dramatically decrease internal reflections, improve sharpness, contrast, colors and reduce ghosting and flare.
      Image Quality (Colors) – professional lenses also yield superb colors, again, thanks to advanced optical designs and coatings.

      (3) http://photographylife.com/reviews/nikon-18-35mm-f3-5-4-5g/3
      When it comes to colors, I personally like images out of the Nikon 16-35mm VR better (than 18-35). In my experience, Nano coating does positively impact the color reproduction of a lens, especially in high-contrast situations.

      (4) http://photographylife.com/reviews/nikon-24-85mm-vr/6
      (the 24 – 85mm VR) produces images with great contrast and beautiful colors, although I would not put it in the same category with some of Nikon’s pro level lenses.

      (5) http://pindelski.org/Photography/2013/01/14/nikkor-af-s-35mm-f1-4g-lens/
      The Sigma (35mm art) has that electric rendition of colors missing from the Nikkor. Nikon’s 16-35 VR AF-S has that quality in spades.

      (6) http://vigorotaku.blogspot.sg/2013/12/nikon-58mm-14g.html
      The 58 f/1.4 , like the 24 f /1.4, or the 200 f/ 2.0 has it’s own character and look. It is a low light full color monster. By this I mean that in low light it pulls out colors like the 24mm f/1.4 in near pitch black conditions. The 85mm is very sharp, but renders flatter color – less vibrant colors and less depth) by comparision.

      (7) http://www.lenstip.com/222.9-Lens_review-Tokina_AT-X_DX_AF_16.5-135_mm_f_3.5-5.6_Ghosting__flares_and_transmission.html

      Microcontrast .

      The term “microcontrast” has used on the internet so often but does it really exist or is it just chicanery? If it does exist, how can it be scientifically and accurately measured? Many people seem to think this exists (8), (9), (10) although the difference in definition between (9) and (10) leaves me wondering what this attribute really means.

      (8) http://www.thephoblographer.com/2012/08/12/the-phoblographers-guide-to-the-right-rokinon-lens-for-you/
      And although we’ve mentioned that for all of Rokinon’s lenses, consider the fact that this lens (14mm UMC samyang) has a sprinkle of micro contrast, to make your images look a little bit like those from Zeiss. Additionally, it is wonderfully sharp wide open.

      (9) http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tutorials/understanding-series/lens-contrast.shtml
      When we talk about lens contrast, we are not talking about global contrast. What we’re talking about is the ability of the lens to differentiate between smaller and smaller details of more and more nearly similar tonal value. This is also referred to as “microcontrast.” The better contrast a lens has (and this has nothing to do with the light/­dark range or distribution of tones in the final print or slide) means its ability to take two small areas of slightly different luminance and distinguish the boundary of one from the other.

      (10) http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/41384559
      Lenses with high microcontrast render images with high definition of details that stand out almost jumping at you like three dimensional. This effect is sometimes called “3D pop”. In the sense of this thread, “3D pop” has nothing to do with colors or bokeh, although they indeed add to the overall illusion of 3D. The lens which gives well defined edges and transitions makes the image look three-dimensional or have a 3D pop.

      For example, the pictures with horses in the post above have a tremendous 3D pop NOT because of the bokeh, but because of a very high microcontrast of the main subject. Just cover the blurred areas with fingers or paper and you would see that the horses still look three dimensional regardless of the background (although, again, the bokeh does help the overall illusion). Why? Because 200/f2 has the highest microcontrast of all lenses in Nikon’s lineup. This is exactly what the big bucks are for.

      Bokeh

      What is good bokeh? It’s generally accepted that good bokeh means smooth transition and creamy rendering of out-of-focus area, but eminent photographer Bjørn Rørslett disagrees. Perhaps a redefinition of this terms is needed. (11)

      (11) http://www.naturfotograf.com/AFS200VR_rev.html
      The nice rendition of the out-of-focus area is simply stunning. So soft, veiled and delicate as baby’s skin. Designating the out-of-focus rendition of this lens (200mm f/2) as “Creamy” isn’t encompassing enough, there are much more to it than that. So smooth, delicate and yet with a certain bite. There is nothing like this in the entire Nikkor line-up.

      Zeiss/Leica look
      Finally, the hotly debated and controversial debate: what is the zeiss or leica look? Some offer their opinions. (12), (13), (14)

      (12) http://josepheckertphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/1/carl-zeiss-100mm-makro-planar-f/2-zf-2-review
      the carl zeiss 100mm makro-planar that delivers that special, almost intangible ‘something’ to your shots that elevate them above the norm – that snap, that microcontrast bite, those Zeiss colors.

      (13) http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/932105
      To me, the subject is clearly more “present” with the Zeiss shot in both cases. Why does the Zeiss 100/2 image look more 3D, and the Nikkor 135/2 image look flat and cardboard cutout-ish by comparison? Is it entirely due to the Zeiss’ “3D” rendering capability, said to be from its superior microcontrast, and CA control?

      (14) http://www.stevehuffphoto.com/2010/10/11/the-leica-look-comments-thoughts-by-ashwin-rao/
      So what is the Leica Look? Does it exist? Why should we care? I have debated, on my own and with others, just what this 3 word string means. Yesterday, when speaking with a pro photographer at a sporting event, he remarked, on hearing that I owned a Leica, that he had once owned an M3 and Summicron, and felt that there was something indefineable, some clarity or “glow” or what have you, that Leica lenses impart on the images its lenses see, somthing that makes the photo uniquely “Leica”. He currently shoots with Canon pro gear, as it suits his needs, but that misty far away look in his eyes suggested that he wished to have his M3 back. He went so far as to say that looking at a series of images, he could typically tell what images came from Leica.

      Last night, on returning home, I grazed through some images taken earlier in the evening, and came accross this one (processed in Lightroom 3). There’s a certain roundedness, a certain 3 dimensionality, a certain sharpness in the focused areas and softness in the background, that’s hard to find elsewhere. By no means do I mean toi present this image as an example remarkable photography. Rather, to me, there’s something here in which I clearly see the ” Leica Look “….

    • 18
      ) Paul
      February 1, 2014 at 11:14 pm

      dpreview has some data on the new Sony FE 55mm F1.8 ZA Carl Zeiss Sonnar T (see below). At around $999 / £900, it probably cost about the same as the Sigma Art 50mm. Hopefully the performance of the Sigma can match or exceed the Zeiss.

      http://www.dpreview.com/news/2014/01/31/lens-reviews-update-sony-fe-55mm-f1-8-za-lab-test-report?utm_campaign=internal-link&utm_source=news-list&utm_medium=text&ref=title_0_2

      Nikon really ought to improve their 50mm offerings. The 58mm is no match for the Zeiss Sonnar T and yet costs so much more.

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