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Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM Lens for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras

by Sigma
4.3 out of 5 stars 371 customer reviews
| 80 answered questions

Available from these sellers.
Nikon Digital SLR Cameras
Standard Packaging

DPReview Tested
From the experts at DPReview
Overall score: 84%
See review summary and sample images
What is DPReview and its awards?

Digital Photography Review is the most popular dedicated enthusiast digital photography site on the Internet. Our authoritative reviews have earned us the trust of photographers and camera buyers all over the world, for more than 15 years.

Gold and Silver Awards are given to products that deserve special recognition based on how well they perform relative to their competitors at the time of review.

  • 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
11 used from $269.50 2 refurbished from $399.00

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Style: Nikon Digital SLR Cameras | Product Packaging: Standard Packaging
  • Buy Used and Save: Buy a Used "Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM Lens for Nikon Digital ..." and save 45% off the $499.00 list price. Buy with confidence as the condition of this item and its timely delivery are guaranteed under the "Amazon A-to-z Guarantee". See all Used offers.

Technical Details

Review summary from DPReview

DPReview Tested August 2008
This lens essentially redefines its class, and for once the results really live up to the marketing hype.
Andy Westlake Andy Westlake


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.

Reasons to buy

  • Class-leading image quality
  • Relatively low vignetting even at wide apertures on full frame
  • Reasonably fast and positive autofocus
  • Very good build quality

Things to consider

  • Large and heavy for a 50mm F1.4
  • Expensive

Suggested 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 suggested for

Anyone who wants their prime lenses to be small and lightweight.
Poor Excellent
Build quality
Ergonomics & handling
Image Quality
Scoring is relative only to the other products in the same category.
DPReview is the world’s most popular dedicated enthusiast digital photography website. Since 1998 its mission has remained unchanged: to deliver the best reviews of cameras and lenses anywhere on the Internet, and help you find the right gear for your needs.

Product Description

Style: Nikon Digital SLR Cameras | Product Packaging: Standard Packaging

Product Description

L9) 50MM F1.4EX F/NIK DG HSM Lens


Designed for Nikon digital SLR cameras, the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 prime lens is ideal for a wide range of applications, from landscape photography to portraiture. The lens offers an extra-large aperture that guarantees superior peripheral brightness, helping create sharp images with high contrast even at the edges. The molded glass aspherical lens, meanwhile, perfectly corrects for coma aberration to ensure that images look sharp and crisp against a nicely blurred background. And thanks to the integrated Hyper Sonic Motor (HSM), the lens enjoys a silent, high-speed autofocus system. Other features include a super multilayer lens coating that reduces flare and ghosting, a minimum focusing distance of 17.7 inches, and a maximum magnification of 1:7.4. As with all Sigma lenses, this 50mm lens carries a one-year warranty.


  • Focal length: 50mm
  • Maximum aperture: f/1.4
  • Lens construction: 8 elements in 6 groups
  • Angle of view: 46.8 degrees
  • Number of diaphragm blades: 9
  • Minimum aperture: f/16
  • Minimum focusing distance: 17.7 inches
  • Maximum magnification: 1:7.4
  • Filter size: 77mm
  • Corresponding AF mounts: Nikon
  • Dimensions: 3.3 inches in diameter and 2.7 inches long
  • Weight: 17.8 ounces
  • Warranty: 1 year

Product Details

Style: Nikon Digital SLR Cameras | Package Type: Standard Packaging
Instructions [PDF]
  • Product Dimensions: 2.7 x 3.4 x 3.4 inches ; 1.1 pounds
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • ASIN: B0018ZDGAW
  • Item model number: 310306
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (371 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
  • Product Warranty: For warranty information about this product, please click here
  • Date first available at Amazon.com: October 2, 2001

From the Manufacturer

Read about our customers' top-rated lenses and cameras on our review pages: Lenses, Digital SLR Cameras, Compact System Cameras

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Style Name: Canon Digital SLR CamerasPackage Type: Standard Packaging Verified Purchase
Prior to ordering this lens, I probably spent more time reading owner reviews than I have for any other lens I own. At the time of my order, I think Amazon listed some 85 customer reviews of this lens. It was hard to arrive at a conclusion. Image quality was generally not a point to be disputed. In fact the majority of owners had nothing but good to say about this lens. But, some complained of issues related to a failure to auto-focus when shooting at or near wide open aperture settings especially shooting close-ups in subdued light. I wondered why so many were pleased while others had focus problems. And, while what I have to say should not be construed to be conclusive (perhaps there are some bad copies that slipped through the QC department at Sigma)I wanted to share with others my experience with this lens and what I did to fix my focus problem. Obviously, I purchased one.....

A lens like this is generally purchased with one or both of the following in mind. Either for portrait work or for low light shots. Therefore, it is near essential that the auto-focus be spot on. No auto-focus lens is perfect in that it is impossible to be on the dot 100% of the time, but if the majority of your shots are not keepers, there is a problem to be reckoned with. You could rely on manual focus (I do sometimes where a shot is critical, I won't trust auto-focus alone)but you paid for auto-focus and you obviously laid out the cash for a reason.

When my lens arrived, I went to work shooting test shots to see how auto-focus worked at these wide open settings. Sure enough, many shots were blurred. I tried manual focus, no problem, most of the shots were sharp. I sat down and thought about it for a while and it occurred to me that the camera was set to use multiple point auto-focus.
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Style Name: Canon Digital SLR CamerasPackage Type: Standard Packaging Verified Purchase
I'm a primary Canon user. I owned before the canon 50 mm 1.4, a trully excellent lens for the money too. But not to sharp wide open. You have to stop down at least to f2 in order to get good contrast and saturation. Also, the focusing ring was bad in my opinion.
In the other hand, the 50L 1.2 was a big dissapointment to me.I expected the same image quality as the 35L or the 85L for that price.
When I received the Sigma lens I really love it at once. The construction was amazing, solid as a tank, and the ring is very smooth.
What have really impressed me was the performance wide open. Images are clear as crystal with good color and rendition.
Fully recomended.
3 Comments 126 of 137 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Style Name: Canon Digital SLR CamerasPackage Type: Standard Packaging
This review is three pages long. The first section which is 1 page in length does not cover this lens in particular but rather goes into lens basics such as primes vs. zooms and benefits of wide aperture. The second section reviews this lens in detail. Experienced photographers can skip straight to the second setion starting from BUILD QUALITY.


Out the box this lens is impressive. Better yet on camera it's more impressive. The lens hosts some of the best performance features and specs any normal lens can offer including razor sharp images (at par with Canon's best lenses), fast and accurate focus, and breath taking Bokeh (blur) quality. All of this comes enclosed in a very solid body bundled with essential accessories all for under half a grand. For me this is value 101. But before getting into details lets answer the question why buy a prime lens like this Sigma?


There are two main unique benefits to this lens A) it's a prime B) it offers a wide maximum aperture.

Primes come in fixed focal lengths, making it essential to physically move back and forth to reduce and enlarge the frame coverage respectively. Zoom lenses on the other hand can reduce or enlarge the frame coverage with a twist of a ring. Traditionally, the main advantage of primes is that they are lighter, smaller, sharper, control distortion better, and come in wider maximum aperture. With the advent of better zoom lenses those advantages have eroded. New zoom lenses are as sharp and control distortion as well as primes. Size and weight, however, remain a prime advantage.
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3 Comments 77 of 85 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Style Name: Canon Digital SLR CamerasPackage Type: Standard Packaging
In a world of zooms, many people would find plopping down $500 for a 50mm prime -- from a third party manufacturer, no less -- to be a bit absurd.

However, if you are a "prime person" -- and you know who you are -- you'll love the performance of this lens: super sharp photos, incredibly creamy background bokeh, nice contrast and flare resistance, and operation in low-light without needing super-high ISO or a blast of flash.

+ @1.4 it's quite usably sharp
+ @1.8 and beyond, it's very sharp
+ the bokeh (rendition of out-of-focus areas) is really amazingly smooth. More so behind the DOF than in front, though
+ colors, contrast, etc, all excellent
+ great build quality, solid feel, free case and lens hood

- weight
- price
- big filters (77mm)

Canon already has three 50mm lenses: the 1.8, 1.4, and 1.2L, so you might wonder why Sigma felt the need to jump into this market. The Canon's are all pretty good, with the 50/1.8 being an great value at $80, the 50/1.4 being a reliable workhorse (though prone to a dreamy look wide open), and the 1.2L, being, well, $1500. This lens is priced between the 1.4 and 1.2L, and judging from photos I've seen, it probably performs in that range as well. So it is filling an niche in the wide gulf between the 1.4 and 1.2L.

On my camera, a 400D, a 50mm is like a short tele, and I use it mostly for relatively close up photos of people. I like that when if upgrade to FF, I'll be able to continue to use this lens (and I'll sell my Sigma 30/1.4) whose place it would take.
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