I was delighted to be asked by my friend Kris Rae to shoot some promotional portraits of of him for his new project "The Eccentric Beggar". The singer and multi-instrumentalist has recently recorded a new E.P. which is set to be released by R'n'R Records in June 2017. I have known Kris for a number of years and have worked with him on a number of projects in the past, and knew that this shoot would inevitably be followed by a hangover.
It is my job to ensure when reading the following that you are aware that this is just MY opinion. What you read below is (as always) subjective, as what I like in a piece of kit, you may not, but I hope that sharing my experience of using it will be of use to some readers, particularly those who are interested in buying this lens. If you're a total geek/anorak/nerd (delete where appropriate) then you may be better served with a fully technical review featuring pictures of walls and bookshelves posted elsewhere as I review any equipment solely from my perspective as a professional photographer.
I have been using the Sigma 50mm 1.4 Art lens prior to the shoot for some time, so decided to share my thoughts on the experience. All shots with Kris were taken at my studio R'n'R Studios Ltd using a mixture of ring lighting and 500w simple 2-strobes set up. My camera for this shoot was "old faithful", my Nikon D800, Not the D800e, or the D810... other variables include the lack of heating and the huge consumption of Stella Artois.
The Sigma 50mm F1.4 DG HSM lens has a really comfy and wide focus ring. There are hard stops at both ends of the range, making it easier to set focus at infinity. Circular Polariser users will be pleased that the 77mm filter thread doesn't rotate when focusing.
When it comes to auto-focusing, the lens was a great performer, it was fast, consistent, and reliable on both D800 and D810 bodies. I didn't experience any "hunting" when focusing in both good and bad light, with the lens focusing accurately on all occasions with no exception. The 50mm Art is also a quiet performer, thanks to the built-in Hyper Sonic Motor.
This lens is insanely sharp, getting fed up hearing this? tough, these are well built lenses, pleasant to look at and a pleasure to use, what they are doing with the glass elements and grouping at the Aizu factory is almost magical. On this lens, centre sharpness is outstanding from f/1.4 to f/11, above this until f/16 becoming adversely affected as diffraction increases. The edges are highly commendable too, being almost as sharp as the centre. Apertures from f/2.8 to f/11 produce the sharpest results.