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    My New Sigma 50mm f1.4 EX DG HSM Test

    I bought a new Sigma 50mm f1.4 lens last night with the intention of it being my Bangkok walking around lens for night street work.  I bought mine from a reputable dealer in Ponthip Plaza and promptly went out to do some street testing in the early evening.  I brought along my trusty "plastic fantastic" Canon 50mm f1.8 lens for some comparison shots.  As soon as it got dark I realized my copy of the Sigma 50mm was front focusing to a severe degree.  I walked back to the shop and they immediately replaced it with another copy . . . the second copy is very sharp and focuses perfectly on my subject.  It must be remembered that when shooting at anything under f2.8 the depth of feild is extremely narrow ("paper thin at f1.4) on ANY lens from ANY manufacturer.  That being said, I was extremely happy with the shots I took while walking around the Central World area of Bangkok with my new lens.

    Reproduced below are some HAND HELD (that's the idea of a "walking around lens," no?) photos I took with my Canon 5D Mark II full frame camera body and my new Sigma 50mm f1.4 EX DG HSM lens:  The top shots are Canon Raw Files converted to JPEG and then saved as 850px wide JPEG files without any adulteration either in the camera or in PhotoShop 5.5.  The bottom shots are actual pixels at 100% converted from the Canon Raw Files cropped at 850px X 850px and not adulterated in the camera or in PhotoShop 5.5. 

    Cropping more than actual pixels (100%) makes no sense in a "for low light conditions" lens.  If you want detail from a long distance from your subject, then get a longer lens, like the Sigma/Canon 85mm f1.4, or the Canon 70-200 L II f2.8.  If you are going to print from Raw files, the 5D Mark II produces 5616X3744 pixel images from the camera . . . but, of course, you would correct/sharpen the images before printing.  I have reproduced the files as they have come out of the camera.

    At the bottom of this post are five images that have been post-processed (and reduced to the 850 pixel-width I use I this blog) to give you an idea of why you would want a 50mm f1.4 lens in your bag in the first place.  The Sigma 50mm performs beautifully.

    [April 2014 update: There is now an excellent dpreview lab test of this outstannding lens now available on their site.]

    Above shot at f6.3.


    Above shot at f2.8.


    Above shot at f2.8.


    Above shot at f2.2.


    Above shot at f1.8.


    Above shot at f1.4 - HAND HELD !!!!!


    Tall buildings in Bangkok at night, hand held.  This is why I have an f1.4 lens.


    For this shot I jammed my camera up against a light pole for stability, but the ability of the lens to capture so much light made for beautiful detail in the shadows at such low light.


    A lot of people do not know that Bangkok is crisscrossed with canals that still accomodate canal taxis.  This is an available light photo of a MOVING boat in the semi dark.  I have the camera resting on the bridge railing for stability. Set your camera to apature priority (f1.4) and the camera will find the fastest shutter speed.


    I am on a pedestrain cross-over with the camera against a bridge roof upright.  The point here is the dynamic range a peice of big glass can capture. ISO 100, f.11.


    This is my best example of why I have an f1.4 lens:  I am in the back of a MOVING TAXI going home and leaned forward to take this shot of the ubiquiteous Buddha-on-the-dashboard . . . an impossible shot.  This is a cropped image.  Remarkable.

    References (3)

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      My New Sigma 50mm f1.4 EX DG HSM Test - Photo Stories - Dr. Jeff Harper
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      My New Sigma 50mm f1.4 EX DG HSM Test - Photo Stories - Dr. Jeff Harper
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      Response: visit my home page
      My New Sigma 50mm f1.4 EX DG HSM Test - Photo Stories - Dr. Jeff Harper

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