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Archive 2008 · Sigma 50mm: Marmite Bokeh
  
 
hubsand
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Sigma 50mm: Marmite Bokeh


First impressions of the Sigma 50/1.4 are very, very promising. Later this week, I'll be running some tests against Pentax, Zeiss and Canon 50mm lenses, but I wanted to have a good look at the Sigma bokeh out of the box. It's very different from the Pentax or Zeiss bokeh and I suspect that many will find it preferable. If you love smooth, you'll love the Sigma. It really is sharper than the Zeiss wide open, too. Samples soon . . .

Edited by hubsand on Jul 01, 2008 at 05:03 PM GMT

Edited on Jul 01, 2008 at 05:03 PM



Jun 30, 2008 at 09:53 PM
Jonas B
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Sigma 50mm: Marmite Bokeh


If it is smooth and different from the Pentax I think I could be happy with the lens. I found all the Pentax 50mm lenses to have smoother bokeh in the foreground OOF stuff than in the background. I have then tried around a dozen fast 50mm lenses without finding anyone with both good contrast and resolution and smooth OOF background. Can this be it?

Patiently waiting... No teaser?!



Jun 30, 2008 at 10:50 PM
hubsand
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Sigma 50mm: Marmite Bokeh


Jonas B wrote:
I have then tried around a dozen fast 50mm lenses without finding anyone with both good contrast and resolution and smooth OOF background. Can this be it?


It's definitely that. I've only shot 30/40 images with it so far, but the bokeh is so smooth, I'm not sure I like it. It has something of the Minolta STF about it! It draws 'busy' areas beautifully, but it blurs light sources into utterly defocused blobs. While this is commonly considered desirable, it doesn't always make a better picture. Shooting lights at night, a uniformly bright boundary around a disc can be more attractive . . .



Jul 01, 2008 at 06:36 AM
hubsand
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Sigma 50mm: Marmite Bokeh


In summary:

Strengths:
--------------
Exceptionally sharp from f1.4 f2; maybe the best resolving 50mm ever at wide apertures.
Great coatings: superb flare resistance and internal reflection control.
Unusually smooth and well behaved bokeh: think Minolta STF.
Responsive and silent HSM autofocus.
Neutral colour.
Excellent geometry.

Weaknesses:
-------------------
Strong field curvature: not suitable for copy work.
At sub-2m range, not as impressive as you might expect from f4-f11; not significantly sharper than a 24-105L. Field curvature makes it hard to obtain consistently good results in this range.
AF movement quick but somewhat indecisive. Not specially fast in real terms.
Surprisingly prominent CA from f2.8-f11 though well controlled at wider apertures.

So what we have is a specialised tool, precisely optimised for wide aperture performance. As a general purpose 50mm, it's nothing special any properly sorted zoom will match or best it's resolving ability from f4-f11 and it is convincingly bettered by most primes in this aperture range, but it sings at very wide apertures: the combination of brilliant coatings, scalpel-sharp f1.4 performance and peach-soft bokeh make this the perfect companion to a 50 Macro and might make my CZ50 and Minolta 58/1.2 redundant. Test v 50L coming . . .

Edited on Jul 01, 2008 at 09:08 AM



Jul 01, 2008 at 08:40 AM
justruss
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Sigma 50mm: Marmite Bokeh


hubsand wrote:
and might make my CZ50 and Minolta 58/1.2 redundant. Test v 50L coming . . .


Wow... if that is the case, what a short-lived ascendency for the rokkor 58mm. I still have a feeling the rokkor will stick around-- it's just too cool.



Jul 01, 2008 at 10:44 AM
hubsand
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Sigma 50mm: Marmite Bokeh


Crucially, the Rokkor is also half a stop faster which is a big plus especially if you're buying for bokeh.

Edited on Jul 01, 2008 at 11:58 AM



Jul 01, 2008 at 11:57 AM
ovredal73
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Sigma 50mm: Marmite Bokeh


The Rokkor and its likes of course does require you to enjoy manual focusing...


Jul 01, 2008 at 01:02 PM
gasrocks
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Sigma 50mm: Marmite Bokeh


OK, I'm convinced. I just pre-ordered my Sigma at Amazon.


Jul 01, 2008 at 02:15 PM
cogitech
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Sigma 50mm: Marmite Bokeh


Keep in mind, Mark, that your Rokkor's performance is not representative of what one should expect from this lens, according to the sample shots you sent to me. Not sure why we never finished that conversation.

Still, the Sigma sounds compelling (the strengths, anyway). Looking forward to the samples.



Jul 01, 2008 at 02:18 PM
CKrueger
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Sigma 50mm: Marmite Bokeh


Sounds like it might be a viable 85/1.2-alike for APS-C users, only with more DOF and a third the price tag.

I'd love to see some portrait samples from this lens, especially compared to the likes of the Canon 50/1.2 and Minolta 58/1.2.



Jul 01, 2008 at 02:18 PM
 

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teh_rebel
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Sigma 50mm: Marmite Bokeh


hmm sounds interesting. when i shoot with primes, i typically shoot between f1.2-f2.8 anyways


Jul 01, 2008 at 02:21 PM
hubsand
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Sigma 50mm: Marmite Bokeh


cogitech wrote:
Keep in mind, Mark, that your Rokkor's performance is not representative of what one should expect from this lens, according to the sample shots you sent to me. Not sure why we never finished that conversation.

Still, the Sigma sounds compelling (the strengths, anyway). Looking forward to the samples.


The sample we were looking at wasn't properly fettled for infinity focus. I'll be running some more controlled tests vs. various lenses with the Rokkor in better shape. It would be fascinating to run a comparison under the same circumstances between my sample and the best of those you have for sale, Paul . . .



Jul 01, 2008 at 03:32 PM
hubsand
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Sigma 50mm: Marmite Bokeh


Here's the Pentax Super Takumar, Pentax SMC Takumar, Sigma 50/1.4 and Zeiss 50/1.4 AE ('Ninja Star') from left to right: background bokeh at f2:







Jul 01, 2008 at 03:44 PM
hubsand
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Sigma 50mm: Marmite Bokeh


. . . and the same again at f1.4:






You might want to step back from your screen a bit . . .

Edited on Jul 01, 2008 at 03:49 PM



Jul 01, 2008 at 03:45 PM
ovredal73
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Sigma 50mm: Marmite Bokeh


Wow. That is a big difference. The Sigma bokeh has just a completely different character - so smooth.


Jul 01, 2008 at 03:57 PM
brainiac
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Sigma 50mm: Marmite Bokeh


Hmmm. I probably won't be buying the sigma then.


Jul 01, 2008 at 04:18 PM
edwardkaraa
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Sigma 50mm: Marmite Bokeh


I find the Sigma bokeh terrible.


Jul 01, 2008 at 04:22 PM
Jonas B
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Sigma 50mm: Marmite Bokeh


brainiac wrote:
Hmmm. I probably won't be buying the sigma then.


edwardkaraa wrote:
I find the Sigma bokeh terrible.


Wow. I'm delighted. To me the Sigma crops look great. I'll buy one to compensate a little.



Jul 01, 2008 at 04:35 PM
cogitech
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Sigma 50mm: Marmite Bokeh


hubsand wrote:
The sample we were looking at wasn't properly fettled for infinity focus. I'll be running some more controlled tests vs. various lenses with the Rokkor in better shape. It would be fascinating to run a comparison under the same circumstances between my sample and the best of those you have for sale, Paul . . .


It would. Unfortunately I have none for sale.



Jul 01, 2008 at 04:51 PM
hubsand
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Sigma 50mm: Marmite Bokeh


As I was looking at these, I did actually think: 'Richard is going to hate the Sigma'.

I've always been a bit mystified by the 'good' and 'bad' bokeh comments: the only thing that seems consistently objectionable, aesthetically, is a distractingly busy rendering of foliage and grass. Lenses that are good at this usually have 'weakly' drawn defocused highlights, and personally, I don't mind a nice, uniformly circumscribed light disc.

What also pushes my buttons is a loathing of hexagonal (or, worse, pentagonal) discs or those that distort at the frame edge. The Sigma scores points in my book for keeping it circular right up to f5.6.

It might be regarded as 'good bokeh' not to outline this defocused white power lead, but again I'm not sure it looks right though the Sigma handles foliage with aplomb. Perhaps Richard's 'more interesting' Zeiss bokeh is preferable here . . .






You'll notice here that the Sigma 50mm f1.4 seems a fair bit shorter (in focal length) than most 50mm lenses.

Edited on Jul 01, 2008 at 05:05 PM



Jul 01, 2008 at 04:58 PM
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