Sigma’s third f/1.4 prime lens for Sony E and Micro Four Thirds mounts has arrived. Michael Topham offers his verdict
Sigma 56mm f/1.4 DC DN Contemporary review: Features
Without having to create an image circle large enough to cover a 35mm full frame sensor, the lens is relatively small and light, especially when you consider that it has an f/1.4 maximum aperture. It’s the smallest of the three DC DN lenses Sigma has made and is noticeably more compact than the company’s 16mm f/1.4 DC DN C. The optical construction is made up of 10 elements in 6 groups, and to ensure it offers high-performance at an affordable price point, one special low dispersion (SLD) glass element and two aspherical elements are used to curtail optical aberrations. To help reduce flare, Sigma’s Super Multi-Layer coatings are also applied to the front element.
There obviously isn’t much point having an f/1.4 aperture if it renders unattractive hexagonal bokeh, so Sigma has sensibly employed nine rounded aperture blades. These are clearly visible when you peer down the barrel and help to ensure that when the lens is stopped down to its widest aperture settings, the out-of-focus areas show attractive circular specular highlights and smooth transitions.
The lens doesn’t offer any form of optical stabilisation and is electronically controlled throughout. There is no aperture ring and the focus ring is a fly-by-wire electronic affair, just like Sigma’s other DC DN primes. To make focusing fast and smooth, the lens features a stepping motor that goes about its business quickly and quietly. Added to all this, the autofocus is fully compatible with Sony’s Fast Hybrid AF system and excellent AF tracking and Eye AF modes.
Other noteworthy features include its 50cm minimum focusing distance and the acceptance of filters and adapters via a 55mm filter thread at the front. It’s at this point I should also point out the lens employs internal focusing, so should you use an ND grad or polarising filter with it, you will not have to worry about the front turning or extending when focusing.
The lens weighs a mere 280g on the scales. As part of the boxed contents you get front and rear caps and a plastic hood (LH582-01) that can be reversed when it’s not being used.