Sigma 50-100/1.8 DC HSM Art review
The hero of this review – Sigma 50-100/1.8 DC HSM Art was designed to work with APS-C DSLRs. Sigma has given to owners of APS-C cameras the ability to replace a set of fixed focal length lenses and not to loose in the aperture ratio, and most importantly – in image quality only by using two F/1.8 lenses (Sigma Art 18-35mm DC HSM and 50-100mm DC HSM).
Sigma 50-100/1.8 DC HSM Art is the third unique in luminosity lens with a variable focal length in the line of the company. Sigma 50-100mm release date was February 2016.
Sigma Art 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM – “the most mass-produced high-aperture zoom lens for SLR cameras in the history of photography at the time of its announcement” was produced in 2013.
Sigma Art 24-35/2.0 DG HSM – “the most high-aperture zoom lens for full-frame cameras with a fixed aperture of f/2.0 on the whole focus range”, available from 2015.
– Focal length: 50 – 100 mm
– Equivalent focal length: 80 – 160 mm (Canon), 75 – 150 mm (Nikon, Sigma)
– Angle of view: 31.7 – 16.2 degrees
– Lens Construction: 21 elements in 15 groups
– Aperture range: f/1.8 – f/16
– Number of diaphragm blades: 9, rounded
– Auto focus type: HSM ultrasonic motor
– Closest focusing distance: 0.95 m
– Maximum magnification: 1:6.7
– Filter diameter: 82 mm
– Dimensions: 94 x 170.5 mm
– Weight: 1491 g
The lens is available for Canon, Nikon and Sigma cameras.
Sigma 50-100 mm F/1.8 DC HSM ART is sold with front and rear caps, hood Sigma LH880-02 and case for storage and transportation with shoulder strap.
Tripod adapter for the lens of such size and weight – not an accessory, but a necessity. Perhaps that is why Sigma has made it non-removable. Adapter is made qualitatively and successfully performs its functions.
The hood LH880-02 has wide rubber band. It causes a feeling of reasonableness and is very comfortable.
I’ll start with the conclusion: Sigma 50-100/1.8 DC HSM Art has all characteristic features of Sigma Art line, refers to the upper segment of zoom lenses: impressive design, good construction and used materials.
Bayonet mount is made of brass, the base of the body is metal, all plastic parts are made of Thermally Stable Composite compound material – polycarbonate, looking and feeling like metal and having a similar with aluminum thermal characteristics, rubber zoom and manual focusing rings. The middle part of the lens doesn’t have a window of distances and a switch of auto focus modes. Its ribbed surface is made to prevent hands slipping and helps to install and remove the lens.
Controls are presented by window of distances, zoom and manual focus rings, auto focus mode switch. Rings are located conveniently: the manual focus ring is located closer to the front element; zoom ring is located in the middle of the lens body.
Zoom ring is perfectly damped, rotates with smooth effort without jerks and jamming. An effort is a little more than usual. The ring is wide – 34 mm, its 20 mm middle part is covered with rubber. Zoom ring rotation is slightly less than 90 degrees.
Sigma 50-100 F1.8 DC HSM Art 100mm F2.8
Manual focus ring is 46 mm wide, 34 of which are covered with grooved rubber. Rotation of the ring is sufficient for comfortable work – about 150 degrees. The lens does not change its size during focusing; the front element does not rotate.
Auto focus mode switch is located conveniently and has a comfortable size.
Sigma 50-100/1.8 DC HSM Art is easy to use despite the fact that it has such a big weight and size. According to these parameters, it is comparable with the family of 70-200/2.8 lenses.
Overall: the lens has excellent built quality and attractive design on the one hand; big weight and lack of dust and moisture protection on the other hand.
Sigma 50 100 mm f1 8 dc hsm art controls geometric distortion very well. Its level does not exceed the comfort level of 1% for most focal lengths, the nature of distortion is correct and it is easy removable during post processing.
Sigma 50-100 F1.8 DC HSM Art 55mm F2.8
Resolution and sharpness
Sigma 50-100/1.8 DC HSM Art is a very sharp lens from F/1.8 for all focal lengths, even at the corners of the frame.
The lens makes it possible not to think at what aperture to shoot. I was really impressed by its resolution comparable with the best representatives of fixed focal lenses family.
Vignetting is not a problem for Sigma 50-100/1.8 DC HSM Art: it shows results comparable to fixed focal length lenses even at F/1.8. Low vignetting level and excellent sharpness make a range of F/1.8 – F/2.0 fully operational.
At 50 mm focal length and F/1.8 corners of the frame are darker then the center for 1.6 stop, at F/2.0 – 1 stop. At F/2.8 the vignetting on real images is unnoticeable.
At 70 mm focal length and F/1.8 vignetting level is close to 1 stop is reduced to comfort level of 0.88 stop already at F/2.0.
Vignetting level is the highest at 100 mm and F/1.8 (about 1.8 stop), but at F/2.8 the vignetting on real images is unnoticeable. Excellent results!
Sigma 50-100/1.8 DC HSM Art struggles well with chromatic aberrations in the range of 80 – 100 mm. At the wide angle (focal lengths 50 – 75 mm) the level of chromatic aberrations is a bit higher, but it will not be a problem for you.
Sigma 50-100 F1.8 DC HSM Art 62mm F1.8
Sigma 50-100/1.8 DC HSM Art uses ultrasonic motor in auto focus drive, the AF process is quick and silent. Run from closest focusing distance to infinity and back takes a little less than 1 second.
The lens that I tested had no front or back focus.
Sigma 50-100/1.8 DC HSM Art is able to generate sharp, contrast, with attractive colors image even at F/1.8. Color reproduction can be called typical for Sigma lenses.
Bokeh is correct and attractive at all focal range. An equivalent focal length of 80 – 160 mm with working aperture F/1.8 – F/2.8 makes Sigma 50-100/1.8 DC HSM Art a portrait “all-in-one” lens: it is able to replace 85 mm, 100 mm and 135 mm lenses, adding intermediate focal lengths and extending the range up to 160 mm in equivalent.
Sigma 50-100/1.8 DC HSM Art came into my personal “top list” of lenses. Not only because of its unique technical characteristics (agree that F/1.8 zoom lenses can be counted on the fingers of one hand), but first of all by excellent workmanship and almost perfect quality of the generated image. Let’s list Sigma 50-100/1.8 advantages:
– The quality of workmanship and materials
– Intelligent design
– A rich complete set of delivery
– Effective geometric distortions control
– High resolution and uniform sharpness across the image at all apertures
– Extremely low vignetting
– Good “picture” and attractive bokeh
Sigma 50-100/1.8 DC HSM Art disadvantages:
– Weak backlight protection
– The absence of dust and moisture protection
One could add weight and dimensions of the hero of our review to disadvantages, but it is impossible today to make a compact and lightweight lens with such image quality and constant F/1.8 aperture.
What is the result? Sigma 50-100/1.8 DC HSM Art is an attractive “portrait” zoom lens for the owners of APS-C cameras. Highly recommend.