If You Shoot Sony, You've Got To Try This Lens

If You Shoot Sony, You've Got To Try This Lens

Sigma has built a solid reputation for its commitment to innovation and excellence in its ever-increasing range of photography lenses. The Contemporary series offers a very high-quality glass and price-friendly option for all photographers.

Their Art series of lenses is comparable and sometimes better in quality than native lenses at a slightly higher price bracket, and yet still lower than the native lens prices. This pursuit of top-quality performance at an affordable price bracket has made premium quality glass more accessible to a broader audience, boosting Sigma’s reputation even further.

I’ve been fortunate to test and try quite a few of their Contemporary range for the Fuji system and ended up purchasing one of them due to the rival quality of the native lens and, in doing so, saved a few hundred dollars. However, I’ve never had the opportunity to test and review any of their Art lenses... until now.

You’ve probably read or watched other reviews about the Sigma 50mm F1.2 DG DN | Art Lens with a large majority of them raving about it. The quality of the glass, the build quality, the resulting images, the price. Well, I can say they were not wrong, this is a lens you must try. I tested it out for a month on the Sony a7R V, and I only regret that I had to return it.  

Build Quality

The lens is robust, thanks to its solid metal construction that feels reassuringly substantial in hand. The native Sony weighs 778g, whereas the Sigma is only 38g lighter at 740g, so there is no real difference in weight. It's a large lens at 110.08mm but not so large that you feel as if you are lugging it around, and to be honest, considering the glass that’s involved, it’s not that big.

With 17 Elements in 12 groups, 13 rounded aperture blades, and a 72mm filter, the lens certainly delivers in terms of image quality. A maximum aperture of f1.2 - f16 ensures that all photographic scenarios are covered, and a minimum focusing distance of 40cm allows for close-proximity shooting with lots of detail.

The smooth, matte finish not only enhances its aesthetic appeal but also provides a secure grip, ensuring steady handling even in challenging shooting conditions. The focus ring is responsive and has good friction control for fine-tuning. There’s an aperture ring on the lens that can be clicked or de-clicked depending on your preference. The aforementioned is one of 4 buttons that can be found on the lens, with the other 3 being AFL, which can be customized on certain cameras, an AF/MF button, and an aperture lock button.

The lens is dust and splash-resistant, and includes an oil- and water-repellent coating on the front element, which worked very well during the time I used the lens. There is no image stabilization on the lens, but I never found this to be an issue due to the Sony a7R V in-body stabilization.


When it comes to performance, the Sigma 50mm f/1.2 DG DN | Art lens truly shines, delivering exceptional results across a wide range of scenarios. During my time with the lens, I carried it everywhere, and not once did I remove it from the camera; this was simply due to the image quality the lens provided.

Thanks to Sigma's dual HLA (High-response Linear Actuator) motors, the autofocus is fast, silent, and with Sony’s eye tracking, worked effortlessly for video both images and video with no problems whatsoever. I was confidently able to capture fast-moving subjects with ease. 

I only managed one studio session with the lens, and it worked effortlessly, providing highly detailed results. This prime lens, as you would expect, is sharp, but I wasn’t expecting just as sharp for almost $500 less than Sony’s native lens; it’s an absolute joy to use.

With the lens being 50mm it’s not the ideal focal length for wider vistas so panorama stitching came into play when required. Although with the camera megapixels it created processor-wrenching high file sizes they were certainly worth it in terms of the quality of the image.At F1.2 the bokeh of the lens is lovely and smooth proving a gradual effect with fantastic results. Rarely did I capture any images at this aperture, mainly positioning myself between f2.8 - f16. This was not because of any issues at f1.2, it was simply a choice on my part.Details are sharp and crisp throughout the frame even when zoomed at 100% and there is no noticeable loss of contrast or color. 

The images in the gallery have all been reduced to a 2000px long edge with minimal editing in most cases to ensure that you can see the quality of the lens.


1. Exceptional build quality: Solid metal construction with weather-sealing for durability and reliability.
2. Bright f1.2 aperture allows for impressive low-light performance and beautiful background blur.
3. Outstanding image quality. The sharpness, contrast, and color rendition are fantastic across the frame.
4. Fast and accurate autofocus
5. Versatile focal length  Ideal for portraits, street photography, landscapes, and more.


As this is a positive review I found it very difficult to find any cons with the lens, so below are a couple of points to consider.

1. Size. if you are looking for a compact set-up, at 110mm this might be more than you are after.
2. The price. Although more than worth it, the lens may be out of reach for some enthusiasts. 


The Sigma 50mm F1.2 DG DN | Art lens for Sony E mount would be a fantastic addition to any photographer’s toolkit, offering exceptional build quality, superb performance, and versatility. I only had the lens for a month, and yet even after the first day — no the first hour with the lens — I could see that someday I would be adding this to my kit. Lovely bokeh, sharp images, portable, the lens did everything I wanted with ease and reliability. I knew that if I got the focus right, the returning image would be sharp, thanks to the quality of the glass and the overall performance of the lens.

While the price may deter some, if you want quality and performance you will definitely find it to be a worthwhile investment. If you are interested to find out more and purchase one for yourself, you can do it here.

Gary McIntyre's picture

Gary McIntyre is a landscape photographer and digital artist based on the west coast of Scotland. As well as running photography workshops in the Glencoe region, providing online editing workshops, Gary also teaches photography and image editing at Ayrshire college.

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Unfortunately, "trying" means buying. I already have the 55 1.8 and I love its compactness and crisp character. It does feel a bit digital. For studio portraits, I use a converted Leica R 90mm f/2 Summicron. Also wondering how representing the vast landscapes benefits from a 1.2 max aperture? But then, if it were offered to me for a trial, I probably would have enjoyed it too.

--- "Unfortunately, "trying" means buying."

Not if you are renting. :)

Using it for landscapes is simply to show the versatility of, in this case, the 50mm prime.I wouldn't personally shoot landscapes at f1.2, but you never know the opportunity might arise :)
As Black Z Eddie suggests renting is a great option before committing to a larger purchase.

A little off topic here. I know the art lenses are excellent because I used to use them on Nikon F-mount bodies. I don't know of any FF Art lenses for Nikon Z-mount. My favorite lens on my FF D850 was the 24-105 Art. While the new Sigma lenses are great for Sony, they're irrelevant for Nikon users. Sigma also used to make much more exciting and exotic lenses. The 300-800 F5.6, 120-300 2.8 Sport, 150-600 Art, 12-24 Art, and others put Sigma on the map as a serious contender. I don't even bother checking out Sigma lenses anymore. The action seems to be coming from the Chinese lens makers such as the pretty sharp Laowa FF 10mm F2.8, rectilinear AF lens.

Well, that's because Nikon and Canon won't allow Sigma to make lenses for their 24x36mm sensors. It's not Sigmas fault.

But for L and E mount users there's heaps of fabulous options. The 150-600 you mention was a Sport, not an Art and that's been updated for E and L mount. There's a 60-600 Sport and the fabulous 500 f5.6 Sport. The *i* series is tiny and sharp and heaps of lovely new Art lenses to play with including a 105 f 1.4 and a f1.4 fisheye!

Nikon and Canon's decisions just hurt their customers and push more people toward Sony.

I’ve had the 55mm f1.8 since I went Sony with the AR72 back in 2017 when there were precious few lens options compared to now when we are spoilt for choice. I think the Zeiss 55 it’s a super lens and this Sigma would have to be something really special to beat it. I’m not sure what you mean about it being ‘a bit digital’ it’s glass like every other lens! Im not sure how its light transmission qualities could be described as digital. Sharp yes, digital!