We Review the Sigma 56mm f/1.4 DC DN Contemporary Lens

As part of Sigma’s Contemporary lens line, the 56mm f/1.4 DC DN is designed to offer exceptional image quality and performance all in a small, convenient package. With a 35mm equivalent of 84mm, this lens is great for portraiture, street photography, pet photography, travel work, and any low-light shooting situations.

Specifications

  • 10 elements in 6 groups 
  • Angle of View 28.5° (Sony E, L Mount, Fujifilm X), 26.9° (Canon EF-M), 21.9° (Micro 4/3)
  • Number of Diaphragm Blades: 9 (rounded)
  • Maximum Aperture: f/1.4
  • Minimum Aperture f/16
  • Minimum Focusing Distance: 50 cm / 19.7 in.
  • Filter Size: 55 mm
  • Maximum Magnification: 1:7.4
  • Weight: 280 g / 9.9 oz. (Sony E, Canon EF-M, Fujifilm X), 285g / 10.1 oz. (L Mount), 256 g / 9.0 oz. (Micro 4/3)
  • Dimensions: 66.5 x 59.5mm / 2.6 x 2.3 in. (Sony E, Canon EF-M), 66.5 x 59.8mm / 2.6 x 2.4 in. (Fujifilm X), 66.5 x 57.5mm / 2.6 x 2.3 in. (L Mount), 66.5 x 58.1mm / 2.6 x 2.3 in. (Micro 4/3)

Build Quality

The 56mm f/1.4 is made very well and has a premium fit and finish. The lens has a large, rubberized focusing ring and a weather-sealed brass mount that fits snugly to the camera body. When fitted to the Fujifilm X-T4, it feels similar in build quality to the camera and makes for a great pairing. The lens is constructed of TSC (Thermally Stable Composite), which is less susceptible to deforming than aluminum and results in a precision construction.  

Ergonomics and Handling

One of the best things about this lens is how compact it is. The 56mm is a small, yet fast option that will travel well for street photographers or those out for a day taking portraits. The large focusing ring is appreciated and makes manual focusing a breeze. Even with the lens hood attached, the lens retains a quite compact form. The size and shape of the lens make it a perfect balance for a camera like the Fujifilm X-T4, and taking it along for a full day of shooting was enjoyable without the combo ever feeling heavy or burdensome. The only criticism I have regarding the handling is that the lens lacks a physical aperture ring. This is by no means a dealbreaker for me, but I would prefer the physical aperture ring over using the rear command dial on the camera to change the aperture. If you are using a camera without analog dials, this is obviously not a concern.

Performance

The focusing on the 56mm is fast and quiet, and I found it to be similar in speed and accuracy to the Fujifilm 16-55mm f/2.8, which I have used extensively. In video as well as with still photos, the lens focuses smoothly without a lot of hunting. I did have an issue with brightly backlit subjects, however, especially when taking pictures with a bright sun in the background. Since the X-T4 struggles in this situation no matter which lens is attached, it is more likely the limits of the camera than any limitation in the lens that I experienced.

Image Quality

The image quality of the 56mm is excellent. I shot a variety of images over the course of a few days and was impressed by the sharpness, color saturation, and overall quality. I took the lens along for a day of shooting portraits and scenery in a beautiful town on Long Island called Northport, as well as to a local nature trail. Although I used a few of Fujifilm’s native film simulations, most of the images I took were in the standard Provia simulation and edited in post. As expected, this lens is wonderful for portraiture and provides pleasing bokeh and skin tones. According to Sigma, the Super Multi-Layer Coating of the 56mm makes it resistant to flaring and ghosting when photographing with a strong backlight. I found that in my images, the flaring was very well controlled, as in the photo of my daughter above. Overall, I was quite pleased with the image quality.

Conclusion

This is the second Sigma Contemporary lens I’ve tested, and as with the 18-50mm f/2.8 that I previously used, I was extremely impressed with the 56mm regarding build quality, size, handling, and image quality. The lens is an excellent value for the dollar and robust enough for everything from professional to casual use. Photographers who do a lot of outdoor work in a variety of weather conditions will appreciate the robust construction that it is dust- and moisture-resistant. Finally, the small footprint means that the 56mm f/1.4 will pair nicely with many compact cameras and even the not-so-compact ones. The lens is available for Canon EF-M, Micro Four Thirds, Sony E, Leica L, and Fujifilm X Mount cameras. 

What I Like

  • Robust Build Quality
  • Weather-sealed Metal Mount
  • Quick and Silent Autofocus
  • Excellent Image Quality
  • Compact Size

What I Don't Like

  • No Aperture Ring

You can pick up a Sigma 56mm f/1.4 DC DN Contemporary lens by clicking here.

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2 Comments
Michelle VanTine's picture

Love this review! You son (I assume) is so cute. I'm working on my reviews this week

Pete Coco's picture

Thanks Michelle! That's my mini-me LOL