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Thread: Sigma 50mm 1.4 "portrait lens"

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    Sigma 50mm 1.4 "portrait lens"

    I've just had an interesting discussion/debate with a guy in one of Sydneys camera shops after taking this lens back querying it's sharpness (purchased from them 3 months ago)
    I showed him how I could manual focus it to be much sharper than with auto focus which looked soft at 2.0 aperture in both cases

    His argument was that it was a portrait lens & wasn't supposed to be sharp as such
    while I agree with him partially in that super sharpness doesn't make for a good portrait, I still think its a bit of a cop out that it can't auto focus to it's capability as it does in MF

    I don't necessarily want to restrict myself to taking only portraits with it, so there begins the debate:

    Would you expect any lens, including this one, to be sharp as a sign of quality or should you not expect so much because it is a "portrait lens"

    Thoughts anybody ?
    Bryan

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    Moderately Underexposed I @ M's Avatar
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    Lack of sharpness doesn't seem to be one of that lenses bad traits.

    Focus issues are I suspect more of the problem than anything else so it may need an adjustment to get in tune with your camera.
    Under warranty I suspect that the distributors will be happy to have a look at it.

    I've just had an interesting discussion/debate with a guy in one of Sydneys camera shops after taking this lens back querying it's sharpness
    I think he has a bright future working for hardly normal rather than a dedicated camera store.
    Did you ask his opinions on BBQs while you were there?
    Andrew
    Nikon, Fuji, Nikkor, Sigma, Tamron, Tokina and too many other bits and pieces to list.



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    I shoot with a 50-mm and finish with a 300-mm shooting portrait's...... the variance in focal lengths to give a different view of fore grounds & backgrounds, find longer lens give a more controlled point of focus and DOF out in the open and will fore shorten the background while making your subject stand out a lot more..... indoors 50-mm to 200-mm and this will depend on the amount of room you have got to work with........ there are no hard and set rules for what lens to use, but you use the lens that will make your subject a standout...... I like to make the subject the hero and use everything else to make the hero standout....

    remember that portraits can be head shots with some b/ground to full lengths with lots of back ground to tell a story, and any where in-between

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    Sigma 50mm 1.4 "portrait lens"

    Wow, a portrait lens should be soft, omg, I think I'm going to have kittens, name and shame that store


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    'in lens' skin smoothing??
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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    That would be a store, and in particular!.. a salesperson to avoid next time.

    At f/1.4 they can be dreamy, but with copious amounts of USM they're still sharp lenses.

    At f/2 you should have razor sharp images irrespective of what focus method you're using.

    They are renowned for focusing issues as Andrew pointed out.

    Does your camera have Live view?

    is so, and on a tripod, use Lv mode and see if you can get better focus in that AF mode too.

    Do you have AF fine tune adjustment in your camera as well. try that as well.

    At least with armed with more knowledge, you'll be better able to tackle any problem.

    Mine is 90% good(accurate) but sometimes it does want to miss the target too, even if I refocus properly, and I AF again, it wants to defocus instead of holding the correctly set focus adjustment I'd just made. Then a few moments later, on a different subject it'll work perfectly!

    maybe it is self aware? Maybe it knows it's a portrait lens and wants to produce softly focused dreamy looking portraits of a flattering nature... despite best efforts to the contrary
    Nikon D800E, D300, D70s
    {Nikon} -> 50/1.2 : 500/8(CPU'd) : 105/2.8VR Micro : 180/2.8ais : 105mm f/1.8ais : 24mm/2ais
    {Sigma}; ->10-20/4-5.6 : 50/1.4 : 12-24/4.5-5.6II : 150-600mm|S
    {Tamron}; -> 17-50/2.8 : 28-75/2.8 : 70-200/2.8 : 300/2.8 SP MF : 24-70/2.8VC


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    Thanks for the input guys
    I don't really want to flame this guy or "name & shame" him as you put it

    he was kinda helpful in directing me as to how I could get it checked out by the aus dealer/supplier, I suppose while I was there he wanted to add his 2c worth


    Quote Originally Posted by arthurking83 View Post
    That would be a store, and in particular!.. a salesperson to avoid next time.

    At f/1.4 they can be dreamy, but with copious amounts of USM they're still sharp lenses.

    At f/2 you should have razor sharp images irrespective of what focus method you're using.

    They are renowned for focusing issues as Andrew pointed out.

    Does your camera have Live view?

    is so, and on a tripod, use Lv mode and see if you can get better focus in that AF mode too.

    Do you have AF fine tune adjustment in your camera as well. try that as well.

    At least with armed with more knowledge, you'll be better able to tackle any problem.

    Mine is 90% good(accurate) but sometimes it does want to miss the target too, even if I refocus properly, and I AF again, it wants to defocus instead of holding the correctly set focus adjustment I'd just made. Then a few moments later, on a different subject it'll work perfectly!

    maybe it is self aware? Maybe it knows it's a portrait lens and wants to produce softly focused dreamy looking portraits of a flattering nature... despite best efforts to the contrary
    AK
    Thats it in a nutshell, although I'd have to say more like 60%, it doesn't seem to be consistent with AF, one shots good the next is crap

    I micro adjusted to 8+ last week and its sharp when it wants to be

    LV & viewfinder AF don't differ either, still random good/bad focus

    I'll take it to C.R Kennedy soon, & see what they think

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    good job not naming and shaming. we dont really want that sort of thing here...

    so portrait lenses are supposed to be soft? thats new to me! I'd be not going back and if the guy that served you wasnt the owner i'd be reporting him to his boss... thats shameful!

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    The Sigmalux is an awesome sharp lens, in fact its often reviewed as being sharper than any Canon/Nikon equivalent.
    Mine was recailbrated for front focusing issues a few months back, now its dead accurate.
    Prior to that i used the microfocus to adjust, but the degree of misfocus was still annoying.

    Since urs was purchased 3 months ago, take it to CR Kennedy for a free calibration to make it a keeper.
    Canon User

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    Yeah I would get it recalibrated by Sigma. As R1 says it is one of the sharpest 50's made especially wide open.

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    Leigh
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    I have the same lens and when the focus is on, I have no concerns about its sharpness. Even wide open, I found it to be very sharp. However, front focusing is a known issue with the Sigma 50, particularly with the Canon version (I was advised that 1 in 5 need calibration which sounds rather high). And that includes mine, which is currently down with CRK to have its front focusing tendencies eliminated (arranged by the store from which I purchased it).
    Canon DSLRs & lenses | Fuji X series & lenses | Ricoh GR


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    A Happy ending

    Quote Originally Posted by R1titan View Post
    The Sigmalux is an awesome sharp lens, in fact its often reviewed as being sharper than any Canon/Nikon equivalent.
    Mine was recailbrated for front focusing issues a few months back, now its dead accurate.
    Prior to that i used the microfocus to adjust, but the degree of misfocus was still annoying.

    Since urs was purchased 3 months ago, take it to CR Kennedy for a free calibration to make it a keeper.
    Hats off to CR Kennedy

    they had the lens & my 7D for just over a week (sending it to Melbourne for calibration)
    & now it really is a good lens to use - very sharp & great auto focus,
    Definitely a keeper now!

    Thanks again for all the help & Input

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    I too have this lens and had to send it off to CR Kennedy. Came back perfect on my 40D!

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    Nice to know that if you purchase an Australian distributed Sigma lens that CR Kennedy will look after any defects.

    I think we all need to keep this in mind when purchasing Sigma because I don't believe that service is available when you purchase imports.

    Does anyone know how much it costs to get a lens calibrated by a lens repair group? Anyone had it done? Would be interesting to know what sort of cost is involved.

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    Quote Originally Posted by B D H View Post

    His argument was that it was a portrait lens & wasn't supposed to be sharp as such
    Gold medal for most stupid comment of 2010, bar none ...
    Hi Im Darren

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    Quote Originally Posted by bigdazzler View Post
    Gold medal for most stupid comment of 2010, bar none ...

    Yeah, If I could be bothered going into town, I'd like to show him how I've ruined a perfectly good "portrait lens" by having it calibrated and making it sharp

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    Quote Originally Posted by B D H View Post
    Hats off to CR Kennedy

    they had the lens & my 7D for just over a week (sending it to Melbourne for calibration)
    & now it really is a good lens to use - very sharp & great auto focus,
    Definitely a keeper now!

    Thanks again for all the help & Input

    Glad u decided to go down that road, no regrets i bet !

    They only had mine for 2 days and requested that i bring it down together with a camera body without any microadjust, so i brought the 5D classic to help with the calibration.
    I should also mention that it now focuses accurately on all my other bodies too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by R1titan View Post
    Glad u decided to go down that road, no regrets i bet !

    They only had mine for 2 days and requested that i bring it down together with a camera body without any microadjust, so i brought the 5D classic to help with the calibration.
    I should also mention that it now focuses accurately on all my other bodies too.
    really? i was wondering if i purchased a new body (7D or 5D II) would it focus fine on all bodies. this is good to know!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Regnis View Post
    really? i was wondering if i purchased a new body (7D or 5D II) would it focus fine on all bodies. this is good to know!
    I dont see why not if its well calibrated, although there's always going to be some focus disparities between differing body/lens combinations.
    I've since used my sigmalux with my other bodies including the 50D and 5D2 without any hiccups or need for microadjust.

    btw, calibration is much more successful on primes rather than zooms (obviously, lol)

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