Sigma’s 50mm f/1.4 DG DN is the first Art series lens to contain their new HLA focus motor

Feb 7, 2023

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

Sigma’s 50mm f/1.4 DG DN is the first Art series lens to contain their new HLA focus motor

Feb 7, 2023

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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After much rumour and leaking, Sigma has now officially announced the new Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG DN Art series lens for mirrorless cameras. Coming specifically for Sony E and Leica L mounts, the new lens sees a complete redesign over the old 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art series lens for DSLRs. Like its DSLR predecessor, it’s designed for full-frame cameras, and boasts “outstanding edge-to-edge imaging performance”.

It’s also the first lens in Sigma’s Art series of lenses to sport Sigma’s new High-response Linear Actuator (HLA) autofocus motor. This system was first introduced in the recently released 60-600mm DG DN OS Sports lens and allows the 50mm f/1.4 DG DN Art to achieve “swift and silent autofocus” for both stills and video.

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Sigma says that the 50mm f/1.4 DG DN Art is “the new standard for artistic expression”, offering “uncompromising optical performance”. If its predecessor is anything to go by, I wouldn’t doubt it. The new mirrorless design allows for the lens to be slimmer and more compact than the old DG HSM version for DSLRs, and the new HLA motor should offer a big autofocus speed improvement. In conjunction with Eye Autofocus (on cameras with phase detection autofocus), it should be pretty rapid.

The lens barrel features the usual focus mode switch that lets you quickly go between manual and autofocus. Another switch lets you de-click the aperture, letting you turn it on and off at will, depending on whether you’re shooting stills or video. An aperture ring lock switch also ensures it doesn’t accidentally get changed when you don’t want it to, as well.

The release of the 50mm f/1.4 DG DN Art pretty much completes the f/1.4 Art series primes lineup for mirrorless cameras, joining the 20mm f/1.4 DG DN, 24mm f/1.4 DG DN, 35mm f/1.4 DG DN and 85mm f/1.4 DG DN Art series lenses. Yes, there’s still one missing. There’s no word yet on when we might see the 105mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art lens upgraded to DG DN status – or if it’ll come at all – but we’ll keep you posted if we hear anything.

Focal length50mm
Max aperturef/1.4
Min aperturef/16
Lens mountSony E, Leica L
FormatFull-frame
Angle of view46.8°
Minimum Focus Distance45cm
Optics14 elements in 11 groups
Aperture blades11, rounded
Focus typeAutofocus
StabilisationNone
Filter size72mm (front)
Dimensions78.2 x 109.5mm
Weight670g
Launch Price$849

It’s nice to see this one finally come in DG DN flavour. Given the recent talk of Nikon’s licencing limits, if Sigma is still planning to hop onto Z mount at some point, this probably won’t be one of the lenses on offer. It’s a shame that this lens is almost certainly not going to appear in Nikon Z and Canon RF mounts, but now that Panasonic has figured out how phase detection autofocus works, it could be great for them, at least!

The Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG DN Art series lens is available to pre-order now for $849. It begins shipping in late February.

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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