It’s no surprise that Sigma makes some of the best glass available for several camera systems and that is the case for Sigma’s line of Micro Four-Thirds mount lenses. Before the world was locked away (for what feels like forever), I was able to get my hands on the Sigma 56mm f/1.4 DC DN C – a very fast, very bright telephoto lens that rounds out Sigma’s mirrorless prime lens Trinity (the other two are the 16mm f/1.4 and the 30mm f/1.4). Before I jump into it, I’ll answer the obvious – yes, there’s bokeh and yes, it’s gorgeous.
Tech Specs via Sigma
|Lens Construction||10 Elements in 6 Groups|
|Angle of View (DC)||28.5º|
|Number of Diaphragm Blades||9 (Rounded)|
|Minimum Focusing Distance||19.7 in|
|Filter Size (mm)||55mm|
|Dimensions (Diameter x Length)||ø66.5mm x 59.5mm / ø2.6in. x 2.3in.|
|Mount Type||Micro Four Thirds (MFT)|
Design and Construction
As I’ve come to expect, this lens – like just about everyone I’ve tested from Sigma – is solidly built and includes the rubbery grip around the focus ring which is a delight to use. It’s not too heavy and thanks to the MFT format, isn’t hard to carry around even at with the very large, very bright f/1.4 aperture. Which is really why this lens makes so much sense. The Sigma 56mm f/1.4 DC DN C makes a very compelling case for MFT cameras doing “serious” work – it’s a lighweight option with heavy weight performance.
If I had to say anything negative about this particular lens it’s the lack of weather sealing and the lack of a clicky aperture ring. In this respect, I would love to see Sigma continue to develop the Contemporary line and add things like weather resistance. Clicky aperture rings would be welcomed but can remain optional.
So what’s it like shooting with the Sigma 56mm f/1.4? With the 2x crop-factor the 56mm focal length works out to a 35mm-equivalent of 112mm which is longer than the 85mm portrait standard and shorter than the 135mm that wedding photographers love. It still does the job and provided enough reach when working it at an event and the flexibility to shoot portraits in a more intimate setting.
I found that the lens was quicker to achieve focus on the Olympus OM-D than it did on the Panasonic but that might be a matter of the additional weight on the smaller body causing my hand to drift ever so slightly. Again, one of my favorite things about shooting MFT even for events and gigs is that the smaller camera bodies and lenses mean that I won’t necessarily come home with an aching back after a day of shooting. Being able to put together a compact kit that travels well is great for outdoor/environmental portraiture (which I truly miss on day 365,457,001 of the pandemic).
As I mentioned in my opening, Sigma is known for the exceptionally built, high performance they make. While the Art series lenses get a lot of kudos within the reviewer/online photography community, make no mistake the Contemporary line is the Art series equivalent for smaller, mirrorless cameras. These lenses make it possible for photographers to get impressive results from competitively priced, third-party lenses. For prime lens aficionados, the Sigma prime lens trio is a must have – barring the need for weather sealing – maybe more so than native glass.
The Sigma 56mm f/1.4 DC DN C is available now for around $430 and is available in MFT, Sony E, and Canon EOS-M mounts.