As a Sigma DP owner one is well-acquainted with the extraordinary image quality of the fixed/ non-changeable DP lenses and appreciates them very much. However, one does wonder from time to time whether there is something better, or if there are lenses that can match this degree of sharpness while also sporting wider apertures. Well, I also own the 35/1.4 Art, and even though it is on a par with the 30mm f/2.8 of the DP2M/DP2Q in their shared aperture range (from f/2.8), it does fall behind at f/2 and f/1.4. This is alright, because it is always a huge advantage to be able to increase the aperture to f/1.4 if one needs the additional light gathering power or the ability to blur the background. The 30/2.8 does not offer this possibility, which means that the 35/1.4 Art is definitely the better choice between f/1.4 and 2.8. 😉 However, this does not answer the question if there are lenses with a wide open aperture of f/1.4 or f/2 which also offer a DP-like imaging quality straight from max. aperture.
I’ve had the 50/1.4 Art for a few days now, and I think that, slowly but surely, I am arriving at an answer to that question. Most of the photos I have added below were taken with maximum aperture and uploaded to Flickr in full resolution. For any pixel-peepers too lazy to go there, I have inserted the appropriate 100%-crops. 😉
100% crop of the rear wheel, f/5.6. Please do click on the picture to open it in a new browser window in full size; otherwise it will look muddy because of scaling.
100% crop, f/1.4. Please do click on the picture to open it in a new browser window in full size; otherwise it will look muddy because of scaling.
At a later point I will definitely compare the 50/1.4 Art (on a SD1 Merrill) with the DP3M. However, I have to admit that, despite looking at many example photos and reading many reviews, I still cannot quite believe what the 50mm f/1.4 is able to do when paired with a Foveon sensor. 🙂