Sigma 50-100mm f/1.8 DC HSM ART ( Canon ) - Review / Test
Lens Reviews - Canon EOS (APS-C)

Review by Klaus Schroiff, published June 2017

Introduction

Is there still life in APS-C DSLRs these days? Given the amount of new, dedicated APS-C format lenses alone, it's difficult to tell but there is certainly enough volume in terms of sold cameras. There's the occasional refresh of kit zoom lenses, yes, but beyond it's looking fairly grim. Not everything is hopeless though (and you can always use full format lenses on APS-C DSLRs anyway). Sigma has released the Sigma 50-100mm f/1.8 DC HSM ART a little while ago. There have been a few fast APS-C tele zoom lenses some years back - namely the Sigma 50-150mm f/2.8 DC HSM OS and Tokina 50-135mm f/2.8 AT-X Pro - but their market success was rather limited. However, the Sigma 50-100mm f/1.8 DC HSM ART is a different beast - it is obviously 1 1/3 f-stops faster than those earlier attempts. In fact it is one of the fastest mass production zoom lenses ever produced and it's even plenty fast by prime standards. If we play the equivalence game again (yes, you hate it), it's similar to a "80-160mm f/2.8" lens on full format cameras so at least on paper there's no reason to move to full format cameras if you after a tele zoom lens with really shallow depth-of-field capabilities.

The 50-100mm f/1.8 DC HSM ART is not only a valid substitution for a full format 70-200mm f/2.8 lens, it is also about as big and heavy. That's the natural order of things here - equivalent lenses have similar size requirements. The good news is that, just like its full format cousins, the Sigma lens is also built to professional standards - minus weather sealing. Sigma is using its typical combination of metal and TSC (Thermally Stable Composite material). It's tightly assembled and feels great. The physical size remains constant across the zoom and focus range. The control rings operate smoothly. Sigma did implement a tripod mount. While this is, of course, commendable, it has been done half-heartedly because the tripod plate is comparatively short. It's "good enough" maybe but it's not the real thing either. On the positive side, it's not overly in your way during hand-held sessions. A nicely deep, petal-shaped lens hood is also part of the package.

The AF performance (tested on the EOS 7D II) surprised positively - it is fast, really fast and near silent. The focus accuracy of the test sample was good. Full-time manual focusing is possible. It may be regretful that the lens doesn't feature an image stabilizer - Sigma probably wanted to keep the price tag on a sane level. At around 1100 US$/EUR it's still not a budget offering but it's substantially more affordable than modern full format alternatives.

Specifications
Equiv. focal length"80-160mm" (full format equivalent)
Equiv. aperture"f/2.8" (full format equivalent in terms of depth-of-field)
Optical construction21 elements in 15 groups inc. 3xFLD, 4xSLD elements
Number of aperture blades9 (circular)
min. focus distance0.95m (1:6.7)
Dimensions93.5x170.7mm
Weight1490g
Filter size82mm
Hoodsupplied, petal-shaped, bayonet mount
Other features-