Sigma 56mm f/1.4 DC DN Contemporary (Sony E-mount) - Review / Test Report
Lens Reviews - Sony Alpha/NEX (APS-C)

Review by Klaus Schroiff, published July 2020


Sigma seems to have hit a sweet spot with its "DC DN" trinity of fast APS-C/MFT format prime lenses (16mm f/1.4, 30mm f/1.4, 56mm f/1.4). This can't come as a real surprise because neither Sony E, L-mount nor Canon EOS M are especially blessed with many APS-C format prime lenses. Although to be fair here - Sony/L-mount users can also take advantage of an extensive line of full format lenses albeit these tend to reside in a different price bracket.

We reviewed the Sigma 16mm f/1.4 DC DN Contemporary just a few weeks ago so let's move on to its cousin now, the Sigma 56mm f/1.4 DC DN Contemporary. The lens is attractively priced at around 450USD/400EUR as is as such aligned to the more moderate camera pricing in the APS-C/MFT class. In full-format terms, it is equivalent to a fast "85mm" medium tele lens (on Micro-Four-Thirds: 112mm) which is suitable for a variety of use-cases such as portraits, street photography, or other shallow depth-of-field applications.

While you may guess that the 16mm f/1.4 and 56mm f/1.4 are fairly similar in terms of package size, the 56mm f/1.4 DC DN is actually much shorter (59.5mm vs 92.3mm) as well as more light-weight (280g vs 405g). It may carry the "Contemporary" designation but there's not much "consumer-ish" about it. The lens body is tightly assembled and made of metal and Sigma's high-quality TSC material. The broad, rubberized focus ring turns smoothly. A hint that Sigma had to cut corners is the sealing of the lens which is limited to the mount. The lens does not extend during focusing so that's certainly positive when it comes to surviving in harsher environments. A plastic, barrel-shaped hood is part of the package.

The AF is quite fast and essentially noiseless. Typical for most E-mount lenses, manual focusing works by wire. Unfortunately, the manual focus action is very coarse and as such not very precise at short to medium focus distances - a characteristic shared with the 16mm f/1.4 DC DN. An image stabilizer is not provided.

Equiv. focal length (full-format)"85mm" (in terms of field-of-view)
Equiv. aperture (full-format)"f/2.1" (in terms of depth-of-field)
Optical construction10 Elemente in 6 Gruppen inc. 1x aspherical, 1x SLD elements
Number of aperture blades9 (rounded)
min. focus distance0.5m (max. magnification 1:7.4)
Weight 380g
Filter size55mm
Hoodbarrel-shaped (bayonet mount, supplied)
Other features-
MountsSony E (APS-C), Canon EF-M, Micro-Four-Thirds, L-mount