While researching online for a new lens, I read a ton of reviews comparing Canon’s 50mm 1.4 to Sigmas’s 50mm 1.4. I have always been a Canon girl and whenever I need a new lens, I usually go with what I know best… Canon glass. For awhile I’ve wanted to add a 50mm to my collection, but quickly into my research, I realized that most Canon shooters fork out the $1600 for the 50mm 1.2 L-series lens soon after then purchase a lower model 1.4 or 1.8. Canon’s L-series lens are incredible and I love my 70-200 2.8 to death, but in this case I wasn’t ready to spend that much for a 50mm.
I heard rumors that Sigma’s 50mm was a jewel in the aftermarket lens makers, but the chances of getting a “bad copy” of the lens were much higher then with Canon. On the contrary the cheap build of Canon’s 50mm and several complaints about the lens sharpness, I decided to do a little comparison of my own!
Disclaimer: I am by NO MEANS an expert when it comes to testing/ comparing equipment. All opinions are based on my own personal shooting preferences, nothing more!
Right off the bat you can tell the major physical differences of these lens. Sigma’s is much larger, heavier and of stronger construction than Canon’s plastic 50mm. I’ve heard some complain about the weight of Sigma’s but honestly I didn’t notice a difference when compared to my current lens.
I wanted this lens mainly because of the low f-stop so the majority of my testing was done wide open. I took several shots of each set up and focused on the “K” in the center of this sign, these were the sharpest examples from both lens. Overall with my tests, Sigma won hands down when it came to sharp focus at 1.4. No matter how careful I was with Canon’s I always seems to get slight lens shift and soft images. Something also important to note is that the Sigma copy was brand new and the Canon was rented from Calumet, not sure if that played into the results or not.
The examples below were taken a few minutes apart, right around sunset, with Canon’s example taken first. I was surprised with the bokeh comparisons, Canon’s is clearly more defined, while Sigma’s is softer and reminds me of a watercolor painting. This comes down to preference of shooter and personally I liked the different effects both bokeh’s produced.
Here are the specifications of both lens from B&H. I thought it was interesting that Sigma’s lens only went to f16 while Canon’s goes to f22 (not sure why); also the price tag of Sigma’s lens is about $150.00 more.
In the end I decided to keep the Sigma lens and after shooting with it more, I am very pleased with my choice! Personally it was a good in between option from Canon’s 1.4 and the 1.2. Obviously this will not be everyone else’s opinion, but I hope that this post will help someone if they are considering either lens!