It looks like the main consensus is zoom, but I like the idea of having both!
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Yeah. It took me 3 copies of the 35A to finally get a good one. But even if I was willing to go through that again with the 50A (I'm not; I'd rather spend my limited time taking pictures.) I don't think I would because of the size/weight.
Why is this lens so big and heavy, by the way? Pentax and other lens manufacturers have shown it's possible to make compact lenses with very good IQ. I don't know anything about lens design, so forgive my ignorance.
OP here. I have an update, for whatever it's worth. Went ahead and purchased the 50A from B&H. Not surprisingly, it has AF issues. It was front-focusing right out of the box, and I used Reikan Focal to adjust it at 4 different shooting distances and then configured using the Sigma dock. Adjustments were + 15, +15, +17, +18. It's better now, but it is still inconsistent and erratic in ways that can't be fixed with calibration. (Note: I do use non-center AF points on my 5DIII quite a bit, so perhaps this is part of the problem. I've found that Sigma lenses don't always play well with non-center points.)
But even if the AF was perfect, I would still consider returning it, and here's why: the thing is big and heavy. It feels much heavier than the 35A, which I don't mind so much. But given that my two main lenses are the 24-70 II and 70-200 IS, I really want the 50mm to be lightweight and more compact.
I've owned both the 50L and the 50/1.4. I must have had a great copy of the 50/1.4, because I just went back and looked through my LR catalog and found that I had almost as many great keepers from the 1.4 as from the L. And my copy of the 50/1.4 was fairly sharp even wide open. I now find myself wishing I hadn't sold it.
I'm going to return the 50A and either get another 50/1.4, or just stick with the 35A and wait to see what Canon comes out with. I'm not in a huge hurry and can live without a 50mm prime, since the 24-70 II is such a phenomenal lens.
Old Coal Mine
Mmm exciting! although ive read that it weights a ton, finally a focal range and aperture that i need! let's hope iq and af are up to standards
Although a bit better than the Canon L lens (slightly sharper and better contrast), it is also much heavier, and more expensive. So it is a tough sell, unlike some other 3rd party offerings like the Tamron 24-70 with VC. It also had some issues like lockups with the 6D if GPS was enabled, that took them almost a year to resolve. WOrse: to fix it you either need to spend a further $100 for the USB dock, or send it in for support.
On the Nikon bodies they had an edge in price over the 24-120 and in image quality, but ran into two other issues: the lens is a massive battery drain since it switches on the camera's metering for each shot and locks it on for 60 seconds. This was already true of the D800 bodies, and persists with the D600s and D750. This issue was never resolved. Users in events and other reported as much as 1% battery drain per minute.