« on: December 11, 2013, 05:54:30 PM »
Perhaps I can help with those on the 35L vs Sigma vs wait for 35LII fence. I have both the 35L and the Sigma.
In practice, both are very similar in focus reliability on my 5D Mark III and 7D. On my 5D Mark II, the 35L is more consistent in the focusing. I have verified these results also through Focal testing. The Sigma routinely tests more consistent than my 35 L to focus on all focus points of my 5D Mark III. On the 7D the focus consistency results are about the same. On the 5D Mark II, the 35L will achieve 96-98% on Focal's test every time. The Sigma seems to be around 93-95% every time. It has never tested better consistency than the 35L on my 5D mark II. The takeaway for me is to use the Sigma on only my 5D Mark III and 7D. As I noted first, real world usage validates the tested consistency for the Sigma on my 5D Mark III. I simply don't miss focus with it in any meaningful amount. That includes both bright, open light and low-light concert shooting. It's been performing as well as any of my Canon lenses, across the available focus points. This is a wholly different experience than the Sigma 70-200 OS I used for a while, which tested in the very low 90s for consistency using Focal. I probably dropped at least 2-3 shots of every 10 for lack of acceptable focus in practice with that lens. More about that lens, later.
Which is a good thing, because my 85L exhibits just the opposite between my Mark III and Mark II cameras. It is much more consistent, at least on the center point, on the Mark II than the Mark III. The consistency test results are something like 98% on the Mark II's center point and only 94-96% on the Mark III's. The 7D is about the same as the Mark III consistency, but I don't use my 85L on that camera, ever. So the 85L goes on my Mark II for weddings/events.
Incidently, the AFMA on my Sigma is less absolute value(-5) than my 35L (+7) , as measured multiple times on my 5D Mark III. On the 5D Mark II, the results are about the same. The results are pretty consistent so I'm confident in the values. They certainly work well in practice.
My 135L and 70-200L focus consistency are about the same between the Mark II and Mark III cameras, so nothing to draw from those results, other than that they don't seem to agree with the other lens's results.
As someone involved in complex system Test and Evaluation, I recognize there are enough uncontrolled variables that making any definitive conclusion from the results of my equipment, no matter how consistently I get the results reported, is ill-advised.
Nevertheless, I suspect that my results point to the fact that the Sigma plays much better with Canon's more complex focusing systems in the 5D Mark III and 7D than it does with the 5D Mark II and other legacy 9-point AF systems. I'll have a 1Ds Mark IV next week to see how well it works on that body with the 45-point system.
Bottom line, I absolutely would not and do not hesitate to use the Sigma where I formerly used the 35L. I've had my 35L for the better part of a decade and I know it's capabilities well. The Sigma works better for me in nearly every situation.
Weather sealing, while it would be welcome on a 35L, is not a deal breaker for me. I've used my 35L in nasty, dirty, wet conditions without issue before. I can't imagine the Sigma will be any worse.
Color, rendering, bokeh, etc? I get what I need out of the Sigma and don't see much to choose between the lenses besides the better sharpness of the Sigma.
The only thing I can't really speak to yet, and I'm hoping Roger at Lensrentals can enlighten us on at some point, is the internal build. The Sigma seems really robust from the outside...on a level with the 35L. But are the internals really good enough? Will the focus internals stand up to decades of hard use? I'm not taking my Sigma apart to make a comparison. My 35L has never given a hiccup. I am certain the Sigma will stand up to hobbyist/serious amateur usage levels. Will it withstand the beating from even part-time event/wedding professional use where it is a main lens during the day? I don't know.
This is the first and only Sigma lens that I feel is really on par with the OEM top-shelf offerings. I tried the 70-200 OS against the Canon 80-200 and 70-200 IS II and it fell woefully short in several areas for me, including focus, and most importantly, image rendering. Roger's breakdown of the new version of the 120-300 steered me away from that since the internals are pretty much the same mechanically, and it happens to be one of his most-repaired lenses.
I'm taking the Sigma 35 on and will use it in the primary slot, but will keep my 35L at least until the new version comes out. It's been through a lot with me. If a new 35L hits the street and the image rendering is at least on par with the Sigma, I'll probably drop both and pick up the new Canon.
I'm pretty picky and love my red ring lenses. But if you have a 5D Mark III, 1DX, or 7D, I wouldn't hesitate to get the Sigma right now over waiting for a potential Canon update whenever that comes. It's that good, and exhibits none of the focusing issues that have given Sigma a bad rep. If you've got a 5D Mark II or one of the other 9-pt AF Canon bodies, especially without AFMA capability...probably stick with a 35L until Canon does it better. Edit: (Not sure about the 6D, although I can try it on my brother-in-law's 6D the next time he comes to the house and see how it plays there).
Focal tells you nothing about tracking though. And the 35 L seemed to be focusing even faster on the 1d X than on the 5d3, although nothing like the difference in speed with the 85 L between those two cameras, it all helps.
Anyway, if people love their Sigma they love their Sigma, I applaud Sigma for the steps they have taken lately and keeps producing high IQ for cheaper money. But it's not the holy grail either. People use gear differently, for instance, I don't think I have EVER used One Shot focus. And I have used the 35 L on 1d3, 1d4 (btw, no such thing as a 1ds4), 1dX, 5d1,2,3 and it's by far the best 1.4 AF lens. It works where the 50 L won't, and the 24 L II is, well, I don't what's up with that, but after three copies I gave up.
YOu buy what you buy for your needs, I know that the Siggy doesn't fit my needs at all. And I'm preetty sure the 35 L II will have faster and even better AF for tracking erratic movment wide open, and combined with the weather sealing and all the other things that make for a great lens, this is on top of MY list.
Btw, I have nothing against third party lenses at all, I use a Zeiss 50 f2 because Canon have no 50 that I like. And the Zeiss is superb.