November 26, 2014, 03:52:33 PM

Author Topic: Canon 50mm 1.2 vs sigma 50mm 1.4: older expensive l-glass, or newer future tech  (Read 17054 times)

SJTstudios

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My question is clear, sigma has a cheaper 50mm 1.4, that is newer, and made for digital camera, with all it's coatings, and apparently it has a special digital focusing system. But, then there is the 1.2 l, it has about half a stop of luminosity more, which I don't know what difference that makes, and it's an "l" lens.

Please keep in mind that I'm asking which is better in total and in different ways.

This is to fill a gap in my range, (16-35 and 70-200 2.8 is ii), so I'm looking for one that won't fail me


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neuroanatomist

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...apparently it has a special digital focusing system.

Ahhhh, so that's how Sigma has chosen to explain their unreliable AF...   :P

The 50L is optimized as a full-body portrait lens.  The Sigma is more 'general purpose' assuming you get a good copy.
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bigmag13

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...apparently it has a special digital focusing system.

Ahhhh, so that's how Sigma has chosen to explain their unreliable AF...   :P

The 50L is optimized as a full-body portrait lens.  The Sigma is more 'general purpose' assuming you get a good copy.

+1!

I went through two copies of the sigma 50 and none were great on either my 5D2 or 5D3. wound up getting the Zeiss 2/50. it just plain looked better in results and felt better on the camera than the canon L did to me. for my purposes manual focus is no prblem. I also shoot weddings with the Zeiss!   
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Like neuro said, these primes are more suited for portraiture.  The Canon is better wide open.  If you want corner to corner sharpness for more landscape type shots, then the 24-70 II is sharper (according to the TDP ISO comparison) and would be a better choice.

SJTstudios

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Like neuro said, these primes are more suited for portraiture.  The Canon is better wide open.  If you want corner to corner sharpness for more landscape type shots, then the 24-70 II is sharper (according to the TDP ISO comparison) and would be a better choice.

I've already determined that for the time being, I don't need a 24-70, I just don't need one right now

7enderbender

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My question is clear, sigma has a cheaper 50mm 1.4, that is newer, and made for digital camera, with all it's coatings, and apparently it has a special digital focusing system. But, then there is the 1.2 l, it has about half a stop of luminosity more, which I don't know what difference that makes, and it's an "l" lens.

Please keep in mind that I'm asking which is better in total and in different ways.

This is to fill a gap in my range, (16-35 and 70-200 2.8 is ii), so I'm looking for one that won't fail me


Here are a few observations on my part:

1. Anytime anyone tells you that something was "made for digital" you should be at least very suspicious. Generally speaking: if something was good enough for film it'll be great for digital. Newer doesn't mean better necessarily. Sure, coatings have improved for what it's really worth - most optical designs go back decades. People with more knowledge may correct me here but I'm pretty sure that that is certainly the case for all 50mm lenses: essentially designs from the beginning of last century. And that's not a bad thing.

2. All 50mm lenses have issues in one minor way or another.

I just went through the exercise of going from the EF 50 1.4 to the 50L. Why? Because the EF 1.4 unfortunately is nowhere as well build as it's predecessors such as my FD versions of the same exact lens. Otherwise I couldn't have been bothered. That being said: having the 1.2 option is nice and the contrast and color rendering is noticeably better. The 1.4 is slightly sharper between about f/2.8 and f/4. So be it. Haven't sold the 1.4 yet but may. Both work nicely and it just comes down to what feels better to you. I'm sure the same can be said about the Sigma version. Sigma makes nice stuff in my experience.
I'd say get whatever feels better to you and you are able and willing to afford. I wouldn't worry to much about people complaining about this minor detail or another. The outcomes will only be ever so slightly different and for all practical purposes I bet nobody can tell which of those lenses were used. It's what makes it more fun for you to use. You can't really go wrong.
« Last Edit: September 29, 2012, 08:56:02 PM by 7enderbender »
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nda

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The 50L is the way to go, you already have some nice L glass why compromise! and it wont fail you its a great lens especially at f1.2-4, if you only shoot at f4-11 then get the sigma ;)
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Scott_7D

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My question is clear, sigma has a cheaper 50mm 1.4, that is newer, and made for digital camera, with all it's coatings, and apparently it has a special digital focusing system. But, then there is the 1.2 l, it has about half a stop of luminosity more, which I don't know what difference that makes, and it's an "l" lens.

Please keep in mind that I'm asking which is better in total and in different ways.

This is to fill a gap in my range, (16-35 and 70-200 2.8 is ii), so I'm looking for one that won't fail me

The Sigma is just 1 year newer than the Canon, so don't use that as consideration between the two. Also, "Made for Digital" doesn't really mean much, except that it has modern coatings. All new lenses have similar types of coatings though.

Another thing, the Canon is 1/3 stop faster, not 1/2, so again, not much between them.

I own the Sigma and have used the 50L and I have to say there isn't really much between them in terms of image quality: both are excellent, especially at wide apertures. The Sigma has less CA in my opinion, but is maybe a touch softer; however, the reduced CA is a nice thing to have. Both have good contrast wide open and amazing from f/1.8. Both have nice bokeh, but I might give the nod to the Siggy here (this is very subjective, of course). Neither lens will disappoint; they are tops in terms of wide aperture performance in the 50mm class.

However, the Canon has much better build quality and the AF is definitely better too. The Canon seems to suffer from spherical aberations more than the Sigma, so focusing can be off if you use the center point from f/2-4, but it's AF is more consistent. My Sigma's AF is working well after MA, but only at the expense of longer focus distances at wide apertures (if I focus on something 25+ feet away at f/1.4-2.8, it is OOF, but at normal distances, it's perfect).

I'd say that if the difference in price doesn't bother you, get the Canon. If you want similar image quality and don't mind the more pedestrian AF performance and build quality, the Siggy is a great option. I love mine and am no longer drooling over the 50L. If Sigma built a 24/1.4 as well as their 50, I would have saved a lot by not buying the 24L.

neuroanatomist

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Another thing, the Canon is 1/3 stop faster, not 1/2

Just to pick a nit, the 1/3-stop scale is f/1.0-f/1.1-f/1.2-f/1.4, and the 1/2-stop scale is f/1.0-f/1.2-f/1.4, so by convention, both are correct.

Mathematically, 1/2-stop wider than f/1.4 is f/1.19 and 1/3-stop wider than f/1.4 is f/1.26, so f/1.2 is best approximated as 1/2-stop faster than f/1.4.
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7enderbender

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Another thing, the Canon is 1/3 stop faster, not 1/2

Just to pick a nit, the 1/3-stop scale is f/1.0-f/1.1-f/1.2-f/1.4, and the 1/2-stop scale is f/1.0-f/1.2-f/1.4, so by convention, both are correct.

Mathematically, 1/2-stop wider than f/1.4 is f/1.19 and 1/3-stop wider than f/1.4 is f/1.26, so f/1.2 is best approximated as 1/2-stop faster than f/1.4.


And it goes to 11...so it's one louder, isn't it? :-)
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Mt Spokane Photography

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For a crop camera, the Sigma is very good.  It falls down on FF a to where even the Canon 50mm f/1.4 beats it.

weekendshooter

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For a crop camera, the Sigma is very good.  It falls down on FF a to where even the Canon 50mm f/1.4 beats it.

Fully agree with this. Sigma's primes seem to be engineered to attempt to produce FF-like bokeh on crop sensors; the 50 never sharpens up in the corners even on crop, let alone on full frame. If you're only ever shooting centered compositions close to wide open then the Sigma is likely to be satisfactory, but don't expect anything out of the edges of the frame at any aperture setting.

However, I do think that the AF and build quality issues in Sigma lenses are highly overblown. Sigma has updated all of their lenses in the past year or so to have a new smooth outer barrel finish and supposedly better quality control. One of their Photokina 2012 announcements was a USB dock for lenses that allows you to update firmware and tweak focusing behavior, acting as AFMA if the body you use does not support it. This leads me to believe that they're listening to the complaints against them and are serious about improving their weak points.

I do have personal experience with Sigma, though not with the 50. The 30/1.4 crop lens that I owned performed flawlessly on my old Rebel body (obviously no AFMA, but it was not needed). The build quality was also quite good - much better than the Canon 50/1.4, which I got a chance to play around with a few times through my now-alma mater's camera club.

sandymandy

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The 50mm 1.2L strongest advantage is the bokeh. If sharpness is more important for you then get the 50mm 1.4 or sigma :)

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RLPhoto

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The 50L is a mar-mite type lens, you either Love it or Hate it. In my Case, I Love my 50L. Its best used from 1.2-2.8

I would strongly suggest a rental for both.

Albi86

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Imho... if you don't know which one you want between a 400€ and a 1200€ lense... pick the 400€ one :)

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