While majority buy and recommend like we do, the Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM, we decided that for little bit more money, you get a better lens, the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM AF. Why ? It’s newer lens, with better optic elements, better build quality, sharper images wide open, better edge to edge sharpness in f/1.4 up to f/3.2 range, faster and better AF system with HSM, nice bokeh (9 blades), plus you get a hood and a case with it. Downsides on other hand compared to Canons lens are: size, filter thread size (77mm), weight (almost two times Canon f1.4), sharpness when stopped more down and somewhat bigger price. If the price difference, or size/weight are important for you, you should go for Canons f1.4, but looking at long term investment we find the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM to be a better deal.
If you are on short budget even for Canon f1.4 and need prime 50mm lens, you should go for Canon f/1.8, but looking at long term investment, better for the money is in fact Sigma f/1.4. It can outperform f/1.8 in real-life more than 3 times with just built quality, and on positive side you get even more with it. Sigma is overall sharper than Canon f/1.4, from f/1.4 down to f/3.2 aperture. From there, Canon starts to pull ahead in both sharpness and less chromatic aberrations.
In the end it all depends on you, how long you would like your lens to last, do you need that wide aperture for more shallow dof and better and more accurate AF. In case you shoot videos or you like manual focus lenses, none of this lenses can compare to Zeiss 1.4, but for that lens you would need to reach little bit more into pocket. Zeis has very good build quality, very nice bokeh (9 blades), amazing colors and contrast, sharper image edge to edge but its downside is manual focus. As such, it is the best in videography and still portraits.
Better AF Build quality Faster – f1.2 Color Sharpness
Zeiss Telephoto 85mm f/1.4 ZE Planar T for Canon
Build quality Consistent output Sharp edge to edge Nice bokeh Color and contrast
Price Manual focus
Bottom line for Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM for Canon
With price 4-5 times bigger than 50mm f1.8, around $100 more than Canon 50mm f1.4 and as third party lens, Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM could be repulsive for some photographers. Only with build quality (longer lifetime) we think its worth upgrading from f1.8, and when we add to the list more accurate and faster AF, option to manual override focus, wider f1.4 aperture with nicer bokeh (9 blades) and edge to edge sharpness it looks worth upgrading even from Canon 50mm f1.4 as well. This is one of the best buy, must have lenses as a great addition to every photographer accessory list. Weight can be as well repulsive, but let me remind you that Canon 1.2L weights 590g (1.30 lb). We feel like this lens fits somewhere between Canons 50mm f1.4 and f1.2L lenses. If you are more into video shooting, then this best buy place is taken by Zeiss 1.4 Planar MF for Canon lens.
Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM Sample photos:
You can get the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM lens in these stores:
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