Sigma 50 f/1.4 Art shootout with Canon 50 Prime Lenses

The 50mm Shootout

The Sigma 50 f/1.4 Art series lens that I ordered (see my previous blog post) arrived and I decided to do a shootout with several other 50mm Canon prime lenses.  I’m doing this based upon feedback that I received on my previous blog post that showed sharpness graphs from on various 50mm prime lenses.  Some folks didn’t believe the graphs or wanted to see the evidence for themselves in real world images.

I invited photographers from the Raleigh, NC area to my studio and we did a shootout with the following lenses:


Sigma 50 f/1.4 Art

Canon 50 f/1.2L

Canon 55 f/1.2 FL converted to EOS with an Ed Mika adapter

Canon 50 f/1.4 USM


 Testing Parameters:

We shot each lens, one at a time.  I used a Canon 5D mark III and shot in live view mode.  I zoomed in to the model’s right eye and manually focused.  I did this to eliminate a focus issue like front or back focusing of the auto focus system.  I lit the subject with 2 Alienbee B400’s at the lowest power setting, one with a silver bounce umbrella and one with a cheap beauty dish.  I didn’t light the background and probably should have.  Each shot was at f/1.4, except for a wide open shot for the f/1.2 lenses at the end of each test for those lenses.  I’m going to only display the f/1.4 shot for each of those here but the images at f/1.2 are available in the dropbox location.


I have put both Raw and the straight out of the camera JPG files in this dropbox location.

Sigma 50 f/1.4 Art


Sigma 50 f/1.4 Art – Click to get full resolution image.


Crop of Sigma f/1.4 Art

Canon 55mm f/1.2 FL with Ed Mika Adapter Circa 1960’s


Canon 55mm f/1.2 FL circa 1960’s. Click for full resolution


Canon 55mm f/1.2 FL circa 1960’s

Canon 50mm f/1.4 USM


Canon 50mm f/1.4 USM


Canon 50mm f/1.4 USM

Canon 50mm f/1.2 L


Canon 50mm f/1.2L


Canon 50mm f/1.2L


After the shoot we had the participating photographers sit around the laptop and look at these images.  There was a overwhelming consensus that the Sigma did indeed beat all of the other lenses.  It was surprising how poorly the Canon 50mm f/1.2L did and how well the Canon 55mm f/1.2FL from the 1960’s did.  Overall, however, the Sigma does seem to live up to the hype.  I’d love to hear your comments below.


Thanks goes out to all of the photographers who participated, especially those bringing lenses to test.  Special thanks to our lovely model, Celina who was gracious enough to come help us out at this shoot out.

1 thought on “Sigma 50 f/1.4 Art shootout with Canon 50 Prime Lenses

  1. I’ve read that the Sigma is considerably sharper than all of Canon’s 50mm offerings. The thing I am really interested in is the Sigma’s ability to consistently autofocus correctly. There has been a lot of talk about the Sigma’s focusing inconsistencies. Can you test the Canons against the Sigma in an af shootout? If so, please test in different lighting conditions (e.g. Indoors with minimal light, outside on a sunny day, inside with the lights on, static subjects versus moving subjects in each of the lighting conditions, etc)? Thanks!

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