alpha_1976 wrote in post #12509045
Wait until you have a lens with dead AF in your hand!
Still waiting... It's been almost ten years now (and was bought used). It's still working fine!
In fact, the only lens I've got with "dead AF" is an older Sigma... a 28-75mm that works fine on EOS-3 and 10D, but causes errors on later Canon models. Sigma doesn't license lens tech from Canon, they reverse engineer it... Which sometimes leads to compatibility issues.
Two things I'd note about the Canon EF 50/1.4:
1. As long as I've had it, mine has been used with the matched lens hood, including storing it with the hood reversed. It came with the hood, so I suspect the previous owner did the same. Some say the stored hood really helps protect the focus ring from bumps, which might damage the focus mechanism.
2. I don't use manual focus override with this lens much or at all. It's not a conscious decision, just that because I use Back Button Focusing most of the time there's no need for me to do FTM. Some say that manually overriding the focus (which a USM lens is supposed to be able to do without damage) a lot on this particular lens will rapidly accelerate wear and tear on the focus mechanism.
Focusing on Sigma is faster because of HSM; Canon has micro-type USM and is not the true ring type USM which is what you usually get and therefore slower.
Not true. Most who have used both extensively will tell you focus speed is nearly identical. The Canon 50/1.4 AF is plenty fast in spite of being a hybrid type of USM. The best real world comparison I can give you... I cannot detect any noticeable difference in AF speed or accuracy between the 50/1.4 and 28/1.8 USM and 85/1.8 USM, both of which use "true" ring type USM.
I have not been able to first hand compare head to head with the Sigma very much, only briefly shot with the Siggy. But I was seriously tempted to upgrade a while back, took it for a few test drives and researched the heck out of the Siggy... I agree that it seems a better built lens (more metal, less plastic). But just because a lens is made with more metal, bigger lens elements and weighs a lot more doesn't actually mean it's going to be more durable in regular use. It might just seem better made. Only a long term test would tell.
In the end, I compared a lot images from both and simply didn't see enough difference to justify an "upgrade".
What I didn't like was all the reports of the Sigma quite frequentlly needing calibration. That's a quality control issue from the factory, or the lens gets knocked out of calibration all too easily during shipping.
I've also heard users report the Sigma's AF is sometimes unreliable, particularly missing at closer distances.
The Sigma is considerably bigger and heavier. To me it seems sort of absurd for a 50mm f1.4 to need a 77mm filter. Heck, the Canon 50/1.2L uses a 72mm! The Canon EF uses 58mm. Back in the day of manual focus lenses, Canon and Nikon 50/1.4 were 52mm diameter... some others were 49mm... few were larger than 55mm.
I like that the Sigma seems a wee bit sharper at f1.4, f1.6 and f1.8. The Canon isn't at it's very best wide open... usable, but better a little stopped down. They are nearly identical at f2 and f2.8, though the Siggy's corners might be crisper. The Canon seems sharper in the corners at f4, f5.6 and smaller. At even smaller aperture, the Sigma goes slightly softer throughout the image. The Canon has some chromatic abberations wide open.... The Siggy seems to get some in the corners at smaller apertures.
This comparison seems pretty accurate.
That comparison is on a full frame camera where the corner comparisons are more noticeable. On a crop camera you won't see either lens' weaknesses in those areas.
The bokeh of the Sigma seems slightly smoother. It's got curved aperture blades (which Canon puts in some other lenses too) and has 9 total. The Canon has an 8-bladed aperture (by comparison, the 50/1.8 has 5-bladed aperture).
Color rendition is a little different between the two lenses, personally I don't think either one really superior to the other in this respect. Just different. The Siggy might be a little cooler.
The Siggy is a more resistant to flare, but both lenses are pretty good in this respect. At less than wide open, the Canon might have a little more contrast.
But overall, I really didn't see a whole lot of difference in image quality and that's the main reason I didn't bother upgrading.
And, at the time I was considering it, the Sigma was quite a bit more expensive. Since then it's street price has come down a bit and the Canon has increased. Price difference is a lot less of a factor today.
The Canon is way overdue for an update. It's design dates back to the early 1990s and AFAIK has never been revised. I wouldn't be surprised to find out if it were closely based upon earlier FD and FL lenses. But, 50mm lens formulas have been pretty thoroughly developed over the past 60+ years. So perhaps a reformulation of the optics isn't all that necessary. I do think Canon could improve the lens without much effort and without it becoming much more expensive... They just need to put curved aperture blades for even nicer bokeh... And upgrade it to true ring-type USM for inmproved durability.
Conclusion... If buying this lens for use on a crop camera, such as a short portrait in particular, and planning primarily to use it at or near wide open, then the Sigma probably has an edge. As a normal lens on full frame, usually stopped down one or two f-stops from wide open, the Canon is probably a slightly better choice. Neither lens is perfect, but in the end both lenses are quite capable. I see no reason someone shouldn't be able to get great shots with either one.