Lens Comparison: Sigma 50mm F/1.4 Art Vs Canon 50mm F/1.2l

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Lens Comparison: Sigma 50mm F/1.4 Art Vs Canon 50mm F/1

All of Sigma’s new “Art” series lenses have been impressive, as we’ve already seen in my comparison of the 35mm f/1.4 Art series lens, and the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 Art holds up that tradition. But how does it compare to Canon’s more expensive, larger aperture “L” model?  In last week’s comparison with the Canon f/1.4, we saw that the 1.2L has it’s share of problem areas, making this an interesting question.

To begin with, there’s the price difference:

On Amazon.com, the current price for the Sigma is $949.00 and the Canon is $1,449.00. At B&H, the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 “Art” costs $949, while the Canon 50mm f/1.2L costs $1399 with the current mail-in-rebate.

So, the Canon has about a $400-600 price difference to justify. How does it do?

Resolution & Sharpness

Both lenses have excellent center resolution, though the Sigma is better from wide-open until around f/2.8. The Canon’s chromatic aberrations make that difference more pronounced between f/1.2 and f/2.8 in high contrast situations, but that does not appear to be the extent of the cause.


In the center of the image at f/1.4, the Sigma looks pretty good.
Also at f/1.4, the Canon looks fine in the center, though it's soft compared to the Sigma.
The Sigma isn't perfect at the edge of the frame wide open...
... but at the edge of the frame, the Canon is much softer.
Canon, f/5.6. The resolution is not bad.
Sigma f/5.6. Better still.

However, the Sigma performs much better away from the center of the image, and particularly at the borders, where the Canon’s image quality can be quite bad, especially at large apertures. At f/5.6, the Canon starts catching up to the Sigma, and at f/8, the differences at the borders of the frame are minimal.

The next two images are crops from the left edge of this image.
Sigma, f/4, edge of the frame.
Canon, f/4, edge of the frame.
Sigma, f/2.8.
Canon, f/2.8
Sigma, f/8.
Canon, f/8. The difference is mostly gone at this aperture.

Download the RAW Files

[MG: I’d like to publish the video ASAP, so I’ll be adding further details here shortly. Please check back soon!]

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