Canon 50mm 1.2 L Vs Sigma Art 50mm 1.4 DG

The Verdict...

Thank you all for getting involved in my quandary! ( for those of you not on my facebook group this is a discussion I originally posted.. two weddings shot on two lenses - different or not? ) 

Annabel & Robbie
Christine & Justin

Which one was shot on the Canon L 50mm 1.2 & which one on the Sigma 50mm 1.4 DG Art...?


Before I start - this is a none technical review of the two lenses and are views & opinions held by myself only )

Ok - so here goes.. drum roll.... most of you got it right yes - Annabel wedding is Canon 50L & Christine wedding is Sigma 50 Art. At the end of the day it boils down to personal taste and what you are used to... 

Despite all previous issues with the Canon lens I have come to learn one thing.. it has soul.. Do not underestimate this over sharpness.....

The Sigma isn't soulless but lets just say it wont get invited to the last supper! The Sigma does what it says on the tin - it get things sharp - for me anyway - I know other people have had issues with it. The focal plane of sharpness is edge to edge whereas the Canon's focal plane is in one spot - due to floating elements & design issues.

So what's the problem? I hear you say, shouldn't all lenses get things sharp? Yes for sure , but there is a different kind of sharpness going on here.  I am used to looking at the back of my camera and getting dreamy bokeh so thick you would get stuck walking in it. The Sigma , not so. I have been shooting with the L for over 11 years now - have I got used to it - yes - do I shoot too much to make sure I get something sharp - yes - when it is sharp is it amazing - yes?! I honestly think its the fact that I am just not used to such edge to edge sharpness in my images. If the Canon would bite more it would be perfect, if the Sigma would deliver less bite it would be perfect. 

Its not just the sharpness either - its the way it captures contrast - skin tone - clarity - all these things are different from lens to lens. If you have only every shot with the Sigma then you have nothing to compare it to & the world will keep on turning. 

I want to like the Sigma, I really do. The images are great & when I shot a wedding with it I was blown away by the sharpness, throwing subjects to the corner - atlast they were sharp!!! But then, one thing happened... - it came to the couple session... going all in with excited expectation of the 'sharpness' of my ensuing images... to look at the back of the camera throughout the mini session and well... just feel... flat... me & the images! What had just happened? Was I having a bad day, was it the camera or the lens? The light? The venue? The couple? Or all of it.. just not happening.. then I thought.. ' mmm , I don't have bad days. I just do it! ' After looking at the images side by side which you can do by looking at the links above I am sure most people couldn't tell any difference. But it is whilst during a shoot, by looking at the back of the camera it made me "feel" ... flat.. & that is key to all of this...

So I guess in summary, there is nothing wrong with the Sigma Art 50mm - its a beautiful piece of glass. A little heavier yes than the Canon but sharp to the hilt! Is it for me? I have to say , a no. 

Yes the Canon may be the most frustrating lens EVER made , one in three images maybe soft. But when it works it gives me my mojo , it delivers the magic that I have become used to over all these years. I have found beauty & detail in the softness that no other lens can match .. I have made a great living & business from this and have never had ' in 18 years ', a client say that their images are soft... So despite its downfalls I shall be holding onto it.. 

It is like when HD tv's came out, when you watched a movie on it , it seemed somehow not real & soulless. So good was the clarity. I guess this is how I feel about the Sigma. 

Canon are supposed to be bringing out a new 1.4 lens, I will have to see what this can do. I am not a badge person, if a lens does the trick then it doesn't matter who made it. I am not beholden to Canon for anything so I say it how it is for me. I am not saying either that I don't want my images to be sharp, ofcourse I do, but there is a kind of radial sharpness in the Canon that allows me to maintain a certain look and feel to the images that has become part of me. So my baby is back with me for now... maybe I will change my mind or have the same feelings about the Canon 1.4 when it comes out & old hat my opinion might be but for now softness, feel & soul outweigh sharpness, flat & soulless.....