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Canon 35mm F/1.4L II Fails To Beat Sigma 35mm In DXO Tests, 5D Spec Rumors {Daily Roundup}

By Anthony Thurston on November 1st 2015

Welcome to our roundup series where we will hit on several gear news and rumor topics each day. This gives you a chance to get caught up on all of the day’s news and rumors in one place. Make sure to check back daily for the latest gear news, rumors, and announcements.

New Canon 35mm f/1.4 II DXO Tests Published

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We asked ourselves for quite some time about how Canon’s new 35mm would stack up against the wildly popular Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art. Well, we now have some definitive lab test results; and while the Canon is good (beating out the legendary Zeiss Distagon T 35mm f/1.4), it still comes up short compared to the Sigma.

To be fair, the difference in overall rating between the two lenses is a score of 34 for the Sigma and 33 for the Canon, hardly a big difference. That said, it is notable that despite all the praise being heaped at the Canon lens, according to the lab tests, the Sigma is still king.

In real life practice, I highly doubt much, if any difference, could be discerned from the two lenses. But this result will no doubt fan the flame war currently waging between the red ring snobs and the Sigma-ites.

Many wondered if this lens could justify the price with killer performance, and it does perform well. The problem for Canon is that the Sigma lens that costs half as much apparently still performs better, and that is an issue if they want to sell a lot of these lenses.

Do you put much stock in the DXO tests and ratings? Leave a comment below and tell us what you think of these results!

Canon To Release Two More 5D Models?

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A new rumor is floating around about two possible 5D models that Canon will release in the next year. This rumor is considered by many to be fairly unreliable, but the specs shared are worth a discussion at the least… but just remember this is a highly unlikely rumor.

5D Mark IV Specs

  • 28MP Sensor
  • 12FPS
  • Dual Pixel AF
  • 204,000 ISO

5D Mark IV C Specs

  • 18MP Sensor
  • Dual Pixel AF with 61 AF points
  • 204,000 ISO
  • 4K Video Recording

The rumor sites seem pretty convinced that only the new 1D series body will feature 4K video from Canon, this spec list obviously contradicts that. But what makes it so unlikely in my mind is that this would mean 4 different (and current) 5D series camera models; that seems way out of character from Canon, in my opinion.

That said, Canon would be nuts to only put 4K in the 1D series cameras. It is possible that initially that was their plan, but given how things are going for them, maybe they are rethinking their plans.

Regardless, I think both spec lists above look pretty appealing. That said, I doubt these are correct. Still, it makes for an interesting discussion. What are your thoughts on these rumored specs?

Creative Live Celebrates DST With 25% Off For 25 Hours

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I am a huge fan of Creative Live and the learning/education you can find there. They wanted to celebrate DST (Daylight Savings Time) and an extra hour of sleep, so they are giving everyone 25% off for 25 hours only!

There are several classes that I have personally been keeping an eye on, and I will probably use this opportunity to grab a few. Pye’s Lighting course for one, and the Phelan’s Boudoir course being another.

Head on over to Creative Live and save on some quality educational content and become a better photographer and business person! All the courses can be found here.

What are your thoughts on today’s roundup? What news/rumors did we miss? What would you like to see covered in future roundups? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think!

Anthony Thurston is a photographer based in the Salem, Oregon area specializing in Boudoir. He recently started a new project, Fiercely Boudoir to help support the growing boudoir community. Find him over on Instagram. You may also connect with him via Email.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Shawn Kenessey

    I have the Canon 35 L 1.4 II and it’s quite good. I also have Sigma lenses and they’re very good as well. Both brands have met my needs. 

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  2. Rafael Steffen

    Thanks for sharing more information on AF with these lens. This helps a lot on making a decision on which lens to go with when it comes to AF response time and precision.

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  3. robert s

    I wonder if a 50-85 f/2 art will be released to go alongside my 24-35 f/2. they would make a killer couple for weddings. Id sell my 851.8d and 28-70 AFS still would need the 70-200 and an UWA but 4 lenses and youre set.

    I respect canon for realizing the mk1 was not up to par. still way overpriced though. sigma and tamron are putting a lot of pressure on nikon and canon. I couldnt be happier that I have amazing choices. I dont see any reason to buying nikons overpriced lenses. I have everything I want from sigma and tamron. except an 85 art and a 50-85 f/2 art

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  4. Chuck Eggen

    This isn’t a debate on which is better, Sigma or Canon. It’s about brand. I’m a Nikon shooter and I have two of the Sigma Art lenses. Why, because they are great lenses (rivaling Nikons) and half the price. But hey, it’s your money, buy what you want. I did.

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  5. Mark Romine

    When you get to this level of pixel peeping it doesn’t matter to your clients.

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    • Anthony Thurston

      That depends on the clients, but in general, I agree with you.

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    • Mark Romine

      There are very very few situations or clients where the difference between the sharpness of the Cannon vs Sigma will make any difference at all. I would recommend purchasing lenses based upon other criteria than sharpness at least at this level. Cost, support, customer service or a combination of the three.

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    • adam sanford

      Even the most negative review of the 35L II is that it is a Sigma 35 Art with Canon AF and weathersealing. I’ve missed a ton of moments with the Sigma 35 Art — optically, it’s stellar, but it’s AF is inconsistent on the wide open end, even with careful technique.

      So, to me, the reliable AF alone makes the 35L II worth what the Sigma costs + another $500. When the price comes down to about that range, I will seriously consider picking this thing up.

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    • Mark Romine

      Adam, that is a good point that I forgot about. AF speed and accuracy far out trump sharpness at this level. What good is having the sharpest lens in the world but you can’t get to focus or get it in focus?

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    • adam sanford

      My hit rate with the 35 Art:
      (handheld / shot through the OVF, daylight, static targets, single AF point on my 5D3, careful technique, no focusing and recomposing)

      f/1.4 = 25%
      f/1.6 – 2.0 = 50%
      f/2.2 – 2.8 = 95%

      And this was after a careful calibration. My misses landed on either side — it was not front or back focused, it was inconsistently focused — which effectively rendered my f/1.4 lens into an f/2 lens unless I wanted to switch to MF and use LiveView.

      It’s a pity because it’s a killer optic and this singlehandedly sunk it for me. I’m shooting with AF 95% of the time.

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    • Kyle Stauffer

      After renting and using multiple Sigma Art 35’s… My conclusion is the AF at 1.4 is reliable on some and not on others. The first of the 35’s I used entirely below 1.8 and surprisingly I couldn’t find one unusable shot due to AF. Zooming to 100% to the eye on almost every photo left me stunned of the sharpness and accuracy. The second time I rented the lens again from a different company, and that AF was not as reliable on that one. Hit or miss I guess.

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    • Holger Foysi

      @Adam S.: My copy is very reliable wide open on the D810 and D750. Use it for weddings all the time. Hit rate is above 85% at least. My 50/1.4 Art is good, too, but slightly less reliable. My worst lens here was my Tamron 70-200 wide open. Replaced it with Nikons now.

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    • adam sanford

      @Holger – thx. Many have reached out to tell me that it’s a matter of copy-to-copy variation. They actually recommend buy/try/return as often as needed until you get a great copy. I’m sorry, I’ll do that once for a clear lemon, but getting a quality lens shouldn’t be a rinse and repeat sort of exercise. No way I’m doing that.

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  6. Ben Perrin

    Wrong! The Canon beats the sigma wide open where people are going to use it most. Also like Adam pointed out averaging out the score when the Canon goes to f22 and the Sigma goes to f16 is borderline insane. If you have a 5dsr on hand dxomark why don’t you test it on that? Nothing wrong with the 5d3 for comparison purposes with the sigma but the 5dsr has been out for a fair while now. Not taking anything away from the Sigma, as I think we have them to thank for this new lens. Sigma stepping up their game has certainly been good for the industry. The price of the Sigma is much better as well making the Sigma a very tempting option. It just annoys me that dxomark is still taken seriously in the photographic community.

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  7. carl rug

    DXO Tests just work for creating controversy….

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  8. adam sanford

    As for the 5D4 (or other 5D variants), the debate rages on. 4K remains the only thing people want to talk about on it, sadly. As a stills-only guy, I really don’t give a damn. I want more DR, better high ISO performance and whatever new AF system hotness the 1DX II will offer.

    That said, I’m of the belief that the 5D4 will have 4K onboard but at launch, Canon will blot out its existence in marketing materials and in the firmware. It will be launched as a 1080 video camera to protect Cinema EOS / 1D sales, but if it tanks commerically — SHAZAM! — Canon will cave and firmware will unlock it.

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    • Justin Haugen

      I cashed in on my mk3’s while the resale value hadn’t taken a hit with a mk4 official announcement and went all in on the D750 and lenses. I wonder if I’ll see the DR I’ve been asking for in the mk4 finally, but I have a feeling I won’t.

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    • Kyle Stauffer

      I’ve never understood the whole “we don’t want to rob our sales from our other sales” thought process. That thinking only opens the door for competition to capitalize on it. If Canon or even Nikon did away with that crazy idea, they’d annihilate sales of the competitor.

      Example: Imagine wanting said 4k since that’s the hot topic… The only Canon option is in a $6k camera while Nikon not worrying about robbing d5 sales puts it in a d750s. I think we can guess as to whose overall sales and profit margin suffered more in that scenario….

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  9. adam sanford

    Folks are furious. As if DXO’s lens rep could get any worse, this review is borderline trolling. The Canon got a lower sharpness score solely because it stops down to f/22 (compared to Sigma’s f/16) and that pulled it’s average sharpness value. That’s &@#$ing madness and it’s *classic* DXO: thoughtless robo-scoring with unpublished methods and poor consideration of what really matters.

    The *worst* word I’ve heard on the 35L II is that it’s ‘as good as the Sigma 35 Art with reliable autofocus’

    The *best* review I’ve seen claims it to be a ‘Otus with autofocus’

    The truth is somewhere in-between — the 35L II is better than the 35 Art wide open and has dramatically reduced chromatic aberration. It’s a better lens, but ‘better enough for that price?’ remains debatable.

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    • Ben Perrin

      Thank you Adam for saying it. I think you’ve hit the nail on the head.

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    • Dave Haynie

      Very interesting. When a quality metric gives one item a lower score than a similar item simply based on the presence of one extra feature, and one that’s completely unrelated to the in-kind head-to-head matchup, that’s a clear indication that the metric is broken.

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    • Holger Foysi

      No, I wouldn’t call that trolling. Up to f2 the Canon has better corners. Then the Sigma surpasses the Canon slightly in acuity. Transmission + Vignetting is better too on the Sigma, whereas the Canon has less CAs in the border region and less distortion. So depending on weighting the parameters both are very close, as reflected by the score. For me, the Canon is too expensive compared to what the Sigma delivers.

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    • adam sanford

      Holger — agree on price, disagree on trolling. :-)

      (Lowering a lens’s score because of *f/22 softness*?!)

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  10. Ben Young

    Regarding the 35mm lenses; there’s this comparison at petapixel: http://goo.gl/agAW79

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