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Canon, Who? Nikon, What? – Sigma Says Zeiss is Main Competition

By Anthony Thurston on January 15th 2014

Sigma’s 50mm F/1.4 offering has long been touted as comparable, and even better, in some respects, to its Canon and Nikon competition. So naturally, when Sigma started to bring out all these new quality lenses with the new Global Vision, people started calling for a new 50mm F/1.4, interested to see what Sigma could do.

The news finally came last week at CES, a new Sigma 50mm F/1.4 is on the way. The interesting thing about this lens, besides the huge expectations placed on it given Sigma’s latest run of form with lens releases, was Sigma’s confidence in it.


In a recent post over on Imaging Resource, Sigma is said to be “confident they’ll surpass competitive products from Canon and Nikon and are instead gunning for Zeiss’s new 55mm Otus lens.” I think that a little bit of their recent success may be going to their head, but can you blame them? Their recent 24-105 F/4 is one of the sharpest lenses ever tested on DXO (I know, I know).

Sigma is serious. They know what they have been releasing lately puts Canon and Nikon to shame, and now, they have set their sights on the big boy… Carl Zeiss. Can their new 50mm compare to, or surpass the performance of the highly regarded Zeiss Otus 55mm? Only time will tell, and I, for one, cannot wait to see how it turns out.



The Zeiss Otus 55mm is basically a $4,000 lens, and I can guarantee you – even though no pricing has been announced yet – that Sigma’s offering, no matter the performance, will be significantly cheaper. The current Sigma 50mm f/1.4 is selling for around $500, and I can’t see Sigma going much higher than that for a 50mm lens. My guess is somewhere between $500 and $1,000.

[REWIND: Check Out The SLR Lounge Canon Lens War Series]

So, if it performs even close to the Zeiss, can you imagine the pandemonium when those results are released? A sub $1,000 lens comparing to, or even beating out, a lens that costs close to $4,000. If Sigma can pull it off, then I think they will have sealed their fate in the hearts of many photographers as THE third party lens maker.

Is Sigma Letting Their Recent Success Go To Their head?

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Given Sigma’s recent run of form, do you think they have the mojo to go toe to toe with Zeiss in this 50mm war? Share your thoughts in a comment below!

[via Imaging Resource]

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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. Gogu

    If this 50 will be released with a price visibly higher than the old one ( ~ $500 ) , I don’t think it will have a monster success because Sigma’s customers are definitely not the same as Zeiss or even, the target customers of the Nikon 55mm 1.4. Sigma, with the “usual” lens such as the regular primes ( 24, 35, 50, 85 ) usually targets professionals or advanced shooters that are not willing, or can’t afford to pay the OEM stuff. Sigma just has a different market than Zeiss.

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    • Gianni

      That’s one nice answer i totally agree Gogu! But we’re not talking about food where McDonald can not set a menu at 30$ cause they would be losing everyone’s pleasure eating fast and cheap, they would lose 90% of their market. When it comes to lenses it’s wider, Sigma have its targeted customers sure, but i think it’s pretty awesome that they enlarge their market to something higher. This brings new and different customers, we don’t really have some “in-between” lenses among Zeiss (either i’m not conscious), the price gap is huge that the idea of Sigma fulfilling that hole in terms of price and quality will bring them much more thant new clients, a new branding (something not really possible for Tamron even if they would pull out a 600$ zeiss-like). People will afford if they could, same as Canon/Nikon lenses, it’s not drastic if they can’t put 900$, they still have other alternatives like Tamron.
      I can take myself as exemple, i’m a student and i’m practicing a lot video and Zeiss is kind of a dream as a filmaker. Aware that cinema lenses are mostly affordable only by the pros, having that in-between Sigma lens will be amazing. I’d love to see something higher that their ART serie, and i could definitely buy some. :)

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  2. JT

    Any idea when this beast will be released?

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    • Anthony Thurston

      I would think within the next two or three months, I would be very surprised if it was pushed to late 2014 or 2015.

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  3. Steve

    I don’t think Sigma is quite Zeiss-level amazing yet, so I think they’re being a little bit cocky. However, if they’re making lenses that beat Nikon/Canon in quality, they don’t have to exceed Zeiss if they get close enough for a nice price.

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    • Ryan

      I agree, I also feel that Sigma has a few things going for them that sets them apart from Zeiss in a big way. The main one is autofocus. While not everyone uses it I can say as someone who’s eyesight is too poor to manual focus the idea of a sigma lens coming close to zeiss level optics but without forcing me to manual focus is a pretty damn impressive selling point.

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  4. Valentin

    And because of that Nikon will do their best to stop sharing their camera with third party lenses, is it obviously they don’t like this competition. And canon maybe will follow their exemplas.

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    • Ryan

      Ya, I imagine Nikon is rather annoyed by the pressure Sigma is putting on them, but I really don’t see them cutting out support for third party lenses. It would probably do more harm than good.

      For me, personally, if Nikon started doing that I would start phasing out and selling my Nikon gear and probably move to Sigma’s camera line, Sony, or m4/3.

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