Sigma 50mm F/1.4 DG HSM Art Review Series

This post is part of our ongoing series of reviews and comparisons related to the new Sigma 50mm F/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens. Below you can find links to the rest of the content in this series. Enjoy!

Sigma 50mm F/1.4 DG HSM Art vs Canon’s “Nifty Fifty”

I am just going to come out and say it, there is no comparing the Sigma 50mm F/1.4 DG HSM Art to the Canon 50mm F/1.8. The Sigma is better in every aspect with the only exception being the cost. But still, there is a reason for the comparison you are about to see/read.

Sigma50mm-Art-Vs-canon-50mm-1-8-3292

I get asked all the time about the Canon 50mm F/1.8 vs the Canon F/1.4 or F/1.2 (Be sure to check out our Canon Lens Wars for an in-depth look at how these three stack up), so today, I wanted to take the opportunity to show you exactly how much better of an image you will get with a higher quality 50mm lens. For those of you thinking about upgrading, this comparison will show you why this new Sigma should be at the top of your list.

Disclaimer: This is not meant to be a comprehensive review for either lens, just a quick comparison and overview of how the two lenses compare to one another. RAW files will be provided for download at the end of the article so you can download and compare on your own screen for anything I may have not compared directly in this post. 

Size & Build Quality Comparison

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As you can see from the image above, the Sigma is significantly larger than the Canon 50mm F/1.8. Not only is it larger, it has a solid build. Where the Canon is almost all plastic, the Sigma is almost all metal.

The focus ring on the Canon leaves a lot to be desired, and makes manual focus a pain. The Sigma, on the other hand, provides an ideal manual focus experience with a smooth motion and good feel.

You can really see the price difference of $850 between these lenses in their build quality.

Handling Comparison

Put simply, the Canon 50mm F/1.8 is sort of a clunker. It’s AF is loud and screechy, and as mentioned above, the manual focus is a real pain.

The Sigma, on the other hand, handles beautifully. It has a quick and snappy, but most of all silent, AF system that is a accurate as it is quiet. It balances well on both full frame and crop bodies, and feels solid in the hands.

Image Quality Comparison

There is really no comparison here. The Sigma is again better than the 50mm F/1.8. It is sharper, has less distortion, and less CA. There is literally not one thing about the Canon 50mm F/1.8 that I find to be superior to the Sigma.

Compared Wide Open at F/1.4 and F/1.8

You can click on the images to view a larger size (1200px wide), these RAW files will also be available for download at the end of the article.

Sigma 50mm F/1.4 DG HSM Art, Canon 6D, ISO 100, F/1.4, 1/400th 

Sigma50mm-Art-Vs-canon-50mm-1-8-3224

Canon 50mm F/1.8Canon 6D, ISO 100, F/1.8, 1/320th

Sigma50mm-Art-Vs-canon-50mm-1-8-3233Obviously there is some difference here due to the Sigma being wide open at F/1.4 and the Canon being wide open at F/1.8. Looking at the 100% crops below and you will see that the Sigma is clean and sharp, while the Canon is hazy and barely useable.

canon-100percent-srop-center sigma-100percent-srop-center

Compared at F/2.8

You can click on the images to view a larger size (1200px wide), these RAW files will also be available for download at the end of the article.

Sigma 50mm F/1.4 DG HSM Art, Canon 6D, ISO 100, F/2.8, 1/250th Sigma50mm-Art-Vs-canon-50mm-1-8-3265

Canon 50mm F/1.8Canon 6D, ISO 100, F/2.8, 1/250th  Sigma50mm-Art-Vs-canon-50mm-1-8-3271These lenses are closer at F/2.8, but the Sigma is still much sharper. Here are a few more 100% crops so you can see for yourself…

canon-100percent-crop-center sigma-100percent-crop-center

 More Sample Shots

Normally here we would have a test to see if you could tell the difference, but given how the Sigma is so clearly better in every way, it would be pointless. Instead, here are some more sample shots from the two lenses for you to compare.

Sigma

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CanonSigma50mm-Art-Vs-canon-50mm-1-8-2520

SigmaSigma50mm-Art-Vs-canon-50mm-1-8-2538

CanonSigma50mm-Art-Vs-canon-50mm-1-8-2547

In Conclusion

It is clear to see, as expected, that the new Sigma 50mm F/1.4DG HSM Art is, in every way, better than the Canon 50mm F/1.8. I hope that this comparison was helpful to those of you who may be considering upgrading from a Nifty Fifty. Hopefully, this helps you see how much you can improve your image quality with a higher quality lens such as this Sigma.

If you are interested in the RAW files, you can download them here and compare the two lenses yourself. Leave a comment below and let me know what you think!

Sigma 50mm Review Status Update
I just sent back the lens this morning, so you can expect my full review on the Sigma 50mm F/1.4 DG HSM Art to be out either this afternoon or tomorrow morning. Thanks!