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Gear Rumors

New Canon 35mm and 50mm ‘L’ Prime’s Coming, But Not Until 2015

By Anthony Thurston on July 29th 2014

Sigma’s strong run of form with their Art series prime lenses has left a lot of us wondering when Canon or Nikon would respond to the new threat from Sigma. According to a new report today over on Canon Rumors, it seems Canon will respond, but not until 2015.


According to the CR report, they have received a tip that Canon will not announce any more new ‘L’ primes in 2014, but that several will be on the slate for 2015. At the top of that list, with an expected “early 2015” release is a new Canon 35mm L lens, likely an F/1.4 aperture, but we don’t know for sure on that. This would clearly be Canon’s response to the high performing and super popular Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art.

Also expected out in 2015, but not until late, is a new Canon 50mm L, possibly an F/1.4 aperture – but that is unclear. This would obviously be Canon’s response to the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 Art, a lens that has shown to perform on level terms – maybe even better in some regards – with the current Canon 50mm f/1.2.

[REWIND: Sigma To Feature New ‘Quattro’ Foveon Tech In Next DSLR]

These are just rumors at this point, but if this is the case, it will be very interesting to see how these lenses fair against the lower priced and high performance Sigma lenses. I have been a huge fan of what Sigma has been doing, so it will be cool to see how Canon responds.


What are your thoughts on this rumor news? Should Sigma be worried, or will Canon disappoint in their response to Sigma’s recent success? Leave a comment below!

[via Canon Rumors]

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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. Amanda Jehle

    I love my Canon 50mm f/1.4. I shoot with an APS-C, so I use the 50mm as my main portrait lens. However, there’s always room for improvement… My biggest complaint is the sharpness (or lack there of) wide open. And I feel in many situations the AF is hit or miss. I would likely upgrade if Canon fixed those two issues at a reasonable price. I don’t have any experience with Sigma lenses, but I think it’s only fair I give them a chance. :) Hmmm, I might need to rent a wide-angle for my upcoming trip to Vegas.

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    • adam sanford

      Re: hit or miss AF: to my knowledge, there is not a single 50mm fast aperture (F/1.something) with AF for Canon that *doesn’t* have AF problems when you shoot wider than F/2. (This is beyond the basic notion that our technique needs to change when using AF with ultra thin working DOF — I’m saying the AF in wide aperture situations is historically shaky at best.)

      The 50L is a notorious diva that needs AFMA tweaking. I’ve never been happy with the AF enough to use that lens wider than F/1.8 or so. Some folks love theirs wide open, but it’s a finicky beast.

      The Canon 50 F/1.4 has tremendous copy to copy variation in AF. Mine hunts but thankfully nails it eventually, but some copies are a mess I’m told.

      The Sigma 50 Art is a stellar lens but even that one has AF inconsistency. See TDP’s fair take on it here:
      (look for the butterfly interactive graphic halfway down the page)

      So this is why I am pushing very hard for just a competent non-L f/2 or f/1.8 50mm IS lens from Canon. Offering modern, accurate USM autofocusing *alone* (with no other improvements over the Canon 50 F/1.4) is worth an upgrade to me.

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  2. Rafael Steffen

    A great response from Canon and Nikon would be to lunch someting new like Sigma did with the 18-35 F1.8.

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  3. Adrian Jones

    Guess Canon is getting tired of getting kicked in the but by Sigma!

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  4. adam sanford

    As for this rumor, though the world would love a new 50L, people who actually prefer the current non-L Canon 50mm F/1.4 over the current 50L for sharpness reasons — and there are a bunch of us — would *love* the non-L 50mm F/(unknown) IS to get announced already!

    The value proposition for that lens is off the charts. IS + relative fast (say F/1.8, F/2) + internal focusing + sharper than the 50L / 90% as sharp as the Sigma 50 Art + modern fast USM + small size + light weight in the $500-700 range would sell like *hotcakes*. And we know Canon can do it — the non-L IS refreshes in the 24/28/35 lengths already have pulled this off.

    Hotcakes, I say. Gimme gimme gimme.

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    • Matthew Saville

      Yeah, forget the f/1.2 Canon 50 L crowd, and the new Nikon 58 1.4 G crowd, they’re usually a bunch of hipsters who talk about how their lenses have “character”. What Canon REALLY needs to do, is announce a new 50 1.4 non-L. Do this, for ~$500, and compete approximately with the Sigma on sharpness, (AKA, beat their 1.2 L for sharpness but not bokeh) …and they have a winner.

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    • adam sanford

      100% going to happen, Matthew, as I’ve spec’d it, too. It’s a certainty.

      What we don’t know is *which* 50 this is replacing and by extension, what max aperture it will offer. All the prior Canon ‘non-L IS refresh’ lenses (24 f/2.8, 28 f/2.8, and 35 f/2) were part of the non-USM budget family that the *nifty fifty 50 F/1.8 II* are part of, not the much better 50 F/1.4 ring-USM design. So some folks think it’ll be the nifty fifty that retires, and that the new 50 will be 50 F/1.8 IS USM, it will run around $599.

      Others (myself) included are not so sure. The nifty fifty is almost a left-field exception to any lens family in how simple and cheap it is, and as such, takes on a near immortal value proposition that simply cannot be retired. As abstract and mythical as that sounds, I think the nifty fifty lives on and the new lens will be a 50 F/1.4 IS USM and run $799 to start and quickly drop down to $599 or so. (P.S. Hotcakes.)

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    • Matthew Saville

      I thought so too at first Adam, however when Nikon released the $199 50 1.8 G, all that changed. The lens is so killer, it actually competes with / beats a $1400 lens. You simply cannot deny that. I strongly believe that Canon desperately wants to compete better in the 50mm department, in the ~$100-200 range, and the $400-600 range, AND the >$1000 range.

      BTW, despite having the “right type” of USM focus motor, the 50 1.4 is still plagued with AF errors, and according to many it is highly susceptible to minor bumps that completely break the AF motor or gears or something. I dunno the whole story though. Either way, Canon needs to get their 50mm act together, followed quickly by their 35mm and 85mm acts.

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    • adam sanford

      Again, Matthew, all the 50 F/1.4 issues you refer to categorically will be solved. I have on the aforementioned ‘non-L IS refreshes’ in the 28mm F/2.8 IS USM. Everything about that lens that I care about is an 8 out of 10: small, light, sharp, IS, internal focusing, fast modern USM, and a build quality not far off from the 100L macro (minus the weather sealing, of course).

      Now imagine that in a 50mm lens version of that in the F/1.4 to F/2 neighborhood. It will be a wonderful lens. Many folks on Canon Rumors forums speak to wanting the non-L IS lens more than a 50 F/1.2L Mark II. Those that aren’t opting for the very nice Sigma 50 Art want modern USM, sharp, IS, and NOT as big as a pickle jar.

      That lens is 100% coming.

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  5. Tobias Heyl

    Should Sigma be worried?
    No, I don’t think so. Why should they be worried at all?

    They were the ones to bring a new standard to consumer lenses, reaching way beyond the ones produced by Canon lately. Especially in terms of the L lenses.
    This L seems to have been a title for a superior lense so long that you didn’t even bother looking at others. But this was wrong, as manufacturers as Sigma proved.

    Okay, given the 16-35 mm Canon seems to have made a new approach to actually produce lenses that are again able to compete, it has an excellent quality. If – and only IF – Canon follows that approach also with the new L lenses such as the 35 mm and 50 mm I’ll be happy to give them a try when released in 2015, in case the rumors are correct. We’ll see what the Photokina will reveal … ;-)

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    • adam sanford

      If the last 2 years defines a company, then Sigma is the standard for all lens makers. :-P It was not long ago that Sigma simply undercut Canon with lenses that were 80% as good and promptly fell apart, had AF issues, etc.

      **Of late**, Sigma has really cleaned up its act. The Art primes, in particular, are impressive pieces of work. There’s even talk of a 24-70 F/2 coming from them, and as a FF shooter, I’d love that.

      But Canon knows what they’re doing. Many believe that they are waiting on their next-gen L primes until they’ve dialed in the specs for whatever high MP FF body they intend to launch someday.

      Until then, companies that are on top of it (like Sigma) will make money outperforming 10-15 year old L lenses.

      …In resolution testing.

      …with pickle jar primes that are as big and heavy and standard zooms.

      …without weather sealing. ;-)

      So I’ll hang on to my L lenses for now, but I honestly do look forward to Sigma’s future offerings. The photography world benefits from this competition.

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    • Matthew Saville

      Epic fail on the use of the Canon 16-35 as a lens that can compete, if you’re referring to the old 2.8 version. It is a complete joke, and well known as one of the worst values of all L lenses currently available.

      If you’re referring to the new f/4 L IS 16-35, however, then you’d be dead on! That lens is insanely sharp, and shockingly affordably priced considering it’s quality and performance.


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    • Tobias Heyl

      @ Matthew Saville: Oh yeah I did not actually mention it but I was referring to the f/4 L IS 16-35. So the one that was released in May this year … “dead on” sounds funny :-)

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  6. David Pickering

    A 50mm L prime would be a great as it might mean that I could pick up an f/1.2 used for cheap when someone upgrades.

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