Is it worth it? Can you tell the difference?
For starters, this is by no means a comprehensive test on the most popular portrait lens, the coveted 50mm. It comes in 3 flavors: F/1.8 for $110, F/1.4 for $385 and F/1.2 for $1600. I also have included the Sigma F/1.4 in this comparison for $499.
In order to keep things consistant, I shot each of these photos with the exact same settings, from the exact same distance, using the same camera (Canon 70D).
Like I said, this is not a full test of each lens. It is just the "eye test." Do you and I see the difference in the images, yes. As consumers can we justify the extra costs as we step up to the lower apertures? The difference isn't that much, especially when I think about forking out an extra grand for the fancy L series F/1.2 vs. one of the F/1.4 options. The big question here though is, will your customers be able to tell the difference?
The below set of images shows the results of shooting with the lens at the lowest aperture available.
The below set of images shows the results of shooting with the lens at: F/1.8.
The below set of images shows the results of shooting with the lens at F/8.
Below are the F/1.8 settings enlarged for each lens.
CANON 50mm F/1.2 at F/1.8 [below] $1600
CANON F/1.4 AT F/1.8 [below] $385
SIGMA 50MM F/1.4 AT F/1.8 [below] $499
CANON 50mm F/1.8 at F/1.8 [below] $110
Keywords: 50, 50mm, L, aperture, black, bokeh, branden hughes, camera, canon, f/1.8, fantastic, fstoppers, lens, nifty, photography, plastic, portrait, rapid, series, sigma, tests, the
I'm guessing here, but the photographer isn't buying the 50 F1.2 to use it at F1.8. You are paying to blow that thing wide open and shoot something with 1/4 inch of focus depth. :)
You can definitely see a difference in the cheap Canon, especially when you look at the shape of the lights () instead of O and the decent but meh bokeh. The middle Canon has nice bokeh, but you can definitely see a more octagonal shape to the defocused lights. The Sigma is better here with a nice circular shape.
Bang for the buck that Sigma is pretty nice. Like most things, there is a level of diminishing returns. What does that extra 1k buy you? A small but real improvement in IQ and features. (ability to use in lower light, lower DOF, etc). Most likely at a cost of weight and size.
Then again, what do I know? I shoot Sony. :)
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