Should I Get the Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L II USM or Sigma 24mm f/1.4 Art Lens?

A 24mm f/1.4 prime lens is equally at home in a wedding photographer's gear bag as it is perched upon a tripod and pointed up toward the night sky. It's an excellent lens for indoor events (like parties) where ambient light is low.
 
For those looking to invest in a 24mm f/1.4 prime for Canon DSLRs, two candidates likely to be considered are the Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L II USM and Sigma 24mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art lenses. Today, we're going to see how these lenses compare to one another so that you can make the right investment for your needs.
 
First, let's first look at image quality. At f/1.4, the Canon 24L II is sharp in the center but the mid-frame and corners are noticeably softer. The Sigma 24 Art trails the Canon in center sharpness wide open, but it features a more even sharpness across the entire frame which results in the mid-frame and corners being sharper than the Canon. By f/2, the difference between the two lenses in the center is negligible but the Sigma is still clearly sharper in the corners.
 
The Canon exhibits significantly more vignetting than the Sigma but typically controls flare a bit better. Distortion between the two is pretty much a toss-up.
 
Both lenses feature similar size and weight and accept 77mm front filters. If weather sealing is a high priority, the Canon 24L II is the lens you want. Otherwise, let's look at some other differentiating factors.
 
As usual with third party lenses, you can expect the Sigma 24 Art to focus less consistently compared to the Canon. Live View focusing can be used to increase focus accuracy (as the actual sensor data is being used for focusing), but Live View focusing may not be suitable in some situations.
 
However, in this particular case, a 24mm lens' relatively short focal length helps mitigate focus inaccuracies to some degree as depth of field (DOF) is derived from the relationship between sensor size, focal length, aperture and distance to subject. Let me share an example.
 
With a subject positioned 5 feet away while using a full-frame camera with a 50mm focal length and an f/1.4 aperture, the in-focus DOF would be about 3 inches (7.62 cm). If using a 24mm focal length under the same circumstances, DOF would increase to 1.12 feet (34.14 cm).
 
Of course subject framing would not be the same with different focal lengths being used, but suffice it to say that shorter focal lengths will give you more DOF at typical working distances.
 
As is typical of Canon vs. third-party lens comparisons, one big differentiating factor is price. Right now the Sigma 24 Art is only 55% the cost of the Canon counterpart. This represents a significant savings that could easily be applied to other lenses or desired accessories.
 
To summarize, if you need weather sealing and consistent AF, the Canon 24L II is the best 24mm f/1.4 lens to add to your kit. Otherwise, the Sigma makes a strong case for saving a decent amount of cash while investing in your 24mm prime.
 
B&H carries the Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L II USM and Sigma 24mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art lenses.
Posted: 9/16/2016 7:40:12 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
Posted to: Canon News
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