Review Sigma 24 mm f/1.4 Art vs Canon 24 mm f/1.4 L II
We got the chance a few days ago to go out with a pre-production model of the Sigma 24 mm f/1.4 Art. You can’t waste a chance like that. We took along a Canon 24 mm f/1.4 L II at the same time as a reference. For our lens reviews, we always try to get a test model that does not differ from what is available in stores. With a pre-production model, that is not certain, because a few improvements can be implemented at the last moment by the manufacturer. We are therefore holding off on our regular tests for the Sigma 24mm f/1.4 Art.
SPOILER ALERT: The image quality of the Sigma 24 mm f/1.4 Art convinces even a perfectionist photographer.
Even so, we were curious about the image quality of the Sigma 24 mm f/1.4 Art. And in order to get a first impression of this in the potentially sensational new Sigma lens, we shot some pictures with both lenses on a Canon 5D MK3. The Sigma 24 mm f/1.4 Art is first coming to market with a Canon mount. We will publish reviews of both lenses as soon as possible, both on a Canon 650D (as a perfect, bright documentary or street-photography lens) and on a Canon 5D MK3 (as a bright wide-angle). It would be strange if this new Sigma Art lens did not aim very high for all demanding and professional photographers who want to have a bright wide-angle lens (on full-frame) or documentary lens (on APS-C) with a fixed focal length and want the very highest build and image quality.
Sigma 24 mm f/1.4 Art: Another price-to-quality star?
Build and auto focus
The Sigma 24 mm f/1.4 Art is about as heavy (665 grams vs 650 grams), just as solidly built and perfectly finished as the famous Sigma 35 mm f/1.4 Art and Sigma 50 mm f/1.4 Art. The store price of the Sigma 24 mm f/1.4 Art may be hundreds of euros lower than the store price of the Canon 24 mm f/1.4 L II, but it can’t be seen in the build quality. On this point, neither lens gives up an inch to the other. Both lenses are made according to the highest quality requirements, including extra sealing against dust and splash water. With its matte black finish, the Sigma 24 mm f/1.4 Art looks a bit more modern than the Canon 24 mm f/1.4L II, which has already been around for a while. Neither lens has built-in image stabilization and is delivered with a flower-shaped sun cap. The lens bag that Sigma provides offers more protection (but fits less easily in a photo bag) than the lens bag that Canon includes.
Both wide-angle lenses show clear vignetting in the corners, which is certainly visible with an evenly blue (or grey) sky, even after stopping down 1 stop. That is not unusual for a wide-angle lens on a camera with a full-format sensor. If needed, that is simple to correct with software. On this point, we’re calling it even for now.
Both the Canon 24 mm f/1.4L II and the Sigma 24 mm f/1.4 Art show clear vignetting in the corners at f/1.4. Imatest will have to be the one to name a winner here.
Both the Canon 24 mm f/1.4 L II and the Sigma 24 mm f/1.4 Art show a small amount of barrel-shaped distortion, which is really only noticeable if you photograph a pattern with straight lines. On this point, the two lenses differ little from each other. This distortion is easy to correct with software, especially with the precise lens correction profiles for Sigma and Canon lenses with which which you can automatically correct RAW files in Lightroom and Photoshop. In practice, it won’t be needed.
Flare and ghosts
In comparison with the Sigma 35 mm f/14 Art and the Sigma 50 mm f/1.4 Art, the Sigma 24 mm f/1.4 Art shows more flaring and ghosts. Given the large field of view, that is not unexpected. The same probably applies for the Canon 24 mm f/1.4 Art L II in comparison with the Canon 35 and 50 mm f/1.4. If we compare the Canon 24 mm f/1.4 L II with the Sigma 24 mm f/1.4 Art, then the Sigma clearly has less trouble with ghosts (look at the illustration shown here), but also less trouble with flare. For photographing bare branches on a tree as a silhouette against the bright sun, a couple of branches disappeared due to flare for the Canon, while the Sigma shows those branches under the same conditions. This is the first point on which there is a clear difference between the two lenses: 1-0 to Sigma.
If you compare shots made with an aperture of f/2.8 or smaller, then we can be brief: both 24 mm lenses are among the absolute top if you are looking for a sharp wide-angle lens: both deliver top quality, and I could not tell the practice shots apart where sharpness is concerned. But you don’t buy a bright lens for that. The sharpness at f/1.4 of the much more modern Sigma f/1.4 Art in the center is clearly better than the somewhat older Canon 24 mm f/1.4 L II. It is a clear illustration of the progress that the lens manufacturers have made in the past years in the production of bright lenses.
The Sigma also wins in the corners where sharpness at full aperture is concerned. As soon as we have the Imatest results for the two lenses, we can quantify the difference in sharpness. But it is clear that the standings are 2-0 to Sigma in the meantime.
Where with normal lenses (>f/2.8), you only have to deal with lateral chromatic aberration—that is to say, blue- and red-colored edges at sharp contrast transitions in the corners of the image. With bright lenses (.
Bokeh Sigma 24 mm f/1.4 Art vs Canon 24 mm f/1.4 L II
Canon of Sigma bokeh, do you see the difference? Move your mouse over the illustration below.
You buy a wide-angle lens for the beautiful focal depth and less likely for the beautiful bokeh. But if you want to have wide-angle shots with bokeh, then you’ve come to the right place with both the Canon 24 mm f/1.4 L II and the Sigma 24 mm f/1.4L. At full aperture, the bokeh of a light source in the background in our test set-up is beautifully round, with a bit sharper edge for the Canon, which sometimes also has more color (green in the shot below).
Conclusion Sigma 24 mm f/1.4 Art vs Canon 24 mm f/1.4 L II
Too long, didn’t read (TL/DR)? Comparison with the Canon 35 mm f/1.4 LII shows that the best from a few years ago has visible shortcomings in comparison to the best that is for sale today.
We can’t wait to get our hands on a regular production model of the Sigma 24 mm f/1.4 Art. This pre-test with a pre-production model shows that Sigma is clearly setting a new standard, that is also attractively priced. Both the build quality and the image quality of the Sigma 24 mm f/1.4 Art are of the same high level as those of the Sigma 35 mm f.14 Art and Sigma 50 mm f.14 Art. How good the Sigma 24 mm f/1.4 Art actually is, you will soon read in our Sigma 24 mm f/1.4 Art review.