Canon 35mm f/2 IS USM vs Sigma 35mm f/1.4

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Jonathan Brady
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Canon 35mm f/2 IS USM vs Sigma 35mm f/1.4
9 months ago

Of those two choices, I feel as though I've settled on the Canon for the following reasons...

  • SMALLER! The Sigma is basically the same width (.9mm difference) but it's 50% longer
  • LIGHTER! The Sigma is almost double the weight (5 grams shy). Size wise, the Canon is the same weight and almost the same dimensions as my EF-S 60mm macro which I find to be right at the edge of comfort on my EOS M.  The Sigma is closer to my 17-55 and 15-85 and neither of those is comfortable with my M (to me).
  • I have an EOS M which I LOVE and the adapter and feel like this will be a GREAT combo along with the native 22/2 for normal focal lengths. I feel like I would be extremely unlikely to use the Sigma on my M.
  • IS! I'll likely have this on my 60D quite often but for those occasions where it's on the M, the IS will REALLY come in handy since the camera lacks an EVF and therefore must be held out in front of my body which makes handholding less reliable
  • CHEAPER! The Sigma is $350 more! I could pick up the 85/1.8 and have change left for that!
  • EVEN CHEAPER! I was one of the people who ordered what they thought was the 35/2 IS USM from Canon refurbished and it turns out they mislabeled the non-IS non-USM version. They agreed to allow me to buy the 35/2 IS USM refurbished for the same price ($217 + tax) when it comes in stock. So, we're talking around $500 cheaper than the Sigma after buying a lens hood and selling the refurb.

The downsides to choosing the Canon...

  • There's no substitute for speed. I do shoot indoors a fair amount (usually not a fan of flash) and an extra stop can absolutely be the difference between a keeper and a trash-canner.
  • Less impressive center resolution for the Canon (ie, the Sigma is sharper). In fact, the Sigma is better at 1.4 (which the Canon can't achieve obviously) than the Canon is at 2.0 and it's basically a wash with the Canon at 2.8!!! But, the Canon is VERY GOOD even wide open, it's just that the Sigma is insanely excellent. However, the Canon seems to hold the edge elsewhere (borders) and there is a much smaller drop off in resolution between the center and borders for better consistency across the frame.
  • There's no telling when the refurbs will finally be made available through Canon - I could be waiting a LONG time. This has me considering purchasing one new right now and then purchasing the refurb when it's available and selling it without even opening the box to recoup some of that money (I'm figuring at least $200 but probably more in my pocket). This way, the warranty should transfer (as if it were a gift), right?
  • Even number of aperture blades in the Canon (8) versus an odd number (9) in the Sigma so we're talking 8 point stars versus 18 point stars - both are rounded so that's a draw
  • Hood included in the Sigma, not for the Canon

I see the depth of field difference as a wash. I think the DOF is already too thin a lot of times at f/2 but it's a necessary evil due to available light. However, other times even f/1.4 will be just right even when I have plenty of light - outdoors for instance.

So, is $500 (probably $600 if I just wait for a refurb for myself), a smaller size, lighter weight, IS, and likelihood to be used with my M worth the trade off in speed and resolution? I feel like it probably is, but I just want to be sure I'm not missing something here. Any help? Suggestions?

 Jonathan Brady's gear list:Jonathan Brady's gear list
Canon EOS M Canon EOS 70D Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM +12 more
Canon EOS 60D
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