Sigma 35mm f/1.4 user feedback needed

Started Jun 10, 2013 | Discussions
M J Valentine
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Sigma 35mm f/1.4 user feedback needed
Jun 10, 2013

Hi,

I'm thinking of buying a Sigma 35mm f/1.4 to complement a Canon 24-105mm. I am selling my 650D and 15-85 to buy a 6D and plan to use the fast prime for low light and general photography.

I considered buying a Canon 40mm f/2.8 but I am concerned that the extending focusing action may cause dust to enter the camera body so the Sigma 35mm would seem to be a good candidate, especially as it is significantly faster. I have previously used a Canon 35mm f/1.4 but didn't like the purple fringing at f/1.4 which the 650D's Digic V processor couldn't resolve.

I have read many positive reviews about the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 and would be grateful for feedback from owners. Does the lens focus accurately wide open? Any other problems/issues/regrets?

Have you needed to send the lens to Sigma for repairs in the UK? In this regard I have been advised by a well informed source that Sigma UK can take weeks or months to service a lens. Has any other UK Sigma user experienced such delay? I wouldn't want to be without a lens for months while it is adjusted for front/back focusing.

Thanks,

Martyn

Canon EOS 650D (EOS Rebel T4i / EOS Kiss X6i) Canon EOS 6D Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM
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Collett
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Re: Sigma 35mm f/1.4 user feedback needed
In reply to M J Valentine, Jun 10, 2013

M J Valentine wrote:

Hi,

I'm thinking of buying a Sigma 35mm f/1.4 to complement a Canon 24-105mm. I am selling my 650D and 15-85 to buy a 6D and plan to use the fast prime for low light and general photography.

I considered buying a Canon 40mm f/2.8 but I am concerned that the extending focusing action may cause dust to enter the camera body so the Sigma 35mm would seem to be a good candidate, especially as it is significantly faster. I have previously used a Canon 35mm f/1.4 but didn't like the purple fringing at f/1.4 which the 650D's Digic V processor couldn't resolve.

I would get both. The Canon 40F2.8 pancake is a great compliment to the Sigma 35F1.4 Art because the Sigma is a large and heavy prime and the pancake is very light, cheap and discrete. And importantly, it has excellent IQ.

I have read many positive reviews about the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 and would be grateful for feedback from owners. Does the lens focus accurately wide open? Any other problems/issues/regrets?

It focuses fast and very accurately on my 5dIII, and it has great sharpness and contrast. I am not sure if its me yet, or the lighting circumstance in which I have shot, and I have not done side-by-side comparisons - but I will say to me the colors appear to be different than my Canon lenses. The Sigma Art seems to have colder colors. The only other downside for me is its size and weight. It is not a small lens. Here are some shots so you can judge for yourself.

Have you needed to send the lens to Sigma for repairs in the UK? In this regard I have been advised by a well informed source that Sigma UK can take weeks or months to service a lens. Has any other UK Sigma user experienced such delay? I wouldn't want to be without a lens for months while it is adjusted for front/back focusing.

Thanks,

Martyn

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bhollis
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Re: Sigma 35mm f/1.4 user feedback needed
In reply to M J Valentine, Jun 10, 2013

I have a 35 f/1.4L, have been very happy with it, and plan to keep it.  But if I were buying now, based on the numerous professional and user reviews of the Sigma f/1.4 I've read, there's no question in my mind I'd opt for the Sigma over the Canon.  By most accounts, it's a better lens at a lower price--and that's combination that's hard to beat.

Also, the Sigma 35 f/1.4 is compatible with Sigma's new AF-correction dock, which also seems to be getting very good reviews.

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M J Valentine
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Re: Sigma 35mm f/1.4 user feedback needed
In reply to Collett, Jun 10, 2013

Hi Collett,

Thanks for the reply and samples. Does the lens focus reliably at f/1.4?

Thanks,

Martyn

Collett wrote:

M J Valentine wrote:

Hi,

I'm thinking of buying a Sigma 35mm f/1.4 to complement a Canon 24-105mm. I am selling my 650D and 15-85 to buy a 6D and plan to use the fast prime for low light and general photography.

I considered buying a Canon 40mm f/2.8 but I am concerned that the extending focusing action may cause dust to enter the camera body so the Sigma 35mm would seem to be a good candidate, especially as it is significantly faster. I have previously used a Canon 35mm f/1.4 but didn't like the purple fringing at f/1.4 which the 650D's Digic V processor couldn't resolve.

I would get both. The Canon 40F2.8 pancake is a great compliment to the Sigma 35F1.4 Art because the Sigma is a large and heavy prime and the pancake is very light, cheap and discrete. And importantly, it has excellent IQ.

I have read many positive reviews about the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 and would be grateful for feedback from owners. Does the lens focus accurately wide open? Any other problems/issues/regrets?

It focuses fast and very accurately on my 5dIII, and it has great sharpness and contrast. I am not sure if its me yet, or the lighting circumstance in which I have shot, and I have not done side-by-side comparisons - but I will say to me the colors appear to be different than my Canon lenses. The Sigma Art seems to have colder colors. The only other downside for me is its size and weight. It is not a small lens. Here are some shots so you can judge for yourself.

Have you needed to send the lens to Sigma for repairs in the UK? In this regard I have been advised by a well informed source that Sigma UK can take weeks or months to service a lens. Has any other UK Sigma user experienced such delay? I wouldn't want to be without a lens for months while it is adjusted for front/back focusing.

Thanks,

Martyn

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Collett
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Re: Sigma 35mm f/1.4 user feedback needed
In reply to M J Valentine, Jun 10, 2013

M J Valentine wrote:

Hi Collett,

Thanks for the reply and samples. Does the lens focus reliably at f/1.4?

Yes it does. Reliably and consistently.

I wish I could say the same thing about my Canon 50L, where I still have problems with it on the 5dIII and the outer focus points. The 50L does fine with the center points, but not the outer in my hands at F1.2/1.4. I have had no issue at all with the Sigma 35F1.4 w/r/t focus, and I don't have that issue with any other lens.

I suspect it might have something to do with field curvature? The 50L is not particularly sharp in the corners wide open anyways, so for most subjects you would want to stay in the center of the frame with that lens anyways. Not so with the Sigma. The Sigma is noticeably sharper than the 50L at F1.4 to my eye, but the 50L has a more pleasing rendering and bokeh to my eye.

The first, fourth and last two shots I posted above are all F1.4. When I first got I also posted a test shot and crop to show that the Sigma 35 is also still very sharp even in the corners at F1.4 (see the link here http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/50703202).

Thanks,

Martyn

Collett wrote:

M J Valentine wrote:

Hi,

I'm thinking of buying a Sigma 35mm f/1.4 to complement a Canon 24-105mm. I am selling my 650D and 15-85 to buy a 6D and plan to use the fast prime for low light and general photography.

I considered buying a Canon 40mm f/2.8 but I am concerned that the extending focusing action may cause dust to enter the camera body so the Sigma 35mm would seem to be a good candidate, especially as it is significantly faster. I have previously used a Canon 35mm f/1.4 but didn't like the purple fringing at f/1.4 which the 650D's Digic V processor couldn't resolve.

I would get both. The Canon 40F2.8 pancake is a great compliment to the Sigma 35F1.4 Art because the Sigma is a large and heavy prime and the pancake is very light, cheap and discrete. And importantly, it has excellent IQ.

I have read many positive reviews about the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 and would be grateful for feedback from owners. Does the lens focus accurately wide open? Any other problems/issues/regrets?

It focuses fast and very accurately on my 5dIII, and it has great sharpness and contrast. I am not sure if its me yet, or the lighting circumstance in which I have shot, and I have not done side-by-side comparisons - but I will say to me the colors appear to be different than my Canon lenses. The Sigma Art seems to have colder colors. The only other downside for me is its size and weight. It is not a small lens. Here are some shots so you can judge for yourself.

Have you needed to send the lens to Sigma for repairs in the UK? In this regard I have been advised by a well informed source that Sigma UK can take weeks or months to service a lens. Has any other UK Sigma user experienced such delay? I wouldn't want to be without a lens for months while it is adjusted for front/back focusing.

Thanks,

Martyn

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Dan_168
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it's one of the best 35mm SLR lens out there
In reply to M J Valentine, Jun 13, 2013

I am a big fan of 35mm and I own (and have owned in the past) quite a few 35mm SLR lenses including Canon 35L Nikon 35G, Nikon AIS 35 F1.4, Zeiss 35 F2 ZF mount, Zeiss 35 F1.4 ZE mount, and of course now the Sigma 35 F1.4, and have tried friend's new Canon 35 F2 and Samyang 35 1.4, amount them I found the Sigma is the best "all around" 35mm lens, it is perfectly useable at wide open, actually, useable is a understatement, it's very sharp wide open with good color and contrast, so much sharper than my old 35L, edge performance is day and night better than the 35L both wide open and stop down, I would call it the Zeiss level at the edge but for sure better than the 35L and 35G, in fact, it has much less color fringing than the Zeiss 35 1.4 ZE at wide open F1.4, that makes it a great all around lens, you can comfortably shoot it wide open if you need all the light you can get, or you can shoot stop down for landscape application and l getting great edges, also the built quality and over all finish of the lens is at very high level, feels almost "Zeiss like" in my hand, so I can only highly recommend that lens after playing with all those 35mm. The only 35mm I am still not willing to give up yet is the Zeiss 35 F1.4 so I kept it and shoot it on Canon platform and use the Sigma 35 on my Nikon platform, even I can shoot the Sigma on my Canon too with the adapter.

I have not tried its USB dock-focus calibration feature as I didn't need to and I currently don't have that USB dock yet, so can't comment on that part, as for AF, while I do manual focus most of the time but it auto focus just fine out of the box on my D800E and my friend's D4 without any issue, and one of my friend just received his Canon mount Sigma 35 and I have the opportunity to try it on my both 1Ds MK III and 1DS MK II with no focusing issue.

The only thing is missing from the Sigma is the weather sealing, so it may or may not be a "issue" for your type of shooting.

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HarryLally
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Re: Sigma 35mm f/1.4 user feedback needed
In reply to bhollis, Jun 13, 2013

+1. I also have the EF 35 f1.4L. But if I were buying now, I'd also get the Sigma.
Michael

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Daniel
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Focus problems at long end that can not be corrected with USB Lens Dock
In reply to M J Valentine, Jun 14, 2013

When I received my Sigma 35mm F1.4 Arts lens, I was impressed with the optics after I fixed the front focusing with MFA setting of +13. However, after a couple months of use, I noticed my landscape images weren't as sharp as when I was shooting people. When my Sigma USB Lens Dock arrived, I played with fine tuning my lens for hours. Now, I noticed there is something wrong/defective with the far end focus from 2m to infinity. At 2m end, MFA setting of +13 is needed but at infinity end, MFA setting of +7 is needed. Because 2m to infinity are in the same MFA section for this lens (using Sigma USB lens dock), I can only fix either 2m side or infinity side but not both. Worse yet, I noticed that the focus is not consistent, especially worse toward the infinity end. If I set my Canon 5D Mark III to AI Focus mode and try to focus on a stationary high contrast object close to the infinity end, focus will hunt non-stop. This problem still exist near the 2m end but not as bad. Everything else from 0.3m to 2m is working fine with consistent focus after applying MFA.

Anyone else noticed focus problems from 2m to infinity?

1. 2m and near infinity focus need different MFA settings.

2. Focus is not consistent, hunts in AI Focus mode more so near the infinity end.

Daniel

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Daniel
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Re: Focus problems at long end that can not be corrected with USB Lens Dock
In reply to Daniel, Jun 14, 2013

Below is the response I got from Sigma service center in Georgia.  Anyone else experiencing these 2 problems?

==========

Hi Daniel,

We had repaired one of similar issue and we had to get correction and firmware from Japan through Sigma. This may be new found hardware(lens) problem appearing recently but we are not completely sure.
Best way would be send it to Sigma, NY to resolve it since we have to wait for their guide anyway for this situation. Depending on situations, turn around should be 1 week to 3 weeks.
James

==========

Daniel wrote:

When I received my Sigma 35mm F1.4 Arts lens, I was impressed with the optics after I fixed the front focusing with MFA setting of +13. However, after a couple months of use, I noticed my landscape images weren't as sharp as when I was shooting people. When my Sigma USB Lens Dock arrived, I played with fine tuning my lens for hours. Now, I noticed there is something wrong/defective with the far end focus from 2m to infinity. At 2m end, MFA setting of +13 is needed but at infinity end, MFA setting of +7 is needed. Because 2m to infinity are in the same MFA section for this lens (using Sigma USB lens dock), I can only fix either 2m side or infinity side but not both. Worse yet, I noticed that the focus is not consistent, especially worse toward the infinity end. If I set my Canon 5D Mark III to AI Focus mode and try to focus on a stationary high contrast object close to the infinity end, focus will hunt non-stop. This problem still exist near the 2m end but not as bad. Everything else from 0.3m to 2m is working fine with consistent focus after applying MFA.

Anyone else noticed focus problems from 2m to infinity?

1. 2m and near infinity focus need different MFA settings.

2. Focus is not consistent, hunts in AI Focus mode more so near the infinity end.

Daniel

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Mais78
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Outer points focus very innacurate
In reply to M J Valentine, Jul 7, 2013

M J Valentine wrote:

Hi,

I'm thinking of buying a Sigma 35mm f/1.4 to complement a Canon 24-105mm. I am selling my 650D and 15-85 to buy a 6D and plan to use the fast prime for low light and general photography.

I considered buying a Canon 40mm f/2.8 but I am concerned that the extending focusing action may cause dust to enter the camera body so the Sigma 35mm would seem to be a good candidate, especially as it is significantly faster. I have previously used a Canon 35mm f/1.4 but didn't like the purple fringing at f/1.4 which the 650D's Digic V processor couldn't resolve.

I have read many positive reviews about the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 and would be grateful for feedback from owners. Does the lens focus accurately wide open? Any other problems/issues/regrets?

Have you needed to send the lens to Sigma for repairs in the UK? In this regard I have been advised by a well informed source that Sigma UK can take weeks or months to service a lens. Has any other UK Sigma user experienced such delay? I wouldn't want to be without a lens for months while it is adjusted for front/back focusing.

Thanks,

Martyn

I have gone through two copies with same problems:

1. Inconsistent focus

2. On the 6D focusing withe the outer points at f1.4 is very inaccurate. I also did a comparison at f2.8 vs the 40mm pancake and can tell for sure it is an issue of the lens not the camera.

Unfortunately issue 2 makes it unusable, it might be the sharpest 35mm around in lab tests using live view, but if it cannot focus properly in real life what's the point?

 Mais78's gear list:Mais78's gear list
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M J Valentine
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Re: Outer points focus very innacurate
In reply to Mais78, Jul 7, 2013

Hi Mais78,

Thanks for the reply. I wonder if the 6D is part of the problem. I understand that the 6D's centre point focusing point (cross type) has a horizontal sensitivity of f/5.6 with vertical line sensitivity of f/2.8 whereas the 5D Mark III's 5 centre points have a horizontal and vertical sensitivity of f/2.8. Have you tried an another lens faster than f/2.8 with your 6D? I have a 40mm STM on my humble 650D which has so far focused accurately at all f-stops.

There's a USB calibration tool for the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 but the lens should be able to focus at f/1.4 out of the box and the fact that you've had to return two of these lenses is worrying. Using this lens at f/1.4 is the main reason why anyone would buy a fast prime over slower lenses.

I can't afford to buy a 5D Mark III so may need to re-think buying a Sigma 35mm and buy a Canon 35mm, provided that the Canon 6D is capable of focusing accurately with any lens faster than f/2.8.

Kind regards,

Martyn

Mais78 wrote:

M J Valentine wrote:

Hi,

I'm thinking of buying a Sigma 35mm f/1.4 to complement a Canon 24-105mm. I am selling my 650D and 15-85 to buy a 6D and plan to use the fast prime for low light and general photography.

I considered buying a Canon 40mm f/2.8 but I am concerned that the extending focusing action may cause dust to enter the camera body so the Sigma 35mm would seem to be a good candidate, especially as it is significantly faster. I have previously used a Canon 35mm f/1.4 but didn't like the purple fringing at f/1.4 which the 650D's Digic V processor couldn't resolve.

I have read many positive reviews about the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 and would be grateful for feedback from owners. Does the lens focus accurately wide open? Any other problems/issues/regrets?

Have you needed to send the lens to Sigma for repairs in the UK? In this regard I have been advised by a well informed source that Sigma UK can take weeks or months to service a lens. Has any other UK Sigma user experienced such delay? I wouldn't want to be without a lens for months while it is adjusted for front/back focusing.

Thanks,

Martyn

I have gone through two copies with same problems:

1. Inconsistent focus

2. On the 6D focusing withe the outer points at f1.4 is very inaccurate. I also did a comparison at f2.8 vs the 40mm pancake and can tell for sure it is an issue of the lens not the camera.

Unfortunately issue 2 makes it unusable, it might be the sharpest 35mm around in lab tests using live view, but if it cannot focus properly in real life what's the point?

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HarryLally
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Re: Outer points focus very innacurate
In reply to M J Valentine, Jul 7, 2013

I have a 6D too and have just tested it with the 35 f1.4L at f1.4 and f5.6. Both pin sharp with seriously quick AF. No problems.

Michael

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M J Valentine
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Re: Outer points focus very innacurate
In reply to HarryLally, Jul 7, 2013

Hi Michael,

Thanks for the reply. Have you experienced any front/back focusing at close up or other distances? Your findings seem to support Mais78's experience that the 6D is not to blame for the Sigma 35mm f/1.4's focusing errors.

I have hired the Canon 35mm f/1.4L but was disappointed with the purple fringing at f/1.4. Is this removable by post-processing in Lightroom or DXO Optics? Otherwise, the lens' performance and handling was very impressive it was strangely liberating not having to worry about zooming with a 15-85.

Since starting this thread I've decided against a 24-105 and like the idea of a 24-70 f/4L.

Kind regards,

Martyn

HarryLally wrote:

I have a 6D too and have just tested it with the 35 f1.4L at f1.4 and f5.6. Both pin sharp with seriously quick AF. No problems.

Michael

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Mais78
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Re: Outer points focus very innacurate
In reply to M J Valentine, Jul 7, 2013

M J Valentine wrote:

Hi Mais78,

Thanks for the reply. I wonder if the 6D is part of the problem. I understand that the 6D's centre point focusing point (cross type) has a horizontal sensitivity of f/5.6 with vertical line sensitivity of f/2.8 whereas the 5D Mark III's 5 centre points have a horizontal and vertical sensitivity of f/2.8. Have you tried an another lens faster than f/2.8 with your 6D? I have a 40mm STM on my humble 650D which has so far focused accurately at all f-stops.

There's a USB calibration tool for the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 but the lens should be able to focus at f/1.4 out of the box and the fact that you've had to return two of these lenses is worrying. Using this lens at f/1.4 is the main reason why anyone would buy a fast prime over slower lenses.

I can't afford to buy a 5D Mark III so may need to re-think buying a Sigma 35mm and buy a Canon 35mm, provided that the Canon 6D is capable of focusing accurately with any lens faster than f/2.8.

Kind regards,

Martyn

Mais78 wrote:

M J Valentine wrote:

Hi,

I'm thinking of buying a Sigma 35mm f/1.4 to complement a Canon 24-105mm. I am selling my 650D and 15-85 to buy a 6D and plan to use the fast prime for low light and general photography.

I considered buying a Canon 40mm f/2.8 but I am concerned that the extending focusing action may cause dust to enter the camera body so the Sigma 35mm would seem to be a good candidate, especially as it is significantly faster. I have previously used a Canon 35mm f/1.4 but didn't like the purple fringing at f/1.4 which the 650D's Digic V processor couldn't resolve.

I have read many positive reviews about the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 and would be grateful for feedback from owners. Does the lens focus accurately wide open? Any other problems/issues/regrets?

Have you needed to send the lens to Sigma for repairs in the UK? In this regard I have been advised by a well informed source that Sigma UK can take weeks or months to service a lens. Has any other UK Sigma user experienced such delay? I wouldn't want to be without a lens for months while it is adjusted for front/back focusing.

Thanks,

Martyn

I have gone through two copies with same problems:

1. Inconsistent focus

2. On the 6D focusing withe the outer points at f1.4 is very inaccurate. I also did a comparison at f2.8 vs the 40mm pancake and can tell for sure it is an issue of the lens not the camera.

Unfortunately issue 2 makes it unusable, it might be the sharpest 35mm around in lab tests using live view, but if it cannot focus properly in real life what's the point?

I don't think the 6D is part of the problem, the Sigma fails the test also at f2.8 vs Canon lenses at f2.8

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Peter too
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Focussing at F1.4 advice please
In reply to M J Valentine, Jul 7, 2013

I recently bought this lens and am trying to learn how to use it on a 7D. I would welcome advice from those familiar with using lenses at F1.4 as this is a new challenge to me. I sometimes get images that are pin sharp at the focus point and sometimes not. I suspect one issue is that I tend to use single point expanded focussing and I don't think that will work with such a shallow depth of focus as anything  fractionally closer than the focus point will throw it out of focus.

Do you normally use single point or spot focussing at F1.4?

When operating at F1.4 do you use autofocus, live view focus or manual focus?

Are there any other settings you use specifically for F1.4 photography.

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HarryLally
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Re: Outer points focus very innacurate
In reply to M J Valentine, Jul 8, 2013

M J Valentine wrote:

Hi Michael,

Thanks for the reply. Have you experienced any front/back focusing at close up or other distances? Your findings seem to support Mais78's experience that the 6D is not to blame for the Sigma 35mm f/1.4's focusing errors.

No, I've had no problems at all focussing withe the 35 f1.4L, either close up or further away. That's on the 5DII and 6D.

I have hired the Canon 35mm f/1.4L but was disappointed with the purple fringing at f/1.4. Is this removable by post-processing in Lightroom or DXO Optics?

Yes, the colour fringing (both green and purple) is disappointing on such an expensive lens, though it only occurs in certain specific instances and is virtually gone by f2. I only use Canon's DPP and can't completely remove the fringing with that software.

Since starting this thread I've decided against a 24-105 and like the idea of a 24-70 f/4L.

I'm a recent convert to the 24-105 f4L, having bought it in March for my long trip to OZ and NZ. It really is a very versatile lens and a great one-lens solution for travelling. It's main weakness is the barrel distortion at the wide end, but that is correctable in PP. It's a very sharp contrasty lens and it's build quality is the best of all my L lenses apart from the 35f1.4. It's almost a permanent fixture on my 6D now.

Michael

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HarryLally
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Re: Focussing at F1.4 advice please
In reply to Peter too, Jul 8, 2013

I don't have the Sigma lens but have the Canon 35f1.4L. I always use centre spot only for focussing and use the AF with my 6D and 5DII. Never had any problems focussing, even in low light. Maybe it's a feature of the Sigma lens on Canon bodies.

Michael

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Mais78
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Focus and recompose vs using outer points
In reply to HarryLally, Jul 8, 2013

Focus and recompose is quicker and generally works very well with lenses at f2.8 or slower.

With a f1.4 lens things change. A 35mm lens has a c.54 degrees angle of view, assuming you focus on the subject and then recompose to have it on the rule of thirds you are rotating by about 9 degrees (54/3/2). The shift of the focus plane is the difference between the cosin and the distance from the subject given a certain degree. Assuming the subject is 1m away the shift of the focus plane for a 9 degree movement is 1.25cm (assuming you can rotate perfectly without moving the camera forward or backward). With a DOF calculator, if you assume circle of confusion at 0.006mm (c. pixel size of a 5DMkIII, to define DOF as sharpness at pixel level, 100% view), your DOF at 1m is 1.32cm at f1.4, so no margin for error. I would say at f1.4 to be safe you should not recompose if your subject is closer than 2-2.5m.

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HarryLally
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Re: Focus and recompose vs using outer points
In reply to Mais78, Jul 8, 2013

Very helpful and articulate. I shall certainly bear that in mind.

Michael

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