I often correspond with Dave Dugdale from learningdslrvideo.com about camera equipment and gear in general. Dave’s questions usually get me thinking about different ways to take advantage of items in my kit. After a discussion about my choice of prime lenses over zooms, we thought it might be interesting to combine forces for this head to head lens review.

We both have very different styles of production and film making in general. I found it very interesting to spend a day filming with Dave, it’s always a unique experience to see how others work. He also asked me a number of questions about the setups, settings, and gear in my collection that made me realize that many of my choices aren’t as obvious as i thought they were.

As for the lens review, Dave and I matched up the Canon 24mm f1.4 II against the Sigma 24mm f1.8 macro lens. Canon’s 24mm offering is ruffly 3 times the cost of Sigma’s 24mm lens, but is it 3 times the value? In the video we compare sharpness, bokeh, and general operation of both of these lenses.

To me the most noticeable difference is in the build quality. The Sigma 24mm f1.8 is very noisy, the focus ring is shaky, and the focusing speed is much slower then the Canon 24mm f1.4. The corner sharpness was much better on the Canon overall, although I was a little disappointed with it’s corner sharpness at f1.8.

The Sigma 24mm f1.8 did however have some positives, the biggest advantage of which is the macro feature. On a crop sensor camera the Sigma 24mm allows you to fill the entire frame with something the size of a half dollar. However, at that focal length, you’ll need to have your subject within a few inches of the lens, which means it probably wont be a good choice for insects and other wild life.

Another useful feature of the Sigma is that it’s very easy to generate large circles of Bokeh. The out of focus area’s might not be as smooth and creamy as the effect produced by the Canon 24mm, but the macro feature of the Sigma means that it only requires a few feet of separation from your subject to a source of highlights (Christmas lights for example) to fill the background with large circles of beautiful Bokeh.

I’ve found uses for both of these lenses over the years. Although the Canon 24mm f1.4 performs better optical, I could see many people willing to accept the Sigma 24mm f1.8’s noise and build issues for the price. Seeing these to lenses in this video should help you decide which one is right for you.

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