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The Mighty Fifties – Zeiss 55mm f/1.8 vs Loxia 50mm f/2 vs Sigma 50mm f/1.4

The 50mm is not only nifty, it is mighty. It is a standard normal prime, meaning it gives a close approximation of our eyes’ field of view. This lens comparison will feature Disneyland, an $650,000 original Banksy piece, a beautiful model on a Malibu beach, a Shepard Fairey mural, and this peacock.

DSC08516
“Yippee ki yay.” Shot by a Loxia 50mm f/2.

The 50 is also the favorite focal length of the legendary street photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson. As he explained it when asked why the 50mm lens was his favorite,

“I worked with a 90. It cuts much of the foreground if you take a landscape . . .The 35 is splendid when needed, but extremely difficult to use if you want precision in composition. . . [the 50] corresponds to a certain vision and at the same time has enough depth of focus . . . .”

This comparo will again be broken into 5 rounds:

  1. Build quality
  2. Sharpness
  3. Vignetting and Flare
  4. Bokeh and 3D Pop
  5. Real World Handling

The Contenders & Their Specs

mighty nifty fifty lens comparison test
The Zeiss Sonnar 55mm f/1.8 (left); Zeiss Loxia 50mm f/2 Planar (center); Sigma 50mm f/1.4 Art with a Commlite autofocus EF to E adapter (right). Note: the Commlite adapter did not autofocus with the Sigma 50mm f/1.4. Only aperture and exposure could be controlled.

On the left, weighing in at a welterweight 281g with a $998 price tag (grey market $740), is the standard setting Zeiss Sonnar T* 55mm f/1.8. In the middle, weighing in at 320g with a $949 price tag, is the brand new Zeiss Loxia T* 50mm f/2 Planar. On the right, weighing in at a morbidly obese 810g with a $949 price tag, is the highly acclaimed Sigma 50mm f/1.4 Art DSLR lens,

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