Sunday, April 13, 2014

Sigma 50 f1.4 Art to Sell for $949, Manufacturers Officially Screwing Us Over

Sigma has just announced that its much-anticipated 50 f1.4 Art lens will be hitting stores late this month for $949. While not cheap in absolute terms, the $949 price tag is about half of comparable products from the camera manufacturers. If that weren't enough, it appears as though the Sigma will trounce the competition on the performance front, too.

Breaking news: the name brand companies are screwing us over.

It is not new news that name brand camera makers (Canon, Nikon, etc.) charge a premium for their optics when compared to third party (Sigma, Tamron, Tokina) products with similar specifications. However, unlike 20 years ago, third party no longer equates to third rate, far from it. In fact, third party offerings are now not only often equal to manufacturer goods on the spec sheet, but in the field, too, which begs a question: why do people keep paying for over-priced products?

Short answer: snob appeal.

I hate to say it, but when pitted against the excellent Sigma, the name brand alternatives from the manufacturers (Canon, Nikon, and Sony) simply can't compare to the Sigma for the reason of price alone. The top of the line fast 50s (58 for Nikon) all cost upwards of $1,700 and perform no better (in fact, worse) than the Sigma. Want proof? Start reading reviews as the Canon 50 f1.2L is nearly a decade old, there are already plenty of reviews for the 50 f1.4 'Noct' Nikkor. Findings? Both lenses are, unlike the Sigma, anything but sharp at widest aperture ( the reason you're supposed to buy them) and as for the Sony-Zeiss 50 f1.4 collaboration (itself still just starting to hit stores), even if it were as good as the Sigma, it still costs over $500 more.

In the end, what are people paying all of this extra money for? Short answer: a nameplate (at least Canon throws in a fancy red ring on the lens barrel) and the bragging right of being able to say that they don't have a mismatched set of gear..

So what's a snob who doesn't want to pay through the nose to do? Answer: boycott your manufacturer.

We in America live in a free market capitalist economy where the customer has the power. Don't like a product or think it costs too much? Tell people and, if enough people collectively decide to boycott something, the manufacturer will have to address the concern as by not doing so, it will lose a lot of sales and money. Bottom line: if every Canon, Nikon, and Sony shooter decided to boycott their manufacturer's fast 50 offerings, prices would drop in a hurry to be more in line with the Sigma, which has gone to show that it is possible to offer premium, manufacturer-grade fast 50mms for under $1,000.

Unfortunately, snobs being snobs (and snobs often being rich), this will never happen. However, that doesn't make the Sigma 50 f1.4 Art disappear into thin air, so buy this lens instead as Sigma has demonstrated that Canon, Nikon, and Sony have no right to pick our pockets to the tune of $1500+, that is unless we're stupid enough to let them do so.

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