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QUIZ: Which 50mm Lens Shot This?

Over the past month, I’ve published a couple of videos about differences in image quality produced by three 50mm lenses: the Canon 50mm f/1.4, the Canon 50mm f/1.2L, and the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 ART. In those comparison videos, I’ve pointed out the differences between the image quality and bokeh of the lenses under controlled conditions.

I ‘ve done the comparisons, and I’ve pointed out the differences, but I don’t want to make too big a deal out of them. They’re less significant that some people might expect after watching my videos… but of course, the price differences ARE still quite significant, currently (at Amazon):

Maybe this quiz will help you decide whether the price differences are justifiable, for you.

The Quiz

Each of the questions in the quiz below will contain at least one image. These images are mostly bad shots from the time I spent shooting for the comparison videos; they’re not great images, and they weren’t specially chosen because they are characteristic of a lens in some way; they’re just random shots.

Some of them stand alone, some images are grouped with 100% crops. In each case, you can click on the image to enlarge it so that you can get a better view of the detail.  What do you think? Is the Sigma significantly sharper? Does the Canon f/1.2L have a “magical” quality? Let me know what you think in the comments section, below the quiz.

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Very nice quiz Matthew! Quite happy with my 69% score. The bokeh of the sigma is very distinguishable.

Gregor Mayr

63%…. there was a lot of luck ;)…. didn’t expect that it was so difficult. Thank you for the test!


I got 45% correct. I was able to guess the 1.4 from the artifacts more successfully than the other two. Really love the colors on the Sigma and 1.2l. I have heard enough people call the 1.2l the magic lens but this quiz cleared it up for me. Going the Sigma route after weeks of research. Thank you Mat!

Chi Tang

Congratulations – you have completed 50mm Lens Quiz : Can You Tell the Difference?. You scored 15 out of 16. That comes to 78%. This pretty much means: Nice. You could probably distinguish one of these lenses from the others, reliably.


75% This was surprisingly fun. I got every Sigma one, but I never owned the 1.2 Canon, so when in doubt, it was a crap shoot…speaking of crap, boy does the 50mm 1.4 bring bad bad memories. When I was starting out, some “expert” told me that was the one I should use and it was so much better than the nifty 50 and it after a year of stumbling, I gave up and got a Sigma and never looked back, nor bought another Canon lens. I HATE HATE HATE that Canon 50mm 1.4…it’s an awesome lens for 1993, but buying it in 2014, boy do I wish I could go back in time and just slap myself in the face instead of buying it….so many crappy photos taken with that lens. So many precious memories of my son as a baby, blurry and crappy compared to his younger sister…once I bought a Sigma.


thanks for the quiz, I mostly went with “lemon” shaped bokeh that you mention in your videos, I really couldn’t distinguish the 2 Canons reliably though, what are the main differences?
(also went with more chromatic aberration – magenta to be precise – for the Canons, which also seemed to kind of work.)


Adam Rivers

Congratulations You scored 15 out of 16. That comes to 91%. This pretty much means: Nice. You could probably distinguish one of these lenses from the others, reliably.
I cheated.
I could not get better than 50% I took three goes (short memory span) then gave up and looked at the HTML code and still got one wrong. Oops.

David Vue

You scored 15 out of 16. That comes to 72%.This pretty much means: Nice. You could probably distinguish one of these lenses from the others, reliably.

That was interestingly fun! Thanks for the quiz! I got my eye sight back. Lol!

Ladybug Crystal

Very interesting post, I got 88%. Would love to see more like this. 35mm & 85mm too, maybe?
Fun fact: I got the first 10 questions 100% correct on the first try, the later ones screwed me over a bit, the Art and the L lenses are quite close.


Hi everyone,

Sorry for the language, i am a french speaking gentleman ;)

Funny fact of this test (i got 59% result) is: i actually spotted the canon 1.4 every single time and mostly instantly (i failed only on some too hight iso images).
And pictures with this canon 1.4 were just so bad to my eye…
Weird thing, i actually only own a canon 1.8…

This quizz really makes me want to upgrad.

Thanks for the good work,

Arwin A

I’m not sure if those picture have been through any color adjustment in post processing, but one thing I notice from each of the lens, they produce different color profile, with Canon EF 50mm f/1.2 L having a distinct “L” series lens color profile. Again, this is my personal opinion and I still guess incorrectly on some images there.

Nice quiz Matthew! I like your approach on reviewing those gears, thumbs up!


‘64.29%’. So I think that for me the difference is noticeable. Most of my misses where between the Canon 1.2 and the Sigma.

Chris K


just a question. If I use a canon 50 f1.4 and a canon 50f1.2 or a canon 24-70 f2.8. I take the same photo at at 50mm and also at f2.8, or another aperture. Will it be the same quality assuming I use the same 5d mark iii. I would love an answer to this, if not a comparison video…