Thanks to Sigma-Rumors I have discovered this highly interesting hands-on article by Imaging-Resource. According to that, Sigma doesn’t consider the Canon L or Nikkor 50/1.4 G, but rather the most expensive and currently best normal focal length, the Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4, as competition to its recently announced 50mm f/1.4 Art. I expected something along these lines when I saw the datasheet on Tuesday. It wouldn’t make much sense to target considerably smaller and less complex standard primes by CaNikon with a 85,4 x 99,9mm (which is huge for a 50) lens consisting of 13 glasses in 8 groups (extremely complex for a 50). This is like taking a sledgehammer to crack a nut. There is a wide gap between the mentioned CaNikon lenses and the Otus when it comes to image quality, so the next best target for consideration is the Otus.
The IR article provides other interesting tidbits as well: the Art is said to weigh as much or even slightly less than the current 50mm f/1.4 EX despite its size and the enormous amount of glass. How that’s possible, I have no clue. Mind you, the Art is 50% more voluminous than the EX. In the face of anticipated optical performance, I don’t think the Art will be available at a similar price as the EX. An RRP of €1000 seems more realistic to me.