I've had this lens for a couple of days and have shot in a variety of situations. The image is somewhat soft at f/1.4, but sharpens quickly as you stop it down -- f/1.8 looks much sharper and f/2 is excellent.
From a purely practical standpoint, you can shoot in lower light w/o external lighting, and you can run higher shutter speeds in low light for better action-stopping when shooting people or animals. I was also amazed at the incredibly small depth of field I could attain -- for example, I was able to narrow the focus down to a single stem of a plant and have every other part of the plant far out of focus. Not something I've been able to do with my Canon 17-85mm and 10-22mm zooms.
It's a heavy lens but it balances well on a 20D. Autofocus seems nearly as fast as with my Canon lenses. My one complaint is that the focusing mechanism (in auto or manual) isn't as smooth or quiet as with my Canons -- it sounds a bit rough in auto, and makes a slight "barking seal" sound as you go from close to distant focus manually.
Nice of Sigma to include the lens hood and case, instead of charging exhorbitant amounts for the hood as Canon does.
Overall, this is a very useful addition to my zooms, and it will definitely allow me to get usable natural-light photos in situations where I couldn't before.
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