Sigma USA has announced its 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM Art lens for APS-C DSLRs - the world's first constant F1.8 zoom - will be available from July at a street price of around $799. Meanwhile the recommended retail price will be £799.99 in the UK, and €999 in Europe. The company has also said the lens will be available for Pentax and Sony mounts, as well as the Canon, Nikon and Sigma mounts originally announced. It covers a 27-52.5mm equivalent range and offers the depth-of-field of a constant F2.7 lens on full-frame. Click through for more information and to link to our first impressions of shooting with the lens.

Note that the 'Recommended Retail Price' of £799.99 (€999 in Europe) is a subtly different thing from the US $799 'street price': it'll probably settle down to a lower figure after the lens has been on sale for a bit. UK prices also include VAT, while US prices are quoted without sales tax, and of course EU buyers get more favourable warranty terms. So the discrepancy isn't quite as great as it may appear from a simple currency conversion.   

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Press Release: 

Sigma Corporation announces pricing and availability for new 18-35mm F1.8 lens

RONKONKOMA, N.Y., — June 14, 2013Sigma Corporation of America, a leading researcher, developer, manufacturer and service provider of some of the world’s most impressive lines of lenses, cameras and flashes, today announced that its new Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM Art lens will arrive in the United States early July for the street price of $799.

As the market’s first zoom lens to achieve a maximum aperture of F1.8 throughout the entire zoom range, the 18-35mm was created for DSLR cameras with APS-C size sensors, which translates to a focal range of 27-52.5mm on a 35mm camera. This lens will be available early July in Sigma and Canon mounts, with Nikon, Sony and Pentax mounts to follow.

“Sigma users are really excited about this lens. They’ve been watching the new Art line very closely – and their reaction to our initial announcement of this lens has been fantastic,” said Mark Amir-Hamzeh, president of Sigma Corporation of America. “More than 50 years of innovating with photography equipment has helped us build new generation lenses like the 18-35mm F1.8. We’re confident that photographers who focus on landscape, portrait, still-life, studio, close-up and casual shots will love this lens.”

The 18-35mm F1.8 is the latest addition to the company’s Art line of lenses, designed under the new Global Vision. The Global Vision lenses have a sleek new design with the manufacturing year stamped on the barrel, and are categorized by use into one of three groups: Art, Contemporary and Sports. The Art category delivers high-level artistic expression through sophisticated and abundant expressive power.

The new 18-35mm F1.8 lens features Sigma’s improved AF/MF switch and the use of Thermally Stable Composite (TSC) compound material, which has a high affinity to metal parts, consistently performs well at extreme temperatures, and reduces the size and weight of the lens. The lens’ Super Multi-Layer Coating reduces flare and ghosting and provides sharp and high contrast images, even in backlit conditions. Sigma’s Hyper Sonic Motor (HSM) ensures a silent, high-speed AF function, while its nine-blade, rounded diaphragm creates an attractive, round bokeh at large-aperture settings.

The 18-35mm F1.8 lens is also compatible with Sigma’s new USB Dock, which is available for the street price of $59, enabling photographers to update lens firmware and adjust focus parameters from their computers.

For information about Sigma Corporation of America, visit www.sigmaphoto.com.

Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM specifications

Principal specifications
Lens typeZoom lens
Max Format sizeAPS-C / DX
Focal length18–35 mm
Image stabilisationNo
Lens mountCanon EF, Nikon F (DX), Pentax KAF, Sigma SA Bayonet, Sony/Minolta Alpha DT
Aperture
Maximum apertureF1.8
Minimum apertureF16.0
Number of diaphragm blades9
Aperture notesRounded diaphragm
Optics
Elements17
Groups12
Special elements / coatings5 SLD glass elements, 4 glassmold aspherical elements
Focus
Minimum focus0.28 m (11.02)
Maximum magnification0.23×
AutofocusYes
Motor typeRing-type ultrasonic
Full time manualYes
Focus methodInternal
Distance scaleYes
DoF scaleNo
Physical
Weight810 g (1.79 lb)
Diameter78 mm (3.07)
Length121 mm (4.76)
Zoom methodRotary (internal)
Filter thread72 mm
Hood suppliedYes
Hood product codeLH780-03