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Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM Review

September 2013 | By Andy Westlake, Richard Butler
Buy on Amazon.com From $799.00

Review based on a production Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM

Sigma has a long history as a lens maker, having been founded over 50 years ago. In the film era it was best known for relatively inexpensive lenses that undercut the camera makers' own equivalents in terms of price. But this has changed over the part decade or so; while other companies have shifted manufacturing to cheaper locations such as China and Thailand, Sigma has stubbornly refused to move from its factory in Aizu, Japan. This means it can no longer compete in the same way on price alone, and it's therefore switched its focus towards higher-value offerings.

Over the past few years we've seen increasingly ambitious concepts appear from the company's design studios. The original (and recently-replaced) 30mm F1.4 EX DC HSM has long been one of our favourite lenses for APS-C SLRs, and the 50mm F1.4 EX DG HSM grabbed our attention back in 2008 due to its sharpness at large apertures. Most recently the 35mm F1.4 DG HSM impressed us with its exceptional optical quality at a very competitive price. This all bodes well for the company's latest offering - the record-breaking 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM, which is the first constant F1.8 SLR zoom lens to hit the market.

Sigma's choice of F1.8 as maximum aperture isn't a coincidence; it means that the lens will offer the same control over depth of field as an F2.8 zoom does on full frame. What's more, it will also offer effectively the same light-gathering capability as an F2.8 lens on full frame. By this we mean that it will be able to project an image that's just over twice as bright onto a sensor that's slightly less than half the area, meaning the same total amount of light is used to capture the image. This is important as it's a major determinant of image quality. Essentially it means that APS-C shooters will be able to use lower ISOs when shooting wide open in low light and get similar levels of image noise, substantially negating one of the key advantages of switching to full frame.

As we'd expect at this level, the lens uses an ultrasonic autofocus motor for fast, silent focusing. It's compatible with Sigma's new USB dock which allows you to fine-tune autofocus behaviour in much more detail than the AF microadjust corrections found on SLRs, which should help get the best possible focus accuracy and make the most of the large aperture. It also incorporates several of the thoughtful design touches that we were impressed by on the 35mm F1.4, including an improved AF switch, and a large grip area on the base of the barrel for better handling.

The lens's 27-53mm equivalent focal length range is obviously a little limited, but should still be rather useful for such applications as wedding and events photography. So while it may not quite match the capabilities of a 24-70mm F2.8 on a full frame SLR, for existing APS-C users it should offer something very close. Crucially, at a street price of around $800 / £650 at the time of writing, for existing APS-C shooters it's an awful lot cheaper than buying a 24-70mm F2.8 and a full frame SLR to go with it.

Overall the 18-35mm F1.8 is a really intriguing product, and we applaud Sigma for pushing the boundaries of lens design ahead of the more conservative camera manufacturers. But can an F1.8 zoom really deliver good results? Let's find out.

Headline features

  • 18-35mm focal length (approx 28-50mm equivalent)
  • Extremely fast F1.8 maximum aperture
  • Ring-type ultrasonic focus motor with full-time manual override
  • Initially available in Canon EF, Nikon F and Sigma SA mounts; Pentax K and Sony Alpha to follow

Angle of view

The pictures below illustrate the focal length range from wide to telephoto (on Canon APS-C, 1.6x). The 18-35mm covers a modest 2x zoom range.

18mm (29mm equivalent) 35mm (56mm equivalent)

Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM specifications

 Date introduced  April 2013
 Street Price (August 2013)  • $800 (US)
 • £650 (UK)
 • €850 (EU)
 Maximum format size  APS-C
 Focal length  18-35mm
 35mm equivalent focal length (APS-C)  • 27-53mm (1.5x)
 • 29-56mm (Canon 1.6x)
 Diagonal angle of view  76.5° - 44.2°
 Maximum aperture  F1.8
 Minimum aperture  F16
 Lens Construction  • 17 elements in 12 groups
 • 5 SLD glass elements
 • 4 glassmold aspherical elements
 Number of diaphragm blades  9, rounded
 Minimum focus  0.28m / 0.92ft
 Maximum magnification  0.23x
 AF motor type  • Ring-type Ultrasonic Motor
 • Full time manual focus
 Focus method  Internal
 Zoom method  Rotary, internal
 Image stabilization  No
 Filter thread  • 72mm
 • Does not rotate on focus
 Supplied accessories*  • Front and rear caps
 • Lens hood LH780-03
 Weight  810g (28.6 oz)
 Dimensions  78mm diameter x 121mm length
 (3.1 x 4.8 in)
 Lens Mount  Canon EF, Nikon F, Pentax K, Sigma SA, Sony A

* Supplied accessories may differ in each country or area


If you're new to digital photography you may wish to read the Digital Photography Glossary before diving into this article (it may help you understand some of the terms used).

Conclusion / Recommendation / Ratings are based on the opinion of the reviewer, you should read the ENTIRE review before coming to your own conclusions.

Images which can be viewed at a larger size have a small magnifying glass icon in the bottom right corner of the image, clicking on the image will display a larger (typically VGA) image in a new window.

To navigate the review simply use the next / previous page buttons, to jump to a particular section either pick the section from the drop down or select it from the navigation bar at the top.

DPReview calibrate their monitors using Color Vision OptiCal at the (fairly well accepted) PC normal gamma 2.2, this means that on our monitors we can make out the difference between all of the (computer generated) grayscale blocks below. We recommend to make the most of this review you should be able to see the difference (at least) between X,Y and Z and ideally A,B and C.

This article is Copyright 2013 and may NOT in part or in whole be reproduced in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from the author.

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Comments

Total comments: 334
12
Eman82

does this lens works with the sony a6000, with autofocus and all the other features? or does it needs an adaptator for the a6000?
I'm new to the camera world

0 upvotes
tbcass

Needs adapter

0 upvotes
Lauri L

If the Sigma 18-35 would be one out of three in the APS-C holy trinity, what would the other two be? Any suggestions?

0 upvotes
Hadarmil

Personally, I carry the Sigma 50-150mm OS and the Tokina 11-16mm 2.8.
The 50-150mm gives amazing quality if you are willing to lug it around(It's a fast, beautiful brick). The Tokina is a very good lens for wideangle and better optically and faster than current Sigma/Canon offerings, Though you pay in reduced range.

And there's the Tamron 150-600... but that's my triplet. YMM(and will)V.

1 upvote
Lauri L

Yes. The Sigma 50-150mm F2.8 would be in my trinity as well. The Tokina 11-16 then is a very interesting call!

0 upvotes
DPJoe2

Put this lens on an a6000, or any other camera that uses phase detect on the sensor, and there will be no focus issues! This is a DSLR problem. It can be overcome by focussing manually, or using live view. I know that is not a good answer. Bottom line: This lens is probably not suitable for DSLR shooters not willing to go the extra mile for the sake of stellar optical performance. You could get about equal performance from 16, 24, and 35mm primes. But that wouldn't be anywhere near as convenient. And it would cost way way more. No one else has done what Sigma has done here: they made a zoom as good as 3 fast primes for a pittance. Thanks you Sigma. That is downright amazing.

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 15 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Abu Mahendra

Mount it on a Canon M!

0 upvotes
Rambazamba

" What's more, it will also offer effectively the same light-gathering capability as an F2.8 lens on full frame. By this we mean that it will be able to project an image that's just over twice as bright onto a sensor that's slightly less than half the area, meaning the same total amount of light is used to capture the image."

If I understand Tony Northrup right it does not have the same light-gathering capability as FF 2.8 at the same Iso. There will be more noise, right?

Comment edited 26 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Average User

Wish I could help you but I have no experience with Canon, or how the lens interfaces with canon. My cameras are nikons and none of them do what you describe.

0 upvotes
Magdy Ahmed

Hello,
I just received my new Sigma 18-35 1.8 A and i noticed that the focus sound on live view on my T4i is not quite as the non-live view focus, do you have the same thing with your lens or my lens has a problem?

It makes tiny clicking sounds while focusing, but when i click on the shutter button in live mode it makes a very noticeable sound while trying to hunt the focus and the screen flickering to get the focus work, please try this on yours and feed me back as if a this normal behavior or not,
i have tried this on AF tracking, single and multiple and it gives the same results

Thank you,

0 upvotes
Average User

Now I have had this lens for a couple of months. I've been using it with a D 5300. Worst thing: it's heavy. But after you start getting the results it delivers, you forget about the weight all together.
Let me just say this has become my every day lens for everything.
As for sharpness. Hard to put in words. It's like you discovered what 24 mp can really do for the first time. Because you can open the lens to 1.8 you can literally have any dof and any bokeh you want. And low light: better than any dx prime and also flexible because of the zoom.
I purchased the lens adjustment kit also, just to learn, but it turned out to be helpful getting my images a little sharper.
Did I mention I love this lens?

1 upvote
Spot On

Remember, good glass always weighs more than cheap glass.

0 upvotes
rdhalla

I see. I am planning to get this lens tonight. I am not sure yet. I am hearing all sort of focusing issues on this lens and needs adjustment via dock. I had a sneak peak of the dock and i did not undersatnd what was going on. hehe. Is the software easy to use for calibrate the lens? Are there any specific settings that works well? My main objective is sharpness. I was debating with this lens and Canon 18-55mm F2.8

0 upvotes
Sad Joe

PLUS: That SIGMA dare to do a zoom with an F 1.8 CONS: That it covers such a very limited range.

0 upvotes
Freddell

I use this on Canon 70d and cannot get the auto focus to work in a friendly way. I can easily point the focus one one point and have the camera confirm, but focus on a different point. When I look at the picture I see the focus point where expected, but focus is somewhere else. So problem of consistency is more than soft images when pointing to the target, the camera might focus o something else entirely.

1. Do anyone know the latest firmware for the 18-35 Canon lens?
2. If I get USB dock to try to adjust focus (although it will not help with focus point errors most likely). When I set the distance, is the distance from the lens tip or camera body?
3. The only way to focus seem to be live view, but there it might front focus a little. Will the in lens adjustment work equally regardless of PDAF or Live View?

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
Freddell

To follow up myself inconsistent focus is experienced with EFS 17-55 2.8 IS on Canon EOS 70D. Focus on one thing with live view, having the camera focus elsewhere. In fact today the Viewfinder was more accurate.

Might rehost this lens to DX if I give up on 70D.

1 upvote
iggy kh

Have you tried to set Ai servo focusing mode on your camera?
It might be a workaround for the Sigma's focusing issue

0 upvotes
Trakx

I've got the 70D and the Sigma 18-35 and USB Dock.
Unfortunatly the Sigma will not consistently focus with OVF even after MFA.
But in truth from my experience thats not that bad because LiveView works 100% focus and being a wide to standard i usualy dont have dificulty in tracking the target.
Video is very good.
Even without being able to use the Sigma with the OVF, i would STILL BUY this lens. There no other option on the market.
I mainly use it indoors without flash for shooting people (that are usually moving) so with shutter speeds of up to 1/125.
That 1.8 means i can keep my ISO as low as possible and the DOF although shalow is acceptable (18mm@2m DOF=93cm and 35mm@2m DOF=23cm)

My other two lens 18-135 STM and 50 1.8 II focus consistenly after MFA.

0 upvotes
Westmill

I have been using this lens for a while on a D7100.
Its focus has been very accurate even at F1.8.
I have used it in the studio and out in the field. As the DOF is so shallow at F1.8 it works far better in continuous focus mode when anything like close. As even the slightest movement will throw it out of focus !
You do need to check carefully if shooting a landscape etc at F1.8.
This is true of any fast lens. You simply just need to look at that tiny focus square and see what you are asking it to focus on !
Slower lenses are fine because you are covering this with more DOF.
Something to consider with this lens is that F1.8 is there if you need it and it is certainly usable ! Like any lens... it performs better when stopped down.
I use this lens mostly at F2.8. The difference being is that at F2.8 the image quality is stunning already ! For low light and or people such as weddings this lens is simply unbeatable for APSC period !

3 upvotes
Image Photo

Hello Westmill, I have just purchased a Nikon D5300 Body, and just purchased a Sigma 18-70mm 2.8, and on the way Sigma 18-35mm, i am a total novice, but i also looked on the Nikkor 16-85mm, but i want Brilliant Sharp, Images, I will only keep one for now, which should i choose , and why? Thanks for your quick Response.

Comment edited 28 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Average User

Hi Andy:
Great review.
I have checked a few other places and asked specifically about the af issue, and heard only great reports on the AF.
So I am going to take the plunge.
This lens is really potentially a game changer. Really, where there is plenty of light, the APS-c cameras do just as well as the full frames. It is in low light where these cameras struggle, especially now they have gone to 24 mp.
This lens gives full frame equivalent 24 to 52 mm which means that now there is a zoom lens that will cover all the sizes you need for everyday indoor photos of family and friends that is brighter than any equivalent ff zoom that I know of.
Add to that the lens is sharper even than the work horse Nikon DX 35 mm 1.8...and you have a combination that will meet or beat the best from current full frames.
It may mean a huge proportion of those who should have bought full frames will now not need to.

Green Flash

0 upvotes
Snaposaur

Is this worth getting on the 7100? Need a general zoom lens for my 7100 before I get some of the single focal prime lens.

Was debating between this, the 16-85 or the 18-140.

0 upvotes
Westmill

The 18-35 is an outstanding lens. However, unless you know exactly what you want, I believe this lenses short zoom range would frustrate most folk. Either the 16-85 or 18-140 would be a better option for most. Even the sheer size and weight can be a drag. For those like me that need it, then the 18-35 is worth its weight in gold :)

1 upvote
David Kinston

Well, I bought this primarily to use at 18mm f1.8 as a prime. There is nothing of this quality in a 20mm f1.8 prime at anywhere near the price - so the zoom is just a bonus. It will reside on my D7000. Same logic with my Tokina 116 - another magic lens.

0 upvotes
Class A

It does not appear justifiable to me to criticise the lens for any AF issues, unless you have confirmed any issues with other cameras / mounts.

This isn't the first time I read about Canon AF being quicker than precise and maybe the camera you tested the lens with has additional issues.

Getting the best possible focus is the responsibility of the camera. Some lenses (usually through decentering or spherical aberration) make it impossible for the camera to achieve optimal focus. But a good copy, and in particular after micro-AF-adjustments that can deliver spot on AF, should do so every time (within small tolerances, of course).

If it doesn't, you are seeing the tolerances of the camera's AF system / algorithm.

So again, I don't see how you can blame inconsistent AF on a lens in the first place and before you have ruled out the particular camera you have used.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Nightly

In fact you are mostly right, and I agree with you. It could be most probably problem on side of Canon. But still as Canon is not doing their cameras to be suitable with third party lenses, then the fact that third party lenses are made to be suitable with the particular brand (in this case Canon) make them responsible for all failures.

Even though they don't guarantee it works with all models, it will be appreciated if they be interested in this case, and either fix the issue if they can, or publish that the product is not suitable with particual model.

But ignoring the issue, which is being discussed among many customers, doesn't make issue gone. And even if it may work ecxellent on different models, still put some future customers into suspect and that harms the reputation of the product not fairly.

So being honest in this situation will help much to customers and also to company.

0 upvotes
Nightly

After reading many posts about 70D and Sigma 18-35mm having incosistent results I got disappointed, cause I also wanted to buy this lens to my 70D. Though I am not resident of Turkey, but I reside so I am also bonded to their rules. Here shops don't allow to test the lens before you buy. Fortunately there is demo item to test, but still not in all shops.

I asked 3 dealers and official importer of Sigma about focus issues of this combination, but all of them denied this. Telling only about pause in videos, which is also stated here in forum. They stated that problem is because lens has very high resolution so camera can't handle. But nothing about back or front focusing. For my luck one of them had demo item. and I did a test with different apertures.

And the test showed that there are issues. Then I did a simple test from short distancde and it showed back focusing issue. Would you believe - shop assistants were not even interested in the results. I suppose they are already knew.

0 upvotes
David Kinston

From a different perspective!

I'm extremely tempted by this lens ... however ...

This lens has a very complex structure. What sort of issues does this raise, when considering long-term reliability, light absorption/reflection, etc.

0 upvotes
photoshack

This lens looks fantastic and if it were spec'd at true 18-35mm for FF cameras that would be awesome (because I no longer have a rebel)...but really the focal range for APS-C bodies is not 18-35, and it is not made for FF cameras due to vignetting all over the range. So why call it 18-35mm??

0 upvotes
Osssis

Because it actually is a true 18-35mm focal length. The field of view is different on FF and APS-C but the focal length stays the same. The sigma just doesn't cover the image circle required for FF.

If your idea was correct we could just ask why is FF 35mm called 35 mm as it vignettes on medium format and so on and so on.

0 upvotes
Nightly

If so, then why EF-S 18-55mm lens is called 18-55 but not 28-88mm?

0 upvotes
DIGITALSCREAMS

Very good review....and I'm relieved (if somewhat disappointed) to be hearing about other peoples AF issues. I bought this at the same time as my Canon EOS70D. For sure, its super sharp and a quality built lens. But there is definitely a compatibility issue - many of my shots were missed. This happened under all different types of lighting, slow and fast moving objects. AF was random....maybe 2 out 20 shots were what I would consider impressively sharp. The rest looked about as impressive as any modern camera phone. For me, this turned into a deal breaker...I just got fed up of missing shots. The lens is amazing when it hits it...but it just didn't happen often enough for me. Originally I thought I had a defective lens. I never did micro adjustments...but from what I can gather its not the silver bullet fix people claim. All I can say is don't expect too much from AF. In manual mode...that's another story :)

0 upvotes
vesa1tahti

I have this lens and D7000. Several focusing problems. Only in live-view focusing is accurate when wide open.

1 upvote
jtan163

Can you tell me which country you got your F-mount 18-35 sigma in and when you got it?
I paid cash for one about 2 months ago and am still waiting.
Sorta getting annoyed would be curious to know where they have landed. I like to support my bricks and mortar shops but this is getting silly.

0 upvotes
vesa1tahti

I got my lens in Finland, on 23th Oct., Rajala Pro Shop, Kuopio. Now it seems this lens is widely available in different stores here. BTW, I checked the microadjustment of my D7000, and now the focus is in good level ! Purchasing the USB-dock for further bodies and Sigma- lenses.

1 upvote
nsantos923

Im having the same issue with my D7000 and this lens. At very close range (within 3ft) it performs really well at any zoom range. As the distance between the camera and my subject increases, the focus seems to create a back focus issue.
i have been playing with the usb dock micro adjustments and i cant get it right.
Let me know if you find the correct adjustment
Thank you

0 upvotes
VREN

I have had this lens now for one week and have the same issues that you have been complaining about with my d7000 and d5100. Inconsistent focus. Great sometimes and out at others. I ordered the USB Dock but haven't received it yet as usps messed up. When I compare the focus of this lens with my 50 f1.8g, I find that the 50mm tries harder on a difficult subject but gets it right while this one confirms focus quickly and often gets it wrong. I have been trying different modes and surprisingly I find it noticeably more consistent using continuous focus mode when focusing on stationary objects. The only drawback is no focus assist light, but it is so bright it does fairly well in conditions that will normally require focus assist

0 upvotes
fosterwu1228

Yes, I am experiencing the same focus problem. Particually, I have some finding that this inaccurated focusing might be seen when the shooting distance longer than 1M. It seems to be under controll when shooting less than 1M. By the way, the significant focus shifted can be seen at 18mm and can be fixed by using the USB Dock.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
focusnow

Ok - I think I may have found the solution... for shooting wide open with this lens in combination with the 70D....

1) set micro adjustment to +20 far and near
2) set camera M, P or C
3) shoot in live view mode
4) press AF button on top, select Flexizone single
5) press magnifier 3x to zoom in 10x (2x = 5x zoom)
6) half press shutter to focus
7) take photo in focus

I ave tried this at 1.8, ISO 200 in dim lit room and got sharp focus in every shot...

Works for me. Curious to hear about your experience.

Thanks.

0 upvotes
xxx2

It worked for me too!!!!! Crazy.
I have the feeling that the Servo AF during video shooting somehow messes up the focusing system and then it needs to be "re-callibrated" via method you described.
Anyway it's a relief to get constantly sharp photos. I can finally enjoy my lens (a bit). Shooting photos in Live view (where the auto-focus works great) is only good for occasional family photos...

0 upvotes
xxx2

Are you also experience the video freezing I described here? https://vimeo.com/77078232

0 upvotes
Andy Westlake

@focusnow: The improvement you're seeing is simply due to live view AF being inherently more accurate. AF microadjustment is not applied when shooting in live view on the EOS 70D.

1 upvote
vesa1tahti

And the micro adjustment worked for me with D7000, too !!! In live view, it is absolutely accurate, and now with OVF very good. Maybe purchasing the USB-dock for further bodies and Sigma lenses.

0 upvotes
DIGITALSCREAMS

The video freezing issue is being caused by your aperture opening/closing as you go from areas of bright wall to dark sofa?

0 upvotes
focusnow

Hi there, I recently bought the 70D and the Sigma 18-35mm....wanted to love the lens but got very frustrated about its inability to consistently get the focus right...I am still in the process of figuring out how to improve it while shooting wide open and am not done testing. However I think it may be related to a very thin focus pane in combination with the way the 70D focusses...see here for more info. http://www.dpreview.com/previews/canon-eos-70d/9 I am hesitant to buy the USB hardware for the sigma lens. Also I have already micro-adjusted the lens +20 on both near and far....I hopeI can figure out a way to solve this quickly otherwise I may end up returning the lens....it is just too frustrating to miss focus in so many shots, especially indoors....BTW - I wonder why Sigma has responded to this issue yet....

0 upvotes
fosterwu1228

Hello,
Not sure if your problem gets fixed?? I am experiencing the same problem now....@@

0 upvotes
Moderation

Tested again today at 18 and 35, shooting full daylight f1.8. 70d with +18 micro compensation near and far set last night. (See below.) First a couple of manual focus live view shots, then auto alternating near and far focus distance. (On all these shots I'm using "One Shot" single central focus point on the 70d.) The live view shots are very sharp, the infinity focus shots are randomly slightly soft, the near and mid focus shots were mostly very soft, very off. (The USB dock might correct this.) AI Servo did better on the mid shots, bringing most into focus, but the long shots were more randomly softer.

I can deal with the USB dock, but don't think I can justify an $800 lens that viewfinder focuses randomly. I also originally thought this would be a superb video lens, but with the sensitivity of the manual focus there's no way I could do an accurate focus pull, or even reliably focus without a lot of sweat. (Haven't tried relying on the auto focus for movies. That's a new thing.)

0 upvotes
Moderation

Played with my new 18-35 on my 70d tonight, trying to understand the focus difficulty. First, my lens required +18 near and far micro in the body to focus "correctly". (Tested by matching live view focus with viewfinder focus, then iterating with view focus.) I then simply banged off shots across the room (~25') at a clock on the wall, all at f1.8, either at 35 or 18mm, since they were the only focal lengths for which the lens was corrected. Sure enough I got random variations in focus of about +/- 2 microadjusts, (subjective scale,) regardless of focal length. Near, far, no difference.

AI servo was better, but still the occasional miss, though I think the error was perceptibly smaller. (Maybe +/- 1 micro?)

What I noticed, when manually focusing using live view, was that the difference between focused and not was an incredibly small barrel rotation. It's possible the focus motor simply doesn't have sufficient resolution. Maybe ML can come up with a dithering scheme.

0 upvotes
Trakx

If it was a motor focus resolution problem it would not focus right with LiveView. But with LiveView it focus 100% of the shots

0 upvotes
BOB

Has anyone received the Nikon version of this lens from B&H or Adorama? I visited them both at the PhotoExpo in NY and both said that they have not received any yet. Yet, Sigma said that they have, hmmmm :( Got a chance to try it out though at the Sigma booth and its a beast of a lens. Can't wait to get one!

Comment edited 12 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
nsantos923

I order it at the PhotoPlus Show in NYC from Sammy's camera. They had 1 in stock. Received in on monday. I got the USB dock from B&H yesterday since i was having trouble getting accurate focus on both my D7000 and D600.
The lens is impressively sharp at 1.8 WHEN IT FOCUS CORRECTLY! I spent about 2hrs yesterday playing with the micro adjustments and i still cant get it right. Focus is pretty accurate until you try focusing on something that is about 10ft and behond.
I hope i can get this issue solved otherwise i will have to send it back. I will be field testing it at a sweet sixteen and a baptism this weekend. Send me a message and i will let you know how it went.
If you want one, place a pre order with Allens camera in PA. They have been getting one copy every 2 to 3 weeks.

0 upvotes
unknown member
By (unknown member) (Oct 18, 2013)

Go Sigma.

0 upvotes
xxx2

Video test of Canon 70D + new Sigma 18-35.

Loud autofocues which freezes for a moment (11s and 19s of the video). The freezing happens in every video setting.

https://vimeo.com/77078232

0 upvotes
Gennady K

ISO is just a way to achieve the best SNR (noise level). Actually sensor counts the number of photons and at f1.8 APS-C sensor receives the same amount as FF sensor. If both sensors receive the same photon number they theoretically should have the same SNR (no advantage to anyone) It is still possible that internal implementation of the sensors or incorrect exposure will create some difference in actual SNR levels.

0 upvotes
tpag2000

There's a comment in the introduction part of this review that doesn't make sense to me. I think it's wrong, but perhaps I'm missing something. Dpreview states, "it will also offer effectively the same light-gathering capability as an F2.8 lens on full frame", "meaning the same total amount of light is used to capture the image", "APS-C shooters will be able to use lower ISOs... substantially negating one of the key advantages of switching to full frame."

The total light has nothing to do with the exposure, it's the intensity of light (light per unit area) at the sensor that matters (right?). A smaller sensor doesn't mean you need a higher ISO to shoot at the same equivalent exposure. If that were the case the center of a FF would be 1 stop darker than the rest by the above logic.

It *IS* true that an f/1.8 will allow you to use a lower ISO than an f/2.8 but exposure wise f/2.8 is the same on FF or crop sensor. FOV and DOF are obviously different from crop to FF, just not exposure.

0 upvotes
cyberjayar

i am contemplating on buying this stuff =)

0 upvotes
Theophilus101

Will this lens work on my Canon Rebel T1i?

0 upvotes
jvkelley
0 upvotes
laimbert3270

Hi Pros, this can be a good match to canon 6D? Im planning to buy 24-70mm tamron lens but its costly

0 upvotes
Andy Westlake

The lens is designed for use on APS-C cameras, not full frame like the EOS 6D. This is covered on page 4 of this review.

1 upvote
laimbert3270

Yeah, just get some ideas from the Professional like you, so any suggestion for all around lens to my 6D except 24-70mm of canon & tamron they are costly.. what about the kit 24-105 but it was an old model. thanks for your reply Andy, hope you can help me to have a usable lens which is not soooo expensive : )

0 upvotes
Dougbm_2

I have the 24-105 f4 L for my 5D and it is a good lens. Yes the 24-70 2.8 will be a bit brighter and probably a bit sharper but as a general lens for Canon FF I have been very happy.

1 upvote
laimbert3270

thank you guys, so I have to save money to buy canon 24-70 2.8 till next time..

0 upvotes
Hans van de Riet

By Hans van de Riet
@laimbert3270
When buying a Sigma lens the convention for a lens suitable for FF is "DG", which can be used for APS-C as well and the convention for a lens suitable for APS-C only is "DC" This applies, for as far as I know, only for Sigma lenses. So remember a "DC" lens you cannot use for a FF camera.
If you look at point " 4. test results" you will find what I am talking about.

Comment edited 10 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
jywade

Put this baby on the new Canon 70D and see if there are any autofocusing issues. The two are a match made in video heaven.

0 upvotes
DSin

I have the 70d and had the sigma 1.8 18-35 but returned it yesterday because the auto focus was horrible. I thought I had a defective unit, but after reading the updated review, maybe not. Admittedly I was trying to test focus using the viewfinder, and maybe it might be better in liveview, but frankly taking photos in live view isn't that great on the 70d because of the slow recycle times. I also don't have the USB disk so maybe that may have helped, but out of the box, anyway, it was unusable for me. In retrospect, I wish I played with the micro adjustment a bit more, but compared with the kit 18-135 lens, it was so bad I thought it must be defective.

2 upvotes
Mistur

Went out shooting like any other day with my 70D and the auto focus missed too often. I never shot below 1/125 sec. The colour and contrast was very nice and when it hit, the images were beautiful. What's the point of having f/1.8 if the hit rate for keepers is so low. I returned mine as well. After reading this review, I was reluctant to try another copy. Too bad, I really wanted to like this lens.

0 upvotes
DSin

I don't understand why sigma wouldn't calibrate the lenses better at the factory. Instead they offer a separate dock to calibrate it stand alone (without camera body) so that it can focus properly. I don't get it, do they expect that most people that buy this lens would buy a separate appliance to do something that should be done before it ships out? I had really high expectations for this lens based on all the previews. Maybe I'll give it another shot in the future if the problem is fixed, but for now, it sucks being the guinea pig.

2 upvotes
rhlpetrus

I'd have liked to see it on a D7100, to see if the better AF on the Nikon would have helped its performance. I'd hate to have a good lens that is inconsistent re AF. Other relevant issu is flare, my Sigma (17-50mm f/2.8) is not that good in that respect, this one looks a bit better (but flare is ugly when it shows, with that greenish tint that is the same as in my Sigma).

0 upvotes
SteveCooper

Excuse me for sounding dense, but isn't autofocus a function of the camera? How can you blame a lens for the shortcomings of the cameras autofocus system inability to lock on to the proper focus point? Also wouldn't a 51 point focus system behave differently than the camera AF you just tested?

1 upvote
yabokkie

AF has to be a lens issue in the first place.
why we need AF lens,
fast AF lens,
quiet AF lens,
smooth AF lens, and
accurate AF lens, etc.

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 3 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Eric Ouellet

@ yabokkie,
I think your comment is inappropriate and show an incredible incomprehension of how works a digital camera. Perhaps you should learn how it works before adding comment that do not add any value to a post.

3 upvotes
rhlpetrus

No, it's not only a body issue. AF uses camera-lens comm and lots of calculations. I have tested carefully the Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 and compared it to the Nikkor 35mm f/2, and the Nikkor performs much better re AF consistency and accuracy compared to the Sigma.

0 upvotes
yabokkie

@Eric Ouellet,
just ask yourself why we should ever need an AF lens which may be a good starting point and read something about the EOS system and EF lens design (AF changed the way we design lenses and it's still one of the major factors behind new lens designs).

0 upvotes
Eric Ouellet

@yabokkie, you are right here (AF drive way to design lenses and partly other aspect of the internal of the body). The only point that disturbed me very much is that you said :"AF has to be a lens issue in the first place." where you are totally wrong (at least for this lens, and most cases). Reading the canon EOS 70D review conclusion on this web site should confirm you what I'm saying. It is the camera who read focus and tell the lenses where to go. Bad reading from the camera itself (body) results in bad focus (not accurate).

Comment edited 4 times, last edit 3 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Climber Chris

I've used this lens for a wedding and have to say that I really do not agree with the micro focussing comments in the review. It is a superb lens with amazing optical quality, a very usable f1.8 at all focal lengths, and spot-on focus in all light levels and for a wide variety of contrast levels. Out of 800 images I only had a handful that were blurred or soft focused. Maybe I've got a good one and the reviewer had a bad one, but from my own real world use it is a stunning lens!

0 upvotes
rhlpetrus

How is it re flare? The DPR tests says it's good, but that's my main problem with the otherwise very good Sigma 17-50 f/2.8 on the D7000. Even a sideways brigh window may cause ugly greenish flare that is absent when I use even the cheapest kit lenses.

0 upvotes
appelpix1

I will certainly consider this lens when there are rapports that the autofocus has been fixed and is consistent.
The test site SLRgear also noted this in their review:
http://slrgear.com/reviews/showproduct.php?product=1609

0 upvotes
iggy097

Ordered mine this morning. Very excited to put it on the C100 - it will compliment my 24-105 and 70-200 perfectly.
I wasn't a huge fan of the Tokina 11-16 like everyone else - a bit too wide for shooting talent inside - as I do often, and the 24-105 isn't wide enough most of the time for me.
Sold the Sigma 30mm 1.4 as soon as I placed the order for this lens.

0 upvotes
John McMillin

Given the large size of this honker, I'd rather carry my smallish FF camera (Sony a850) and a conventional lens. Might as well be a prime, with this scant zoom range. Still, it's an achievement that it's as sharp as it is.

1 upvote
drif8r

How much does a smallish FF camera (Sony a850) and a conventional lens cost and weigh compared to this lens and a crop camera.

0 upvotes
jadmaister2

A lovely lens if you use that focal range. However, the argument for it over a 35mm prime is unconvincing for me. You always have to compromise on focal range if you want a large aperture and quality results. This particular compromise may suit more people than they realise. Try doing a careful analysis of the focal lengths you used in you 'best' what? 50 shots? I did this and realised that for 85% of what I do I could use a 35mm, so for a little flexibility this zoom will be fine. Or I can save money, get sharper glass, 1 more stop and walk a few yards forwards or backwards (oh, and save a few grammes to boot).

2 upvotes
yabokkie

the image circle is tight but you can use it as a 35/1.8 on 35mm format.

0 upvotes
HubertChen

This lens is like three primes: 18, 24, 35 mm. Or in case you can live with large gaps: 18 & 35 mm primes.

I shoot with 35 mm prime most of my time and I am considering buying now a lens in the 18 mm range. So this one lens can replace 2 ... 3 primes.

1 upvote
BernardRoughton

Excellent review! My Sigma 30mm F1.4 also has very inconsistent focussing abilities, wide open it constantly misses the focus point..

0 upvotes
yabokkie

I don't have the issue maybe it's because different environment or handling but maybe that's why Sigma invented the USB dock.

just like Canon invented a great mount that all the modern mounts follow because they had so many troubles with their crappy mounts before.

0 upvotes
Preternatural Stuff

High praise indeed and long may it continue for innovation's sake.
My next prime lens (macro) decision would certainly involve considering Sigma.

This also brings to mind what I have said long ago. Optical View Finders are dinosaur/submarine/WWI tech. That is why the focus is impossible to ascertain in the viewfinder.

EVFs are the only way to go. They are so good nowadays, they even offer focus peaking which would allow the photographer to see the point/areas of focus. Its an essential feature which any photographer needs (if only they ditch the OVF).

7 upvotes
Hetty

Your view on viewfinders is almost laughable. Why the hell would some of us even want EVF, it is terrible on battery life and most important of all it is more annoying to use than a standard viewfinder. Many photographers still use film and they wouldn't dare replace the viewfinder. I think you should try using a camera more than commenting trash mate.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 55 seconds after posting
5 upvotes
13floorphoto

Wow, Hetty. Preternatural Stuff's comment is far from trash. OVFs are archaic technology. EVFs offer far more advantages than OVFs. New DSLRs today offer live view purely for the reasons why people love EVFs. I figure you trust your camera's metering to rely on proper exposure, huh. Focus peaking on a manual lens is a godsend. Mirrorless tech and EVFs are the future.

5 upvotes
JDThomas

One thing that people forget about is that when using an OVF you look THROUGH the viewfinder, with an EVF you look AT the viewfinder.

The OVF is much easier on the eyes. If you have ever had to shoot a 10 hour sporting event you'd be really miserable with eye fatigue at the end of the day with an EVF.

Comment edited 27 seconds after posting
5 upvotes
zodiacfml

Sigma knew about this in an interview. For newer, high resolution systems, contrast detect is the way to go to for their future high quality lenses. It must have been the reason, they went the trouble to create and give a USB dock.

4 upvotes
Marvol

The cynical reason to release the USB dock is that they can skimp on quality control and pass some suboptimal lenses, then have the user pay extra for said USB dock and to top it off have the user spend their own time to actually make the lens behave as it should have out of the box...

>)

1 upvote
Jack Simpson

Cons: "Physically rather large for a standard zoom" ... well, geeez loueeeze, whattay expect for a constant 1.8 zoom :(

5 upvotes
yabokkie

simple comarison in weight:
- Sigma 18-35/1.8, 810g
- Sigma 24-70/2.8, 790g
- Tamron 24-70/2.8, 825g
- Canon 24-70/2.8L2, 805g
- Nikon 24-70/2.8, 900g

quite similar weight for a narrower zoom range but relatively longer back focus to overcome.

1 upvote
Marvol

It's a valid point though. It simply IS large which is a consideration.
If you were to go landscaping and you have to choose between this and your standard 18-70 at half the weight and size, knowing you will not go below f/8, the size is objectively a con.

The f/1.8 OTOH is clearly listed at the plus side, so DPR are consistent.

1 upvote
yabokkie

the size, weight, and price are all in line with existing lenses beautifully except the performance for an APS-C SLR lens.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
KBarrett

What the heck? Why are third-party lenses tested on the smallest available sensor with which they are compatible? Test it on a 1.5x crop APS-C sensor and make your results valid to a wider audience.

3 upvotes
Andy Westlake

We have data for plenty of lenses on both 1.5x and 1.6x crops, and the difference between them is utterly insignificant in terms of assessing how well a lens performs.

3 upvotes
yabokkie

the difference is just under 5%.
the limit that we tolerate (or we used to tolerate?)

0 upvotes
KerryBE

Who is "we" in your statement?

1 upvote
Andy Westlake

@KerryBE: 'We' in this statement refers to this very website, dpreview.com: I write all the lens reviews here. [Here's a comparison between the Sigma 17-70mm F2.8-4 DC OS Macro HSM |C on Canon and Nikon cameras](http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/lens-widget-fullscreen?compare=true&lensId=sigma_17-70_2p8-4&cameraId=canon_eos7d&version=0&fl=17&av=4&view=mtf-ca&lensId2=sigma_17-70_2p8-4&cameraId2=nikon_d7000&version2=0&fl2=17&av2=4). The slight difference between sensor sizes has little impact on the lens measurements.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
1 upvote
KerryBE

Thank you. I was wondering who @yabokkie viewed as "we". Is he/she on your staff?

0 upvotes
rfsIII

I think the problem is that sensor resolution has outpaced autofocus system accuracy. I noticed this with the previous generation of cameras as well. If you don't focus with live view on its highest magnification the camera is not going to focus on the exact point you want it to and the shot will look off. Maybe Hasselblad is going the right direction by sticking to a single focus point.

3 upvotes
HubertChen

I agree that with current high resolution of sensors and current high resolving lenses at large aperture focus becomes very critical indeed.

That being said, I now have a company which I can move the AF point over quite a large area. It does so swiftly and the AF is always spot on ( low light, wide open, high res). So after I say this can be done, you could never sell me single AF again.

0 upvotes
Eigenmeat

I think DPR is being really unfair on the focus issue about this lens.

This Canon 19-point AF module(used in 7D and 70D) is not really known for its extreme accuracy. The same can be said for the rest of the Canon APS-C AF modules. Lensrentals did a excellent test on Canon bodies, and it can be read here:
http://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2012/08/autofocus-reality-part-3b-canon-cameras
In the test, they are using the 28mm f/2.8 IS, which is less demanding then this sigma, and still get very inconsistent AF results.

I highly suggest DPR do the same AF "evaluation" with a fast prime on the same body and tell us how consistent the result is. I suspect that those fast primes are so soft at F1.8 that it's hard tell slight focus consistency.

The reality is that current PDAF sensors simply does not have resolution to satisfy ever higher pixel count main sensor. With CDAF, this lens will be sensational.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 3 minutes after posting
12 upvotes
Grummbeerbauer

I can confirm your observation about general AF precision on Canon APS-C bodies. I have had a 7D for more than three years now. While I like the camera overall, I never fully understood all the buzz about its purportedly great AF module. It has let me down more often than not with inconsistent focusing.

About the Sigma 18-35: I recently orderered one. My first tests didn't show any more inconsistent focusing than I am used to from my 7D. However, depending on focal length and subject distance, the AF was either OK or (consistently!) off (always frontfocus, sometimes needing around +20 microadjust). Sounds like a case for the USB dock, but it was so bad that I decided to not take any chance, I think my copy was defective. Since I liked everything else about the lens (IQ, speed, built), I opted for a replacement, which I am now waiting for.
BTW: I tried the Sigma on three different bodies, my 7D and 450D, and a colleagues 60D, focus deviation was more or less the same on all of them

6 upvotes
Marvol

I don't think DPR are being unfair. They found this issue, went in-depth to find if they could resolve it, and reported back with what they found.

In the end they scored the lens 86%, gave a glowing review and a Gold Award, and padded the focus issue with several clear YMMV statements.

I think that is exactly what could be expected of them, but many peeps here seem to have only read the critical part of the review.

4 upvotes
yabokkie

I don't know how others tested but 7D's AF module is quite conservative that it covers only a small area at center for better accuracy, and the accuracy is good (though I strongly prefer 51-point Nikon which covers much large area on APS-C).

Comment edited 18 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
peevee1

The autofocus problems - is it Sigma or is it Canon? You really should make a followup with other bodies.

6 upvotes
hoof

Question: Do all F/1.8 lenses have this "focus" issue, or just the Sigma 18-35mm? Or are we mistakenly blaming the Sigma for what might really be a body PDAF issue? What if the PDAF is tuned for an F/2.8 light cone? Then the AF tolerances might be fine for the 24-70 F/2.8 but not an F/1.8 lens?

3 upvotes
white shadow

From my experience, usually large aperture prime lens like the Zeiss 85mm f/1.4 or even the Canon 85mm f/1.2L MkII has focus shift issues. As long as one understand it and know how to adjust accordingly, its OK. The focus shift normally will occur when one try to focus at close distance at the wide open aperture.

This problem seldom occur on f/1.8 lenses like the Canon 85mm f/1.8.

So far, no other brand except Sigma has made an 18-35mm f/1.8. As such, it is difficult to compare.

Other possibilities could be poor quality control and "not so compatible third party firmware" Remember, this is a third party lens after all. Sigma does it by reverse enginneering.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 15 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
JDThomas

I'm pretty sure if Sigma made an 18-300 f/0.95 lens that was 3 inches long was built out of unobtanium, weighed 3 grams, nailed focus on every shot, was sharp at all focal lengths across the frame and cost $35, that 75% of the people here would STILL find something to complain about.

6 upvotes
Sordid

Can I preorder that lens, please?
I won't complain, I promise!

4 upvotes
SETI

Wide angle is not wide enough! Bad lens! =)))

5 upvotes
photohounds
1 upvote
BrettM2

Too bad this lens has inconsistent focus issues.

0 upvotes
VaLeX

I'd buy this lens for indoors pictures of my kids. I need a wide and fast lens. My ideal lens would be a prime 18-20mm F2. But this zoom is also appealing. Sadly, the pictures in your gallery are not very relevant for my interests. So, can you guys go into a pub, in the evening, and take some pics of the people there? Please! I might even pay for a pint! No flash - just the indoor lights!

Comment edited 37 seconds after posting
1 upvote
LauP

I don't have pub pictures, but these were taken in very poor lighting in a closed of city Street. Hope it helps:

http://www.reddit.com/r/photography/comments/1lksqe/need_the_speed_sigma_1835mm_f18_dc_hsm_indepth/cc0y5db

3 upvotes
VaLeX

Thanks!

0 upvotes
Total comments: 334
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