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Just posted: Our Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM preview samples gallery

By dpreview staff on Jun 4, 2013 at 18:50 GMT
Buy on GearShopFrom $799.00

We've been lucky enough to get our hands on an early pre-production sample of one of the most anticipated lenses of the year, the Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM, and bring you a gallery of full-resolution sample images shot with it. This lens is the fastest zoom ever made for SLRs and, in principle, should provide the depth-of-field control and low-light image quality on an APS-C DSLR that you'd get using an F2.8 zoom on 35mm full-frame. We've shot a samples gallery including a variety of subjects, using a range of apertures, focal lengths and subject distances, to try to give an initial flavor of how the lens performs. Note, though: this sample of the lens may not be fully representative of the image quality you'll get from the production version.

What's it worth?

We'll be adding more images and some first impressions to the Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM preview we've already written in the coming days. But, in the meantime, how much would you be willing to pay for a lens that gave your APS-C DSLR the ability to compete directly with a 28-50mm F2.8 on a full-frame camera? Let us know in the comments.

Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM Preview samples gallery

 Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM preview samples: Published June 4th 2013

There are 30 images in our samples gallery. Please do not reproduce any of these images on a website or any newsletter / magazine without prior permission (see our copyright page). We make the originals available for private users to download to their own machines for personal examination or printing (in conjunction with this review), we do so in good faith, please don't abuse it.

Unless otherwise noted images taken with no particular settings at full resolution. Note that the lens used for these samples was pre-production and image quality may not be fully representative of the final product. In particular it may be more prone to flare or autofocus inaccuracy.

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Comments

Total comments: 66
rjx
By rjx (10 months ago)

Please release a similar lens for the Fuji X system! I would love the aperture and range in one package!

0 upvotes
Zerg2905
By Zerg2905 (10 months ago)

Hmmm... f/1.8 is VERY tempting but the range is rather not. If the price will go far above 800 - 900 EUR / USD then... sorry but no way for me to go for this lens. Cheers! :)

0 upvotes
Pat Cullinan Jr
By Pat Cullinan Jr (10 months ago)

<quote>should provide the depth-of-field control and low-light image quality on an APS-C DSLR that you'd get using an F2.8 zoom on 35mm full-frame.</quote>

The aperture of a lens is quite independent of the format of the film or sensor. In other words, f/1.8 is f/1.8 whether the lens is placed before an APS-C sensor or a full-frame sensor. The intensity of the light striking the target is the same whether you have a small or a large target. The aperture is a function solely of the focal length and the entrance "pupil" (meaning the diameter of the circle of light you see when you look through the lens from the rear).

I hope everybody understands this, because otherwise you'll be making disadvantageous decisions or doing things wrong.

0 upvotes
Pat Cullinan Jr
By Pat Cullinan Jr (10 months ago)

[continued from above] As regards DOF, you're correct in saying that f/1.8 on APS-C correlates with f/2.8 on FF (1.8 x 1.5 = 2.7). Wikipedia on "Depth of field" says, "Many small-format digital SLR camera systems allow using many of the same lenses on both full-frame and 'cropped format' cameras. If, for the same focal length setting, the subject distance is adjusted to provide the same field of view at the subject, at the same f-number [1.8, e.g.] and final-image size, the smaller format has greater DOF." Meaning the FF will have less DOF, unless stopped down [to 2.8, e.g.] to achieve equal DOF. A full treatment is given in the article cited, under the heading "Relationship of DOF to format size."

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 1 minute after posting
1 upvote
groucher
By groucher (10 months ago)

Quite right Pat. I was in an argument a few weeks ago with people who believe that the 300mm f4 on a Nikon 1 is f10.1 rather than remaining at f4. Couldn't convince them otherwise.

0 upvotes
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (10 months ago)

So, which aspect of:

should provide the depth-of-field control and low-light image quality on an APS-C DSLR that you'd get using an F2.8 zoom on 35mm full-frame.

Are you taking issue with?

This is an F1.8 lens (by definition), but it offers the same field of view, depth of field control and total light capture (for any given shutter speed) as a 27-52.5mm F2.7 on full frame.

Comment edited 16 seconds after posting
1 upvote
Pat Cullinan Jr
By Pat Cullinan Jr (10 months ago)

The DOF part is correct, but the part about "low-light image quality," which amounts to (maximum) aperture, isn't. The maximum aperture is called lens speed (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lens_speed). Imagine a lens casting an image on a wall. Light energy is falling on the wall at a certain rate (energy per second per unit area). This rate is called intensity. It's intensity that determines the photographic effect on the film or the sensor. The intensity is the same whether you put a small sensor or a large one on the wall. Or, suppose you're shooting a subject using a view camera with a 5.6 lens and 5x7 sheet film. Now suppose you want to shoot some subjects with 4x5 film. You're lens is still 5.6! The lens speed doesn't change. Speed depends only on the diameter of the lens (actually, the "entrance pupil") and the focal length. The Wikipedia article "F-number" gives the relation N = f/D, i.e., f-number (aperture) = focal length over entrance pupil.

0 upvotes
Pat Cullinan Jr
By Pat Cullinan Jr (10 months ago)

[continued] It's called relative aperture because it relates the bigness of the lens opening to the focal length.

A reference for this is Sidney F. Ray, Applied Photographic Optics, London and Boston: Focal Press, 1988, ISBN 0-240-51226-X. This, however, is gruesome stuff! You can read an excerpt of Ch. 14, The Speed of a Lens, on p. 122 at http://books.google.com/books?id=cuzYl4hx-B8C&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false. You can get the book for $70, delivered. Focal Press is the best. They've been publishing outstanding books for generations.

0 upvotes
Pat Cullinan Jr
By Pat Cullinan Jr (10 months ago)

P.S.

I cordially recommend The Focal Encyclopedia of Photography, Michael R. Peres, Focal Press. The Kindle edition is up to the moment (2012). The print edition was published in 2007. The Focal Press website presents their complete offering (http://www.focalpress.com/).

0 upvotes
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (10 months ago)

You're right, but arguably not taking the next step.

Yes, I agree that the f number (or lens speed) defines the intensity of the light. This would be true regardless of my opinion on it.

However, intensity is light per unit area. So, for any given shutter speed and aperture, a larger sensor will be able to collect more light, since the light contributing to the total image is intensity x area. This lens, at maximum aperture, increases intensity in proportion to the decrease in sensor size, compared to a full frame sensor.

Quite simply it means that you can open this lens up further and end up capturing the same number of photons as a full frame sensor would with an F2.8 lens of the same field of view. The performances of specific sensors then come into play, but overall the comparison is about putting the formats on a similar footing, which is all you can ask of a lens.

0 upvotes
JensR
By JensR (10 months ago)

> The aperture is a function solely of the focal length and the entrance "pupil" (meaning the diameter of the circle of light you see when you look through the lens from the rear).

You mean f-stop. Aperture in optical physics is measured in mm. Sadly in popular photography, the terms have become mangled, so I usually say "aperture diameter" to make it clear that I am not talking about the dimensionless f#.

0 upvotes
JimPearce
By JimPearce (10 months ago)

Yada, yada, yada. Of course it is a faster lens, but truly equivalent as it allows the DX shooter to shoot at an ISO just over one stop lower.

0 upvotes
Pat Cullinan Jr
By Pat Cullinan Jr (10 months ago)

@JensR

You're right. I should have said "relative aperture" or "f-stop."

"Aperture" just-plain means entrance pupil, and is measured in mm, as you say.

0 upvotes
Pat Cullinan Jr
By Pat Cullinan Jr (10 months ago)

Dear Richard,

Hate to say it, but what you're saying isn't entirely true. I understand what you're saying, though.

What you can do is

1) talk to a large-format photographer and ask about changing formats while using the same lens.

or

2) call me (because my PC is dying). 911, Brooklyn, Patrick Cullinan. I'll be glad to help. After 9 PM Eastern, any day but Sunday.

All the best,

Pat

0 upvotes
Pat Cullinan Jr
By Pat Cullinan Jr (10 months ago)

P.S. I meant 411.

0 upvotes
M Jesper
By M Jesper (10 months ago)

Hmm, can't really find any shots at 18mm focused on anything substantial. That chimney [2580323] woulda been great if it was in focus. Guess that is a firmware problem. But damn, does it look great in the 28-35mm area. Considering the ability too zoom at all.

0 upvotes
groucher
By groucher (10 months ago)

Question is - is the lens poor at 18mm or is the chimney shot badly photographed? If it's the latter, DPR should withdraw or redo the shot.

0 upvotes
M Jesper
By M Jesper (10 months ago)

Misfocus happens sometimes, especially with preproduction. But yeah they should have seen it before uploading, and indeed probably remove it to avoid misjudgement of performance.

0 upvotes
SteveCooper
By SteveCooper (10 months ago)

does anybody have a clue as to the projected price on this lens? Isn't that going to be one of most important factors as to whether or not this lens sells well?

0 upvotes
Pat Cullinan Jr
By Pat Cullinan Jr (10 months ago)

My "SWAG" is $2400. ["G" = "guess"]

Comment edited 5 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
white shadow
By white shadow (10 months ago)

If this lens is going to sell for anything more than USD1200.00 it would not be recieved well. Sigma is not highly regarded for quality, at least for now. People who go for Sigma may even expect it to be less than USD1000.00.

0 upvotes
M Jesper
By M Jesper (10 months ago)

Sigma not known for quality ? Have you been under a rock !?

0 upvotes
jtan163
By jtan163 (10 months ago)

I think I'd like one, especially for low light (would've liked to have seen some low light/night shots), but I'm not sure I can justify it.

I wonder if they'll try something in a focal length range in the short to mid tele range.

Either way it's a pretty nice time to be a photographer/camera buff/geardo.

3 upvotes
white shadow
By white shadow (10 months ago)

I agree with you. DPR must try some low light and night shots with the aperture wide open at f/1.8 to see how sharp it is. Futher, they must try some portrait shots with the aperture wide open as well to check on the bokeh.

If it does not perform wide open those who are interested might as well just go for the 17-50 f/2.8.

Now, would it cost more than USD700? Bear in mind it is just an APS-C lens. If it is expensive Canon users, for example, might be better off with buying the EF 16-35mm f/2.8L MkII which they can also use on their full frame cameras and its weatherproof.

0 upvotes
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (10 months ago)

The reason we've not really included any low light shots is because any properties of the lens will usually be drowned-out by the performance of the camera's sensor.

I also love the concept of 'just' an APS-C lens. This is an ambitious lens no matter what format it's on. Perhaps it depends on whether you buy into the idea that APS-C is a just stepping-stone to full frame.

This lens is 1 1/3 stops brighter than an F2.8 and, for the vast majority of people that don't have a full frame camera, it chips away at the benefit of having to go out and buy one.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
4 upvotes
JimPearce
By JimPearce (10 months ago)

As a DX proponent, I like the concept. I'm thinking this lens might really cook with a D7100. However, as I'm mostly a wildlife shooter I think my 17-50 f2.8 Tamron screwdriver may be "good enough".

1 upvote
white shadow
By white shadow (10 months ago)

It would be excellent if Sigma can produce a constant aperture zoom lens whch can perform well wide open at f/1.8. That would be ground breaking. I am sure both photographers and consumers would welcome it. However, it usually do not happen. Even Panasonic's own attempt to produce a 14-35mm f/2.8 didn't perform very well wide open at f/2.8. One has to stop it down to f/4.0. Thus, it may be unnecessary for those who have the 14-45mm f/3.5-5.6 to upgrade.

Its definitely an ambitious task to make a constant aperture zoom lens at f/1.8.

Most photographers (not consumers) would aspire to full frame sooner or later. Many couldn't do it because of budget. The benefit of full frame is very clear if one want better dynamic range and higher ISO performance especially those who want to make large prints. This does not mean APS-C format won't be acceptable. There is a place for all formats. For street or travel photography, one almost cannot beat the convenience of micro 4/3 like the E-P5.

0 upvotes
dougster1979
By dougster1979 (10 months ago)

Great to see some samples. It would be great to see some nikon and pentax samples as well.

0 upvotes
spidermoon
By spidermoon (10 months ago)

This sigma is only for Nikon, Canon and sigma DSLR, no Sony or Pentax in sight :(

0 upvotes
Ubilam
By Ubilam (10 months ago)

Why not post production lens samples instead? The warnings you have in bright green above kinda make your samples questionable as to what we users can really expect? Thanks, anyways.

0 upvotes
jtan163
By jtan163 (10 months ago)

Not sure if I am missing something in your question about shooting production lens samples.

I believe they are using pre production samples because the lens is not in production yet.

2 upvotes
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (10 months ago)

This lens is close enough to final production that Sigma allowed us to publish a gallery, so it should tell you something useful - if not quite everything.

We'll certainly publish more when a production version exists but we felt this lens was too interesting to ignore the chance to use a shootable pre-production unit.

Comment edited 12 seconds after posting
3 upvotes
Ubilam
By Ubilam (10 months ago)

Thanks for the update, Mr. Butler. Look forward to the final images... its an interesting lens. I'll look up what 'post production' really means in the meantime (my bad). Thanks.

0 upvotes
white shadow
By white shadow (10 months ago)

Sigma (and Tamron) has a tradition of making lenses for the budget conscious consumers. Once in a while they may make some better quality lenses like the recent 35mm f/1.4 full frame lens. Usually, they have some quality issues with them. The 17-50 f/2.8 is a good example. Eventhough it is generally above average, there is no fulltime manual focus and manual focus may not be smooth. In most cases, the built quality reflects its lower price. There will be soft corners as well. In order to get a better performance for the 17-50 f/2.8, for example, one must stop down to f/4.0.

So, let see what this lens will be. If we have to stop down to f/2.8 or f/4.0, then we might as well go for the 17-50 f/2.8.

0 upvotes
G Davidson
By G Davidson (10 months ago)

It's true, but in my case, I have the pro-build Nikon 17-55mm and a Tamron 17-50mm (non-VR). The Tamron is capable of excellent results, even printed large, especially with lens profiles to deal with the distortion. Unless I'm specially shooting an event, that's the one that comes out and it's also the class of lens I'd recommend to others. Good enough is good enough and it leaves more funds for other lenses.

This lens may even go one stop further and replace the bright primes, something an f/2.8 lens on DX isn't bright enough to do.

0 upvotes
Rob Bernhard
By Rob Bernhard (10 months ago)

@G Davidson, actually, it's one and a third stop further. ;)

0 upvotes
mumintroll
By mumintroll (10 months ago)

It looks pretty good. For zoom with 1.8 aperture? What you want more? I'm very satisfied with samples.

1 upvote
Rod McD
By Rod McD (10 months ago)

Thx DPR. Looks interesting. When you take these sample shots, could you please consider including a few 'flare' shots - maybe a contra light, an artificial harsh lighting scene and a sun included WA landscape? Flare response can really help distinguish lens choices for some of us, but reviewers don't always address it. It's probably all the more relevant for fast and/or WA lenses.

1 upvote
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (10 months ago)

Flare is one of the areas we're told this sample might not resemble final quality, otherwise we'd have tested it. Rest assured that's something we'll test as soon as we get a production version in.

8 upvotes
Gesture
By Gesture (10 months ago)

Thanks, a good year for Sigma.

5 upvotes
Benarm
By Benarm (10 months ago)

I really like how third-party lens designers are innovating. Rather than just giving something similar at a cheaper price, they produce great products like this Sigma F1.8 zoom, or the Tamron 24-70 with image stabilization.

9 upvotes
jonrobertp
By jonrobertp (10 months ago)

Thanks guys. Looks very interesting...esp. for low light work. Now if the price is decent....that may make or break it for ppl like me.

3 upvotes
micahmedia
By micahmedia (10 months ago)

Thanks for showing us some (ok, quite a few!) full res images. Sigma seems to be on an uptick these days. Good to see!

2 upvotes
slncezgsi
By slncezgsi (10 months ago)

I would only add (concerning the remarks about bokeh) - that indeed the 'onion' structure is an indirect result of ASPH design and can be seen as an 'overcorrection' of the spherical aberration outside the plane of focus. At the same time it is very hard to include the 'look' of the out-of-focus areas in the lens optimisation process (=software) as the parts of image relevant for bokeh are VERY far (in terms of light wavelength) from the focus (which is what the lens is optimised of course) and not easy to express mathematically AND the relevant image is 3D while the plane of focus is a plane (possibly curved of course)

Now let me have a look at the samples :)

EDIT: a brief look tells me that Sigma did quite good job actually :)

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
zakaria
By zakaria (10 months ago)

I think almost samples are soft and the bokeh is normal.

0 upvotes
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (10 months ago)

There's a chance some of that softness is down to the pre-production status of the autofocus.

It can be really rather sharp:

http://www.dpreview.com/galleries/reviewsamples/photos/2581065/img_11-acr?inalbum=sigma-18-35mm-f1-8-dc-hsm-preview-samples

1 upvote
yabokkie
By yabokkie (10 months ago)

exactly. in sharpness test the most sharp shot is chozen no matter it's one in every three or thirty, and this is a camera issue, too.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
1 upvote
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (10 months ago)

@yabokkie - this is a samples gallery, not a test. I doubt many of our subjects would have been willing to sit and wait for me to manual focus every shot.

I also know the efforts Andy used to go to, when he did the technical testing for our reviews, and the lengths DxO goes to now, so I'd include those in the 'few' you speak of.

Comment edited 22 seconds after posting
3 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (10 months ago)

ha, shoot them with your 7D minimi.
your efforts are always appreciated.

0 upvotes
Rumle
By Rumle (10 months ago)

I'd love to se how it behaves on a fullframe camera, could you Show N' Tell?

0 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (10 months ago)

Very vignettey, I imagine (since it's designed for APS-C...)

5 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (10 months ago)

well Rumle imagined already.

an interesting observation is APS-C zooms starting at W mm will cover full-frame from W x 1.5 or 27mm something here, with vignetting but not black corners.

where exactly is the place depends on explanation / tolerance, like -2EV for example.

Comment edited 12 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (10 months ago)

actually I think it will be an interesting article if DPR compare the Sigma "full-frame" 28-35/1.8 against 28/1.8G and 35/2IS.

1 upvote
Alphoid
By Alphoid (10 months ago)

@Barney

At least, nominally, APS-on-full-frame gives a few advantages. First, you're not stuck with the 3:2 aspect. You can go 1:1 and gain resolution, or 16:9 with less resolution loss. Second, if you don't care as much about the borders as the center, you can buy just a slight bit extra image around the center. Third, if you're planning to print, you get a bit of extra image for full bleed.

This is all hearsay. I have no APS lenses compatible with my FF. However, if hearsay is true, this could give slightly better performance on a FF sensor than any existing camera+lens combo, just rated in terms of effective light gathering on a zoom.

0 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (10 months ago)

virtually there is not much difference mounting an APS-C zoom on APS-C or 35mm format if wide-end * crop-factor applies to all the lenses.

we can go same as wide, with more over-all resolution, less aberration but likely worse distortion and worse corners, and we can go same as near by just cropping the image where the only issue is sensor resolution which is not lens' business (ideally all the sensor resolution should be more than twice as the best available optical resolution).

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Rumle
By Rumle (10 months ago)

@Barney I know that, but I imagine it has a range in which it can be used on a FF camera. Just like the 17-55mm nikkor can be used from 28-55mm

Comment edited 37 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
InTheMist
By InTheMist (10 months ago)

Hm.

Pretty ugly ring bokeh but very interesting nonetheless.

1 upvote
jiamflash
By jiamflash (10 months ago)

The so called "Onion"/ "Ring" bokeh is a pretty common defense against 3rd party lens by loyalist these days.
The Tammy 24-70 VC and Sigma 35mm F1.4 Art also received their "fair" share of the bokeh attack.
Face it, these third party lens are good and sold a lower price. I bet you other lens will produce similar bokeh with the same background.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 1 minute after posting
7 upvotes
Iskender
By Iskender (10 months ago)

jiamflash: no one said anything about first party lenses. Except you.

So stop calling the kettle black with your "loyalist" comments. You're the one who's picking sides here.

5 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (10 months ago)

"onion" is the result of state of art aspherical technology at the moment, which is needed to achieve high performance at large aperture and to make the lens compact.

Nikon got the same problem that Nikkor lenses perform somewhere between. their bokeh not as ugly and their performance not as high either.

7 upvotes
InTheMist
By InTheMist (10 months ago)

@jamflash

Uh, yeah.

I have and covet my Sigma 35 f1.4.

Comment edited 29 seconds after posting
1 upvote
Josh152
By Josh152 (10 months ago)

@yabokkie

Yep just look at the new Canon 24-70 f/2.8 it even has slight onion bokeh as well. It appears to be a trade off for higher overall performance.

0 upvotes
Just another Canon shooter
By Just another Canon shooter (10 months ago)

jiamflash, how much do you bet?

0 upvotes
InTheMist
By InTheMist (10 months ago)

Look at the samples. I'm not talking about onion bokeh. Looks almost like mirror lens "ring" bokeh.

Don't shoot the messenger! I'm a sigma lover too.

0 upvotes
Branko Collin
By Branko Collin (10 months ago)

Re: price. I think a fair price would depend a lot on the quality you get when shot (almost) wide open. If it could safely replace a couple of fast primes I think somewhere between 800 and 1,000 euro would be an attractive price range.

If it were sharp almost wide open across the frame on the wide end and in the middle on the long end, I'd still be interested assuming it were cheaper than that.

I shoot a lot of roller derby, and currently use a Sigma 17-70 F2.8-4 for non-action shots where I can keep shutter speeds relatively low. I imagine this lens could be useful for that type of photography?

EDIT: sorry, this wasn't supposed to be a reply to InTheMist but to the main article, I got confused by the interface.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Pat Cullinan Jr
By Pat Cullinan Jr (10 months ago)

Are we talking about "onion ring" bokeh here? ;)

0 upvotes
Total comments: 66