Previous news story    Next news story

First impressions shooting with the Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM

By dpreview staff on Jun 10, 2013 at 10:29 GMT

We've just published our first impressions of shooting with the Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM | Art. We've tried to express just why we're so excited about this lens, that offers APS-C DSLR users access to some of the depth-of-field and low light capabilities that full frame shooters get from their F2.8 zooms. We're hoping to hear about pricing and availability soon so, in the meantime and in the light of our first impressions, what would you expect to pay for this lens? Let us know in the comments. 

185
I own it
439
I want it
20
I had it
Discuss in the forums

Comments

Total comments: 50
white shadow
By white shadow (10 months ago)

So finally with all this good news, we can all go for a few beers.

Cheers!

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

Wait no more. ............. This lens is sensational!

DPR's initial sample photos and findings have been confirmed by a full test by "lenstip.com" .

HubertChen's positive expectation and my cautious doubt have arrived to a very satisfactory conclusion.

The lens is:

1) has very high resolution on all focal length, reaching record level at f/2.8 - f4.0

2) has excellent image quality in frame center with very good borders

3) moderate distortion; only -2.46% at 18mm reducing to -0.01% at 24mm and increasing slightly to -1.1% at 35mm. This can be considered as very good as the poorer lenses even exceed -3.0% at 18mm.

4) well corrected CA and negligible spherical aberation

5) normal vignetting at f/1.8, almost gone by f/2.8

6) NO FOCUS SHIFT - usually large aperture lenses are prone to focus shift. This is very good news

However, the downsides are:

1) prone to flare when shooting near strong light source. May not be good for shooting sunset.

2) heavy, not ideal for 700D.

0 upvotes
Tonkotsu Ramen
By Tonkotsu Ramen (10 months ago)

reeeally wish it was a 16-35.. would replace my prime.. o wel..

1 upvote
HubertChen
By HubertChen (10 months ago)

Dear Tonkotsu,

I suggest not to put too much weight on the focal length numbers. Lens test have shown, that there is some variation in their accuracy. Also the difference between 16 mm and 18 mm is not too big. In most cases you can tale a step back or two and you can get the same result. Have a look at the test pictures. It is possible this lens outperforms your primes, or is at least equal. It was doing so for my primes. So it maybe still worth it for you. I hope this was helpful ?

1 upvote
Thomasbd
By Thomasbd (10 months ago)

I would rather go for the samyang 16mm f2 and 10mm f2.8

0 upvotes
Gaffman
By Gaffman (10 months ago)

Estimating $800. Should be music to the ears of APS-C shooters

2 upvotes
Reactive
By Reactive (10 months ago)

Except APS-C shooters probably rate practicality quite highly. Yes, f1.8 is nice, but surely that limited zoom range rather defeats the object of being a zoom? For those photographic situations that ever demand f1.8 instead of just upping the ISO, a 50mm f1.8 (at a small fraction of the price) might seem like better value.

0 upvotes
HubertChen
By HubertChen (10 months ago)

@ Reactive,

Look at it from the perspective of a prime user. This lens can replace three primes, such as: 18, 25, 35 mm or 15, 21, 35 mm. Also good luck in finding any zoom with this high IQ even @ f/2.8, let alone f/1.8. So from the perspective of a prime user, this one is super convenient! In my case it would reduce the number of lens changes from probably 50 ... 100 / shoot to maybe 5 ... 10. Quite every convenient indeed!

Once you would use this lens, it is also possible that your shooting style changes and you do not miss the 50 mm anymore. Or if you do, switch to an excellent prime and have more opportunity due to excellent IQ.

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

For it to be successful, Sigma must not hold back on the build quality and finishing. It must have a full time manual focus capability which, for example, the 17-50 f/2.8 lacks. The 17-50 f/2.8 is quite a good lens which can rival the one made by Canon but the lack of full time manual focus is a disappointment to many who uses it.

Would it be too much to expect Sigma to make them with a quality closer to Zeiss? I believe they can. Again, it depends on their marketing strategy. Do they want to remain as a cheaper alternative third party manufacturer or a premium alternative third party manufacturer?

0 upvotes
T3
By T3 (10 months ago)

Yes, because it has to compete with ALL THE OTHER f/1.8 zooms in the market! Yes, the f/1.8 zoom market is so CROWDED that the only way this lens will ever survive is if it has Zeiss-level quality and finish, along with full time manual.

Seriously, though, I think the more important factor is the pricing. I think Canon's full time manual on my L lenses is a nifty feature, but I rarely ever use it to override the AF. It certainly would not be a deal breaker for me if this Sigma lacked it. And while a nice finish on the lens is a happy bonus, I care more about image quality and focus performance.

5 upvotes
HubertChen
By HubertChen (10 months ago)

@ white shadow
Have a very serious look at the sample images. To me this lens can easily compete with Zeiss Primes.

This lens is part of the new "Art" Line Up of Sigma, which offer build quality similar to Zeiss. It is not all metal, but it is precise engineered high impact PC plus metal, which possibly could last just as long as all metal designs. Finish of previous Art Lenses have impressed professional photographers. So you might get it all. Please also consider that Zeiss practically makes no zooms, nor AF glass, so in this regards this Sigma can be considered superior to Zeiss glass. So you might get all what you are asking for :-)

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

Well done Barney for the two latest portrait shots and the close-up shot to illustrate the capability of this lens. Please remember to test for barrel distortion at 18mm wide open, vignetting and CA. This lens will definitely satisfy those who want to remain in APS-C territory or use one to travel light with the Canon 100D or the Pentax K5IIs.

It would be great if they could make one for the Pentax mount as the Pentax system lacks a good mid range zoom. It would be a killer combination if this is paired with the K5IIs.

Its good that Sigma is showing Canon, Nikon and Pentax that there is a market for such a lens which they are not willing to make.

For it to be well accepted in the market, a retail price of USD1000 or slightly below would be great.

It all depend on their marketing strategy. There is a big opportunity for them to shake the market to capture more maket share from Nikon and Canon and establish themselves as a quality lens maker.

0 upvotes
HubertChen
By HubertChen (10 months ago)

Sample Images:
Excellent lens and excellent sample images. Huge compliments @ dpreview for providing sample images that are both telling about the lens and yet still are very enjoyable to look at. I am really hoping for more of the same. Thank you so much!

@ Richard on the Article
Excellent Article. This Sigma lens will cause a little photography revolution making APS-C just as desirable than FF. And your Article makes this very transparent. Nice writing and very lovely sample images. Illustrating the point and a joy to look at. This Article was as much about photography than about technology. Thank you so much!

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

Thanks, glad you enjoyed it!

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

@HubertChen - Thank you for your kind words. I'm glad you enjoyed both the article and the samples.

1 upvote
HubertChen
By HubertChen (10 months ago)

@ Barney & Richard - You are welcome. My kind words are very self-serving. I want to enjoy more of the same :-) Thanks also for your kindness to give a reply. Very appreciated!

0 upvotes
Lan
By Lan (10 months ago)

OK; I've slipped through into a parallel universe haven't I?

On the news pages there's a Sigma lens that looks cool, and a Hasselblad that's a sad joke.

Now where did I leave my Stepper...

2 upvotes
HubertChen
By HubertChen (10 months ago)

Look at the sample images, this lens is cool! If you are serious about photography, you might forget about your stepper and stay in this parallel universe and get this lens. It is most likely not available in the universe you came from :-)

Ah, and Hassy has lost it since long time in my universe too. They dropped the ball when they closed their system and Phase One picked it up. Since then it has been constantly down hill for them.

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

Canon and Nikon secretly hate this lens

3 upvotes
jtan163
By jtan163 (10 months ago)

Nikon hates APS-C, or so it would seem.
Unless perhaps it is in a high end, high margin compact (I'm lookin'g at you Coolpix A!).

0 upvotes
sfa1966
By sfa1966 (10 months ago)

Very impressive. Sigma, make a Pentax K-mount version please.

2 upvotes
HubertChen
By HubertChen (10 months ago)

Yeah, this thing rivals Limited lenses! Not in its size, but in IQ. Very impressive indeed. Hell, I am considering getting one, as changing primes is not that much fun and this lens covers my most used focal lengths. Darn impressive lens. Now Canon and Nikon has to catch up with Sigma. What a nice inversion :-)

1 upvote
micahmedia
By micahmedia (10 months ago)

I look forward to this using this as a 25-50mm/f1.2 equivalent on my m43 bodies with a speed booster. : D

0 upvotes
Tim F 101
By Tim F 101 (10 months ago)

Serious q: why use a m4/3 body with this lens? You can spend less for a native lens with a lot of advantages (e.g., full control, AF capability and/or speed) and for less money in exchange for that extra aperture. For the sake of a little cool factor it seems to have no advantage at all over a few sensibly chosen native primes, or else using this lens on its intended bodies.

Comment edited 31 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
micahmedia
By micahmedia (10 months ago)

Ok, where's the list of other f1.2 zooms that mount to a $250 body that will output 100mbit/s video for hours on end?

Comment edited 16 seconds after posting
1 upvote
Mescalamba
By Mescalamba (10 months ago)

Hm, have you tried any APS-C lens on m4/3s with Speedbooster? I know its designed to work with FF, question is if it will work with APS-C lens.

Otherwise there are fast zoom lens made for C-cameras, but those I think wont cover whole 4/3 sensor.

0 upvotes
kam_wa
By kam_wa (10 months ago)

.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Mike99999
By Mike99999 (10 months ago)

Rather than this lens I'd have DX 18mm f/1.4 and 24mm f/1.4 brothers for the 30mm f/1.4.

I guess in a way this lens is a lot like the Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8: very narrow range but replaces a number of non-existant primes. I wonder if the price will be similar to the 11-16 as well.

0 upvotes
Mike99999
By Mike99999 (10 months ago)

Besides, for those who have tried it: the difference in bokeh between the excellent Nikkor 17-55mm f/2.8 on DX, and the 24-70mm f/2.8 on FX, is very very faint.

At the wide end there is a slight difference in amount of OOF blur, while at the long end the difference is negligible (due to the DX lens being slightly longer at 85mm equivalent).

0 upvotes
tkbslc
By tkbslc (10 months ago)

Yes, wide primes are sorely lacking for APS-C SLR cameras.

0 upvotes
micahmedia
By micahmedia (10 months ago)

...yeah, the only one of those that doesn't already exist is the 18mm/f1.4 prime. I'd take anything in the 14-17 range, but 18mm is too close to my 20/1.8. Which, btw, is quite overdue for an update! This 18-35 zoom covers that aperture and FL, but not on FF.

0 upvotes
Mike99999
By Mike99999 (10 months ago)

The 20mm f/1.8 from Sigma is too soft, too dark, and too big for APS-C. What I'm talking about is f/1.4 primes for APS-C, just like the 30mm f/1.4, just wider.

0 upvotes
moizes 2
By moizes 2 (10 months ago)

At the setting of 18mm needs f8.0, at least. Sample of the lens given needs to be FT-ed to the body , looks like -2, for the combo. Take a look at the image - plane is sharper than building. Overall good lens, but not for fantastic price of $1800. $1200 is what everyone wants to pay for.

Comment edited 8 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
CameraLabTester
By CameraLabTester (10 months ago)

There is what they call the "Sweet Spot" of market PRICING a product such as this lens.

Too high a price disenfranchises potential serious buyers, loosing sales.

Too low a price eats up profits and lowers margin.

But...

Sometimes there is such a case of "Wholesale Windfall".

Sigma should price this lens a little lower than expected and see a significant boom in sales... and a greater following and respect to their brand name.

.

3 upvotes
tkbslc
By tkbslc (10 months ago)

I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that Sigma has their own market research team that sets prices at what they think are going to be the sweet spot.

0 upvotes
Tim F 101
By Tim F 101 (10 months ago)

Cachet. Sigma has hit a number of homers with new lenses, and a little unobtanium in the lineup will help to build their reputation as the Wendy's of third-party AF lenses: still not necessarily as good as the best stuff that Nikon or Canon make at home but a step ahead of the other options.

Comment edited 19 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
JEROME NOLAS
By JEROME NOLAS (10 months ago)

Great specs but too big, heavy and probably too expensive...

0 upvotes
bcalkins
By bcalkins (10 months ago)

To me it has to be cheaper than the 24-70mm f2.8 full frame zooms to be successful. But looking at smaller format fast zooms, you have the Panasonic MFT f/2.8 zoom and Olympus's 14-35mm 4/3 f/2 zoom - which still sells for $2,300. I'd say $1800 sounds about right for this lens... Not that I'll buy one!

1 upvote
Anepo
By Anepo (10 months ago)

I bet 2000$ however i dont buy lenses for more than 400$

1 upvote
tkbslc
By tkbslc (10 months ago)

$400? You can't even buy a Sigma 17-50 f2.8 for close to that price.

0 upvotes
Reactive
By Reactive (10 months ago)

Had the zoom range been just a bit more practical for day-to-day use... let's say 18-70mm... this would have been the perfect 'always-on' lens. Considering that a 50mm f1.8 is so tiny and light, surely 70mm at f1.8 is possible without the lens becoming too large or expensive? But then I know nothing about the physics of lenses!

0 upvotes
straylightrun
By straylightrun (10 months ago)

An APS-C 18-70 constant f/1.8 zoom would be so much more larger, heavier and expensive that it would just be impractical.

7 upvotes
Reactive
By Reactive (10 months ago)

OK then, too impractical. But with this limited range, for Canon users the well reviewed EF-S 15-85mm f3.5-5.6 will be a much more useful everyday lens - plus a 50mm f1.8 for those who really need low DoF. I suspect both together will be cheaper than this Sigma.

0 upvotes
Thorbard
By Thorbard (10 months ago)

I hardly think you can consider the 15-85mm in the same class as this lens. They offer very different things. And the 15-85 is only f/3.5-5.6 too. A 24-70 f2.8 would surely be a better comparison?

2 upvotes
TB Rich
By TB Rich (10 months ago)

Agree with Thorbard, I have a 15-85mm lens, the 2 can not be compared as very different purposes. I am considering an indoor fast prime to compliment the 15-85, perhaps a Sigma 30 1.4, but it might not be wide enough at times and I don't want multiple yet similar FL primes. Therefore this new 1.8 zoom is perfect. Fast enough and flexible enough to do indoor great when speedlites are not practical.

1 upvote
tkbslc
By tkbslc (10 months ago)

I don't think 18-70 is very practical, but I'd probably be happier with say a 16-45 f2.2 than this 18-35 f1.8. The zoom range is just a little to short to be a primary standard zoom.

1 upvote
LJ - Eljot
By LJ - Eljot (10 months ago)

There is an 18-85 1.8 from Fuji:
http://www.fujifilm.com/products/optical_devices/cine/35mm_pl/hk_premier/#hk47x18 the problems with this one are the weight of 6.9kg and the price of 87,300.00 $.

1 upvote
HubertChen
By HubertChen (10 months ago)

@LJ - Eljot - Nice find. Beautiful way to express the engineering achievement of this lens!

0 upvotes
jacketpotato
By jacketpotato (10 months ago)

Ever since the Merril Foveon Sensor
Sigma's new lenses have upped their game simply because the Merrill Sensor shows up flaws in lens design unlike anyother sensor.

7 upvotes
HubertChen
By HubertChen (10 months ago)

I read an article somewhere that they developed their own lens test using the Foveon sensor. I am quite really impressed with Sigma's change to improve their product quality. To turn around a whole company this way is no easy feat!

1 upvote
Total comments: 50