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DPReview Gear of the Year Part 4: Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM

By dpreview staff on Dec 4, 2013 at 18:51 GMT
Buy on GearShopFrom $799.00

A lot of equipment passes through our Seattle and London offices, everything from high-end cameras to inexpensive accessories. A lot of it gets reviewed, but we can't cover everything. In this series of short articles, DPReview staff will be highlighting their personal standout products of the year. In part 4, Richard Butler discusses the Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM and what it means for APS-C shooters.

184
I own it
439
I want it
20
I had it
Discuss in the forums

Comments

Total comments: 132
mermaidkiller
By mermaidkiller (3 months ago)

The brightest zoom available !
Unfortunately, APS-C only, otherwise it would be a nice standard zoom for my 6d with a great FOV !

2 upvotes
Brett St Pierre
By Brett St Pierre (4 months ago)

I've pre-orded this lens for my Pentax K-3 but was in two minds due to it's large size & weight. It potentially replaces 3 of the 5 prime lenses I currently walk about with (15mm F4, 21mm F3.2, 31mm F1.8, 43mm F1.9 77mm F1.8) but it's not exactly true when the article says that the Sigma will give us something APS-C shooters don't have now (i.e. wide aperture except perhaps there aren't too many 18mm F1.8 lenses). Us prime shooters have that already.

Anyway, given the reported image quality, the Sigma zoom is at least more convenient than a bunch of primes however they are much more unobstrusive...

0 upvotes
burleyman7
By burleyman7 (4 months ago)

I pre-ordered this for my Pentax K-5 but after discovering the Ricoh GR (I know) I'm seriously thinking of jettisoning my pre-order and going with the Ricoh.

The lens just looks so big.

0 upvotes
Rocco Lucia
By Rocco Lucia (4 months ago)

Some months ago I was about to buy a 28mm prime for my reflex, then I decided to go for the Ricoh GR. Well, I am not going back!

1 upvote
BCBirdman
By BCBirdman (4 months ago)

I already have a Sigma 150-500mm F5-6.3 APO DG OS HSM, mostly for shooting birds. I love it, gives me fantastic results with my Canon EOS 50D and my 5D Mk.II. I'm wondering if I can use the Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM likewise with my 5D Mk.II, looks like a beautiful lens. Could use it for both landscapes and portraits.

0 upvotes
LauP
By LauP (3 months ago)

The Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM is specifically designed for crop sensors. On your FF 5D is will have a LOT of vignette.

1 upvote
t boy
By t boy (4 months ago)

the corner resolution of this lens is better

0 upvotes
dougster1979
By dougster1979 (4 months ago)

This lens is stunning. How much would you pay for a 24mm prime or a 18mm prime for nikon Dx? I have the 17-55mm which produces great results for me. But if i had the cash i would seriously consider this.

0 upvotes
Naveed Akhtar
By Naveed Akhtar (4 months ago)

truely .. the gear of the year!!

0 upvotes
AussieBarb
By AussieBarb (4 months ago)

I used this as my only DSLR lens for my Canon 7D on a recent cycling trip in China, no regrets, very versatile from close-ups to scenery. Best piece of glass I have ever brought. Focusing is spot on and sharp. (I also took a m/43 and high end compact too). This lens lets me create awesome pics and it means I won't be upgrading my 7D for another couple of years. I'll only upgrade when some radical new camera and/or technology comes out. The lens has breathed new into this camera and for now, I'm really happy with this combination as it produces surreal pics

3 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (4 months ago)

the corner resolution of this lens is better than 24-70/2.8L2 on 35mm full-frame. really amazing aspherical design.

0 upvotes
SMSab
By SMSab (4 months ago)

:) Seriously buddy I do agree with you, this lens is a jewel. I got this for my Canon 650D/T4i and now instead of going for full frame like 6D I am waiting for 7D Mark II because I am seriously I believe that with this lens I dont need to fall for full frame trap :)

0 upvotes
Naveed Akhtar
By Naveed Akhtar (4 months ago)

SMSab .. dude!! yes it will give you better Dof but there is no trap in FF, unless you have some exceptional problems with it. FF will still give you better higher ISO performance and DR. 24mm is wider and more useful when you can have it and 70 mm is also same, very useful focal length and will give you even better dof for portraits.

1 upvote
munro harrap
By munro harrap (4 months ago)

THe problems are too numerous to mention. Nikon's 18-35mm in both incarnations is a poor lens, but Full-frame has far more use for this zoom than APS-C. What do you do with a lens that is not wide enough and certainly not long enough for general use? UK houses are so tiny interior shots with a 27mm are limited. It should be 16mm for a Nikon etc and 14mm for a Canon to be useful.
And then it has to focus in the correct direction WITHOUT A SEPARATE DOCK (Jeeezzzz!) and be accurate with no faffing! The 16-85 VR just DOES so much more,even though it may do so with less acuity. It will focus faster, its focussing be more accurate straightaway, so "after a day or two of testing...." is a way of comforting oneself for having bought a lemon, sir!

0 upvotes
ageha
By ageha (4 months ago)

"It has to focus in the correct direction WITHOUT A SEPARATE DOCK (Jeeezzzz!)" makes no sense at all.

3 upvotes
Bruce Photography
By Bruce Photography (4 months ago)

When I got back from a trip to see my Nephew, wife, and 2 kids ages 4 and 6 I took two lenes for my D7100, the Sigma 18-35mm 1.8 TUNED and a 50mm Nikor 1.8. Most of my shots were indoors so the 27 to 75 mm that this combo worked out well but I never got to try the 50mm lens. The 18-35mm stayed on the camera the whole time including going outdoors around Mt. Diablo east of San Francisco.

However I did have focusing problems before I tuned the combination. After a day or two of tuning and testing, I set the camera to an AF of -4 (for all focal lengths) and using the USB dock for the lens I set 6 feet to infinity as -2 for 18 mm and -4 for 35mm. All the focal lengths in between did not need any adjustment for the lens itself, but the camera and lens combination seemed to need the -4 in the camera. I prefer a very slight front focusing bias anyway. The USB dock and testing is a real god send.

1 upvote
Dgeer
By Dgeer (4 months ago)

I have an unloved DLSR which deselected itself from my affections due to Nikon providing me with a very fussy to use camera...When I saw a very keenly priced run out deal on a mirror less M43 my love affair with M43 took off. I have Lumix lens set but guys I'd like this one for M43....but am not prepared to dig out the D90 and hope. I'd buy a cheap Canon but not if focus issues might arise...ah well....

0 upvotes
Abu Mahendra
By Abu Mahendra (4 months ago)

Ponder this. This lens gives perfectly good shots at 35mm mounted on a FF camera. Enlarge the image circle, shift the focal lenghts a bit, and Sigma could have a 28-55 f/1.8 full-frame lens for us.

1 upvote
munro harrap
By munro harrap (4 months ago)

As the news item today suggests that Nikon firmware updates for APS-C machines are knocking out compatibility with third -party batteries, should anyone risk buying a Sigma or Tamron etc lens anymore?

0 upvotes
brecklundin
By brecklundin (4 months ago)

sorry the author of this piece lost me with the "because I can't imagine owning a DSLR again" Really? I want to read a review by someone who is already dismissive of the thing I enjoy? That rationalization does not add credibility it only sets a negative tone and diminishes our enjoyment.

I don't care if the review ends up being positive, it is condescending and elitist from the opening thesis even if that is not the author's intent.

9 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (4 months ago)

in theory it's easier to make quality lenses for mirrorless mounts but the reality is that we still have the best lens line-ups for SLRs and no mirrorless system can even qualify as an option if quality image is what one wants, including Sony FE.

but no body can argue with someone what he wants.

0 upvotes
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (4 months ago)

It's certainly not meant to be dismissive of anything - just because I can't imagine myself owning a DSLR again doesn't mean I think the same should be true for anyone else.

It just so happens that a DSLR isn't the best match for my current needs, but there are plenty of people for whom it is. I didn't mean to suggest that my personal choice is better than someone who makes a different decision, I'm just trying to be honest and open about my own perspective.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 6 minutes after posting
5 upvotes
mkbrkloster
By mkbrkloster (4 months ago)

Then at best your comment was unnecessary information as it pertains to the article, and, because we are talking about it now, obviously distracted from the message.

At worst it came across as if you have "seen the light" that others still don't see and wouldn't dare stoop down to purchase a DSLR.

10 upvotes
Anstup ID
By Anstup ID (4 months ago)

I really want it. Must have for my lovely K-5. In addition to Tamron 90/2.8 Macro 1:1 and Zeiss 180/2.8 it'complete set I need for today.

1 upvote
Marvol
By Marvol (4 months ago)

It would be interesting to adaptastick (perhaps even speedboost) this onto one of the new Sony A7 bodies and see how the image circle holds up.
Sony's own APS-C 10-18mm (IIRC) actually covers plenty more than just APS-C and is almost fully usable between 13-15 mm, if this lens does something similar that would be awesome.

0 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (4 months ago)

18-35/1.8 has very tight image circle, which may mean a higher level of design using aspherical elements.

1 upvote
photo nuts
By photo nuts (4 months ago)

"However, while I can’t imagine buying the Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM (mainly because I can’t imagine owning a DSLR again)..."

This explains why DPReview is pushing mirrorless cameras so hard. It's not just Richard Butler, but almost everyone in and everything published by DPReview seem to be strongly biased towards mirrorless offerings. Nothing wrong with that, just saying. ;)

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
5 upvotes
Marvol
By Marvol (4 months ago)

"pushing mirrorless so hard"?

I don't know what you're smoking. From what I can tell DPR review a far higher proportion of DSLRs released than mirrorless - pretty much every Canon and Nikon SLR gets reviewed. Try finding even half of all m4/3 bodies reviewed here.

DPR is also not particularly negative about DSLRs:
Canon 70D - 83% - Gold
Canon 100D - 78% - Gold
Nikon D7100 - 85% - Gold
Pentax K-5 83% - Gold
Pentax K-5 II - 80% - Gold

I see no evidence whatsoever for your perceived "bias towards mirrorless". Maybe you are biased yourself?

6 upvotes
b craw
By b craw (4 months ago)

Marvol, I agree with you - no real evidence of DPR "pushing" mirrorless, unless presenting it as a technological alternative is "pushing" it.

It seems every article or review has an obligatory few threads of DSLR vs. mirrorless sword waving. I seriously doubt there was such tension in big one eras of photography.

"Your rangefinder 35mm is a quiet endorsement of a bourgeois agenda."

"Oh yeah, well your twin lens sucks muffins when shooting sports."

The ironic manifestations in the broad world of the internet era are the many examples of myopathy.

1 upvote
WryCuda
By WryCuda (4 months ago)

You are dead right. Quite often the first or second reply to a straight question about a DSLR starts off: "Have you considered a mirror-less camera... "

0 upvotes
vesa1tahti
By vesa1tahti (4 months ago)

The best lens for APS-C ! Bravo, Sigma !

2 upvotes
kimchiflower
By kimchiflower (4 months ago)

imagine if Sigma released a m43 version. The APS-C one is uncomfortably large and heavy. The same size could be made in f/1.6 or f/1.5 for m43

2 upvotes
Mario G
By Mario G (4 months ago)

Exactly. Then, Panasonic will have a hard time to justify the 30% higher cost for an almost 2-stops slower zoom with the 12-35mm F2.8.

0 upvotes
photo nuts
By photo nuts (4 months ago)

Olympus used to offer a 4_3rd 14-35 f/2 lens that weighs 900g!

If they make one for mirrorless, it'll be lighter and smaller. And if Sony or Canon releases an APS-C equivalent for mirrorless, it'll also be smaller and lighter. :)

1 upvote
yabokkie
By yabokkie (4 months ago)

ZD14-35/2 had to overcome the relatively long flange-back distance (about 76mm equiv., or far worse than 35mm format SLRs) and it had a high target to have very low vegnetting (which was really very good).

that's why ZD14-35/2 had to be so big and heavy, 900g compared to 600g of EF24-70/4LIS.

and why the SLR 4/3" mount is a rubbish and should be abandoned.

> same size could be made in f/1.6 or f/1.5 for m43

f/1.4 at least. smaller f-numbers should be possible for m4/3" is at least a better mount than APS-C SLR ones (which are almost as bad as SLR 4/3").

Comment edited 4 times, last edit 7 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Chris2210
By Chris2210 (4 months ago)

I'm loving my EM1, but I'm with you - the only thing bad I can think about this lens is that Sigma are not making an equivalent for m4/3 [which arguably needs it even more for fine DoF control].

I've left APSc behind [although I'm still hanging on to my 5DII], but this lens is a god-send to any serious shooter still into the format. I don't think APSc offers enough of an advantage over m4/3 to justify its size/weight, but large as this lens is, it does help to alter that matrix somewhat.

M4/3 is still the better choice for me, but if you APSc people ask me where the equivalent of this lens is for the smaller system [and of course it would have to be both wider and faster] there is no answer...

3 upvotes
Plastek
By Plastek (4 months ago)

5D is not an APS-C camera. It's Full Frame. 4 times the goodness of m43.

Comment edited 19 seconds after posting
1 upvote
Chris2210
By Chris2210 (4 months ago)

That was the point - I no longer have an APSc backup camera, but I'm not giving up 35mm format just yet - even though four times the size does not equal four times the goodness.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
2 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (4 months ago)

I'm not a fan of any format but currently there is no option other than Canon or Nikon 35mm format systems if the quality is what one wants (though some medium format does have some advantages).

0 upvotes
skogredd
By skogredd (4 months ago)

I am not a fan of MFT, but using it heavily.
The Olympus 12-40 gives the critical 24 and also better close focus. If/when minimal DOF really is needed, there are options available for MFT. Therefore the 12-40 on MFT seemed to me the better compromise than the 18-35 1.8 on APS-C.
I would rather have this one on a Nikon than a version for MFT, to profit from better dynamic range and less noise than in MFT cameras.

0 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (4 months ago)

> minimal DOF really is needed

I'd rather have deeper DOF but deeper DOF always comes with lower image quality, more noise in low light, which is a physical barrier with no work around (physically impossible).

from optics point of view, DOF translates directly into light gathering capability regardless of sensor size or f-number.

even for those who have no knowledge of physics, it should be easily seen, from all the cameras on the market from medium format to mobile phones and all the lenses on them, that deep DOF means low image quality in low light.

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 9 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Petka
By Petka (4 months ago)

True in the way that deep DOF requires small lens opening which brings diffraction. Low light on the other hand is not an obstacle to good IQ if you can expose long enough with low ISO. Which is possible only with static subjects, even stars move too fast to use low ISO.

1 upvote
yabokkie
By yabokkie (4 months ago)

time is included in the light gathering capability already.
amount of light gathered per unit time, like a second.

1 upvote
jtan163
By jtan163 (4 months ago)

It took four months to arrive after pre ordering, but I finally got an F mount 18-35 ƒ/1.8.
I didn't doubt the reviews - so many were unequivocally positive.
And they were justified.

This is lens a sex machine. (since this is DPR I'll point out that this is a metaphorical, not literal statement).

Worth the wait.

3 upvotes
Nukunukoo
By Nukunukoo (4 months ago)

My only complaint is that it should have IS, at narrower apertures, I keep raising my ISOs above my comfort zones. Minor quibble really, since the overall performance more than makes up for that. Besides, I think of this lens as a prime, and how many primes have IS?

I'm starting to think that the Pentax K3 and this would make the perfect light, indoor event shooter.

2 upvotes
brendon1000
By brendon1000 (4 months ago)

Use it on a Sony system and you will get IS with this lens :)

8 upvotes
57even
By 57even (4 months ago)

And with Pentax...

5 upvotes
brendon1000
By brendon1000 (4 months ago)

^^ Sadly this lens doesn't come in a Pentax mount. :(

1 upvote
Pheonix
By Pheonix (4 months ago)

It's on it's way for Pentax - and Sony - been pushed back to Feb2014 I think (you wonder if demand coupled with complexity and associated low yields plus the price is meaning Sigma can't make enough of them)

My K-3 is seriously out-resolving my Tamron 17-50mm so I'm looking forward to being able to replace it with this when they do get to general availability. As an event shooter I think it'll be great!

2 upvotes
Nukunukoo
By Nukunukoo (4 months ago)

I'm not much a fan for Sony's Translucent Mirror models as they generally have lower low-light, high-ISO performance when compared to the traditional models in my experience.

2 upvotes
Leandros S
By Leandros S (4 months ago)

No, that's not just your experience, that's actually a fact Nukunukoo - the pellicle mirror steals that little bit of extra light. But you're in luck: Sony seems to be abandoning that technology as we speak, denials notwithstanding. :)

1 upvote
Mario G
By Mario G (4 months ago)

The "[stolen] little bit of extra light" is more like 30% of the incoming light, isn't it?

0 upvotes
Rmano
By Rmano (4 months ago)

Yes. 1/3 of a stop.

0 upvotes
brendon1000
By brendon1000 (4 months ago)

In real life I doubt you will really be able to tell any real differences TBH between current APS-C camera bodies.

I have taken plenty of useful ISO 3200 shots on my Sony cameras and I have compared them favorably with my friends Nikon and Canon APS-C cameras.

Sensor format does matter though. FF will look better than anything APS-C can offer with the sole exception of the Fuji X-Trans sensor. I have used a 5D Mk 3 and its ISO 12800 look about as good (bad ?) as the ISO 3200 results from my Sony.

0 upvotes
Polytropia
By Polytropia (4 months ago)

Leica D Summilux 25mm 1,4 on the E-M1... you'll forget about anything else...

2 upvotes
Iskender
By Iskender (4 months ago)

Oh no, it causes amnesia? I guess shutter shock is not the only thing to worry about...

While I am a M43 user, I need my memory to work, so I guess I'll get an APS body and the 18-35 instead...

12 upvotes
abortabort
By abortabort (4 months ago)

Assuming you like a 50mm equiv FoV and are prepared to spend $2k to get it. Personally I think that's a massive waste of money.

2 upvotes
Nukunukoo
By Nukunukoo (4 months ago)

Own the Sigma, used the Leica on the GH3/BMPC. No thanks, I'll remember the Sigma...

1 upvote
yabokkie
By yabokkie (4 months ago)

25/0.7 sounds good as a standard prime for up to 500 US.

0 upvotes
Kelvin L
By Kelvin L (4 months ago)

I find the lens a remarkable and impressive technical achievement, but I agree with Richard's sentiment that this is a lens which I can't imagine owning myself. These days the only times the big and heavy DSLR comes out is when I'm taking photos for other people, in which case I have the luxury of optimising the lighting. (We all managed perfectly fine with medium format and its f/4-5.6 lenses back in the day.) When I'm taking photos of low light scenarios for clients it's usually situations like events and stage performances, in which case I'm looking for fast telephotos rather than wide angles. If I'm getting to the point where I need an f/1.8 at ISO6400 then most likely the lighting is going to look rubbish for the client regardless of what lens I use.

When it comes to personal photography I'm using more discreet pocket cameras - usually an X100 these days, or my iPhone. I am amazed at how versatile the X100 is and concur with DPReview's Gear Of The Year award for the X100S.

1 upvote
Kodachrome200
By Kodachrome200 (4 months ago)

its a great lens. but the gushing about as if a 1.8 zoom creates unprecedented capabilities. it does not. you get the same low light capabilities and dof that full frame f/2.8 zooms do minus some image quality and a more useful zoom range. Now of course this plus an apc camera is cheaper. and its a fine lens great quality. but the capability is not unprecedented, just the f stop

0 upvotes
abortabort
By abortabort (4 months ago)

This is true, but as the article points out, many have been lumped with FF leftovers if you want a fast lens for the most popular interchangeable lens format (not mount) in the digital age. This lens fills a sizeable gap, one that is in every mount from every manufacturer of APS-C DSLRs.

All smaller sensors have an advantage in being able to design smaller and faster lenses for it, but noone until now seems to have been willing to do so for crop DSLRs.

This lens is a stunning achievement in breaking down barriers imposed by the OEMs. Is it like an f2.8 zoom on a FF? Yes. Is it like no other lens we've ever seen for an APS-C DSLR? Yes!

6 upvotes
Trollshavethebestcandy
By Trollshavethebestcandy (4 months ago)

Slap this on the Oly EM1 via adapter and you have something interesting.

1 upvote
Kodachrome200
By Kodachrome200 (4 months ago)

wouldnt be wide enough. better on an aps camera

2 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (4 months ago)

let's hope Sigma make a 12-35/1.4 for m3/4".

2 upvotes
Trollshavethebestcandy
By Trollshavethebestcandy (4 months ago)

It would be a good all around lens semi wide to almost portrait length on a M43.
36 equiv is semi wide and close enough to the classic 35
Nifty at 50 and portraits at 70mm. A comparison to the new 12-40 would be cool.

1 upvote
abortabort
By abortabort (4 months ago)

What is up with all the E-M1 trolls seriously?

This lens will work like a great big bag of crap on an E-M1. If you want a fast zoom, why not have a look at Oly's own 14-35mm f2?

Who would be comparing those two as well? Are you, as an E-M1 user (assuming) going to be considering buying and adapting the Sigma? Considering AF speed is supposedly one of the biggest strength of the E-M1 I tend to doubt it.

7 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (4 months ago)

ZD14-35/2 is a slow zoom, not too slow though.

Comment edited 10 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Andy Crowe
By Andy Crowe (4 months ago)

Putting this on any mirrorless camera would be wasteful - it's a large retrofocal design to make space for the reflex mirror, on a mirrorless camera it's just wasted space that could be used to make the lens smaller.

3 upvotes
mrc4nl
By mrc4nl (4 months ago)

Well there is a speed booster for that, makes it just as wide as it would be on aps-c ,plus one f stop brighter.

Problem is: how do you want to control the aperture?

1 upvote
luxor2
By luxor2 (4 months ago)

This lens is about the same size and weight as the Tamron 24 to 70 f2.8.
The Tamron will cost several hundred more, but will have a more versatile range, longer and wider.

Used with a D610 or other compact full frame, Tamron gives a system not much heavier than the Sigma with D7100 body. Consider alternatives before getting this lens.

1 upvote
Der Steppenwolf
By Der Steppenwolf (4 months ago)

Right, and kit lens for D610 will also be "more versatile, longer and wider" not to mention lighter ...
Ever heard of following things ? Picture quality, light sensitivity, bokeh, contrast, 3d effect, flare resistance, CA control ?
Did not think so. There is much more to consider when buying a lens then reach and weight. And as much as i like the Tamron it's bokeh is nervous at best.

Comment edited 5 times, last edit 7 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
luxor2
By luxor2 (4 months ago)

Ever heard of following things ? Picture quality, light sensitivity, bokeh, contrast, 3d effect, flare resistance, CA control ?
Did not think so.

You thought wrong! Of course I heard of those. Just suggesting an alternative that might be useful to some. Sorry if my suggestion is improper.

0 upvotes
gartblaum
By gartblaum (4 months ago)

This is for DX cameras...while the Tamron is a FF lens

2 upvotes
abortabort
By abortabort (4 months ago)

All well and good if you are looking to buy from scratch, but if you have a D7100 which is going to be more useful?

0 upvotes
Nukunukoo
By Nukunukoo (4 months ago)

For a DX-type lens, why check alternatives when the is none? The sigma is essentially hree to four very high quality primes built-in. Been using it with the D7100 for my indoor event shoots and the quality and bokeliciousness is spot-on. Highly, HIGHLY recommended!

2 upvotes
Andy Crowe
By Andy Crowe (4 months ago)

If you already have a good APS body then this lens is a lot cheaper than getting a new full frame body and a 24-70 f2.8 lens.

1 upvote
flee2010
By flee2010 (4 months ago)

Yes, we should thank Sigma for creating a DX dream team. For many photographers, the combination of this lens and the APO 50-150mm F2.8 EX DC OS HSM would be all they need for their APS-C camera.

3 upvotes
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (4 months ago)

It's just such a shame that the 50-150mm OS has become so big and heavy. The old version was substantially lighter and smaller, making it a nicer lens for portraits than a 70-200mm (both in terms of being less intimidating and easier to wave around).

4 upvotes
samfan
By samfan (4 months ago)

Yep 50-150/2.8 EXII was lovely.

I'm kind of sorry Sigma is going from not exactly tack sharp, but overall lovely lenses with beautiful bokeh to brutally sharp soulless heavy bricks. (Just my 2 cents.)

0 upvotes
Plastek
By Plastek (4 months ago)

Better quality == larger size.

1 upvote
SteveCooper
By SteveCooper (4 months ago)

my only complaint is I have not been able to get my hands on one yet ;)

I know after I do, I'll buy one :)

1 upvote
Richard Murdey
By Richard Murdey (4 months ago)

Interesting.

Like most I had long been aware of the conspicuous absence of 28mm and 35mm equivalent primes for APSC dSLRs. I'd kind of put it down to physical limitations making fast 18 and 23 mm lenses, even for a reduced image circle.

Pentax kinda-sorta manages to field something, with the DA21 and DA15. Although compact, both are quite slow. Sigma has had fast 20 and 24 mm primes in the catalog for some years, but have been poorly reviewed.

"A wide selection of small, fast 28 mm and 35 mm lenses" is actually a more compelling reason for me to upgrade to full-frame than the improved light gathering and/or reduced DOF.

The other solution, besides buying the Sigma of course, is to move to mirrorless. The shorter distance of the rear element to the focal plane makes small, wide primes more feasible.

The basic problem with the Sigma is existential: the times you want a fast 28mm or 35mm are exactly the times you DON'T want to be carting around an enormous lens with you.

1 upvote
VREN
By VREN (4 months ago)

I have had this lens (Nikon version) for a couple of weeks and it has opened up a new world of opportunities for me and other APS-C shooters. I have a few focusing issues which I hope will improve when I get my USB Dock, but to be fair I sometimes have inconsistent focus with my Nikon 35mm f1.8 as well. In my opinion it does 35mm f1.8 better than my f1.8g prime. CAs are better controlled on the Sigma.

Some persons complain about the limited zoom range. I look at it another way. It is a flexible prime that goes into territory that Nikon has refused to approach. It is a tool that if used carefully and patiently, can produce some stunning results. Canon, Nikon and others should thank Sigma for creating new opportunities for their cropped bodies...or maybe they want to curse Sigma for keeping us away from their full framed bodies and lenses.

This definitely has been my "Gear of the Year."

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 5 minutes after posting
8 upvotes
Mario G
By Mario G (4 months ago)

It would be great to have this adapted to Micro Four Thirds with an appropriate speed booster... that could become a F1.4 zoom!
Keeping the same focal length, the 2x crop factor would perhaps not make it an ideal all-purpose zoom at 36-70mm FF equivalent, but still good enough to replace and improve 3 primes.

0 upvotes
Robert Krawitz
By Robert Krawitz (4 months ago)

If I didn't already own the Canon 17-55, I'd very likely buy this lens. I shoot basketball on a poorly lit court, and the f/2.8 forces me to ISO 6400 (occasionally I can get a bit faster -- thank you Canon for the 2.0 firmware for the 7D to allow auto ISO up to 6400) for a 1/400 shutter speed with +1 stop exposure compensation (because of our white home uniforms).

This lens would put me at ISO 2000-2500, where the 7D performs much better. It would also eliminate my tendency to frame too tightly and often miss things in the paint. The disadvantage would be shooting the PG bringing the ball up court, but I'd rather live with that.

(I use a second body with a Sigma 70-200 f/2.8 OS for shooting our D -- given that we have a ferocious shot blocker, that comes in handy.)

0 upvotes
kadardr
By kadardr (4 months ago)

The sample images show that this 28-50 equivalent lens may not bring much excitement for the viewer (and the shooter). Something like a 14-30 mm APS-C zoom would be more desirable. OOps, there goes the Pentax 12-24mm F4.0, or the Sony 16-35mm F2.8. Well, these already also exist. F1.8 may not be the most important parameter.

0 upvotes
Mario G
By Mario G (4 months ago)

Not much excitement? That's a F1.8 zoom, and is sharp like a prime!
Obviously if you just like ultra-wide that's not gonna work for you, but many people would find it exciting.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 6 minutes after posting
5 upvotes
tinzi1
By tinzi1 (4 months ago)

I agreed with Kadardr on the zoom range, i do prefer 16-35 than 28-50 full frame-wize. On the other hand, this 18-35 f1.8 sure brings unprecedented excitment.

0 upvotes
brendon1000
By brendon1000 (4 months ago)

^^ Thats the problem. You prefer something else but you are in the minority as the no of standard zooms far outsell UWA lenses.

If you know of any other f1.8 zoom on APS-C please let us know.

This lens is a new era in lens design and it comes at a relatively affordable price considering the IQ and sheer design superiority to existing lenses.

0 upvotes
Mario G
By Mario G (4 months ago)

I also like ultra-wide myself, and would be happy to have my general purpose zoom reaching 24mm equivalent on the wide side. However I would really expect to have this on a standard F3.5-5.6 zoom, or at most an expensive F2.8 constant aperture (and the Sony 16-35mm F2.8 costs twice as much as this Sigma). This is F1.8, that's the realm of prime lenses!

0 upvotes
Lee Jay
By Lee Jay (4 months ago)

I'd agree, if it started at 15mm (24mm equivalent on Canon 1.6-crop). All these crop-sensor lenses that start in the 28mm-equivalent range really, really annoy me. Even most compacts start at 24mm by now!!!

3 upvotes
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (4 months ago)

In fairness, most compacts are only able to offer 24mm equiv through software correction of distortion - which would make composition difficult in a DSLR lens.

11 upvotes
AbrasiveReducer
By AbrasiveReducer (4 months ago)

A very good point. It's great to have 24mm capability but a lot of times, and especially with compacts, things are pretty soft at 24mm equivalent. Shoot raw for better quality and you get uncorrected semi-fisheye. Then, you move the pixels to straighten things out which is yet another trade-off.

3 upvotes
samfan
By samfan (4 months ago)

Hmmm my old EX1 seems pretty straight even in RAW.

I know everyone has gone crazy with software corrections, have the newer compacts really became so bad?

0 upvotes
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (4 months ago)

@samfan - the EX1 is certainly using digital correction (assuming we're both talking about the Samsung). Your Raw converter may be applying the same corrections as the camera, of course.

Not the perfect image to make the point, but the easiest to lay my hands on:

Samsung EX1 JPEG from camera

Samsung EX1 Adobe Camera Raw conversion

Note I haven't said anything is bad or wrong with this approach - there are some cameras and lenses I really like that work this way. However, it's something you can't really do with a DSLR, because you'd see very different framing in the optical viewfinder, compared to the output image.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 2 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
samfan
By samfan (4 months ago)

Thanks RB

TBH distortion never really bothered me unlike most people and I guess this is something that can be easily corrected. Still, I miss the times when designing a good camera/lens meant actually doing some good glass design. And not just 'We'll deal with it later with software' approach.

1 upvote
attomole
By attomole (4 months ago)

What bothers me is the size, its a lttle to big for street shooting, and what also bothers me is the implication does this mean we won't ever get a compact f 1.4 14mm 18mm 23 mm primes? Which it seems to, in which case FX still holds the edge and MFT / Fuji looks atractive altrrnatives to APS C

2 upvotes
calking
By calking (4 months ago)

Fuji x cams ARE APS-C and if you want those specs you'd be better off going fuji. I own one.

3 upvotes
Sergey Borachev
By Sergey Borachev (4 months ago)

My thoughts too. Everything is great about this Sigma, IQ, speed, price, and the FL range is just what I most want for street photo taking and walking about, but it is too intimidating for street shooting and too heavy for walking about.

So, really wonderful lens, exciting spec and unbelievable price or value, but practically speaking it is not so desirable if you think about it with a cool head.

If an electronic Speedbooster is available for M43 mount, then it would be different. 25-50mm f/1.2. Now, that would be equivalent to four f/1.2 lenses, 24mm, 28mm, 35mm, 50mm. I think that is different and worth the weight, and wait. And, it will be stabilised by the nice IBIS in Olympus cameras.

Comment edited 4 times, last edit 7 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
Prognathous
By Prognathous (4 months ago)

Sergey, this lens coupled with a speed-booster won't offer any low light or narrow DOF advantages compared to its current behavior on APS sensors. Whatever will be gained by the "faster" aperture will be offset by the noisier and smaller 43 sensor.

And if you want stabilization, you can already use this lens with a Sony or a Pentax body.

3 upvotes
brendon1000
By brendon1000 (4 months ago)

Sergey - Not everyone shoots streets so for most people who think about it with a cool head will realize that this is a kick ass zoom at a superb price.

My friend shoots streets with a 5D MK II and a 16-35mm f2.8 and takes some amazing shots so it depends on what a photographer is comfortable with.

0 upvotes
peevee1
By peevee1 (4 months ago)

"Sergey, this lens coupled with a speed-booster won't offer any low light or narrow DOF advantages compared to its current behavior on APS sensors. Whatever will be gained by the "faster" aperture will be offset by the noisier and smaller 43 sensor."

Prognathous, current m43 sensors are certainly smaller but not noisier at the same ISO compared to Canon and Samsung APS-C and Sony DSLT. Even compared to Nikons with Toshiba sensors, the difference is much smaller than the image circle size suggest. So the advantage will hold.
Low DoF (at this FLs at least) is DISADVANTAGE.

0 upvotes
jtan163
By jtan163 (4 months ago)

On the subject of street, I think you can get some shots because people do think it is telephoto.
They don't realise they are in your frame and assume you're shooting a subject up the street.

1 upvote
dcperspective
By dcperspective (4 months ago)

No IS No Sale for me.

5 upvotes
xmeda
By xmeda (4 months ago)

buy pentax

12 upvotes
KariIceland
By KariIceland (4 months ago)

It is a freaking 18-35mm lens, if you can't hold it steady at 35mm's your either shooting during an earth quake or you are worlds worst photographer.

13 upvotes
itchhh
By itchhh (4 months ago)

I hear this often, can you please explain why you would need image stabilization on a lens like this?

5 upvotes
AbrasiveReducer
By AbrasiveReducer (4 months ago)

Because you might want to take a photo at 1/2 second and unless you have a tripod with you, that won't happen--with any lens. Doesn't matter if it's 5mm.

Everyone wants super high ISO but no one wants better quality from a longer shutter speed at a much lower ISO.

7 upvotes
quiquae
By quiquae (4 months ago)

To those criticizing dcperspective, if you want f/1.8 primarily for shooting in poor light, rather than the shallow depth of field, IS would be helpful as it may allow you to keep ISO at a reasonable level.

6 upvotes
dcperspective
By dcperspective (4 months ago)

Thanks quiquae. I've been shooting for 30 years and the simple fact is you want tools that give you the most flexibility to get the shot, and IS is one of those tools. The distinction of IS not needed on wides has no weight to me- IS is valuable on every lens and combined with a High ISO performer it makes your tools very flexible. Shooting video is another benefit of IS. I'd pick Canons 17-55 IS 2.8 over this on my apc bodies every time.

4 upvotes
KariIceland
By KariIceland (4 months ago)

Being a good photographer would make it more flexible than IS. 30 years and nothing learned? That is a pitty. I can shoot at 1/25th handheld without iso, are you asking for a 2 second long exposure handheld? Because laws of physics say no to you.

2 upvotes
Roger Nordin
By Roger Nordin (4 months ago)

Leaving out IS (or OS, as Sigma likes to call their variant), gives them the perfect release to sell this lens again to the target group a year or two later, now upgraded with OS. Makes perfect money making sense to me :)

1 upvote
Heie2
By Heie2 (4 months ago)

With Pentax, worrying about having and paying for IS is a thing of the past. This lens is obviously best used on a Pentax K-5 IIs or K-3. Anything else is wasting the lens' potential.

1 upvote
Prognathous
By Prognathous (4 months ago)

It *is* stabilized if you're using a Sony/Minolta or Pentax body.

1 upvote
brendon1000
By brendon1000 (4 months ago)

Ok first off, this lens isn't available for Pentax and if the past is any reference it isn't going to be made available on Pentax.

I have nothing but admiration for Pentax but the fact is sales aren't too hot and so most Sigma lenses don't get a Pentax version.

Secondly IS is a useful tool and to all those who claim they can handhold 1/25 or 1/15 its all good but with IS you can go down to 1/2 also if you are careful. Not everyone wants to use high ISO especially if you lack a tripod.

So IS is a useful tool and those who say it isn't are belittling those who find it a useful tool.

0 upvotes
peevee1
By peevee1 (4 months ago)

"It is a freaking 18-35mm lens, if you can't hold it steady at 35mm's your either shooting during an earth quake or you are worlds worst photographer."

You and 10 other people are so sure of yourself, but the thing is, 1/fl rule does not apply - it is APS-C, so the rule becomes 1/(1.5*FL), i.e. you need 1/53s on Nikon, 1/56s on Canon, but then the rule was only good for 1000 lines per picture height, and even D3200 has 4000 lines now - so if you don't raise shutter speed 4x further, all the way to 1/210s, you are turning your 24 mpix camera into 1.5 mpix camera. Can you have 1/210s without raising ISO pretty high in low light - of course not, even on f/1.8. And then f/1.8 might be (and often will be) to shallow for you composition - then what, keep it at f/1.8 blurring important things in the scene?
And then there is video - handheld video is useless without IS (although in-lens IS - without rotational stabilization - is still pretty bad).

2 upvotes
Michel J
By Michel J (4 months ago)

You can switch for Sony SLT or Pentax, and you can get IBIS

0 upvotes
EDWARD ARTISTE
By EDWARD ARTISTE (4 months ago)

You dont NEED IS!!!! <----wtf is this about

The people that complain about others wanting IS in their lenses is simply nonsensical. Any tool that helps get.the.shot is a boon to photographers.

Naturally some people have steadier hands then others- are you goign to tell those people that they are SOL and they should take up another hobby/profession? Cmon.

Try to remember that your particular views are not gospel for others.

Comment edited 28 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Eleson
By Eleson (4 months ago)

I'd say 95% would have guessed on a body .. - Cool (and good) choice!

Not that it changes much of the text, but kudos to Pentax for being consistent with APS-C as their only path.

0 upvotes
drewski70
By drewski70 (4 months ago)

I think in future this lens will be viewed as a must have for C size sensors. I agree with the comparison primes...but it surpasses primes because a 18mm f1.8 does not exist.

0 upvotes
gaiaswill
By gaiaswill (4 months ago)

"[I]t becomes all the more impressive if you were to actually try to go out and find that set of primes that fast for APS-C cameras, because nobody has bothered to make them for you."

This is why I left APS land for Micro 4/3. I got sick of companies not supporting their own crop systems because they're not premium enough--PanOly are "all in" and the lens selection shows it.

Not everyone can afford/justify getting full frame.

10 upvotes
offertonhatter
By offertonhatter (4 months ago)

Ironically there is one brand that has gone all in with APS-C optimised lenses, and that is Pentax. Sure they currently don't have that many lenses that are considered fast, apart from the FA-Limiteds at F1.8, but they do have small high quality primes in the DA Limiteds. Even the cheap "plastic fantastic" 35mm and 50mm have very impressive quality to their optics.
But you are right with regard to CaNikon though. their primes on the whole are rather large with the exception to their 35mm and 50mm F1.8 lenses.
Even so, this Sigma, is still a big lens, but it would appear, an excellent lens.
At the end of the day, it all comes down to what you want and what size you will are willing to go with.
Me? It would be a choice between this sigma or the new Pentax 20-40 Limited. Fast Lens but large lens Vs Small light slower lens that has weather sealing. Both are considered superb in the optics department. But at least I have the option.
M43, for you seems the best choice and that is fine.

10 upvotes
kablowski
By kablowski (4 months ago)

"Ironically there is one brand that has gone all in with APS-C optimised lenses, and that is Pentax."

What about Fuji? Their X-series (APS-C) is fairly new but they've already released a lot of outstanding and fast primes. The new 23 1.4 seems to be fantastic.

Comment edited 19 seconds after posting
5 upvotes
gaiaswill
By gaiaswill (4 months ago)

The context is for SLRs but your point is made. The X-series lenses have made me want to stray, as have the Pentax Limiteds. The 20mm f/1.7 keeps me in though. (Yes, really.)

I've come to think that having a company supporting just one format is probably best for the people using that format. Canikony have their R&D resources split like mad among their lines. Any progress is slow and inconsistent.

It's not how big a stick you have, but how hard you swing it.
(-The Online Photographer)

1 upvote
KariIceland
By KariIceland (4 months ago)

No good zoom lenses yet for m43, i am leaving m43 also because there seems to be no good business plan ahead, they are to disorganised

0 upvotes
hybert46
By hybert46 (4 months ago)

@KriIceland
"no good zoom lenses yet for m443". I really don't know what you are missing in terms of zoom lenses in the m43 right now. There is pretty much everything from 7 to 300mm (14-600 mm equivalent) with some high quality f/2.8 zooms going from 12 to 150mm. The only thing missing is probably some fast tele zoom that should be coming in the near future.

0 upvotes
jtan163
By jtan163 (4 months ago)

There's no shipping 150mm ƒ/2.8 M43 that I am aware of.
Panasonic has a 35-100 and Olympus has announced a 40-150mm, but they are saying it will ship next year.

0 upvotes
Wade Tregaskis
By Wade Tregaskis (4 months ago)

I'm really impressed with it (Nikon mount), but it does have AF accuracy and consistency issues. Even at f/2.8. This is definitely a lens that requires very careful use, and frequent use of manual focus (blessedly, the manual focus ring is tight and precise).

I have my fingers crossed that Sigma figure out a firmware fix, or at least improvement, but... I think anyone buying this lens has to go in fully aware they're very likely to have (PD-) AF issues. And I say that as someone very happy with this lens, overall.

4 upvotes
Karl Summers
By Karl Summers (4 months ago)

Makes me kinda wish I owned a crop sensor Nikon.

0 upvotes
kablowski
By kablowski (4 months ago)

I own a DX Nikon and I'm sure it's a fantastic lens. Unfortunately it's way too bulky for a 'walkaround standard zoom'.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 11 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
brendon1000
By brendon1000 (4 months ago)

I have seen an English gentleman in India shooting with a 1Ds body and a 28-300mm L lens all day long so this is a toy compared to that combo. To each their own.

I use 2 camera bodies side by side when I go on vacation and this lens is hardly what I would call heavy.

1 upvote
Total comments: 132