The Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM lens is built for APS-C format cameras, providing a 27-52.5mm equivalent full frame field of view. At 1.78 lbs, the lens is not quite a bear; however, you’ll definitely notice an increase and size and weight from other variable aperture zoom lenses built for APS-C cameras (e.g., Canon’s EF-S 18-135mm IS STM and Nikon’s 18-105mm VR). I equate the feel close to the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS lens.
The decreased size of the APS-C sensor allowed Sigma to build a f/1.8 zoom lens without the penalty of making a monster of lens that would be required to cover a full frame sensor.
The Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 lens becomes more like a bag of prime lenses than a do-it-all zoom lens. It’s like carrying a 28mm f/1.8, a 35mm f/1.8 and a 50mm f/1.8 lens in your bag (taking into account the crop factor) without ever needing to remove the lens. While this analogy can be drawn for practically any zoom lens (and it’s a great tool to use to force yourself to work the scene rather than work the lens), you can’t get a f/1.8 aperture across these focal lengths on any other single lens in the world.
The thing about the Sigma f/1.8 is that the image quality backs up the bag-o-primes analogy. It roasts other lenses that you might compare in the “fast zoom” category. And then consider how it stacks up against prime lenses along its focal length range – delivering a DxOMark Score of 27, while Canon primes within its zoom range garner a score of 25 and 22 when all are shot on the Canon 70D.The Canon EF 35mm f/2 IS USM lens runs $600 and the EF 24mm f/1.4L II USM lens retails for a bit more at $1749 (nearly $1000 more than the Sigma 18-35mm).
Below are a few images I shot with the Sigma 18-35mm lens and the Canon Rebel SL1, which offer a glimpse at the focal range, lens flare and the depth of field you get out of this wide angle lens.
One area of concern, which some of you will recall if you have been following my coverage of this lens, is a focusing issue with the first review sample that I received. When I got the first lens, it was way off at 18mm and a little off at 24mm and 35mm. The lens dock is a great tool for these new breed of Sigma lenses; however, the focus calibration can take a few short minutes to several hours depending on whether you need to set and test all focal lengths at all distance ranges. I’ve read personal reviews from a couple other users that have experienced similar issues with their Sigma 18-35mm lenses.
I sent the lens back to Sigma and their engineers could not repeat my experiences (even though I encountered the issue on both a 60D and a Rebel SL1). They sent a second copy and it appeared to focus fine. It happens to all manufacturers and I personally own a Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 that’s probably eight or nine years old now and still focuses great. But if that kind of thing scares you off, just make sure you buy from a reputable vendor (like B&H) who you know will accept returns for defective products. (And that generally applies to all photo gear you purchase…)
The Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM lens is truly a revolutionary lens. Sigma has achieved something no other manufacture has achieved to date. A f/1.8 aperture zoom at this price cannot be ignored. Look for Sigma’s new line of Art lenses to continue to shake up the DSLR industry.
The Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM lens is available from Photography Bay’s trusted retail partner, B&H Photo, at the following links:
By making your photography purchases at B&H Photo through these links, you are helping Photography Bay to continue bring quality camera tests, news and reviews. Thanks for your continued support.