Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM Lens Review

by on February 19, 2014

in Lenses,Reviews,Sigma

Sigma 18-35mm f1.8 Lens-3

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.

Sigma 18-35mm f1.8 Lens-9

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.

Sigma 18-35mm f1.8 Lens-8

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.

Sigma 18-35mm f1.8 Lens-7

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.

Sigma 18-35mm f1.8 Comparison

[via DxO Labs]

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).

Sigma 18-35mm f1.8 Lens-6

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.

Sigma 18-35mm Sample Image

18mm at f/9

Sigma 18-35mm Sample Images-4

18mm at f/8

Sigma 18-35mm Sample Images-5

35mm at f/7.1

Sigma 18-35mm Sample Images-6

18mm at f/8

Sigma 18-35mm Sample Images-7

18mm at f/9

Sigma 18-35mm Sample Images-8

35mm at f/1.8

Sigma 18-35mm Sample Images-9

18mm at f/1.8

Sigma 18-35mm Sample Images-10

20mm at f/1.8

Sigma 18-35mm Sample Images


Sigma 18-35mm Sample Images-2


Sigma 18-35mm Sample Images-3


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…)

Sigma 18-35mm f1.8 Lens-5

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:

Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM at B&H Photo

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.

Sigma 18-35mm f1.8 Lens-2



{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jared February 19, 2014 at 12:38 pm

I wish they made one of these for full-frame cameras (minus the focus issues, of course).


2 Eric Reagan February 19, 2014 at 1:03 pm

It would be a beast of a lens if they did. Not saying it wouldn’t sell, but it would be heavy and huge.


3 JR February 19, 2014 at 1:36 pm

I hope the they make for Pentax one day. It would be awesome on my K5 IIs.


4 Paul February 19, 2014 at 3:51 pm

Sorry, but samples is too small for understanding real quality. Need a full size or packs of RAW.


5 Eric McNew February 25, 2014 at 8:26 am

I thought I recognized some of the photos then I got to the Sunsphere… had no idea you guys were fellow Knoxvillians.


6 Eric Reagan February 25, 2014 at 11:03 am

Yep. You’ll find plenty of scenes from Knoxville in the reviews…


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