Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM Hands-on Preview

April 18, 2013 | Mark Goldstein | Lenses | 13 Comments | |
News image

The Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM is an exciting new standard zoom lens for APS-C DSLR owners. Offering a short focal length of 27-52.5mm in the 35mm format, the Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM’s most interesting innovation is its constant aperture of f/1.8 throughout the zoom range. Whereas most standard zoom lenses, even the more expensive optics, offer a maximum aperture of f/2.8, Sigma’s new lens offers a faster shutter speed and even shallower depth of field. The Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM could effectively replace a fast 28mm, 35mm and 50mm prime lens in your camera bag, although it doesn’t offer the mild telephoto reach that a lot of standard zooms offer.

We’ve been lucky enough to have some hands-on time with the new Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM ahead of it launch. Although we can’t comment on the image quality of the pre-production sample, we can testify to its impeccable build quality. It seems that Sigma is determined to improve construction across its entire range, and this new lens is no exception, sporting the same brass mount, metallic parts, improved Focus switch and TSC (Thermally Stable Composite) material that we previously saw on the outstanding 35mm f/1.4 full-frame lens. The optical elements are made of high-grade glass and the focus ring is pleasingly wide and ridged for easier grip. At 810g, the Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM is certainly no lightweight, some 250g heavier than the 17-50mm F2.8 EX DC OS HSM, but it does offer additional peace of mind.

Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM

Although it’s not designed for it, the Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM actually complements a full-frame camera like the Canon EOS 5D Mk III very well, but thankfully doesn’t feel out of place on a smaller APS-C camera like the Canon EOS 650D. In terms of features, the Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM offers all the basics that you need from a standard zoom lens. The main exception is the lack of built-in Vibration Reduction, although the fast maximum aperture of f/1.8 makes up for this. Focusing is usefully internal and manual focusing is possible when set via the Focus switch on the lens barrel. Full-time manual focus override is also available at any time simply by rotating the focus ring. A clear distance scale in both feet and meters runs from the closest focusing distance of 0.28m / 0.92 ft to infinity. The Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM ships with a plastic petal-shaped lens hood and it accepts 72mm filters.

Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM

The Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM lens has a wide focus ring. There are hard stops at both ends of the range, making it easier to set focus at infinity. Polariser users should be pleased that the 72mm filter thread doesn’t rotate on focus. When it comes to auto-focusing, the Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM zoom is   a quick performer, taking about 0.15 seconds to lock onto the subject when mounted on the Canon EOS 5D Mk III that we tested it with. We didn’t experience much "hunting", either in good or bad light, with the lens accurately focusing almost all of the time. It’s also a very quiet performer, thanks to the built-in HSM (Hyper Sonic Motor), which makes this lens well-suited to video recording.

Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM

The Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM isn’t claimed to be a macro lens, but it delivers pretty good performance nonetheless. It has a minimum focusing distance of 28cm/11.0in and a maximum magnification ratio of 1:4.3. In the Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM lens, Sigma have employed an iris diaphragm with nine rounded blades, which should result in some nice bokeh effects.

In summary the new Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM lens is certainly a very innovative, well-built, quick and quiet standard zoom lens. Although a little shorter and heavier than most other rival lenses, it could conceivably replace 3 fast primes if the image quality matches the rest of its specification. We’re looking forward to reviewing a final production sample to find out if the Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM can realise its full potential.

Your Comments

13 Comments | Newest Oldest First | Post a Comment

#1 Webgod

Oh my goodness...

what have you done with the design of this site?

it's terrible. you break all the web rules.

i have a full HD display with 15" and all titles and pictures are so giant, that's not fun anymore to read your posts.

On Websites, small fonts would be read more often and more comfortable. Newspapers are something other but on a computer display your eyes see allways just a small visible part. your eyes can't find a overview and a good orientation on this design.

And way too much black. Most people have poor displays where black is always dirty gray.

You are experts in Photography.
I'm expert in Webdesign.

Please take an Expert who knows, how Websites have to look like, if user should have a comfortable experience from iPad 1 until 24" Full HD Display.

The popular cameras are now on the right side? Are you crazy? Know i have to scroll to find the newest reviews. i was daily many times on your site until now. but if you stay with this design, then i will visit your site just two or three times every week.

And please make the Intro Text much shorter. My Fingers are wound, because i have to scroll a half hour every time. it's senseless. i need as visitor the title, a small image and two or three lines text with a "read more...". i want to see four or five News at once.

...i'm a little bit angry...allways if someone makes out of a good website a "whorst case scenario"....

so, have a nice day, i have to work. three business websites are awaiting for me...

ps: sorry for my bad english.

7:56 am - Thursday, April 18, 2013

#2 Jorginho

Totally agree with Webgod. This new design of your site is complete disaster. :(
You must sue whoever did this to you!

9:51 am - Thursday, April 18, 2013

#3 longzoom

I like the new design of this site! Ease readable, logically placed! Looking forward to real-life images made by new overwhelming Sigma! Well done!

11:47 am - Thursday, April 18, 2013

#4 Roman

I like the new design.

12:20 pm - Thursday, April 18, 2013

#5 Ricardo

I like the new design, too, especially the home page.

1:21 pm - Thursday, April 18, 2013

#6 Armland Platjënad

I like the website layout and the new sigma lens, Oké!

2:01 pm - Thursday, April 18, 2013

#7 Iwan

I like the new design. The font & design color its casual & refreshing.
Looking forward to read the full review of this lens.

2:48 pm - Thursday, April 18, 2013

#8 Abdur Rehman

Nice modification

4:52 pm - Thursday, April 18, 2013

#9 adas

I really like new design

2:28 pm - Friday, April 19, 2013

#10 Todd

In response to webgod.
Since the majority of people access the web via there phone, the design makes since to me. This my first time on the site and am seeing it on my iPhone, it looks great.

4:12 pm - Sunday, April 21, 2013

#11 BlackBox

WHY people comment on the new design HERE instead of the dedicate post ABOVE (you idiots!) is beyond understanding.

About the new lens. "most interesting innovation is its constant aperture of f/1.8 throughout the zoom range". Well, there isn't much of a "range" in that zoom. It's not even a 2x.

5:14 am - Monday, April 22, 2013

#12 JackBassV

While I like the fast aperture. I'd prefer a shorter focal length - say 14-24mm.

BTW: Any idea why sigma don't make lenses in the Samsung NX mount?

11:45 pm - Monday, April 22, 2013

#13 Joaquim

Estou à espera da nova sigma 17-50 que será A ou c ?

1:42 pm - Thursday, May 9, 2013