17th July 2013, Singapore – It gives me great pleasure to be given the opportunity to review the 2013 Art Series Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM (A). Way before this lens reached our shores, there’s already a few websites posting incredible reviews and raves about this lens. I was so looking forward to it and when the lens was issued to me last week, I brought it out for a shoot over 2 days and came back with astounding results.
For those new to this site, if you are looking for technical reviews, please pop over to other sites that give you very in-depth reviews on the lens itself, over here, we are only concerned about how does the lens performed, the built quality and everything layman.
First Impression – living up to the new product lines (Art, Contemporary & Sports) under Sigma’s Global Vision, this lens was made to impress. Made with the new Thermally Stable Composite (TSC) like its earlier brethrens, this is one mean lens. It feels solid to the hand and when I mount it on my Canon EOS 600D, the lens feels at home although I feel that the weight of the lens (810gm) had the camera front-heavy which might cause a little stress on the lens mount. But this is negligible since Canon’s lens mount are solid metal alloys that can withstand the use of heavy lenses.
The finishing on the lens barrel again did not disappoint. If you have read my earlier reviews on the new line of Sigma lenses, you will remember me making reference to Carl Zesis & Leica. The new Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 carries on the new design in line with the updated product identity. For the sake of direct comparison, the New Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 feels like an EF24-70mm F2.8L USM, just lighter and the size is very similar to the Canon EF35mm F1.4L USM. The smooth finishing, cool to the user’s touch and the ergonomics for handling are simply excellent and anyone who had touched it will want to use it. Personally, if blindfolded, I will imagine myself to be touching the Leica 75mm F/2 Summicron APSH – exaggerating? Not, certainly not. The actual size of the New Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 is 78mm diameter x 121mm length, not too big, not too small and will fit most camera bags.
Using it – on the field, the lens performed exceptionally well. The hurricane-fast focusing are spot on accurately for 99% of my shots thanks to the company’s proven Hypersonic Motor (HSM) which can be seen on most Sigma’s better or Pro lenses. The focusing is so quiet on the lens that at some moments, I thought I had switched the lens to Manual Focus only to realized that the lens had already locked its focus – amazing! The internal focusing system which contributed to the fast & silent focusing is another plus. This means lesser entry points for unwanted dusts and the use of adjustable filters will be an ease.
Internally, more surprises are in store. This 9-Blader APS-C Monster of a lens are made up of 17 elements in 12 groups, 5 SLD glass elements, 4 glass-molded aspherical elements to ensure that you get superb image from this lens across all focal length. Since the new Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 were made as a “DC” (DG for Full Frame), it has the same focal range equivalent of 27mm to 52.5mm (28.8mm to 56mm on Canon APSC Bodies) which is pretty much useable for lots of photographic applications. The constant F1.8 will behave like a F2.8 on Full Frame cameras due to the smaller sensors of the APSC bodies – but there isn’t much to complain either given that the New Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 is currently the world’s First & Only F1.8 Zoom lens. For the record, many manufacturers had once attempted to create such a lens but none succeeded. Sigma took the R&D all the way and successfully made the new 18-35mm F1.8 – consider it as a feat.
I will now let the photos do the talking, do check out the photos below taken over last weekend at varying apertures and under different lighting conditions.
At F4, the lens still produce beautiful bokeh and the subject did not suffer any detail lost, do see the next photo with a tighter crop.
Amazing sharpness even after cropping 40% off the original photo. Can you imagine what kind of photo you might get if the aperture is stopped to F8?
OK, next we have a few processed photos done with the Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM (A).
At launch, the New Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM (A) will be produced in Canon EF-mount, Nikon F-mount & Sigma SA-mount. (with other mounts to be announced later) This is the 5th new lens announced by Sigma under the New Sigma Global Vision line after the mighty Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM (A), the Sigma 17-70mm F2.8-4 DC OS HSM (C), the Sigma 120-300mm F2.8 DG OS HSM (S) & Sigma 30mm F1.4 DC HSM (A). Till date, all the new releases had been a winner in their respective classes & categories of DSLR lenses.
Buying the new Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM (A) is the equivalent of buying a few prime lenses. I will take cues from the focal length stops of 18mm, 20mm, 24mm, 28mm & 35mm – means if you buy the new Sigma 18-35mm F1.8, you are buying 5 x F1.8 primes lenses. Right, some of you Gear Heads will argue that prime lenses will still be sharper than a zoom lens – well, don’t speak too soon till you try out the lens. Sigma do not just throw any lens into the market, they made them.
Evidently, the new lens design, the new material, the new internal design for elements arrangement, the new firmwares – Sigma is telling photographers from all over the world something.
“Sigma is re-defining the benchmark of how professional lenses should be made today & the future. Every professional photographer should own a Sigma” – Allan LEE, Editor
For more information on the Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM (A), please visit here.
For other Sigma Articles & Reviews by me, please click here.
Special Thanks to Sigma Marketing (Singapore) for the lens!
I Love it!
Thanks Kate Lim for the Behind the scene photos and posing for my test shots along with Peh Wei Jian!
** Sigma had re-organized their whole lens line into 3 category.
They are “C” Lens, “A” Lens & “S” Lens.
C Lens = Contemporary Lens Line
Featuring the very latest technology, and combining optical performance with compactness, Sigma’s high-performance Contemporary line covers a wide range of needs. Lenses in this category are Standard zoom lenses, telephoto zoom lenses, high-magnification zoom lenses.
A Lens = Art Lens Line
Designed with a focus on sophisticated optical performance and abundant expressive power, Sigma’s Art line delivers high-level artistic expression. Lenses in this category are Large-aperture prime lenses, wide-angle lenses, ultra-wide-angle lenses, macro lenses, fisheye lenses.
S Lens – Sports Lens Line
While offering sophisticated optical performance and expressiveness, Sigma Sports line lenses deliver high action-capture performance, enabling photographers to get exactly the shots they want. Lenses in this category are Telephoto lenses, telephoto zoom lenses, super telephoto lenses, super telephoto zoom lenses.
For more information, please visit http://www.sigma-global.com