18-35mm provides a versatile focal range for photographers from landscapes and real estate at the wider end to portraits at 35mm. With a constant maximum aperture of f/1.8, this lens can take low light in its stride, meaning it can take on almost any situation you throw at it.

Pros:

  • One of the fastest (If not the fastest) consumer zoom lenses on the market
  • Good Sharpness and colour rendering
  • Bokeh is amazing
  • Subjects are well separated from the background
  • Designed for APS-C (Could be a con, but – to me – a pro)

 

Cons:

  • Heavy
  • No Image Stabilisation built-in
  • Autofocus could be better

Technical Specifications:

  • Available for Mounts: Sigma, Sony, Nikon, Pentax, Canon
  • Focal length: 18-35mm
  • Maximum aperture: f/1.8
  • Minimum aperture: f/16
  • Lens construction: 17 elements in 12 groups
  • Angle of view: 76.5° – 44.2°
  • Closest focusing distance: 28cm/11.0in.
  • Maximum reproduction ratio: 1:4.3
  • No. of diaphragm blades: 9 (rounded)
  • Filter/attachment size: 72mm
  • Diameter x length: 78mm x 121mm / 3.1in. x 4.8in.
  • Weight: 810g/28.6 oz.

Crop Sensor

Okay, yes; I’ll address the elephant in the room. The 18-35mm is not designed for use on full frame cameras, only APS-C. For a lot of photographers this is a big issue, but when you take a look at the target market (or what I perceive should be the target market at least) for this lens it makes perfect sense. 18-35 covers a large proportion of the focal range used in Hollywood. To give a few examples: The Coen Brothers’ favourite lenses are 27mm and 32mm, Scorsese prefers a 25mm while Spielberg uses a 21mm religiously. In my eyes, the Sigma 18-35mm is a video-centric lens, so having it designed for APS-C (near enough Super-35) was a smart move, so it can be used on cameras such as the Canon C-series and RED cameras.

Autofocus Performance

AF performance is pretty good; not quite on par with native Canon lenses but fast and accurate nonetheless. Properly calibrating the lens using the dock (Sold separately, RRP £35) and ensuring the firmware is up to date improves it a ton. Overall the speed is excellent, definitely on par if not faster than native lenses but it can sometimes be unpredictable, focusing elsewhere or just not at all. When it does hit though, it hits hard.

Distortion

Distortion is average, expected for a lens of this type. At 18mm, there is barrel distortion of -1.25%, which changes to pincushion distortion when zoomed in towards 24mm. Pincushion distortion is at its strongest level at 35mm, where it reaches about 1.52%

Bokeh

Bokeh is excellent for a 35mm lens as seen here (subject is at the minimum focus distance). Out of focus elements are well rounded with no unusual corners as such. The background blends together very well making the subject stand out amazingly.

Stand out issues

To me, there is some definite room for improvement with this lens, most of all the lack of optical stabilisation. In a lens (presumably) focussed on video, why would you not include IS? My guess is that it would either make the lens even heavier than it already is or more likely that by adding stabilisation, Sigma would’ve been unable to keep the constant f/1.8 which makes this lens so attractive.

Who is this lens for?

To me, this lens has a clear target market, which is why so many content creators use it. It’s definitely designed for video production, especially studio work since it has no IS and can stop down very low to give good subject separation. For examples of this, see Matti Haapoja (, who uses the 18-35mm on his Canon EOS C300 Mk II

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