Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 lens review: Awesomely fast lens, awesomely low ($799!) price


posted Friday, June 14, 2013 at 1:00 AM EDT


Back in April, Sigma unveiled its new 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM Art lens, the world's first f/1.8 constant aperture zoom lens. The new lens, designed for APS-C cameras, looked pretty stunning on paper, and we were eager to get our hands on a copy to see how it performs. Now, we've not only taken this lens for a spin around our test lab, albeit with a pre-production model, but we can also announce that Sigma is setting the price at a shockingly low $799!

So, how does it perform? To put it simply, we were really blown away by the image quality of this lens. Not only were images very sharp, even at f/1.8, but chromatic aberration, vignetting and distortion were all very well-controlled. Even at 18mm, the distortion and vignetting were minor and easily correctable. In the pre-production model of the lens we tested, we were warned that some of the features were not finished yet. Given that Sigma had informed us that the lens's firmware wasn't final, we'll wait for a production sample before commenting on AF performance, as that did seem to affect a number of the real-world shots we took. Nevertheless, from what we've seen so far, this is going to be an absolutely killer lens.

With this low price, Sigma's sure to have a very hot lens in their arsenal of glass. Stacking up against its competitors from Canon and Nikon like the EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM and 17-55mm ƒ/2.8G ED-IF AF-S DX lens, the Sigma brings some heavy competition to the table, not only in image quality and features, but also on price. At $799 for both Canon and Nikon mount versions, the Sigma undercuts the competition significantly. The Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM comes in at around $1200 while the Nikon 17-55mm ƒ/2.8G ED-IF AF-S DX takes the "high" road at whopping $1400, and both are more than a stop slower than the Sigma model.

All in all, this is an incredible lens at an amazing price vs. the competition. Expect it to be severely backordered. To help you get a jump on the rest of the world, we've set up the special pre-ordering links below from two of our most-trusted affiliate partners. Note that neither will charge your credit card until the lens ships, you can cancel your pre-order at any time, and if the lens ships and you decide you don't want it, you can return it with no hassle. Bottom line: if you even think you might want this lens any time soon, you should place a pre-order immediately to get ahead of the crowds. Otherwise, it could well be months before you'll be able to buy one, we predict it'll be that popular. Here are the links, any purchases you make help keep these reviews coming:

Canon mount: Adorama
Canon mount: B&H

Nikon mount: Adorama
Nikon mount: B&H

Read more about the lens in our Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 review over on SLRgear.

Check out a few images below that our lens specialist captured with the Sigma 18-35mm. And be sure to see the review for a full gallery of many more.