Quick test: Sigma 18-35 f1.8

Sigma 18-35 f1.8

Brand new lens getting a taste of the Norwegian weather

I recently got a chance to play with the yet-to-be-released Sigma 18-35 f1.8. Stein Erik at Fotovideo.no called me up and told me that he had one sample unit for testing purposes. This is not even an actual selling unit, its pre-production. But judging by the quality we saw during tests on set, its ready for “add to cart” allready. When it comes to new gear, I usually just throw it right into production. I shot the first Norwegian commercial on 5d mrk2, and we used DSLR on a two seasons of a episodic dark-comedy feature, as the first in the world in primetime.  I figure that when it first has gotten this far, into the hands of the cinematographer, it cant be that much wrong with it. When we got two c300s for our new show, we were really exited about the new possibilities. But we also needed to go looking for great a wideangle lens. If you are used to shooting fullframe (5d, 6d, D800) and switching to crop sensors (7d, 60d, 650D or even c300 as in our case) you often end up having to trade of lens speed with wideangle. This is the first wideangle-zoom that I know of for this spectrum of sensors thats ventures below f2.8. That by itself is quite huge. And doing it with practically little to none breathing when focusing, and the possibility to do zooms (the zooming has a nice feel to it). Judging by our 21.5″ FSI monitors the sharpness is comperable to our L-glass primes, at least stopped down to where our zooms usually start (f2.8).

Sigma 18-35 with Canon C300

The Sigma 18-35 f1.8 mounted on our A-cam c300. Focus is being pulled by a Scorpio focus remote system. Paralinx Arrow Plus and Small HD DP6 also mounted. 

You do have some vignetting when its wide open, I haven’t found the spot where its completely gone, but I’m guessing around 2.5 somewhere. The vignetting is at all focal lengths, not changing much in character from 18 to 35. Vignetting varies from sensor to sensor, and the C300 is a tad wider than standard APS-C sensors. So other cameras might not be as affected. And, vignetting isnt always a problem in my opinion. Every shoot has its tools! Check out the full res C300 stills below (shot in Cinema Profile, 5700K 1/50 shutter). Non-scientific with regards to accuracy in F-stop and focus, but gives an impression of vignetting. Click to enlarge

The lens enters the market at a mind-blowing pricepoint of $799 (6000NOK), and I think its safe to say that this thing will sell to a wide audience. Sigma is known to put all kinds of mounts on its lenses, and I know this one has both Nikon, Canon, Sony and Pentax versions already. That means that you will probably see this lenses mounted on everything from an Epic to a C100 in the near future. Ive used the lens for two days on a real shoot with real actors scheduled for primetime release next year, and its really a great wideangle zoom. Its only drawback when used on S35 sensors is its vignetting wide open.  For this lens to get real competition, someone should make a sub f2.0 lens that goes all the way to 50-60mm.  That lens could be kept on cameras for entire features or documentaries!

Sigma 18-35 f1.8

Nice size, and heavy enough to feel like a quality lens. Some plastic parts, but both focusing and zoom is super smooth. 

 

35_f4
35_f4
35_1.8

35_1.8

28_f4

28_f4

28_1.8

28_1.8

24_f4

24_f4

24_1.8

24_1.8

18_f4

18_f4

18_1.8

18_1.8

4 Responses to “Quick test: Sigma 18-35 f1.8”

  1. Flott review.
    Det er en ganske kraftig vignettering på 35 1.8 ser jeg. Sånn sett på 18.1.8 også. – ser nå at du har kommentert det i din tekst også. Er dette med eller uten solblender på? Gleder meg til vi får den inn på fotovideo, jobber der selv.

  2. hkarlsen says:

    Hei igjen! Skal ta en kjapp sjekk imorgen mtp solblender. Det kan faktisk være tilfelle at det gjør noe forskjell, men logikken sier jo at det evt burde ha forsvunnet på 35mm. Takk for tips!

  3. John says:

    Hi! I think many are wondering who long the focus throw is on this lens. Would you mind giving a little info on that?

  4. hkarlsen says:

    The lens is out of my hands right now, but we didn’t measure the exact distance. There’s a reason for me calling this “quick review” 🙂 But the focusing had virtually no breathing and it held trough zooming. It’s also very smooth to operate, but the focus throw is probably on par with regular still lenses.

Leave a Reply