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Sigma Introduces the World's Fastest Wide Angle Zoom, the Insanely Speedy 18-35mm F/1.8

04.19.13 @ 10:30AM Tags : ,

Filmmakers love fast lenses. It’s a scientific fact. However, we’ve always had to turn to a sizable kit of primes when we wanted any versatility in our selection of focal lengths due to the fact that zoom lenses are traditionally somewhat sluggish in terms of aperture. Not to mention that some of the faster zoom lenses out there are also variable aperture, which makes them virtually unusable for filmmaking purposes when they’re wide open. But don’t fret, filmmaking comrades, Sigma’s got our back. They recently announced a new addition to their “Art” lineup of lenses, the super speedy 18-35 f/1.8 wide angle zoom.

Without a doubt, this lens will be embraced by the low-budget filmmaking and videography communities with wide-open (get it?) arms. Here’s a quick preview video from YouTube user, EricRossi25:


While many photography folks are expressing concern over the fact that this lens is only made to cover APS-C sensors, I think that it will actually be a better seller in the filmmaking and videography communities due to the fact that many, if not most people shooting video these days are shooting on S35 (or smaller) sensors. I can see a lens like this being the go-to glass for anyone shooting events and documentaries, especially with that extra stop or so that the f/1.8 aperture gives over competing zooms.

Although Sigma has yet to announce the pricing and availability of this lens, it seems pretty safe to assume that it won’t come cheap, at least compared to Sigma’s other offerings. My guess is that it will fall anywhere between the $900 and $1300 range, although I would personally be thrilled if it came in at $650 or so. Either way, this lens looks to be another perfect companion for something like the BMCC or even the new Blackmagic Production Camera 4K for run and gun style shooting, especially when coupled with a Tokina 11-16mm and a fast telephoto zoom.

What do you guys think? Do you see this lens becoming a staple of run and gun shooters everywhere? Would you think about adding one to your kit if the price is right? Let us know in the comments.

Link: 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM – Sigma

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Description image 49 COMMENTS

  • Good luck with resolution, i wonder how many tv-lines can this lens resolve

  • I was looking for something like this for my FS100. Is there any information avaliable about imgae stabilisation? Would be great for handheld or shoulder based shooting. I guess autofocus will work with the FS100. I do a lot of tv style documentary and I have to rely on autofocus every now and then.

    • DPReview reported that it did not have image stabilization.

      • IS doesn’t matter as much with wide lenses… there’s always the monopod option for one man band types… For a filming projects, no amount of IS will compensate for lack of rigging… tripod for statics and a shoulder or flyer solution for motions should ideally be used. Thanks

  • Interesting, but in the end it all comes down to how soft it will be once it’s wide open. Hopefully it won’t be only usable at 2.8 and above :)

  • My sigma 20mm 1.8 lens is the worse lens I have ever owned, I prefer a canon t2i kit lens to it. If this lens is anywhere near is bad, I wont go anywhere near it.

    • Robert Hardy on 04.19.13 @ 12:04PM

      Sigma is really committed to their Art line of lenses. Having used the 35mm f/1.4, I can tell you that lens is optically better than anything else in that price range (and many more expensive pieces of glass), and the construction goes way above and beyond older Sigma lenses. I would expect this lens to follow suit and be extremely well-built and have excellent optics.

      • Sigma and the like (Tokina, Tamron…) sometimes are having a little problem with their quality control, it seems. So your bad Sigma 20mm might just be a one of these lenses that slipped through qc that shouldn’t have.

        Most Sigma lenses as well as Tamron etc. are quite worth their money and sometimes even more.

    • john jeffries on 04.19.13 @ 3:34PM

      They are stepping up their quality with their new shit. the 35mm 1.4 is sharper than the Zeiss equivalent and blows the Canon L out of the water. It also has a USB port for firmware updates. Which is a really strange marriage of computers and lenses, which is something that has long remained “classical” and analogue.

      Either way, nothing matters until we see video footage of this new zoom. An f1.8 reminds me of the super 16 days

    • My sigma 20mm is one the best lenses that I have. It’s not sharp but it has a GREAT “look”. Especially with fullframe.

  • I never liked sigma lenses until i bought the sigma 35mm 1,4 from the art series. it´s the best lens i own (i own a lot of canon glass). it´s better than my 35mm samyang and much better than the canon 24-70L… i hope they go on with this kind of quality…

  • It would be amazing if this came M4/3-ready. Because that really seems like what this is intended for, in my opinion… on a m4/3 sensor, it’s a pretty good 36-70, which is a great range for such a fast lens. Very good option, especially if it beats Panasonic’s 12-35 in price.

    • With that said, it comes down to the quality of the lens, too… I use the Sigma 19mm 2.8 lens for micro 4/3 and it’s… decent. The wideness is great for <$200, but the sharpness isn't exactly great.

      • Hey, when the MFT Speed Booster comes out you’ll be able to use this lens at 12.6-24.5mm, with an f1.2 aperture! Wide to normal, how about that?
        (just in case you wonder… http://nofilmschool.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/metabones-Speed-Booster-FX-DX-e1358148929538.jpg)

        • You mean about 26-50mm? The speed booster can’t increase the angle of view beyond what it would originally be for the native image format of the lens.

          So, to get 18mm on an MFT sensor using the Speed Booster, you’d do:
          18 [mm] * 2 [crop factor of MFT] * 0.71 [reduction factor of Speed Booster]
          to get 25.56.

          Anyway, you’d have to settle for the Nikon mount version of the MFT Speed Booster, since the Canon EF version won’t support EF-S (APS-C) lenses. Or, maybe it will be possible to attach an F-Mount adapter to the EF Speed Booster and attach the Nikon version of this lens to the camera that way… I’m not sure.

          • I did that math, but used 0.7 instead of 0.71, I just didn’t write the full frame equivalent. A 12.6-24.5 mm would be a 24.2-49mm in 35mm terms (I simplified the math, but that’s pretty close to your result). On a GH2 that’d be wider (the Speed Booster does actually enlarge the angle of view, that’s the whole point besides giving you an extra stop!), and on a BMPC it’d be around a 35-75mm in full frame equivalent, which is quite nice if you ask me, and all of that at f1.2!

            Now, I’ve read that about the EF-S lenses not being supported, but I thought that was mentioned so that people using APS-C cameras wouldn’t think they’d be able to use non full frame lenses. On MFT it’s a whole different game, as you can see on that graphic I posted a link to.
            What would be the impediment to use an EF-S lens? Aren’t they electronically pretty much the same? (you can freely use an EF or EF-S lens on any Canon camera, although it would vignette on a 5D, or am I wrong? )

          • @Ernesto: BMPC + SpeedBooster + this lens is exactly what I was thinking!

          • Not supporting EF-S doesn’t mean it won’t support crop lenses by other manufacturers. It’s about distance from sensor to rear element, and most non-Canon lenses have standard EF distances. The best example being that you can fit a Tokina 11-16 on a 5D for use at 16mm without it damaging the camera – do it with an EF-S lens and you’ll find yourself sending it out for repair

  • can we get all lens makers on board to post how many degrees of rotation their focal range is so we have an idea of what to expect for pulling focus?

    • mike_tee_vee on 04.19.13 @ 12:15PM

      +1 Agreed! If it’s less than 45 degrees like some of Sigma’s other zooms, pulling focus will be a pain.

      • +1! I used the Sigma 24mm f1.8 and the foucs ring throw is like 5 degrees or something. It takes a ridiculously small twist to go from close to infinity focus. I hope this lens has a more sensible throw.

  • There’s probably a catch. I’m guessing it’s in image quality or softness…

  • Metabones Speed Booster showed us the reverse effect of teleconverters… It is by all means not a new thing (Kubrick used it for Barry Lyndon) but I think they will implement this technology into DSLR lenses and get some really cool wide open zooms…
    If this lens will be anything under $2000 Sigma is ultra stupid.

    • Well if it’s under $1000 they will sell many times more than if it is over $2000.

      • Agreed – if it’s <$1000, the market response will be unbelievable. Everyone will want this lens.

    • I’ve heard and read about a lot of tricks used in shooting Barry Lyndon (the satellite spy-lens used on loan from the government as a thanks for staging the moon landings is my favorite) but actually using a speed-booster-like converter was news to me. Would that mean that he shot the film on 35 with lenses made for 65mm?

      I wouldn’t actually doubt that he would use tech like that if he had the chance, but I have heard so much bogus stuff about the production of Barry Lyndon that I am not about to believe anything without a reliable source.

  • While it’s obviously less of an issue with a lens this wide, I’m grateful for the stabilization on my Canon 17-55 f2.8, as well as the additional range it gives me. Of course I’d welcome a bump in speed, but on my C100 that 17-55 has really proved amazing.

  • Very cool. Although, I have no justification for needing a fast constant zoom that will likely be less sharp than my cheaper primes. But maybe I just haven’t found a need for zooms in general so far. (I am always in no way a professional, so I could be very wrong about the general consensus on all that!)

    Maybe for run-n-gun photography in the dark wide open it’d be useful? I’m thinking a lot will ride on the price point it comes in at, because the benefits of having a constant fast zoom will have to outweigh the probably slight softer image and the fact that many people may already have fast primes at those focal lengths. Just some thoughts

    • Fair points. For my part I’m eyeing up this lens for use on steadicams in dark wedding receptions.

      Probably won’t get it though. Trade offs are full frame field of view and trickier focus when wide open.

  • This is huge, especially for event, documentary work indoors at night-time. Just wondering what kind of sacrifices Sigma had to make to get it at 1.8?

  • Matt Groves on 04.19.13 @ 7:27PM

    I want to see some charts first from http://www.the-digital-picture.com, but that is still pretty rad :)

  • ryan orourke on 04.19.13 @ 11:08PM

    Im sure this lens has an optical reducer built in the back of the lens, just like the Speedbooster possesses. It was probably around a 24mm-50mm f2.5 full frame lens , throw in the optical reducer, and you have a 18-35 f1.8 APS-C lens. It will probably be pretty sharp because of this as well. My only concern would be, what would happen if you put this lens on the Speedbooster, do you guys think it would have some weird compounding effect to run it through 2 optical reducers?

    • ryan orourke on 04.19.13 @ 11:14PM

      I also believe they have implemented the optical reducer in the Olympus 14-35 f2.0 and the 35-100 f2.0 lenses, so it has been done before. Both of those lenses run about $2,500 a piece.

  • Very nice! Looking forward to trying this out.
    Although I’m a little bummed that it’s not full frame :(

  • The catch isn’t how soft it will be wide open. It’s going to be sharp as heck.

    The catch is that you are going to pay 2000.00 to own it.

    Check the 35/1.4 ART lens price tag.

    If this comes in under 2K I would be VERY surprised.

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  • Pierre Samuel Rioux on 08.18.13 @ 3:22PM

    I hate film shot all the time with a full open lens in a all the time a low light situation.