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Sigma 18-35 F/1.8 Looks to Be One of the Best 'Budget' Filmmaking Lenses Ever Made

08.14.13 @ 4:55AM Tags : , , , , ,

Sigma 18-35We’ve talked about Sigma’s new 18-35mm f/1.8 several times before here at nofilmschool. Since it was announced back at NAB in April, the lens has generated quite a bit of buzz (especially when the $800 price was revealed). Now that the 18-35 has been shipping for upwards of a month, and the community has had ample opportunity to test and review the lens, it seems clear that Sigma has hit a grand slam, especially for videographers and low-budget filmmakers. Check out some of the stellar reviews and footage from the 18-35 below.

First, here are a couple of videos from Aaron Nanto. In the first one, we see some stellar footage from the 18-35 mounted on a BMCC (with motion from a Kessler CineDrive system):

In the second video, Nanto tests whether or not the lens is parfocal (maintaining focus throughout the zoom range), as well as the quality of the bokeh:

While it doesn’t appear that the lens is truly parfocal, as we had believed it was from prior tests, the 18-35 still outperforms all other zooms in this price range — as well as many others costing twice as much. Additionally, the 9 blade aperture on the 18-35 produces extremely smooth and creamy bokeh.

And here’s an in-depth review from

In my eyes, this lens was absolutely designed with DSLR videographers and low-budget filmmakers in mind. With the additional stop and a half of light that you can get over other zooms (most of which are rated at f/2.8 or higher), folks who are shooting in available light or low light will flock to this lens. Additionally, considering the fact that the travel distance between minimum focus and infinity is longer than most photo-style lenses, the 18-35 is uniquely suited for use with a follow focus.

The only thing holding me back from pulling the trigger on this lens is the fact that it could prove difficult to adapt the lens to various camera systems due to the electronically controlled aperture. Other than that, the 18-35 seems like a no-brainer for videographers and filmmakers alike, and it looks like it would be the perfect companion for the BMCC when coupled with a wide angle zoom and a telephoto zoom.

You can pick up the Sigma 18-35 f/1.8 over at B&H for $800. It’s available in various mounts from Canon and Nikon to Pentax and Sony Alpha.

What do you guys think? Is this lens a must-have for videographers and low-budget filmmakers? Let us know in the comments!



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Description image 48 COMMENTS

  • It’ll be incredibly interesting to see if it works with the new EF to MFT active mount speedbooster!

  • Would really like to see how this works with a EF – MFT speedbooster and the BMCC or BMPC on it!

    • AdamS, I can see how we share this thought simultaneously and I bet we are not the only ones!

    • It won’t work cause BMCC has no active mount and BMPC is already EF mount. Of course you can use it on BMCC with speedbooster without ability to control aperture and with BMPC just as it is without speedbooster

      • Sorry but I meant the pocket and not the production camera, too many abbreviations! And as far as I understand the MFT mount on the pocket cam is active?

        • Yeah, the pocket MFT mount is active. Also curious to know if this will pair well with it.

      • The Canon mount version won’t work on a BMCC via Speedbooster as the mount isn’t active and thus can’t change the aperture, but the Nikon version will. BMCC-MFT + Nikon Speedbooster + Sigma 18-35 f/1.8 (Nikon) = an absolute dream kit for $3300.

        • Using this on a Micro Four Thirds camera with a Nikon G speedbooster (or a cheaper one from LensTurbo one day!) is my dream combination, I hope I get to see some tests of people doing this for confirmation :-)

    • An option for the passive MFT BMCC 2.5K is the MFT -> Nikon speedbooster. That has a manual aperture ring for use with Nikon G lenses, so would work with the Nikon version of this lens.

      The MFT->Nikon speedbooster is also cheaper (about 2/3 the price) than the MFT->EF speedbooster so it’s a cheaper option for the BMPCC too, although obviously then you can only use Nikon lenses and it’s a dumb adapter so no AF or IS.

  • Philip Lipetz on 08.14.13 @ 8:15AM

    Yes, it is active on the BMPCC, and that is why any people are choosing it. Clearly, the active mount has to migrate to the BMCC in the future.

  • I’ve had mine for a few days and it’s fantastic. Picked up the last lens in Melbourne it seems as there won’t be any more shipped to Australia till mid-September!

    Got it for $700 too, which is a great price for this lens. Using it for photography mostly but I’ll definitely be using it for video too. It is insanely sharp and it’s got teh purdy bokehz!

    I’ll be adding stills to this set as I get more shots:

    • From where did you buy it Guido? I’m in Melbourne myself and would love to get my hands on one

  • Seriously impressive lens, and cheap! Perhaps we’ll see some other manufacturers try to create hi-speed zooms as well?

  • What I would REALLY love to see is someone like Duclos taking this lens apart and housing it in a truly cine manufacture along with manual declicked aperture. That would make this lens rock so much.

  • Shame this wont fit on a full frame 5D though.

  • anyone know how this lens behaves with a metabones -> NEX, for say the FS100?

    do you get all the electronic controls?

    • It would vignette. The lens is designed for APS-C sensors. It could work mounted on an MFT camera or the Blackmagic Cinema and Pocket cameras (with either a Nikon or EF to MFT Speed Booster, depending on the camera).

      • no that’s wrong. the fs100 is basically sony’s version of aps-c. I use the canon 17-55 on it all the time, no issues. this lens will most certainly will cover the FS100 sensor without vignetting.

        I am asking more about the electronic controls, and whether the metabones will work with it.

      • I think dv is referring to the standard lens adapter, not the Speedbooster. Metabones make both.

        • ahh. yes. should have clarified. not the speedbooster. the regular one.

          • Yeah, I assumed you were talking about the Speed Booster. I believe the EF to NEX Metabones adapter should work just like it does with other EF lenses.

  • Uggggh why aps-c? can’t we get a full frame version of this?

  • Does anyone know what is that melody playing on the background?



  • I’m just curious how quiet it is. I plan on putting this on the new Canon 70D, I just want to make sure you won’t be able to hear it while using the 70D’s fancy new auto focus system.

    • You’ll hear the focusing. The AF is very quiet on the 60D but if you’re using the internal mic it’ll sound super loud. You’ll definitely want to use a Røde VMP or equivalent.

  • So what’s the deal guys? How do I get this to work with the Black Magic Pocket? The Black Magic Pocket IS Active MFT. Which model of this lens do I need? Will I need a speed booster along with an adaptor? Seems like a lot of trouble to make this work. Please help cause my ass is itching to order this thing after seeing the video. It looks amazing. Please list what I need. Thanks in advance for the much needed help.

    • I’m curious about this, as well. Metabones has their EF to MFT speedbooster now. I’m curious if using the Metabones will that interfere at all with the active mount. I don’t know anything about the specs on the speedbooster aside from the fit and crop factor. I presume it’s fine working with the active mount since it’s designed with the BMPC in mind.

  • I tried the Canon 70D and the Sigma 18 – 35 mm and I think that are a good pair of tools for wedding videos especially. The bokeh is great, but the lack of image stabilization is a real problem if you don’t have a monopod or a glidecam. The lens is a good solution for low-budget filmmakers but you somteimes need a wider angle and a telephoto lens. So it remains somewhere in the middle. Although the advantage of the 1.8 aperture for different focal lenghts turns this lens in a “must have”.