Hands-on review on Sigma 18-35mm 1.8 DC HSM



Here it is, the Sigma 18-35mm 1.8. This is my first time doing a lens review, and I’m not gonna cover anything on sharpness,as I believe if you had done enough research.. I will leave the sharpness review to other reviewers 🙂


My purpose with this lens is a replacement for my Canon 17-55mm. Side-by-side comparison. Both without weather seal 😦 I suspect, since Sigma release this version with a quite-reasonable price tag of US800+, I believe they’re gonna release a weather seal version some time with a higher price tag.

Unfortunately the lens design doesn't work with my DIY extension tube.
Unfortunately the lens design doesn’t work with my DIY extension tube.

My first test is on macro, with my custom-built DIY 60mm extension tube with electric contacts! Please check out my DIY section. Unfortunately, the design of this lens will not be able to focus anything closer with ~10mm extension or less.


1. MACRO TEST – Comparing with Canon 17-55mm

Canon USM 17-55mm at 55mm, subject distance 330mm (as from EXIF).
Canon USM 17-55mm at 55mm, subject distance 330mm (as from EXIF).
Sigma 18-35mm at 35mm, subject distance 280mm (as from EXIF).
Sigma 18-35mm at 35mm, subject distance 280mm (as from EXIF).

The 18-35 is very decent at macro, one of the weakness of 17-55mm.


In case you’re not familiar with metric scale… here’s a laptop keyboard, shouldn’t be that far from your keyboard.


2. Full frame test

Sigma 18-35mm 1.8 on 5D mk II, 18mm

Sigma 18-35mm 1.8 on 5D mk II, 18mm (click for full res)
Sigma 18-35mm 1.8 on 5D mk II, 28mm
Sigma 18-35mm 1.8 on 5D mk II, 28mm (click for full res)
Sigma 18-35mm 1.8 on 5D mk II, 28mm (click for full res)
Sigma 18-35mm 1.8 on 5D mk II, 35mm
Sigma 18-35mm 1.8 on 5D mk II, 35mm (click for full res)

At both 28mm and 35mm there’s some vignetting on the full frame. However still quite usable. Picture of my sister’s dog.


3. Real world samples on APS-C

1/1250 F1.8 ISO200
1/1250 F1.8 ISO200


Friend Ao Cheng performing at Outpost 903 Gastrobar 1/100 F1.8 ISO800
Friend Ao Cheng performing at Outpost 903 Gastrobar
1/100 F1.8 ISO800

Friend Ao Cheng, performing at the coolest bar restaurant at Bukit Timah on friday. He’s supposed to perform with Kim, one of the best vocalist I know, too bad she wasn’t there.

1/200 F1.8 ISO500
1/200 F1.8 ISO500

Shot taken at volunteer work.. judging for NJRC 2013 primary school category.

(click for full res)
1/25 F2.0 ISO1000 (click for full res)

My good friend posing.

Fellow engineer colleague of mine. 1/50 F3.5 ISO1000
Fellow engineer colleague of mine. 1/50 F3.5 ISO1000

Part of the http://theprojecteyes.wordpress.com

2016 Sept update: Full test with full frame Canon EOS 5D mk II fixed @ 35mm

(click for full image without editing)




After 1 week of tests, I absolutely LOVE THIS LENS! I didn’t believe in ‘all-in-one’ lens and always carry a few at my disposal. I love shooting with prime, but still keeps my 17-55mm zoom for some cases. However with the Sigma 18-35mm, I feel I had found the perfect walk-about one lens for all. Big aperture.. standard focal length.. decent macro.. very good sharpness.. you got it all right’here! For the first time I am going out with just one lens attached and not worrying about covering 80% of the shots I want. This is definitely a keeper.

The Bad

The focus is a bit annoying though, take a pause before it starts moving, hopefully this can be fix with the Sigma’s USB docking station. Heavy, of course. Feels like aluminium and plastic for some area, doesn’t feel very comfortable for the weight balance with 7D and 60D. Losing of the 1mm from 17-55mm? Nah that’s a small trade-in. Looking at breaking the legendary Olympus 14-35mm 2.0, I do want to make a greedy wish that somebody else can come up with a 24mm-full-frame-equivalent wide angle zoom with a F1.8.


Thank you for reading, please leave your feedback! If you find this review useful, please help me *like my facebook page http://www.facebook.com/the.freestyle.photographer !

2015 update:

I published my first lens modification in 2010, received 100’000+ views on youtube, got viral with the DIY tilt-shift lens on PetaPixel and I did not make any money from sharing the reviews and DIYs… not to mention the many failed DIYs that left me with many dead camera/lens corpses.. So please support me if you have the ability! Any amount is appreciated!

$1 – Aah… coffee
<$5 – Mmm… lunch meal
<$10 – Woo… ramen
<$25 – Waa… steak
>$50 – WOW! Thank you!



7 thoughts on “Hands-on review on Sigma 18-35mm 1.8 DC HSM

  1. Hello~
    firstly,thanks for doing such an comprehensive review about this lens…i know that you did not cover on the sharpness (coz well,its regarded as one of the sharpest lens for APSC)..but can I know your personal opinion about it..how does it fare against the 17-55mm f2.8 in terms of sharpness?
    Coz you have both & i havent found any comparison between this two lenses..im seriously considering the Sigma & i’ve read many positive about the lens, but now im stuck between 17-55mm,15-85mm & the Sigma 18-35mm..which is better, in your opinion? pls do reply this~ thx~ 🙂

    1. Dear Andi~

      Sorry it’s a really difficult comparison!

      Coz I would choose:

      1) 17-55mm for the 2.8 IS for video
      2) 15-85mm if I don’t have a wide angle lens and don’t like to change lens (plus IS for video)
      3) 18-35mm for low light and bokeh

      For now, I am really happy with my 18-35mm and is planning to sell my 17-55mm at the expense of 1mm wideness and IS, since it suits my current shooting style more. Therefore it’s really up to which style are you more at now!

  2. I would like to ask, have you compare same focal length such as 18mm in aps-c ( 28mm lets say ) with 28mm Full Frame
    to check the bokeh and sharpness?

    1. From Tony to Tony,

      Very good question, no I had not tried it yet. On theory I suppose the center should perform the same from 28mm full frame to 28mm APS-C. Unless your question is referring to the sharpness of what it was not designed to be (edges on full frame). I just took a look at the full res pic and the result is quite expected.

      For your own reference, I just uploaded the full res pics of the full frame section, feel free to cick to view it yourself!

  3. Not sure if you would still see this as this review is quite long ago but is the only one. I am planning to get this lens because it is basically 3 primes into 1, and I am not really that bothered with its limited focal range since I have a 50 f1.8 if needed.

    But what is holding me back is the focusing issue, where there is major inconsistency with the lens. Some could BF/FF more then others and even with the sigma dock, is unfixable with ranges of 1m to infinite. I am not sure if this is fixed in 2015 but what are your thoughts about the focusing. I am trying to find as much info as I can before I pull the trigger because this lens, to me at least, isn’t cheap.

    If I didn’t buy this, it would be the sigma 17-50 or 30mm f1.4+WA lens. I mainly do landscape, street and quite a lot of low light shooting as well.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s