Friday, January 3, 2014

Sigma 18-35 F1.8

Sigma 18-35 F1.8 review

Sony FS700 with Sigma 18-35 F1.8 with Metabones adapter

One of my favorite lenses for my FS100/700 is a old Sigma 50-150 F 2.8 that I picked up
from B&H's 'used' department.  If you shoot 'large sensor' video cameras but don't operate in
the stratosphere where you can afford a Fuji Cabrio 19-90, you will probably have to 
make do with still camera lenses.  Now there are a variety of problems with this, but most 
can be worked around.  The Red Cinema 50-150 zoom was rumored to be a rehoused
Sigma 50-150....and the lens is very well suited for shooting motion pictures.  

So, when I heard about a 18-35 F1.8 zoom lens, which was coming out from Sigma, I was
interested.  I looked around everywhere but no one seemed to have it in.  It is a VERY
popular lens it seems.  I was finally able to track one down.....and wow I'm glad I did!
This lens, like the 50-150 is just about as good as it gets for shooting video.  I have
no idea how it performs on a stills camera, but it works fantastic on my FS100, 700 and

For a 18-35 lens, this one is very big.
From left: Tamron 17-50, Sony 18-200 kit lens, Sigma 18-35, Sigma 50-150

Which makes IS the first F1.8 zoom ever made as far as I know.  As far
as build goes, this lens is about as good as it gets.  Both the zoom and focus are made
from rubberized material and have just the right amount of resistance.  The focus
throw on the lens also seems to be just right.  What, you mean everyone doesn't
like the fact that you can focus 6 inches away, turn the focus ring 2 mm and
now you are focused at infinity????  Really?  But you don't need to turn it a full
rotation either.  There is enough 'room' to have space between the different markings,
but not so much room that you absolutely have to have a follow focus and have no
chance of pulling focus from the lens barrel because of the shake that the long focus
throws introduce.  It almost feels like this lens was actually INTENDED for video shooters.....

Ok, so it's built very nicely.  What about the image quality?  Is it worth writing home about?
Nope, it's worth flying home and telling everyone in person about!  It is just absolutely
amazing!  Sharp as a tack, great contrast, and just beautiful bokeh.  This lens will give you
some just amazing images!  Want that "wide shot that still has shallow depth of field like
you get on a full frame camera"?  You will get that with this lens.  And best of all?  The
price.  It only costs $799.  There are really only a couple cons.  It's big and heavry,
no image stabilization or autofocus available, small focal range (which is the trade off
you accept for the amazing F1.8 speed) and biggest problem of all.......because it is
such a good lens, stores can't keep it in stock, which means you may have a problem
finding one!  If you are lucky enough to find one, grab it as soon as possible.  There is
nothing like it out there.  Quick test video with way too much slow motion in it....


Great build quality

Amazing images

Brings back the nice wide shot with shallow depth of field 'full frame' look on a Super 35 cam.

Price is just amazing for what you get.


Heavy.....can be a pain to handhold as it makes the camera a bit front heavy.

Focal range is not really that big....less than a 2x lens.  But that's what you get
when you get a F1.8 zoom.

VERY hard to find!  Many places are sold out of this lens.

No image stabilization.

Nikon and Canon mount only means you can control the iris with appropriate
adapter but no possibility of autofocus (although Sigma does say a Sony A mount
version is coming.)

                                                                       Gabe Strong
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