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Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM (Art)

Sharpness 
 9.7
Aberrations 
 9.1
Bokeh 
 8.6
Autofocus 
 6.6
Handling 
 8.1
Value 
 8.5
Reviews Views Date of last review
23 57,772 Sun July 24, 2016
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Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
96% of reviewers $796.45 8.82
Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM (Art)

Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM (Art)
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Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM (Art)
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Description:
The Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 is the world's first F1.8 zoom lens for Pentax. It started shipping in late 2013 with Canon and Nikon mounts. The Pentax version finally hit the shelves in July, 2014.

Focal Length: 18 - 35 mm
Comparable 35mm Focal Length: 28.8 - 56 mm
Aperture Range: f/1.8 - f/16
Camera Mount Type: Pentax KAF3
Format Compatibility: APS-C
Angle of View: 73.8° - 42.2°
Minimum Focus Distance: 11" (27.94 cm)
Maximum Reproduction Ratio: 1:4.3
Groups/Elements: 12/17
Diaphragm Blades: 9
Autofocus: Yes, via HSM motor
Front Filter Thread: 72 mm
Dimensions (DxL): 3.07 x 4.76" (78 x 121 mm)
Weight: 1.78 lb (811 g)
Buy Lens: Buy the Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM (Art)
In-Depth Review: Read our Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM (Art) in-depth review!
Price: $799
Mount Type: Pentax KAF3 (in-lens AF only)
Price History:



Add Review of Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM (Art) Buy the Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM (Art)
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Pentaxian

Registered: December, 2011
Posts: 1,197

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: July 24, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $800.00 | Rating: 1 

 
Pros: resolution, if ever focussed ok
Cons: autofocus is lottery, no advantage over faster, lighter prime
Sharpness: 8    Bokeh: 3    Autofocus: 1    Handling: 1    Value: 2    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-3   

The one pro:
  • Yes, if anybody gets the lens to ever autofocus ok the technical resolution is very good wide open.
The cons:
  • poor color rendering quality
  • low size quality
  • low weight quality
  • low plastic build quality
  • focus throw not good for manual focussing
  • short end too long for a "wide" lens, should be 16mm
  • long end too short
  • it is basically a manual focus lens, because you can't really call Sigmas implementation "autofocus". Three lenses tried, none would focus correctly more than 30% of the time.
Probably the most superfluous lens ever made.


You want a fast lens? Buy a prime which is faster, lighter, cheaper.
You want flexibility? Buy something with 3x to 5x zoom, not the limited options of this one
You want a wide lens? Buy a 24mm equivalent 16mm or less.
You want a long lens? 35mm?

You want fastness for DoF? Really? Make portraits with fat noses at 18-35mm?


It can not replace a prime.
It can not replace a kit 18-55 zoom.
It is poor for portraits.
It poor for wide angle shots.
   
Senior Member

Registered: January, 2012
Posts: 208
Lens Review Date: July 24, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: sharp,color,bokeh, good and stable autofocus
Cons: not very fast autofocus
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 9    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: 5iis   

I am very happy to have this lens -best choice for APC camera!! Autofocus work very good with my K-5iis ( but i have lots problem with pentax lens )
   
Junior Member

Registered: February, 2009
Posts: 37

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: May 17, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $600.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: SHARP, F1.8 throughout focal range, solid build quality
Cons: focusing issues, size/weight, not weathersealed
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 6    Handling: 7    Value: 7    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: Pentax K7, K5ii   

Focusing problems

As with many copies of this lens, mine suffers from noticeable front-focusing problems (Please read for more details: https://www.pentaxforums.com/articles/review-news/sigma-18-35mm-autofocus-a-second-look.html) on my K10d, K7, and K5ii. The 'in-focus' is consistently off through the viewfinder but not through live-view mode. I have not attempted to adjust the focus yet until I pinpoint the exact situations where I 'miss' the shot. Thus far, I've adapted by aiming slightly 'behind' my point of focus. Not the most desirable solution but I am still enjoying the wonderfully sharp photos that I can produce which are slightly outweighing the cons at the moment.

General Impression

This lens is a master of trade-offs. If you are used to the size and weight of the lovely DA limited primes, you WILL notice the weight of this lens as a negative. The tradeoff is with it with the extremely sharp photos and F1.8 throughout the entire focal range. I've also noticed this lens consistently overexposes and requires me to dial in -0.7 EV to compensate. These are quirks that I have decided I can live with because of the tack-sharp images I keep producing.The HSM focusing is also fast and silent compared to my old screw drive lenses which have scared away some of my 'pet' subjects. This lens has usurped the Sigma 10-20mm F4-5.6 as the default travel lens that I have mounted on my gripped Pentax dslrs. I have only traveled with this lens a few times but have also begun to notice how the size and weight of this lens effectively cancelled out the 'small dslr' niche that Pentax had going for it for the longest time. Perhaps time and in old age, my opinion of what I am willing to live with will change.

Some example photos:

https://flic.kr/p/CHkMWB
https://flic.kr/p/GqBDw1
https://flic.kr/p/ziDqYj

The Take Home

I think there are enough of these lenses out in the wild to confirm this lens is a hit or miss. More often than not, copies will have focusing issues. I bought mine used after waiting to see how prices would settle from the initial announcement, to launch, to when the frequency of reported focusing issues was enough to know the focusing problem was a common one. My purchase price was significantly lower than new ($760 CDN used v ~$1200 new) clearly reflects that the market is adjusting to reflect the focusing-issue tradeoff.
   
New Member

Registered: May, 2014
Posts: 6
Lens Review Date: May 3, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $590.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Ultra-fast aperture; crispy sharp; well build
Cons: quite heavy and big; not WR
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 9    Value: 9    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K30; K3II   

I thought about this lens for almost a year. Especially looking forward to you it for Milky Way Photography or in low light situations without a tripod.

And finally I got it and definitely can't say I wouldn't love it. It's the lens I use most, it doesn't go off the camera very often although it's not quite universal with its only 2x zoom. But for most of the things I do that's just alright.
The open aperture of 1.8 has been the main reason for me to buy this lens. And what can I say? It's just unrivaled! Sharper than many primes and 18,20,24,28,30,35mm just in one single lens. I really love it. Not only at night, also at day it's my favorite because of the excellent sharpness.
The only thing I have to complain about a bit is the autofocus. It's perfectly fine at close distances or stopped down but open and more than 5m from the object I always have to correct the AF manually.
That's a pity but doesn't help me come away from that lens. I'm simply addicted to it!
   
Site Supporter

Registered: October, 2014
Location: Boden
Posts: 113
Lens Review Date: December 17, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $699.56 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Fast, Sharp, Build Quality, Bokeh
Cons: Weight, Slow Autofocus, and lack of Weather Sealing
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 8    Value: 9    New or Used: New    Camera Used: Pentax K-5 IIs   

This lens is a Tank, it weighs about a pound (800g), and holding this for half the day can be tiresome, the balance point with the IIs is directly under the zoom ring and is comfortable.

The weight aside, this lens is super sharp from f:1.8 through 16, I bought this lens for Aurora work, but have not taken it off the body yet for the month I have owned it.

The AF can be a little slow, but is (mostly) accurate. For Astro work I have always used MF, during the day or inside, there have been no major issues with the AF.

One gripe I do have is that it lacks Weather Sealing.





   
Pentaxian

Registered: July, 2008
Location: Luxembourg
Posts: 3,490

9 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: September 18, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $605.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Fast, Sharp, Bokeh
Cons: Little bit heavy
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 9    Value: 9    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-5 II s   





























1/20 F1.8 2500 ISO = 1Ev
   
New Member

Registered: June, 2015
Location: Iasi
Posts: 14
Lens Review Date: August 2, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $776.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharpness, Built quality, Price tag
Cons: AF speed, Weight, No weather sealing, Shock sensitive
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 6    Handling: 9    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-3 II   

This lens feels like a tank in your hands, and it's pretty well built, meaning it doesn't have that cheap plastic feel. It does feel like a pro lens. Still, the same old Sigma caveat... You bang it on something, even just a little bit, bye bye focus accuracy. Good luck calibrating it with the USB dock.

The zoom ring and focus ring are perfectly balanced and damped.

The hood secures nicely on the lens, looks good and does a great job cutting flare.

The pinch in lens cap is HORRIBLE. Every time I try to put it on is a nightmare, I can't get it in unless I look at the lens like a beginner. After fitting it in, I think I got it the next time... Nope. Next time will be the same story.

Optically, this lens is on par with some of the best pro lenses from Canon or Nikon that I've used before. I wish Sigma would release an entire family of APSC lenses of this quality, especially primes in the telephoto range.

Weather sealing would have made this lens perfect, and an extra $50 - 80 would have probably been gladly spent by everyone for a mount gasket and a couple others it the right places.

Bokeh is reasonably good, but not impressive in any way. It's a wide angle / mid range zoom for APSC after all, asking for more would be unfair. I am actually surprised of how many owners of this lens expect it to behave like the equivalent of a 50mm F1.8 on full frame.
APSC means you multiply the focal length AND the aperture by the crop factor, so 35/1.8 is more like 52.5/2.7, which should render good bokeh...but id doesn't. Not that good anyway. The Pentax HD 70/2.4 is WAY more impressive in both focus speed and bokeh quality, but then again, that one is almost a telephoto lens.

Last but not least, the excessively debated autofocus "issue". Here's my experience with this lens.
Out of the box, the lens performed very slow but very good focusing on any target at any distance. To be fair, I wasn't expecting more than 85 - 90% of in focus shots anyway from a Sigma lens, and that's a very good percentage for any good lens, especially in the wide and mid range focal length. This Sigma is no exception.
I was surprised of how quiet the autofocus is. I had to put my ear close to the lens a few times to hear if it's doing anything or not, while pushing the AF button on my K-3 II.
The unexpected has unfortunately happened. Sitting on the right front seat of my car, at a hard break the camera flew into my glovebox door, lens hood ahead. Bye bye autofocus accuracy. I haven't tested enough yet, but now the front and back focusing are random at different focal lengths. It will take me days to try to calibrate it with the bundled USB dock I received, and there's no guarantee it will be as good as new. I might have to send it to Sigma anyway.
This is my third Sigma to behave like that from a minor shock. My 50/1.4 EX was almost unusable on my ex-Canon 5D mk II because I dropped it on the table from less than 3 inches height.
So there. Take good care of your Sigmas because they are very sensitive to shocks.

All in all, a great achievement for the Sigma team in the APSC field. There have been firmware updates for this lens for Nikon and Canon, but nothing for Pentax... A bit disappointing.
I did have higher expectations from this lens in regards to robustness and autofocus, but given the price tag, I'll give it a thumb up since the optical performance is very good. IF you get a good sample and nurture it like a newborn baby.
   
Inactive Account

Registered: November, 2014
Posts: 2
Lens Review Date: June 10, 2015 I can recommend this lens: No | Price: None indicated | Rating: N/A 

 
Pros: sharp
Cons: autofocusing
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 1    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-50   

Pentax K-50 + Sigma 18-35 F1,8
Autofocus Problem
Also tested with K-5, K-3
To f/3,2 AF good. From f/3,5 front-focusing
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M0FBL1uHeCY

German Service:
"Lens checked; focusing checked; The lens meets Sigma factory standarts. (note, such phenomenon may occur due to the Hyperfocal distance, however, that is no fault of the lens)"
   
Veteran Member

Registered: February, 2013
Location: Lometa, TX
Posts: 399

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: April 9, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $799.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Build,Sharp, 1.8
Cons: none
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 9    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: Pentax K3   

I do not know if I just got a good copy , but I have had NO AF problems with this lens other than a miss once in a while. I use the 35mm back button focus and then zoom to 18, etc., method suggested here on the Forum and I get TACK sharp focus also I really have not had problems at the 18mm end. I have used live view focusing and AF and my copy works very, very good. I do manual focus also and I can't praise the IQ enough. The lens does get a bit heavy compared to other 35mm lenses, also I would recommend using the grip although it does add a little more weight it is easier to hold on to. I have not removed this lens since I received it (I have two bodies) as in my opinion this lens TRULY is a box of primes. One more negative I have I forgot to mention is Flaring, it is there and can be a nuisance but if you use a GOOD cpl filter (coated like a B + W or a Marumi) the nuisance is gone.
I have changed my review after months of use. This lens Rocks !
   
Senior Member

Registered: May, 2014
Location: Galway - Ireland
Posts: 212
Lens Review Date: March 18, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $900.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharp, Silent AF, F/1,8
Cons: Price, Heavy, Very Slow AF
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 7    Handling: 9    Value: 9    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-3   

WHO IS IT FOR ?
The 18-35mm range is not really appropriated for portrait photography. The range is great for Architecture and Large Street photography.

HANDLING
First thing the size and weight of the zoom : it is a really big and heavy lens (about 800g).
The focus ring is very smooth and it is nice to use it manually even if the focusing is sometimes hard. Focus peaking can really help here.

AUTOFOCUS
The autofocus is extreme in two ways : extremely quiet and extremely slow…
The silence of the autofocus is such that it may be disappointing : I often wondered if the focus was made. Focus peaking is the best way to be sure that focusing has been made.
The autofocus is also very slow (about 2-3 seconds in low light…). For street photography for instance it is almost not possible to use it and I turned back to manual mode. For architecture it is not a limitation.

IMAGE QUALITY
>SHARPNESS
This lens is very sharp from wide open. I didn’t expect this lens to be so sharp wide open. The sharpness is such that sometimes the transition between focus and out of focus area is a bit harsh, so focusing must be flawless.
While using it seemed to me that the sharpness was better for very close subjects (BOKEH
Well, a wide angle is not the best possible lens if you expect some nice bokeh, but this zoom does it pretty well even if it may be nervous.
>CHROMA ABERRATIONS
Nothing detected ! There is little fringing (green) but it is not problematic at all in field conditions.
>FLARE
This lens seemed very resistant to flare for a standard use. With city lights at night, there are no visible ghosts in the image.
>COLOR RENDITION
For Pentax users, this lens may seem a little clinical as the rendition of colors is very neutral.
>DISTORSION
The distorsion is low and irrelevant in field conditions.
>VIGNETING
Vigneting is pronounced wide open and really needs correction (except for vigneting fans).

CONCLUSION
If you can afford this lens and are found of this range, go and buy it right now ! This is amazing for wide angle fun and the awesome build construction feels like it will last for years. If you use only occasionally the wide angle or if this lens is out of your budget, you may consider to buy primes instead.

SAMPLE PICTURES


   
Junior Member

Registered: September, 2014
Posts: 43

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: January 1, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $799.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Image quality, bokeh.
Cons: Price
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 9    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-30   

This is one of the best lenses money can buy. Image quality and sharpness puts many primes to shame. This lens can school even Pentax prime lenses in sharpness and bokeh.










   
New Member

Registered: March, 2011
Posts: 8

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: December 4, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $749.00 | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: very sharp
Cons: autofocusing
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 5    Handling: 7    Value: 7    New or Used: New    Camera Used: k5   

very sharp lens, but mediocre autofocus on my k5, probably needs an update from sigma
   
New Member

Registered: September, 2014
Posts: 9

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: November 9, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $696.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Versatile, fast, build quality
Cons: Af, heavy
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 6    Handling: 7    Value: 8    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-3   

Let me start out by saying, I'm not a pro Photographer... So, take my advice with a grain of salt...

I got this lens with the ultimate goal of doing some astrophotography in outback Australia later this year... But it's capable of so much more than that.

I mainly shoot my 3-year-old son (a very fast moving object) and food (very slow moving objects)

In low light this lens has no trouble keeping up with him running around. In bright sunlight it focuses well, silently and smoothly... I did try the pre-focus tip suggested by another user, and it allows one to capture beautifully sharp images, almost all the time.

Shooting food, it's great. Plenty of fine detail can be seen... Chinese seafood (my test subject) looked, well, good enough to eat...

I'm a HUGE bokeh fan, and I was not left wanting. Obviously, you need to shoot at a higher focal length (say above 30mm) to get the really 'creamy' stuff, but it looks sooooo tasty!!

If you can get this lens, do it. You get a whole camera bag full of primes, plus a fast wide angle lens, got less than the price of a single, slower Pentax branded lens...

I'm in love... Don't tell my wife...
   
Forum Member

Registered: November, 2014
Location: Monterey County, California
Posts: 84

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: November 6, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $700.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Fast, internal focusing and zooming, overal IQ
Cons: Big & heavy, auto-focus
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 7    Autofocus: 5    Handling: 8    Value: 8    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-50   

I have been using this lens for about 3 weeks. I purchased this lens to shoot 3/4 and full length fashion shots in my small home studio. This lens has excellent image quality. Pictures are very sharp with good contrast.

The only issue is auto-focus. I agree with Youngster in that, in order to use this lens wide open, you need to pre-focus @35mm, then zoom out to the range you want. Or you can use live-view instead (CDAF). I also set the focus AF active area to "SPOT" with this lens. I have done some testing and found that from f1.8 to f2.8 one needs to pre-focus @ 35mm first in order to insure sharp pictures when zoomed between 18-24mm. From f4 to f16 no pre-focusing is needed at any zoom setting.
   
Inactive Account

Registered: January, 2014
Posts: 76
Lens Review Date: September 29, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $880.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: f1.8, internal focusing and zooming, overal IQ
Cons: AF
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 3    Handling: 9    Value: 9    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-5ii   

One day with one lens (my short personal experience)
I have had opportunity to shoot with Sigma 18-35 1.8 A for whole day and I have decided to share my experience.
Built: First thing you notice is that this lens is big. It's quite same as DA*50-135 in terms of weight and size. But it is good balanced - so six hours of outdoor shooting was not a big problem (but notice that I don't use neck strap - but gorilla sling strap).
It's very well built lens. Quality plastic and metal. Zoom ring is smooth. And focusing ring is "transmitted" so it has longer throw in when manual focusing. It has maybe the best manual focusing ring that I ever seen in AF lens. The only odd is quite cheap feeling from lens cap.

IQ: It is nice. I must say, not that superb that I anticipated from all that chart around web. But one thing is really impressive - it is sharp from f1.8. Its quite better on 3.5. But on opposite side, it is not better (in fact it is worse) from 5.6 or 8 up.
It is not so superb in terms of aberration as web reviews indicates - quite same as with WA primes. Flare resistence is good. Contrast as well. Bokeh is sometimes pleasant, but sometimes quite disturbing.

Focusing: Focusing is silent and fast (no blazing fast but fast enough). It locks everytime. But with very bad consistency.

Real experience in field:
I must say that this lens excels in portraits (despite its FL). And close focused shots are its strong side as well as interior shooting. But landscapes are different cup of tea. Landscapes aren't that sharp and clear that some other lenses can produce. But what is really big problem is focusing. Focusing consistency issues is killing this lens. My copy has big BF and FF issues. And it is oposite cross focal lenghts. When I correct AF on 18mm it is far away on 35mm. And even on one FL. I can calibrate it on close focus, but then, landscapes are very soft... This is really big issue.

Bottomline:
It is nice lens. Weight and size is not that big problem. But I can't rely on it in terms of focusing. I made about 400 photos. But I can get really in focus about 20 of them. Ok, some of them are operator fault, but even that its very bad keeper ratio. I really recomend to buy this lens only in shop where you can easy return it. I hoped, that this will be my new workhorse lens on short FL, but not. But, I really like that shots where it nailed focus, so maybe i try another copy later.

Some test shots (not best ones or worst, but quite representative) are here (no PP, f1.8 except the landscape 6.3)
18-35 f1.8 by jannis.lontheo, on Flickr
18-35 f6.3 by jannis.lontheo, on Flickr
18-35 f1.8 by jannis.lontheo, on Flickr
18-35 f1.8 by jannis.lontheo, on Flickr
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