Review: Sigma 18-35 1.8 HSM Lens for Nikon D7100 1

Sigma 18-35 1.8

Background

When Sigma announced this lens a few months back, the Internet became ablaze with speculation. For years, APS-C DSLR users have been disappointed with very limited lens selection. Nikon released the 17-55 2.8 over a decade ago, and since then, the only fast, somewhat professional release was the 35 1.8 (a great lens for $200).

People have since been moving to FX or full-frame format in droves- especially wedding photographers that need fast lenses with very shallow depth-of-field. I personally use a D700 with an 85mm prime for most of my candid and portrait shots, and I used to have to switch between many wide-to-medium angle primes for group shots and reception photos.

This release was important because it meant that we could cary a lightweight DX APS-C body and effectively have three primes: a 28 1.8, a 35 1.8, and a 50 1.8. Holy crap! Was this too good to be true? I ordered the lens for my D7100 to find out.

Unboxing

The lens arrived from digitalrev.com in a fairly plain box with Digital Rev warranty and paperwork inside. It also includes a very high quality nylon case and nice quality accessories:

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Quality:

This is the highest quality lens I’ve ever owned, and that includes a few high dollar Nikkor and Tokina lenses, both of which were once considered “kings of quality.” This lens is a notch above everything else on the market, in my opinion. The lens is made in Japan, a rarity these days, and although it doesn’t feature dust and weather resistance, it still exudes quality. The lens is heavy, but not more than you would expect, and the high-tech metal used can be seen near the lens mount. The best parts are the smooth zoom and focus rings which are damped unbelievably well:

Focus and Real-World Performance:

There is a bunch of chatter about how this lens focuses inconsistently, but my sample is perfect. It is fast and super silent. It focuses instantly and perfectly at all focal lengths and apertures and all lighting conditions. See the gallery of snapshots below that I took for testing purposes:

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