Photographers have been raving about the world’s first constant aperture F1.8 zoom lens, the Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM | Art lens since it was originally announced earlier this year, for both its groundbreaking constant maximum aperture, and its incredible prime-like performance, even wide open. It rocked the charts on DXOMark, besting top-shelf primes at comparable focal lengths, has been recognized with a POP Award from PopPhoto.com, and a Gold award from DPReview, among other accolades.
And as it turns out, it’s not just DSLR users who have discovered this incredible lens. Videographers–pros using both kitted-out HDSLRs and dedicated Cinema cameras have been spellbound by all this glass offers for motion capture. For example, here is a short cinematic exploration with the 18-35mm F1.8 made by our friends at Sigma Benelux.
To be clear, when we say “videographers” we’re not talking about people who at the heart are basically still photographers who take the occasional handheld HDSLR clips with the internal microphone to work up as short projects in iMovie or Adobe Premiere Elements. We’re talking hardcore video pros––cinematographers who talk not in F/Stops and Lightroom presets, but in terms of T-Stops and footage grading. And who use cameras not like a Canon 7D or a Nikon D5300, but serious, dedicated ciné equipment like the Black Magic cameras, the Canon C100, or the Sony FS700.
These fellow creative souls have also discovered the 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM | Art lens and have been quick to embrace it for its feature set and the incredible performance characteristics of this incredibly fast constant-aperture zoom lens. That means this fantastic lens is in even higher demand: most of the time, pre-ordering and waitlisting is still going to be the absolute quickest way to get this lens in your hands.
For example, EOS HD, a blog dedicated to HDSLR and Ciné video capture recently reviewed the 18-35 paired with a Metabones speed booster on the Black Magic Pocket Cinema Camera and had some truly incredible things to say about it:
- It is as sharp as a prime and built like a tank (though not weather sealed). It really is the closest you can get to the end results of cinema PL lenses, as an affordable ownership prospect not rental.
- The optics are state of the art and never for so little money in such a small camera has the end result been so close to film.
- This lens is a revelation, all that remains is for you to go out and buy it.
- I would really love to see how this lens does against a $47,000 + tax cinema lens like the Optimo 15-40mm T2.6 because I honestly think it would come close.
Take another look at the last bullet point. That dollar figure is not a typo. They are comparing the Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 to a forty-seven thousand dollar cinema lens! For the sales tax alone on that cinema lens in Manhattan, you could buy a pair of the 18-35mms and still have enough left over for an all-inclusive 5-night getaway for two, including airfare, from NYC to Nassau, Bahamas to test out the lenses in the warm, tropical sun!
That’s quite an endorsement of the quality and performance of this lens, wouldn’t you say?
And their sample footage reel with the setup they describe is just beautiful. You should watch it on Vimeo.
And the folks over at DSLR Video Shooter put together a great video-based review which is well worth a look. They state:
- The Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 rocked the Internet when it was announced. A zoom lens with an aperture of F1.8? WHAT! And let me tell you, it wasn’t just hype. This lens is beautiful. And don’t get scared off by the focal length, on an APS-C sensor this lens is perfect.
Meanwhile, No Film School, another great blog for cinematography also published a stellar review recently calling it “one of the best “budget” filmmaking lenses ever!
- 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.
What else can we say? It is quite clear that the Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM | A lens is in a class by itself, for both still and motion capture. The image quality––both the sharpness and the blur thanks to the rounded aperture blades––has an aesthetic about it that is simply wonderful. The overall feel of the lens in the hand as it is zoomed or manually focused to compose and frame a scene speaks to a sentiment of quality and craftsmanship–from design of the lens itself to the results it will produce for the artist’s vision. This is truly a one of a kind lens in every best sense of that oft-employed phrase.