Lens Guides

First Look: SIGMA 28-45mm F1.8 DG DN | Art Zoom Lens

A World First! My Time with the Stunning SIGMA 28-45mm F1.8 DG DN | Art

The 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM | Art, now 12 years into its run as one of the best-selling zooms in SIGMA’s history, has been a mainstay in my kit for a decade (in Canon EF mount for maximum compatibility). The Cine version of this lens, the 18-35mm T2, has likewise been a part of my kit since it was released in late 2016.

The lens is so popular that I’ve noticed there’s even a meme used in various cinematography circles. You might have heard it. It runs along the lines of, “I can’t pick a lens – I guess I’ll buy a SIGMA 18-35.” Yeah, same here. It’s the lens I reach for when I’m not sure what I’m walking into. In a career punctuated by shoots in Chernobyl and dog sled races in Alaska alongside the occasional NASA splashdown mission, that’s often the case when I show up at a location. So, imagine my excitement when I received my first email about the SIGMA 28-45mm F1.8 DG DN | Art – it’s essentially an 18-35 but for the full-frame crowd.

The specs read like something I might have written on a wish list in a glorious fever dream. An F1.8 (a new record!) full-frame zoom that covers my favorite focal range, is sharp from edge to edge, has a de-clickable aperture ring for exposure ramps mid-shot, and is available in Sony E-mount and L-Mount, please. What a wild list of specifications. And yet, to my delight and amazement, my wish has been fulfilled.

Getting the SIGMA 28-45mm F1.8 into the field

Upon receiving the L-Mount version of the lens, I brought this lens with me practically everywhere, with an eye toward testing and highlighting its technical capabilities.

My first shoot using the 28-45mm F1.8 DG DN | Art was filming in a ceramics studio. For the entirety of the shoot, I mostly lived at F1.8 in manual focus on the Blackmagic Cinema Camera 6K (a full-frame native L-Mount camera that shoots in a 3:2 open gate). Perhaps a controversial approach, but I often find it easier to manually judge focus at stops like F1.8 because it is much easier to gauge what is in and out of focus.

The full-frame 24x36mm sensor of the Blackmagic Cinema 6K camera was covered in its entirety by the zoom and with no weirdness or aberrations around the edges. Again, this is incredible when you consider how much sensor real estate you need to cover with this zoom. I used a 16×9 frame line to guide my compositions. A pristine 3:2 frame size meant plenty of room for re-framing into edges of the image circle without compromising quality.

Here are a few shots where you can get a sense of the detail that this zoom and this camera are capable of producing:

Here are a few clips that gives you a glimpse of the real lack of focus breathing:

Following these shots, I turned to my favorite L-Mount stills camera, the 61-megapixel SIGMA fp L, and took this photo which shows off a bit of the bokeh and the incredible sharpness this lens is capable of. Again, I’m at F1.8 here so the depth of field is very shallow, but the look is quite dramatic.

The other L-Mount camera I find myself using most often is the DJI Ronin 4D with 6K camera (also now available with an 8K sensor option). Swapping between L-Mount or Sony E-mount is easy on this camera. It takes just seconds. Because the 28-45mm length means the ideal balance for that pesky 4th axis doesn’t quite line up, I filmed primarily with the 4D as a 3-axis camera. The 2.2-pound 28-45mm makes it a perfect lens for a gimbal or even a drone, where overall payload weight is a consideration.

I took the new 28-45mm F1.8 DG DN | Art paired with the Ronin 4D for some fishing near the San Diego skyline on one moody, windy day.

Here is a rack focus on the water with the 28-45mm mounted on a Ronin 4D:

And here is some additional sample footage shot with the 28-45mm on the Ronin 4D, showing how useful and effective it is on a gimbal system.

I often use the Ronin 4D as a 3-axis camera/gimbal hybrid because sometimes I don’t need that 4th axis for the shot, but that’s a subject for an entirely different post.

More to consider about the 28-45mm F1.8 DG DN | Art

How this lens “feels” to shoot with

I also wanted to touch on how the 28-45mm F1.8 DG DN | Art zoom feels to shoot with – perhaps the more subjective part of this article. How well does this zoom mix with my style of shooting? My goal is always to forget the camera and lens I’m using and have them be an extension of my creativity. If you’re like me, you want to avoid the feeling that the kit is fighting you.

I’m thrilled to say this lens is a perfect follow-the-action-run-and-gun-doc-style lens for me. For fast-paced b-roll capture, or for a leave-it-on-the-camera-and-forget-about-it zoom, this 28-45mm seems perfect. It is so good that now I have a problem (a good problem)… will my 24-70mm F2.8 DG DN II | Art or my 28-45mm F1.8 DG DN | Art absolutely live on my camera body? Only time will tell.

How about a CINE version?

While the SIGMA 28-45mm F1.8 DG DN | Art already seems perfectly suited for the needs of filmmakers everywhere, I can’t help but wonder how this focal range would perform in a cinema housing. I have no inside knowledge here, but if you would love to see this focal range in a cinema housing. Let SIGMA know in the comments on your favorite social platform! Consider it a gentle nudge to those brilliant engineers.

Final thoughts

The SIGMA 28-45mm F1.8 DG DN | Art feels entirely aimed at filmmakers like me, and I can’t help but be excited about it. Photographers will also find much to love about this zoom with its zippy autofocus (thanks to the linear HLA autofocus motor) and signature SIGMA sharpness, excellent flare control, and neutral color profile.

Whether you shoot on Sony or an L-Mount camera, this is a one-of-a-kind, versatile lens that is hard to beat when it comes to overall performance and value. And with the L-Mount Alliance growing daily with members like SIGMA, Leica, Blackmagic, DJI, and Panasonic, the future looks especially promising for L-Mount camera users, which means more choice for filmmakers everywhere.

Pre-order yours at an authorized SIGMA dealer:

Comments (3)
  1. Ryek says:

    I hope this lives up to the hype! It seems lovely. Great job sigma!!

  2. Troy Phillips says:

    For one , I have too many lenses now . Two I have zooms and primes throughout this range. And three I’d love to have this lens .
    Great job Sigma

  3. SZABBER says:

    I also have a 6K Blackmagic FF camera! Can the TC2011 adapter be used? Thanks!

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