Sigma announces super-fast 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM Art for APS-C DSLRs


Sigma has announced the 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM Art lens for APS-C DSLRs – the world’s first constant F1.8 zoom. The lens covers a 27-52.5mm equivalent range, though the company has not yet announced which mounts it will be offered in. There is also no announcement of a recommended price. The lens will offer the light-gathering and depth-of-field equivalent of a constant F2.7 on full-frame, which may under-cut the need for some photographers to change formats.

We’re impressed to see a manufacturer creating a high-end lens for APS-C at a time when the big DSLR manufacturers are trying to tempt users across to full-frame bodies and the additional lenses that such a move can require. At a time when APS-C cameras (and their sensors) are so good, and continue to make up such a large proportion of DSLR sales, it makes sense to offer high-quality lenses to support them.

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Press Release: 

Sigma Corporation announces world’s first F1.8 constant aperture zoom lens

RONKONKOMA, NY, Apr. 18, 2013 — Sigma Corporation of America (, a leading researcher, developer, manufacturer and service provider for some of the world’s most impressive lines of lenses, cameras and flashes, today announced the Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM Art lens, the market’s first zoom lens to achieve a maximum aperture F1.8 throughout the entire zoom range.

This revolutionary, wide aperture, standard zoom lens is created for DSLR cameras with APS-C size sensors, which translates to a focal range of 27-52.5mm on a 35mm camera. With a minimum focusing distance of 11 inches, and a maximum magnification ratio of 1:4.3, the 18-35mm is ideal for landscapes, portraits, still-life, studio, close-up and casual photography.

“Exceptionally fast apertures were previously unavailable in zoom lenses, so photographers turned to several prime lenses in a session to get bright images at various focal lengths. We’re incredibly excited to be the first manufacturer to bring the F1.8 standard zoom to the market and to provide photographers with a new level of creativity and convenience, with the outstanding image quality at the core of the new Sigma Global Vision,” said Mark Amir-Hamzeh, president of Sigma Corporation of America.

Amir-Hamzeh added that because developing a large aperture wide angle zoom lens can prove to be technologically and optically challenging, often resulting in various distortions, aberrations and field curvature, Sigma has tapped into its long history as a lens pioneer to overcome those issues in this new generation lens.

“Our experience with the wide angle designs of our 12-24mm F4.5-5.6 II DG HSM and our 8-16mm F4.5-5.6 DC HSM, and our research and development in our Aizu factory have prepared us for this technological advancement,” he said. “Our wide, glass-molded aspherical lens and the incorporation of Special Low Dispersion (SLD) glass have optimized power distribution of the optical elements and compensated for various aberrations, as well as curvature of field at the widest angle. We’re extremely proud of this achievement.”

The 18-35mm is the latest addition to the company’s company’s Art line of lenses, designed under the new Global Vision. The Global Vision lenses have a sleek new design with the manufacturing year stamped on the barrel, and are categorized by use into one of three groups: Art, Contemporary and Sports. The Art category delivers high-level artistic expression through sophisticated and abundant expressive power.

The new 18-35mm lens incorporates Sigma’s improved AF/MF switch and the use of Thermally Stable Composite (TSC) compound material, which has a high affinity to metal parts, consistently performs well at extreme temperatures, and reduces the size and weight of the lens. It is also compatible with Sigma’s new USB Dock, which will be available in coming months, enabling photographers to update lens firmware and adjust focus parameters from their computers.

Convenient handling is achieved with internal focusing and zooming, which prevents changes to the size of the lens. Additionally, the front part of the lens does not rotate, so special filters like circular polarizers can be used.

The 18-35mm lens’ Super Multi-Layer Coating reduces flare and ghosting and provides sharp and high contrast images, even in backlit conditions. The petal-type hood that is supplied with the lens will provide extra protection from flare and ghosting. Sigma’s Hyper Sonic Motor (HSM) ensures a silent, high-speed AF function and the optimized auto focus algorithm results in smooth focusing and full-time manual focusing capability. Lastly, the nine-blade, rounded diaphragm creates an attractive, round bokeh at large-aperture settings.

Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM specifications



It’s a 2:1 zoom range. Not huge, and it’ll be interesting to see if anyone stops using some of the fantastic f/2.0 to f/1.4 primes in that range and uses the Sigma instead.


Too bad they didn’t include IS. Still, this lens will be a low light machine for Sony/Pentax users. I’m guessing RRP will be at least $2000?


Well, let me guess… A full-frame 25-50 f/2.8 lens with a built-in Metabones-style telecompressor (aka speed booster)?
I know, the Metabones design only works without a mirror box. They seem to have modified this idea to accomodate a short mirror of an APS-C. These three rer elements do look suspiciously like a focusing group behind the main lens.

MTF looks great (again, just like the speed booster), and that again could be the effect of compression. BTW, at what spatial frequencies is it measured? For cropped sensor (x1.5) I would expect 15 and 45 cycles/mm. If 10/30 cycles/mm is used — that’s cheating.


At one point, some companies used 60. But that looks really bad for most lenses.


Sigma got the hang lately. 😉 I use the 35mm lens happily. I just would wish they did not omit wheather sealing….


Hope they make a 50-100mm f1.8 to go with it!


Or at least a 35-70mm f1.8. Above 70mm one could use the ft glass.


This just SCREAMS Pentax K-5iis. It would be stupid if Sigma didn’t make it in Pentax mount.


I didn’t see, is the lens weatherproof, like that camera body?


Olympus did something like this (for 4/3rds format) some time ago.

Paul Storm

congrats sigma, keep it up and you’ll soon be the company the other lenses are compared to, including leica.

Ashuaria Lee

Wow…F1.8 constant zoom lens…never imagined before..


Please make also a Pentax mount and I am in!
I am afraid the price will be painful but with such a unique lens Sigma can definitely afford it.


Sigma has done a great job of developing a lens that people have been clamoring for yet we get all sorts of carping about it not being FF, the aperture is “functionally f 2.7” they use “tricks” to get the speed to f1.8. and so on.

This lens IS f1.8. It IS large. It WILL BE expensive. Get over it and enjoy what they have done.



Feel better with your rant.


Well said! This lens is a definite breakthrough and it’s great to have such fantastic options at our disposal. Of course, everybody will have to judge for themselves if the IQ and speed of the lens outweigh its size and cost. But it’s really great to have the option!
Well done, Sigma. Kudos to you!




Considering the 17-50/2,8 costs 980 USD (MSRP) and the new 35/1,4 costs 1400 USD, this new super-fast zoom might be cca. 1200-1400 USD MSRP and I doubt the street price will be lower than 1000 USD.


I’d guess $1200. If it was a Canon it would be $2000, but Sigma usually can’t get away with that.


I waited this for years. And now finally when I move to FF, they roll this out 🙂
I know, that Canon had a patent for this a long time ago, but look – Sigma got them first.
Good job! And next stop – something identical for FF!? But probably much more heavy and bulky.


This lens looks like it uses the same “trick” the Metabones Speedbooster uses, e.g. compress a full frame image circle down to ASP-C size.

Definitely great marketing, and a great application of clever optics, but it is not “truly” an f/1.8 lens, in the purest sense of the word (it would be much more expensive and a decent amount larger if it were).

MTF looks pretty impressive, so no matter how they came about it, I think it’s a pretty big win for the crop shooters out there.


I guess we will have to wait til you show us your design then. I am sure you won’t resort to such “tricks” like using glass or metal.


Why are you attacking me? I was merely attempting to explain the likely technology behind this achievement. This lens would have to be much bigger / heavier if the aperture was a true f/1.8 for that zoom range.

The reason this is the case is because in order to get wide FOV’s (<20mm or so), the optics have to use what’s called a retrofocus design, making it much more difficult to achieve large apertures.

Jeeze. A guy can’t even post interesting commentary on optical design any more without getting yelled at.


Nearly all lenses wider than the mount depth have to resort to reverse telephoto design called retrofocus. You do what you gotta do to design the lens. As long as the DOF and light are roughly f1.8, the design is irrelevant.


Wow, way to go, this is great news!!! Oh didn’t see the bit about it’s not for FF? Hope a FF version will be coming soon. Still is great news! 🙂


Wow, this is real. I thought someone created a bad rumor. Wish it is FF


FF systems already have better alternatives, 24-70/2.8 is a 3x zoom with the same depth of field per angle of view as this lens.


Way to GO SIGMA!!! Their recent releases had all been top notch, and this one takes it to the next level. Finally, we see some real optical break through!
With this, we are one step closer to the eventual 8-400mm F1.8!!


24-48mm 1.8 zoom for ff please.




For APS-C it weights 810 gr, for FF that will be 1,5-2 kg. to say nothing about price.


Currently you have to choose between a zoom (which gives multiple focal lengths but it’s slow) and primes (which are fast but offer single focal lenghts).
I was wondering why there aren’t compromises, like very short (1.5x or 2x) zooms faster than 2.8.
I would have liked to see a 24-35mm (or 35-50), a 85-135mm, a 200-300mm … zoom or with some sort of integrated TC – faster and with better iq than a zoom, and a little more versatile than a prime.
Sigma might know something about D400 and 7D2 arrivals, as without them there won’t be to much of a market.
Bravo Sigma!!!


With only a 1.5~2.0x zoom and you just zoom with your legs.


Yes for APS-C


You can still zoom with your feet and transform that 2x into a 3x. It’s still faster than your fastest 3x and more convenient than a couple of primes.


What aperture is the mtf measured?




The MTF are amazing:


I am very excited for this … way to go Sigma!


Sigma breaks a barrier and everyone is complaining that it’s not full-frame. 🙂


Pretty amazing, isn’t it? I wonder why all the geniuses on this forum don’t design and make their own lenses.


I just noticed the weight. 810g for APS-C lens? Holy Shatner!

Okay, I know it’s super fast and all that, but if it’s seriously supposed to convince FF shooters to go APS-C, it’s measly 2x zoom range isn’t helping any, considering that it’s FF counterparts don’t weigh much more and have closer to 3x zoom range. Of course if it’s significantly cheaper, say in the $900 range, it could be a winner.


Even if it has a decent weight to it, if the image quality is on par with the 35mm f/1.4, it’ll be like carrying around a 28mm f/1.8, 35mm f/1.8, and 50mm f/1.8 (for light gathering capacities, not DOF, as it’d be f/2.7 for DOF, but still.) I’d be very interested if I wasn’t shooting FF.


The weight is proof that such lenses are not going to be small. As for the fact that the “competition” has a larger range and lighter weight, they don’t have f1.8. Nor will it be cheaper.
It exists because so many asked for it. Now that the the lens is here you can’t ask them to re-write the laws of physics and economics.


Wondering who is this targeted at?


I think photographers. Just a wild guess of course…


If it was for ff I would have died an gone to heaven.


haha, i wish this was for ff too.


Amazing ! Well done Sigma. Too bad it’s not a 16-35 but I guess I’m asking too much 😉


Time to play guess the price.


Looks great. It’s very long(!) but that’s to be expected – kudos to Sigma for putting this out. They’re putting Canon & Nikon to shame with their latest line of lenses for non-FF users.

James Cricket

Geez, I was just looking up something wider than 2.8 the other day. Too bad it’s for crop only.




wow a first f1.8 zoom, go sigma.

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