My Go To Lens
– Sigma 18-35mm Art –
Two Year Review
I’ve been shooting with this lens for 2 years now and it stays on my camera like a zombie glued to your ankle. It may not have the red ring that Canon users hunger for, but all you need is the glimmer of the branded “A” and you know you have quality. I got rid of my Tokina 11-16mm and the Canon 17-55 2.8 to make room for this tank in my bag of arsenal. Why did I get rid of these musketeers? I’ll come back to that.
“The 18-35mm is like having a handful of prime lenses, but without the headache of constantly switching them out.”
70% of my work is video and squeeze in photography when I’m taking breaks. I hate how heavy this lens is and the lack of image stabilization (IS) makes it very difficult to handhold it. These are the characteristics that you will find in a prime lens – minus the colossal weight. A prime lens will allow you to shoot wide open at extreme apertures and they are tack sharp. The 18-35mm is like having a handful of prime lenses, but without the headache of constantly switching them out. Having an aperture of f/1.8 was crucial for me since low light shooting is plagued with the dancing bees at ISO 640. For the most part I don’t go pass ISO 320. This sets up the scene with a semi-wide establishing shot then I would switch to the Rokinon 85mm for more intimate shots.
Interior Studio Shots: Sigma 18-35mm • Interview Rokinon 85mm
How It Stacks Up
Let’s go back to the Tokina 11-16mm. Although I miss the wide angle capabilities, the chromatic aberration haunted me in daylight. Don’t pixel peep on this lens or else you’ll face the furry of fringing. Video looked great in this ultra-wide perspective, but did I always need 11mm? I can count on an 18mm focal length do the job. Now the notorious Canon 17-55mm was almost perfect. What I didn’t like was the heavy lens element that would extend the lens out when shooting downwards – what a pain! On top of that, the lens was a dust magnet. I keep my gear tucked away at all times so I’m clueless why it attracted so much lint! I didn’t want my clients seeing this as they were getting their portraits done. It began to look like a vintage second hand lens that was missing a cap for centuries.
There are still cons with this lens. I forgot to mention the unreliable autofocus in low light. Luckily I manually focus like a ninja since I’m so used to shooting video without the luxury of autofocus. Get past these hurdles and you have a lens that can shoot wide, take portraits and a fantastic run and gun hero. I mainly shoot at f/2 and with the lowest ISO as possible. I have a Canon nifty-fifty that I never use. The Rokinon 85mm is my secondary lens for true portraits. If I could complete my lens assortment I would grab a prime wide angle like the 12mm Rokinon. If Sigma produces a 70-200mm Art lens then please Sigma feel free to run me into debt.