As you may have seen from an earlier post I recently purchased a Pentax K-3. I wanted a smaller, low profile camera for street shooting and travel. As I did my search for lenses I came across the Sigma 18-35MM 1.8 Art lens for the Pentax. I own two Sigma Art lenses for my Canon system, the 50 & 35MMs and they are great performers. Before plunking down another 8 Benjamins I did my due diligence and read a few reviews. All said what I am going to tell you here, great lens, but heavy. Still, optical performance is the most important factor so I ordered the lens. It is large and weighs the same as the camera, a bit over 800 grams. Put the lens shade on this big boy and it is about 7 inches tall, the same size as a Zeiss 135. So much for being unobtrusive and taking the weight off my shoulder.
The fit and finish of these Art lenses is wonderful. They are also elegant in design. Wide ribbed rings for focus and zoom with a nice tactile feel. There is a semicircle of the ribbed material in the center of the barrel as well. A secure grip on a lens is always a good thing and this Sigma has it. The zoom and focusing rings have the perfect amount of drag on them. It has a focusing scale in meters and feet behind a plastic window. Those of you under 38 years of age can see it easily, I need my reading glasses and to be candid, I don't remember the last time I looked at one. One of the things I tend to notice on all lenses is the little dot used to properly align the lens mount to the body. Canon puts their in a low position around the base of the lens. You have to rotate the lens to find it, no big deal. Zeiss puts theirs on the mount itself. That means you have to turn the lens upside down to find it, I find this a bit awkward. Sigma puts their white mounting dot on the bevel above the lens mount. It is easier to see from all directions. It is a small thing, but I am a nut about ergonomics and I think this was brilliant. Sigma uses what they call a hypersonic motor for autofocus. I have no idea what it means, but it is smooth, silent and accurate. Manual override is available without flipping a switch for those times when you want to fine tune your focal point. I also like Sigma's petal hood, which reverses on the lens for storage. It mounts easily and locks in position with a reassuring click.
I like to work in early morning light when I am shooting for myself. The K3 is often praised for its pentaprism and when combined with the 1.8 constant aperture on the Sigma 18-35 the view is wonderful, more so in dim early morning and evening light. I took these next few images on an overnight escape from Washington, D.C. to Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.
|ISO 400 F3.5 @ 1 .5 sec, lens at 29mm|
|ISO 400 F5.5 @ 2 sec, white balance fluorescent, 18MM|
As the other two Sigma art lenses I have for my Canon, this lens exhibits smooth color rendering, strong micro-contrast and excellent sharpness. If Sigma made an 18-35 version for full frame I would be all over it. Its weight and size is an issue on the K3 but the balance is good and it handles just fine. The Sigma 18-35 f/1.8 DC HSM lens is a winner.
Recommended 98 points