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New Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 Aces DXOMark Tests, Beating out Canon L Zooms and Zeiss Primes

By Anthony Thurston on July 16th 2013

Sigma made waves when it announced the 18-35mm F1.8 zoom lens a few months back, they made waves again when they announced that the price was only going to be $799. Now this lens is impressing even more with the latest DXOMark results, which place this lens as the highest performing APS-C Zoom they have ever tested.


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The new lens scored a total of 25 on its DXOMark exam, that score beats out the Canon 24-70mm f2.8L II USM and Tamron 24-70 2.8 VC, both of which are top of the line full frame lenses. For sharpness the 18-35mm F1.8  scored a 15, keeping it on par with the best performers in that space as well.

I don’t like to put a ton of stock into lab tests like DXOMark, but these results are impressive to say the least. I mean this lens even out performs even some primes, and i’m not talking junk primes i’m talking Zeiss primes.


When compared directly to the closest competing Canon zoom, the Canon EF-S 17-55mm F2.8 IS USM,  a lens that is $400 more expensive it is hard not to see the value in the Sigma. The Sigma outperforms the Canon is almost every category, and like I mentioned above even beats out way more expensive L series glass.


I am planning on getting this lens for my 7D, I think it will work well for me and save me some money as well. Needless to say its my opinion that if you own an APS-C camera with a mount that this lens comes with then you should be seriously considering this lens. We are getting this lens in for review soon and will be doing a full real world test review (not in a lab), so stay tuned.

[via DXOMark]

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Anthony Thurston is a photographer based in the Salem, Oregon area specializing in Boudoir. He recently started a new project, Fiercely Boudoir to help support the growing boudoir community. Find him over on Instagram. You may also connect with him via Email.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Joseph Prusa


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  2. George loui

    Excilent review ! Thanks for all the comparisons.

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  3. frank

    most people who are know about this , Thom Hogan .com the most knowledgeable for instance . don’t recommend DX len’s for a FX camera . as at some fstops it will be like shooting through a tunnel . you can go FX to DX however as all your f stops will have lots of room . and most will be in the sweet spot . it may effect boka. (blur) if that’s what your after

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  4. Aaron

    For those wondering how the Sigma 18-35mm looks on the Blackmagic Cinema Camera, here you go:

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  5. Glenn

    Although the sigma is made for a crop sensor it will mount to a full frame camera albeit with vignetting.
    It would be interesting to see how it performs on a ff sensor. I noticed a huge increase out of both of my 100L and Canon 24-70 f/2.8L ii when i went from my 450d to my 6d.

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    • M. Saville

      Glenn, we do in fact always test full-frame compatibility of crop-sensor lenses whenever we do reviews; we’ll be sure to publish our findings regarding the Sigma 18-35 in this respect!


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  6. Catherine Lacey Dodd

    PS be good to hear results on the 5D2 too

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  7. Catherine Lacey Dodd

    Thanks for this. I was just about to buy the 16-35 or the 17-40. How does it compare to the latter? thanks. I was going to look up your previous article on wider angle lenses.

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  8. Mary

    Dang it! Just paid off my winter purchase of the Canon 16-35 F.2 at double the price…and I shoot with a 7D. Oh well at least I’ll be able to use the new lens on my next purchase, the MKIII

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    • BSD

      Sell that 16-35 lens now on ebay (before the Sigma is widely available and starts to drive the price down for the used Canon glass). You’ll likely get a great price for it since it’s barely used. Then buy the Sigma and have some extra money to play with.

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  9. Matt Bresler

    If you are going to say it beats L glass, compare it to actual L glass. Stack it up against the 16-35.

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    • Mark

      All the author did was pull the information from DXO. You can go there and do a comparison of the the Sigma to the 16-35 yourself, no? In the full article on DXO, they compare it to the 24 1.4L. If you do some legwork yourself, you will see that DXO scores the 16-35, when mounted on a 7D like the 18-35 was, FAR lower than the Sigma.

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    • M. Saville

      Matt, unfortunately the beloved 16-35 mk2 is actually quite low on the totem pole if you’re going to compare wide angle sharpness.

      Also, keep in mind that DXO’s tests are not necessarily an accurate representation of the overall lens’ performance; they post the Sigma 20mm f/1.8 as being one of the sharpest ultra-wide lenses available on the Nikon D800, and yet that lens has absolutely abysmal performance any faster than f/5.6 or f/8. The Canon 16-35 L mk2, similarly, may be tack sharp at f/11 but it is a complete joke in the corners wide open, though not as bad on a crop sensor…

      We’ll have our own Sigma 18-35 review finished soon, and we have 4+ copies of the Canon 16-35 mk2 so you can bet that we will be performing some real-world comparisons between the lenses. Thus far, however, I gotta say it’s not looking good for the Canon L’s… The only thing that matches / beats it is the Canon 24-70 mk2, a ~$2400 lens…


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