Sigma Announces World’s First F1.8 Constant Aperture Zoom

April 18, 2013

By Josh Root

In an exciting bit of news for photographers who live and breathe in the low-light world, Sigma today announced a 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM lens. A constant f/1.8 zoom lens is one and a third stops faster than the f/2.8 lenses that we normally consider a “fast” zooms. Sigma is claiming that their 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM Art lens is the market’s first zoom lens to achieve a maximum aperture F1.8 throughout the entire zoom range.

“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.

The 18-35mm is the latest addition to Sigma’s Art line of lenses, one of their new “Global Vision” products. 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 is supposed to deliver “high-level artistic expression through sophisticated and abundant expressive power.” We’re not sure what “abundant expressive power” means. But if it means fast zoom lenses, we’re all in.

Construction of the 18-35/1.8 uses Sigma’s Thermally Stable Composite (TSC) compound material. Yes, that is fancy plastic. But it’s a fancy plastic that is similar to metal as far as thermal shrinkage and so consistently performs well at extreme temperatures. In addition, it reduces the size and weight of the lens.

Convenient handling is achieved with internal focusing and zooming, which prevents changes to the size of the lens. Additionally, the front element of the lens does not rotate, allowing filters such as circular polarizers to be used. The 18-35/1.8 will be compatible with Sigma’s new USB Dock. The USB dock will enable photographers to update lens firmware and adjust focus parameters from their computers, something that should be very interesting to experiment with.

Pricing and availability have not been revealed.

For more information:

Lens Construction: 17 elements in 12 groups
Minimum aperture: F16
Filter size: 72mm
Angle of view (SD1): 76.5°-44.2°
Minimum focusing distance: 11 in.
Dimensions (Diameter x Length): 3.1 inches x 4.8 inches
Number of diaphragm blades: 9 (rounded diaphragm)
Maximum magnification ratio: 1:4.3
Weight: 28.6oz