Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM Art lens for Nikon: first impression review

After what seems endless hours researching different lenses for my Nikon APS-C system I finally taken the plunge and purchased the Sigma 18-35mm Art lens.

I have been using only Nikkor 35mm and 50mm prime lenses for the last year but my increasing interest in architectural photography found me wanting to go a wee bit wider, but with some flexibility too.  Really, I wanted a lens that would work wide and at 35mm and the Sigma seemed to fit the bill for me.  Also almost every review I have read about the lens raved about the quality and sharpness (see DPReview or SLRLounge) so I felt this was a good bet for me.

I will provide a more in-depth review of the lens when I have had some time to use it extensively and come to an informed conclusion.  For now though I discuss some first impressions in using the lens briefly during my visit to The Lighthouse in Glasgow.

Build quality

The lens looks professional and the build quality is excellent.  The zoom ring is slow but smooth, however it does turn in the opposite direction to my Nikkor lenses which is a little annoying.. One nice touch is the the focal length numbers are marked clearly on the zoom part of the lens making it easy to choose desired focal length. 

Weight

This a hefty lens.  I would say it seems too heavy for me to use as a walk around lens - I'll reserve judgement for now though.  It was my intention to sell my Nikkor 35mm 1.8 after buying the Sigma so I will see how I feel about this in the future. 

Image quality

Raw files look fantastic.  Clear and amazingly sharp (see below).  A real move up in quality compared to the Nikkor primes I have been using.

f5.6, 1/80, ISO 400 at 18mm

f5.6, 1/80, ISO 400 at 18mm

f5.6, 1/125, ISO 400 at

f5.6, 1/125, ISO 400 at

Last bit

One minor grievance I have had using the lens is that the lens does not seem to clip on properly a lot of the time.  Admittedly, this is a minor quip but for a lens that costs around the £600 mark it does seem a bit of an oversight.

Conclusion

With only limited use the Sigma 18-35mm is already proving to be a great lens.  The image quality is fantastic and I am pretty sure I can overcome the minor inconvenience of the zoom ring turning opposite to the Nikon lenses and the ill-fitting lens cap.  I will write a a full review after more prolonged use with the lens but of you have any questions please ask via the comment section below.

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