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SIGMA 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5 any good ?

Tim G. Potters , Aug 29, 1997; 02:40 p.m.

I used the search engine in photo.net for this but there is nothing about this lens so I ask the question: is the SIGMA 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5 Aspherical UC (for the Nikon D if that matters) any good ? It is so cheap compared to some other brands (especially Nikon) and I already read some good reviews of it. Thank in advance for your feedback and/or advices. Tim.


Philip Greenspun , Aug 30, 1997; 01:08 a.m.

People do keep asking questions like this. What are we to make of them? Are the laws of physics going to be repealed for a particular lens? Are the laws of magazine publishing going to be repealed so that a new heavily advertised product gets a bad review? Is there some doubt as to whether Sigma and Nikon are competent at making lenses that perform adequately given their price?

In general, Nikon lenses have better construction, better optics, faster apertures (in some cases), less distortion, and higher resale value than third party lenses. Are these things worth the extra money? Nobody can tell you. You haven't said whether you're an engineer who appreciates finely constructed things or whether you ever intend to sell your lens or whether you do architectural photography (where distortion can be destructive).

Even if there were someone here who'd dumped his Sigma 18-35 recently in favor of a Nikon 20-35/2.8 lens, I don't think he'd have much to say that you wouldn't find in Duh Magazine.

Tim G. Potters , Sep 03, 1997; 12:01 p.m.

Well, I just cannot afford to buy a >1000$ lens right now. I know the Nikon is far more interesting, quality wise, than a third lens party, but I just cannot afford it. I am mainly shooting landscapes and some architecture (not seriously though, just snapshots). I did not ask for a comparison of the SIGMA 18-35mm and the Nikon 20-35/2.8 ! My only question was and still: is the SIGMA 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5 any good ? Nobody has used or tested or read something about this lens out there ? Tim.

Bob Atkins , Sep 03, 1997; 01:27 p.m.

Of course the Sigma 18-35 isn't a paperweight. It's a usable lens like any other Sigma lens. They don't make useless lenses. They make lenses that satisfy many consumers. If they didn't they'd go out of business.

Is it "good"? Dunno. Define "good". Not as good as a Nikon or Canon, but better than the bottom of a Coke bottle. I'm sure there are a lot a happy Sigma users out there (in fact I know there are). I'm not quite sure what that proves though, except, as I said, it's not junk. If it's all you can afford, I doubt you will bitterly regret buying it. I once owned the Sigma 21-35 zoom. Optically it was fine, though mechanically it left something to be desired. The Canon I replaced it with is a much nicer lens. What else would you expect?

Paul Wilson , Sep 03, 1997; 01:44 p.m.

There is a review, of sorts, of the Sigma lens in the review of the Nikon 20-35.

Like Bob, I've used the Sigma 21-35 and thought it was ok, but the Nikon 20-35 is vastly superior IMO. If it were me, and I really needed a wide-angle zoom but there was no way I'd ever be able to afford the Nikon or Canon, I'd wait for the new Tokina 20-35/2.8 that is supposed to be out very soon. I don't know what the Tokina's performance will be like but I'm sure it will be a lot better made than the Sigma. Tokina's ATX lenses are quite nice mechanically. It will cost more than the Sigma but it takes smaller filters(77mm vs. 82mm). The one Sigma lens I have is a manual focus 14/3.5. Even though it's all metal and hasn't been used a lot, the focusing ring already has little hitches in it as it's turned. Optically the lens isn't bad though.

If you really want good optics at a cheap price, you should consider primes.

Toby Weiss , Sep 06, 1997; 12:53 p.m.

Refering to above comments regarding the new Tokina 20-35 lense, from the recent adds in magazines and the prices from B&H, it does not appear to be part of the ATX line of lenses. Therefore, I would not be as impressed. Only the ATX line has a 5 year warranty (which says something about quality for me). I too am searching for a wide angle zoom, but I'm temped to forgo the less expensive Tokina ($260'ish) and more expensive Sigma ($420'ish) for the Nikon fixed 20 2.8 for around $500. Sure I'll struggle a little with composition, but I'm confident my close forground subjects will be in focus at wide angles--given no operator errors previal.

On the other hand, it could be that Tokina has found a way to manufactor high quality product less expensively and wants to pass the benefit on to the consumer...


Paul Wilson , Sep 07, 1997; 09:42 p.m.


If you read my response, I talk about a NEW Tokina 20-35/2.8 that is supposed to be out SOON. This is not the Tokina 20-35/3.5-whatever that's been out for awhile, though this one is probably better made than the sigma as well.

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