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Sigma 18-35mm F/1.8 Nikon Mount – My First Review.

My new Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art Lens For Nikon Unboxing 4/4

Now I know the Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art Lens For Nikon is currently as rare as unicorns at a KKK march, but now I finally have one, and wow.  Imagine the shock of seeing that analogy, and you start to get a feel for this lens.

I have over the years played with a wide variety of lenses and camera bodies, but what Sigma have produced with this lens is nothing short of Jesus walking on water, whilst singing Karaoke to the Pet Shop Boys “Opportunities (Let’s Make Lots of Money)” because with this lens, that is what they are about to do. This despite the lens having an RPP of $799 which is remarkably cheap for what it is. ( When announced rumours placed it at over $1200)

Of course, there is one major issue, firstly to make lots of money they are going to have to ship this lens.  I waited six months for it, and my supplier only got 4 on the day I got mine.  I thought it was an Australian only problem, with us often being last in the pecking order.  However I noticed that there are a lot of other countries complaining about the late delivery of the Nikon mount as well.

This does mean either Sigma had a great prototype that they couldn’t mass manufacture, or they simply didn’t make enough.  Only time will tell which is the answer to this question.

But on to the lens… wow, it is heavy.

Little fingers need little chocolateHeavy and long, to the point that you will end up holding the lens a lot more than you thought you would.  I find my hands supporting the lens, not my D7100 body.  Lucky the ergonomics of the lens are such that this is very comfortable. When you think that a Nikon D7100 is 765g inc battery and the Sigma 18-35mm lens is 810g you start to see why. Even my trusty Tokina 11-16mm F/2.8 is only 548g.  Still it is a light weight to my Sigma 150-500mm which tops the scales at 1910g.  Sure it is under a kilo, what does that matter?  Trust me you will notice it the first time you sling your camera over your shoulder.  Drop it in your camera bag for a few days it will become more than a noticeable edition.

Yet this weight has to be balanced against what the lens does.  I must admit, I am having sad tinges that my Nikkor 50mm F/1.8 is leaving my camera bag as a day to day lens. On a DX body, sure the “75mm” lens is nice, but why do I need it when I have my wide to portrait lens already.

As for shooting with it.  I’ll take my “wow, it is heavy line” and shorten it to “wow”.  It is so sharp, so fast and so suited to the DX format it is a must buy lens for any DX shooter.  With a focal length just shy of 2cm from the end of the lens you can get so close to a subject and yet so wide it is astounding.

Fried TofuThis lens is perfect for shooting my children and I can see it will be a great favourite with the “food bloggers” as well. Yes it is that versatile.  Add to that the constant F/1.8 and you have a low light master as well.

Given I have left this lens on my camera for a week now, I am sure that my camera body and new lens have run off and got married in a secret ceremony that I was unaware was legal in my home state until now.

It is not without its faults.  Leaving aside the shipping/manufacturing issues, there a things to take into account.  Firstly, I just feel the lens hood doesn’t mount as clean as it should.  I find myself taking the petal hood off just fine, but mounting it, seems to take 2 times to get it seated properly.

Another issue is if you don’t have an external flash, you will need to fork out for one.  This lens is so long it will leave a shadow in every shot, even without the lens hood on if you use the pop up flash. ( Not a problem for me, I have the SB700 already 🙂 )

The other issue is that it is so fast, you have to compensate for it.  I have a lot of shots of fast moving objects where the lens and camera go, oh you want us to focus on that, na, we wont.  A bit of that is user error and a lot of that is getting used to it as well.

Of course if Sigma had made an 11-500mm F/1.8 lens I would buy it, but given it would weigh more than my car, I see there maybe a few issues here.  I still have my Tokina for Ultra wide shots, but this lens is already my go to lens for a wide variety of photos.

Nikkor, Sigma has thrown down a gauntlet, told you “you have been served’, and “ow that burns” as a comment.  I love your cameras, but Nikon, sorry, this is how you make and sell a great lens.

My recommendation is if you are a DX shooter, buy this lens, just don’t expect it in a hurry.

Now to get my hands on some of the other Sigma Art Series Lenses, if they are as good as this, they will be fantastic.


And here is my Flickr Set for the Sigma 18-35mm Lens.

Technical Specs: ( Via sigma.com )

Lens Construction 17 Elements in 12 Groups
Angle of View (SD1) 76.5º-44.2º
Number of Diaphragm Blades 9
Mininum Aperture f16
Minimum Focusing Distance 28 cm
Filter Size (mm) 72mm
Maximum Magnifications 1:4.3
(Diameter x Length)
78mm x 121.0mm
Weight 810grams


In disasters…Social Media isn’t always right

One of the things about Social Media is that it isn’t always right.

I know this will come as a shock to some of you.  But it isn’t.  And it can become a life threatening concern during crisis communications.  You know, for example when the shit is hitting the fan, in say New South Wales due to record early major fires.

Of course there are those social media expert guru’s (colloquial know as #smeg’s) who will say otherwise that social media is the be all and end all during crisis comms.

The type of people that run with on the ground “reporting” of an event, where rumour can readily become fact; heard  third hand, or from a friend  becomes fact, and where but it was on Instagram means it must be true. In the rush to be first on social media, the rush to get the most retweets “facts” are  a secondary concern.  #smeg’s think that because second-hand sources of information (such as councils) aren’t live tweeting an event it is an outrage, a tweet that doesn’t see fire resources sent in response becomes an outrage.

The rush to be first to tell something can get people killed.  I saw and know of many reports of the Minmi fire jumping the F3 (sorry the M1 Motorway to those born post 2013), reports that were on both social media and commercial radio.  Reports that, by the way, did turn out to be wrong.  These were reports I had to tell a family member who was close by, no they aren’t real. Reports that if people reacted to could have caused stress, panic and even unnecessary evacuations.  Evacs that could have blocked the roads required by the emergency services to stop the fire jumping the road.  But hey, “I tweeted it first”, “I retweeted it first”, “I saw a post from a friend that said it was true, so I will share it so I can be first”, all turned out to be wrong. Funny thing was the ABC and the RFS didn’t tweet these “facts”, didn’t share this information, why because it wasn’t true.

Trust in an agency to get the information right and right the first time is important.  This doesn’t mean being first as is the want of many #smeg’s.

Take Google’s Crisis Maps for NSW.  They don’t just rely on rumours from social media; they rely on the cold hard facts from the RFS. (as an aside they work when the RFS servers are overloaded).  Why, because they are the go-to source.  Why didn’t the local council in the affected areas suddenly open up a twitter account and start tweeting? Because in this case they aren’t the go-to source.  Certainly not, when they don’t have an established system, protocol, trained staff and direct access to the agency that is actually in charge, yes the RFS. And what info would a council tweet, the source info, the RFS anyway!

Now when the shit hits the fan of course the RFS are going to be slower than people want, why because they are fact checking before they communicate.  An awareness of this small thing that seems to be missing from many peoples criticism of other organisations.

I know who I would retweet and share info from.  I have a wide range of trusted sources, these are people that work for organisations like the RFS.

Yes, social media does have  an important place during crisis comms.  The geotagged photo from an event can help.

Yet being first doesn’t always mean being right.

The amount of times I have seen “disaster” photos shared on social media, that aren’t even of the unfolding events but an early and different event, or the reports of something happening, which isn’t are scary.

A social media report saying a road is open, retweeted from 3 hours ago, when in fact a fire is heading straight for it, could see people get killed. What if the RFS reacted to all these reports, sent crews to areas they were not needed, because social media said so and people got killed.  What will the #smeg’s reaction be then…