Sigma 18mm F3.5 Zen A-mount lens reviews

reviews found: 10   
reviewer#44192 date: Dec-12-2018
sharpness: 4
color: 4
build: 4
distortion: 3
flare control: 4
overall: 3.8
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Tamron SP AF 17-50mm f2.8 XR Di II LD
Sony 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 SAM
Sony 18-70mm f3.5-5.6 DT
Sony DT 16-80mm f3.5-4.5 ZA
Sigma Super-Wide II 24mm 2.8
Tamron Adaptall-2 28mm 2.5
price paid:51.00 (used)
positive:Cheaper than other comparable options
Centrally sharp
'Vintage' look (rich and heavy yellow\oranges and blues)
FF compatible
Solid build, heavy metal and glass with rubberized outside. I found it to be a nice size and weight on the a77ii.
Less common wide angle prime
Flare control
AF seems decent

negative:Barrel distortion, especially on FF
Lowish contrast wide open
Slowish max aperture
On FF, and color shifting is bad towards edges and corner, as would expect on older WA
72mm filter ring
Vignette with hoods and filters
Rounded protruding front element


comment:* Updated after the purchase and testing on an a7ii w\laea4 adapter.

I can only rate the particular copies of the lens that I owned as they were purchased used. I've had two, the first had internal hazing that was unfixable, but it was cheap enough and I liked it enough that when I saw another copy for sale I picked it up.

The distortion is distinct but manageable on APSC, but bad on FF. Avoid straight lines, hard to fix completely in post. Central sharpness is quite acceptable (better stopped down at least to f4+) and focuses very close, but corner sharpness and corner\edge fringe\color shift is poor. I've not had particular problems with fringing in center though high contrast (trees against sky for ex.) will bring it out in spades. It's not a small lens, but it is fairly compact, feels weighty in the hand. Balances nicely on a DSLR, bit front heavy on a mirrorless with adapter. My first copy had the Zen coating removed by a prior owner so it was smooth and missing all markings. My second copy is pristine and the Zen coating is in fine shape, but something to watch out for. I would absolutely avoid purchasing if the coating has begun to degrade (on any of the Sigma Zen lenses). It's not worth the mess, and it may not be a coincidence that the first copy with coating issues also had a permanently hazed rear element.

A thin filter may work adequately, but at the moment all the filters and hoods I've tried have made the vignetteing terrible. It did not come with the stock hood so I do not know if that works better than the several aftermarket ones I've tried.

Its the widest prime I own below 24mm so I can't compare it to other similar primes. For my own uses on APSC, in most cases my zooms with a wide option are better choices, either because of better CA or more flexible use. I only pull this out when I either absolutely need the width, or am looking for the vintage colors. To that end, perhaps more than any of the other older lenses I have this has a distinct 'retro' look to the way it renders colors and contrast. It can be quite pleasing, particularly for things like autumn trees against blue sky - it has a distinct warm cast. If you can get it in good shape for a low cost, it can be a fun lens, but if you need wide for serious uses you're better off with a more modern, higher performing lens, but that will cost you quite a bit more than this one will.
reviewer#44099 date: Jul-11-2018
sharpness: 4
color: 4
build: 5
distortion: 3
flare control: 4
overall: 4
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sigma 20mm f1.8
Min. 24mm f2.8
Min. 17-35mm G
price paid:$220 USD
positive:Sharpness is adequate wide open and acceptable by f4.5. Very good at f8 & above. DOF is very good, as with most wide angles.
Color is accurate. AF is quick and relatively accurate. My copy does not require any micro focus adjustment.
negative:Barrel distortion. I'm not a fan of it unless I'm shooting with my Min. 16mm fish eye. Then it's fun. The distortion is correctable in post processing, but just barely. Interestingly it is not really noticeable unless your image has a lot of horizontal lines.
The Sigma lens hood produces noticeable vignetting. I've seen this before on dedicated hoods. I don't understand why this is done.
comment:This lens falls short of all of the comparison lenses listed. I really don't use it often. I will probably make it available on EvilBay.
reviewer#11646 date: Jan-30-2014
sharpness: 4
color: 4
build: 5
distortion: 4
flare control: 4
overall: 4.2
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:18-70mm Sony
17-35mm Minolta
price paid:£48
positive:Cheap lens for this focal length and it is a full frame lens if I manage to save up for that full frame camera.
It is a very solid and well built lens
Tested on A350, and A450 and Minolta Dynax
negative:Not a lot to be negative about but I don't have another wide prime lens to compare against
comment:I purchased this recently and am building up the number of shots taken. It has done everything I've asked of it so far. In my opinion its better than the kit lens. It is very solidly built and feels a lot more substantial than some plastic sigma lenses. The weather is pretty poor at the moment and I'll be interested to see how this performs in the sun with some bright colours. It does have the sticky Zen finish though mine is ok unlike the Sigma 24mm I have.
reviewer#8976 date: Apr-30-2011
sharpness: 1
color: 4
build: 5
distortion: 4
flare control: 5
overall: 3.8
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:sigma 17-35 2.8-4 DG EX
price paid:149,00
positive:None
negative:Not sharp
only 6 blades.
comment:I bought it from e-bay and it is possible i have a bad copy.
But sharpness is a disaster at all stops. I mostly use primes liken the minolta 24 2.8 and sony 50 1.4 and zooms of high quality like the sigma 24-70 2.8 DG EX HSM and the 70-200 2.8 DG EX HSM So my expectations of this lens being a prime where high and a give it several second chances before i dumpt it in a dark corner. It just doe's not produce acceptable images.
reviewer#8429 date: Dec-20-2010
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 4
flare control: 5
overall: 4.7
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sony 20F28 28mm wide angle prime
price paid:£100 (2nd hand)
positive:Compact size.
Nice wide field of view, especially for a prime.
No flare even in bright conditions.
Cheap (bought 2nd hand on eBay)
negative:Seems a bit on the heavy side for its size, not a massive issue!

comment:I bought this lens second hand on eBay after spotting it in a sellers list during bidding on a Teleconverter and I'm glad I did!

Its a nice lens, the fact its not of plastic construction makes it somewhat heavier than most lenses of its size these days (apart from fisheyes maybe) but its not a big issue.

I've used it for quite a few general snaps, although it does seem to suffer a bit in lower light conditions - you might be able to get away with free-hand shots with a 1.4 lens. But not this one, tripod is a must as far as I'm concerned.

Nice wide field of view even on aps-c camera, handy for those scenic winter shots! It also balances with and looks good on my a350! What more could I ask for?

I don't quite understand why more hasn't been said about this lens however. Is it a rare breed, or replaced quickly by something else?
reviewer#6854 date: Feb-2-2010
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.9
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:17-35/2.8-4
price paid:forgotten
positive:No flare and no red or magenta spots whatsoever.
negative:A lot of Chromatic Aberration.
No zoom and only 3.5.
(Because of that: no flare and no red or magenta spots whatsoever!)
comment:I only did really compare this lens to the KM 17-35. (Not to the other lenses I own). It was almost necessary to re-use the 3.5/18mm Sigma, that I own many years, in certain cicumstances, because of the flare and red or magenta spots (with the KM 17-35) when I take a picture with frontlight, a very bright sky or the sun near the frame. Whith the 18mm Sigma, you can even have the sun in your frame. No flare.
The ratings for distortion and sharpness are only valid for APS-C. For film and fullframe, the rating of the distortion would be only 3 and the rating for sharpness would be 3 or 4.
reviewer#6137 date: Sep-29-2009
sharpness: 4
color: 4
build: 5
distortion: 3
flare control: 3
overall: 3.8
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I used to own this lens
compared to:Min 28mm f2.8
Beercan
Min 50mm f2.8
mino 24-105
SAL 2470CZ
mono 50 f1.4
price paid:130 USD
positive:very wide
great colours
cheap
everything that matters
negative:soft when wide open
there is little information out there about this lens.
slow
comment:Great little find on e-bay.
Very strongly recommended if you can find a copy.

Works with my Sony A55 and A77 SLT.
reviewer#5092 date: Mar-25-2009
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 4
flare control: 5
overall: 4.7
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sony 18-70 3.5-5.6
Tokina 20-35 3.5-4.5
K/M 24-105 3.5-4.5
price paid:129 USD
positive:compact
sharp
light
perspective
beautiful color
contrast
negative:none
comment: This lens is a great buy for me. I love it's blues and yellows. I very much enjoy it's ability to bend perspective and my copy cranks up shutter speed in less than ideal light. The elements are good sized. I did some landscape shots and skylines and they came out amazing. It has been a great HDR lens that I really enjoy using and I know I someone will post a review of how bad their copy is, but I have the pics to prove how much I like the distortion. Thanks
reviewer#3388 date: Mar-21-2008
sharpness: 4.5
color: 4
build: 5
distortion: 4
flare control: 4
overall: 4.3
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sigma 10-20
Kit lens (18-70)
price paid:can't remember
positive:Sharp enough
Solid built
Internal focusing
negative:Nothing for that wide lens
comment:Nice old Sigma. A little bit soft corners on FF, but pretty good for APS

edit:
Just tested it with A900; pretty sharp at center, acceptable at corners, CA at corners. Usable if light is contrast enough.
reviewer#3050 date: Dec-8-2007
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 3
flare control: 4
overall: 4.3
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:vivitar series 1 19-35
price paid:160 USD (used)
positive:Colors
Build quality
Color and contrast
Very sharp
Internal Focusing
Not quite fisheye distortion adds interest to pictures, if you plan for it.
negative:f3.5 not quite fast enough for low light situations
distortion near the edges can be disturbing if you don't plan for it
comment:This is a very nice lens and it's a lot of fun to use on a full frame camera. Very definite distortion around the edges, particularly for objects close to the camera. Might be a bit too wide for architecture shots, but works well for landscapes.

reviews found: 10   

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 10
  • sharpness: 3.95
  • color: 4.40
  • build: 4.90
  • distortion: 3.70
  • flare control: 4.30
  • overall: 4.25

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