I bought this lens as an upgrade from the 18-55mm kit lens on my Nikon D3300. I deliberated for months before buying this lens. I was looking for a lens that I could leave on the camera for most of the time, that had a bit more reach than the kit lens in both directions,...See more
I bought this lens as an upgrade from the 18-55mm kit lens on my Nikon D3300. I deliberated for months before buying this lens. I was looking for a lens that I could leave on the camera for most of the time, that had a bit more reach than the kit lens in both directions, was fast and light, had optical stabilization and was optically brilliant. There isn''t such a lens, so then it was about where to compromise, which resulted in ''deciding'' on lots of different lenses before this one. Prior to buying the Sigma, the Nikon 16-80 was ticking most of the boxes. However, when I looked at pictures taken with it on Flickr, they were good but nothing special. I upgraded to a Digital SLR from a compact because I wanted to take pictures that were wow, and the Nikon 16-80 wasn''t going to deliver on that front. Before buying any lens, I recommend that you go to Flickr and check out pictures taken with that lens. I had been looking at just Nikon lenses, assuming that they would be best. Having not found a lens after many months, I went to DXOMark to check out how the third-party lenses compared. To my surprise, other than Carl Zeiss lenses, the sharpest lens they have tested on a D3300 is the Sigma 18-35, even beating the Nikon primes. The Sigma 18-35 failed to tick a lot of the boxes, it wasn''t light, it didn''t have the range I was after, and it didn''t have optical stabilization. However, the pictures on Flickr looked fantastic, I wanted to take pictures that looked wow, so I ordered the lens. I then wondered if I''d made a big mistake. Firstly the concerns I had. The weight hasn''t been a problem. The Sigma is a lot heavier than the kit lens, but the D3300 isn''t that heavy so it hasn''t been a problem having the two of them round my neck all day. The lack of reach hasn''t been an either. I do not print my pictures, so with the pictures being as sharp as they are, I can crop them quite heavily and still have great results. The lack of optical stabilization is balanced by the fast F1.8 aperture to a large extent, although at F1.8 the depth of field becomes very narrow. I have used the lens indoors at the Harry Potter Studios and it worked just fine. Now the good stuff. I can''t tell you how sharp this lens is, the pictures it returns are awesome. Going from my compact camera to the digital SLR was a big jump in quality. Upgrading the kit lens to this Sigma has been another big jump. Also, being able to open the lens to F1.8 has been more rewarding than I imagined. At F1.8, the progressive blurring can bring pictures to life. So should you buy this lens to replace the 18-55 kit lens? If you want to take pictures that are wow, this lens delivers big time. For me, having that quality outweighs its limited zoom range, weight and lack of stabilization. The F1.8 aperture gives you options for being creative with each photo you take, and it is great fun having it available; I would now take F1.8 with no stabilization over F3.5 or whatever with stabilization any day. This lens feels lovely in the hand and it is great fun to use. As an update to the 18-55mm kit lens, I am delighted with this lens and I thoroughly recommend it. A note about the auto-focussing. Some reviews of this lens mention problems with the auto-focussing. I don''t know if this is something Sigma has improved on (most of the reviews were written when the lens was first released, about two and a half years ago now), but the auto-focus has been spot on for me.