Like you I’ve heard all the rave reviews about the legendary Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 – the “must have video lens” for Fujifilm X series cameras.
That said, I was hesitant and it took me a long time to take the leap. After all, it’s an almost 10-year-old zoom lens that was designed for photography rather than videography.
But everyone says it has the quality of prime lenses, and that it’s a “must” have for Fujifilm shooters video shooters.
They’re typically made for the Canon or Nikon mount, but can be used with the Fujifilm X series cameras with the Fringer adapter. It’s not cheap, but it allows for autofocus too, which is amazing.
My main video lens has been the trusty 18-55mm f/2.8 for a long time. Example film: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jlMHbW-ySOQ
I don’t rate it for photography, but for video it is just absolutely perfect. It focuses quickly and silently, has a really versatile focal range, and it’s cheap too! Oh, and OIS!
But it’s only a f/2.8 at 18mm and then it goes to f/4. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t really an issue, especially when you’re shooting in bright sunlight.
Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 Nikon-Fujifilm X Mount with Fringer Adapter Video Sample (With Autofocus)
The thing is, now that I’ve started shooting weddings, I’ve realised that I need something more capable in low light.
Yes, I know I’ve talked about how amazing the 35mm f/1.4 is for video. Example film: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2igcQcwOUsA
And yes, I absolutely adore the 23mm f/2, BUT, when you’re shooting weddings, you need versatility. You can’t be changing lenses every time the light changes (though I have considered shooting with two cameras and two primes lenses on a dual harness, a la “classic wedding photographer”). But I don’t want to deal with the weight.
And so, for me, when looking for an ultra versatile lens to replace my Fuji 18-55mm, it came down to either the Fujifilm 16-55mm, which is a red badge lens and an f/2.8 throughout its entire focal range. It’s wider and also longer than the Sigma 18-35mm, but the Sigma’s f/1.8 beats it.
The Sigma also worked out cheaper than the Fuji 16-55mm, even with the cost of the Fringer adaptor factored in.
And so, I made the leap.
Is the Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 the perfect “do it all” video lens?
No, it’s not. The autofocus just doesn’t instil confidence, and the range isn’t that versatile. It is useable, don’t get me wrong. But it’s nowhere near as good as the Fuji native lenses. And it’s noisy too. Sometimes I wish I’d spent the money on a Fuji 16-55mm f/2.8 instead.
But it is an incredible lens and I do absolutely love it. The image quality is gorgeous.
What I’ve realised is that a lot of the videographers who love it and recommend it typically shoot in manual focus only, and have a monitor to help them do so more effectively.
It does however have a certain magic quality about it. I think of it more as a vintage lens. I mean, in some ways, it kind of is a vintage lens – it’s almost ten years old as I write this.
You don’t buy or use vintage lenses because they’re better. In fact, it’s their flaws that make the so special, that give them character. And for me and my style of filmmaking, character is more important than precision. I don’t want “perfect” image quality, I want nostalgia, emotion, feel and nuance. And the Sigma 18-35mm 1.8 delivers it in bucketloads.
Get a Fujifilm XT4: https://amzn.to/3AfLdrx
Get the Fringer Adapter: https://amzn.to/3sPJqaP
My Microphones: https://amzn.to/3y2cqvC / https://amzn.to/3A6lmCg
My External Audio Recorder and Lav Mic: https://amzn.to/3dEYvEj / https://amzn.to/3qx4xfp