Photo courtesy of Sigma

It’s an exciting time for Canon users everywhere – Sigma has officially launched the long-awaited release of their first ever APS-C dedicated standard zoom RF Mount lens: introducing the 18-50mm F2.8 DC DN Contemporary lens. The equivalent range on a crop sensor Canon camera is multiplied by 1.6x, making it approximately 28-80mm. With that range, it’s the perfect companion for all your travels and optimal for street photography because it’s light and easy to maneuver. We first saw the release of this lens for Sony E Mount in 2021 and Fujifilm X Mount the following year. 

If you’re a fan of Sigma lenses and shoot on a Canon mirrorless camera, but don’t want to use an adapter, this one’s for you! This lens really opens up low-light possibilities with its fixed aperture of f/2.8, when we consider the current available lineup of Canon RF zoom lenses (all of which have variable apertures).   

50mm f3.2 1/4000 ISO 800

Let’s Go To The Beach

Summer has officially begun here in New York City, so we took this lens down to Coney Island and tested it out with the portable Canon R10, which has an APS-C sensor. It’s an excellent choice if you’re ever limited to taking just one lens with you. It’s also great for beginners who are still exploring what type of photography they might be interested in, given the focal length range. You can shoot pretty much anything on this all-rounder from portraits to landscapes, and it will perform well whether it’s broad daylight or an indoor setting. If you’re a big fan of the DG DN | Art Series, you may be missing out on certain features such as an aperture ring or customizable buttons, but this is an ideal lens to keep on your camera for everyday use, due to its versatility and size. Sigma is known to create their lenses with dust and splash-resistant material, which makes them all the more fun to take along for your summer adventures.  

21mm F3.2 1/4000 ISO 1250
This image was taken after the sun went down, you can see the details on the kite even in low-light.

Lens Construction

This lens is petite when you compare it to similar ones! When combined with the compact R10, it’s a great setup for the outdoors and walking around with it is easy and lightweight. It’s just under 3 inches tall and has a filter size of 55mm. The barrel has thermal properties very similar to aluminum, giving you consistent optical performance in any environmental condition. It uses slim internal metal components, offering the perfect balance of lightweight and durable design with robust functionality. Weighing in at just 290g, it was recognized as the smallest and lightest F2.8 standard zoom for crop-sensor mirrorless cameras available on the market, at the time of announcement (October 2021). 

50mm F3.2 1/4000 ISO 125
18mm F13 1/250 ISO 100

In these photos you can notice the varied effects you can achieve with the depth of field.

Fixed 2.8 Aperture  

The combination of a fixed aperture of 2.8 and an APS-C camera allows you to get quite a shallow depth of field, blurring out the background nicely. The lens is capable of creating a nice blur while maintaining excellent sharpness of your subject. The colors look great and it was an excellent location to take scenic wide shots. There’s lots of room to play regarding depth of field between 18-50mm. While shooting outdoors, the AF worked quickly and quite excellently, allowing us to shift focus on different subjects without a hitch. Indoors it was slightly less efficient and did benefit from taking a moment to refocus on the subject between shots – but this is expected with low light levels. Nature shots tend to be a bit easier to focus on due to the variety of textures and contrasts; it allows the AF system more points to focus on when compared to something more even, like a face for instance.  

41mm F2.8 1/60 ISO 100
A close-up of our model's lips.

In The Studio

Since we mostly used the wide end outdoors, we also wanted to test out the lens’ portrait-capturing abilities in an indoor, studio setting. We invited a model to our studio and used a three point external flash set up. The camera’s minimal focusing distance of 4.76 inches at the wide end was a pleasant surprise! You’re able to get quite close and for instance, in the shot below where we focused on the model’s lips, everything looks clear and sharp. At one point I used a powerful flash as the backdrop and I was able to get shots with very minimal chromatic aberration. The lens is designed to support high-speed AF as well as in-camera aberration correction, as long as the camera you’re using already supports it. Despite not being a macro lens, at 18mm the lens allows you to get impressively close to your subject. I really love the difference in the depth of field you can achieve, whether you want your background slightly or extremely blurred. 

25mm F3.5 1/80 ISO 100
25mm F3.5 1/80 ISO 100

Little to no chromatic aberration is present, even on a very bright background.

Who Is This Lens For?

This lens is a wonderful catchall lens when you will be out shooting all day, and just want one lens on your camera. It’s a major upgrade if your current goto is the Canon 18-45mm F4.5-6.3, having a fixed aperture allows you to get much better images in low light situations and overall better image quality. This lens is also a great option for anyone who has been using an adapter to use other lenses on their Canon mirrorless APS-C cameras. While it is technically compatible with full frame mirrorless cameras, it is not recommended as you would be compromising on image size and quality. With that said, don’t rule it out this lens is part of the Contemporary line and is incredibly affordable retailing at $599. You can order it now on our website. Overall, it’s a wonderful and versatile introduction to the RF mounts from Sigma and we’re looking forward to the release of the 10-18mm F2.8 DC DN | C later this year.


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