Nikon’s ultra wide-angle zoom continues to receive wide acclaim. Despite being over a decade old it remains well matched to landscapes, architecture and many shooting situations that demand an extremely wide field of view. There’s no getting away from the fact it’s heavy to carry and that its bulbous front element requires use of a third party adapter to attach filters, but this is offset by the fact it’s weather-sealed, incredibly robust and returns impressive sharpness from edge to edge when it’s stopped down from f/2.8. It’s hugely popular with Nikon F-mount users, but the Z 14-24mm f/2.8 S for Nikon’s Z-mount mirrorless cameras does sit a league above.
The Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM Art is a fascinating lens and one that’s designed for cameras that employ an APS-C size sensor. With a constant aperture of f/1.8 and focal range that’s equivalent to 27-52.5mm, it lets you do what very few zooms allow, which is to shoot at a fast maximum aperture across a practical focal length range without having to switch between multiple prime lenses. It’s constructed to Sigma’s robust standards, however it’s not weather-sealed. It’s also fairly heavy (810g) for its size and balances best with APS-C cameras that have a large handgrip. It’s puts in an exceptional optical performance and produces highly attractive images at f/1.8.
Nikon’s professional standard zoom has a lot going for it, not least its constant f/2.8 aperture and reliable focusing under tough low-light conditions. With no optical stabilisation it weighs less than a kilogram. It upholds good levels of sharpness from the centre to edge at f/8, however it does suffer from field curvature, resulting in fairly soft corners at wide apertures. Nikon’s Nano Crystal Coat is effective at mitigating ghosting and flare when shooting towards the sun and the colour and contrast of the lens is excellent. It serves Nikon full-frame users well and is only outdone optically by its heavier and more expensive 24-70mm f2.8E ED VR cousin.