In the market for a new lens to use with your Nikon D3500? Look no further, because Sigma’s got exactly what you need. The D3500 is a great entry-level camera, so the chances are that you’re somewhat new to the world of photography. So, you’ll probably want to avoid buying an overpriced lens that’s way too complicated to use. Instead, you might want a lens that’s budget-friendly and simple so that you can focus on honing your photography skills instead of fiddling with the lens too much.
Well, that’s where Sigma has something great to offer you: the Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8-4.5 DC OS HSM Zoom lens. That’s a lot of abbreviations to understand, but don’t worry, we’ll break it down for you in a minute. For now, all you need to know is that this lens is affordable, it’s light, it’s small, and most importantly, it’s an excellent match for your Nikon D3500.
Since Sigma is the company behind this lens, its performance and functionality come as no surprise. The company has been in the business since 1961. They’ve devoted themselves to producing only the best photography accessories, and this lens is proof that they know what they’re doing.
This Sigma lens first appeared on the market in 2009. Since then, it’s earned itself an excellent reputation in the photography community for being one of the best lenses for Nikon D3500. Keep reading to find out exactly why!
Performance And Functionality
A lens is only as good as its performance and functionality. So, in this section, we’re going to take a closer look at how this Sigma lens performs when it’s paired with your D3500 camera.
What’s in a Name?
First and foremost, let’s break down this lens’ long and complicated name. In full, this is known as the Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8-4.5 SLD Aspherical DC OS HSM Wide Angle Zoom Lens. Truthfully, you can find out everything about the lens’ functionality from the name itself, but that’s only assuming you can decode the abbreviations. So, here we go:
- SLD refers to the Special Low Dispersion glass materials that Sigma has used in making this lens. That material helps the lens to minimise chromatic aberrations that tend to get captured under certain lighting conditions.
- Aspherical refers to the shape of the lens itself. At least one or both sides of the glass has a non-spherical shape to it. Aspherical elements in lenses like this one help to prevent optical aberrations
- DC simply indicates the type of sensor that this lens is fit for, which in this case is the sensors on APS-C DSLR cameras
- OS refers to the optical stabilisation functions that this lens has. The OS gives this lens anti-shake abilities, which makes any shots you capture much more impressive
- HSM stands for Sigma’s Hyper Sonic Motor used for focusing. The HSM means the lens will autofocus while generating little or no noise at all!
- Wide Angle is pretty self-explanatory. This lens offers super-wide range of 18mm.
- Zoom lens means that you can adjust it to zoom in on your subject. A zoom lens is the opposite of a ‘prime’ lens which has a fixed focal length
Now that we have all the jargon sorted out let’s take a closer look at some of the key features this lens has to offer your D3500.
Larger Aperture Zoom
For one thing, this lens pairs a large aperture with the ability to zoom. This lens has a maximum aperture of f/2.8, which allows it to capture fantastic images even in low-light conditions. Pair that with the maximum magnification ratio of 1:4.1 and you’ll be able to capture some fantastic shots from afar, even if the lighting isn’t so good.
As mentioned earlier, this lens also offers image stabilization. Some reviewers have said that the optical image stabilization technology used in this Sigma lens is similar to Canon’s IS, Nikon’s VR and Tamron’s VC systems used in their respective lenses. Sigma’s anti-shake function in this lens helps you keep things steady while you capture some of the best snapshots possible.
Inner Focus System
Unlike other lenses, this one uses an internal focus system. What that means is that when the lens focuses, no external parts do any turning. Instead, the inner parts move to focus the image as needed. That system provides you with an added advantage because this lens can attach a petal-type lens hood and circular polarising filters easily.
As mentioned earlier, this is an HSM lens, which points to its Hyper Sonic Motor. That motor is Sigma’s equivalent to Canon USM and Nikon SWM technology. Basically, it’s a ring-type ultrasonic motor that allows for quick and silent autofocusing. Why does this matter? Well, imagine yourself in a quiet studio or a candid situation with your D3500. The sounds of more conventional autofocus motors could sometimes become a distraction to you and your subjects. With something like the HSM, the noise of a lens autofocusing is one less thing for you to worry about.
Less Ghosting And Flaring
Sigma has manufactured this lens by applying a multi-layer proprietary lens coating. With that coating, you’ll experience little or no ghosting or flaring in your snapshots. The result? Highly impressive shots with fewer (if any) flaws!
Perfect For Portraits
All things considered, this Sigma lens will give you and your D3500 the upper hand when it comes to portrait photography. Bear in mind. This lens only has a minimum focusing distance of 7.9 inches, with a maximum magnification of 1:3. Combine those factors with its large aperture and zoom abilities, and what you have is an incredibly powerful lens to use for close-up shots like portraits. It’ll help you capture all of the finer details of your subject up close and personal, allowing you to bring your picture to life with all their unique nuances in the frame.
Great Video Performance
Make no mistake; this lens works amazingly well for both photo and video capturing. If you’re an aspiring filmmaker or Youtuber, this lens will serve you well. First of all, the smooth zoom and low-light performance will help you capture bright videos even when your lighting isn’t ideal. But remember: this lens also has silent autofocus thanks to its Hyper Sonic Motor. That’s great news for filmmakers because it means vide shot with lens will always be in focus, without capturing any excessive autofocus noise in the footage!
User Interface And Control System
With all of that functionality packed into this lens, it’s quite surprising that controlling the lens is super easy.
At the end of the lens barrel is where the focus ring is mounted. With little dampening, the focus ring turns pretty quickly as needed. That allows you to adjust the focus easily without having to exert too much force. Furthermore, hard stops on either side of the focus throw keep it well-bounded.
The zoom ring on this Sigma lens is more prominent than the focus ring. That makes it much easier for you to differentiate between the two ‘blindly’, i.e. you can adjust the zoom ring completely by feel while you have your eye on the camera’s viewfinder. The zoom ring rotates up to about 50 degrees. Since there’s a balanced amount of resistance when it comes to the zoom ring, it’s no surprise that Sigma didn’t feel the need to include a zoom lock with this lens.
AF/MF And Stabilization Switches
As expected, right on the side of the lens barrel is an Auto/Manual Focus switch. There’s also a switch to turn the camera’s optical stabilisation on or off. These switches are pretty straightforward. Sigma positioned the switches at just the right spots on the barrel. So, even if you’re photographing while running around with your D3500 camera, flipping the switch you need is easy.
If you do a quick Google search of this lens, you’ll find that there are plenty of excellent reviews by other photographers who love the functionality of this lens. This lens has served them well; it’ll do the same for you!
Build Quality And Design
A quick look at this Sigma lens and it’s evident that the company designed it to be as affordable and value-packed as possible.
Small And Light
Probably the essential aspect of this lens’ build is the fact that it’s small and light.
The lens only weighs 14.4 ounces or 408 grams. Considering how the Nikon D3500 only weighs about 365 grams, even with this Sigma lens attached the total weight stays under one kilogram. So, whether you’re using a tripod or your hands to keep the camera up, you don’t have to worry about getting tired too quickly.
In terms of size, this lens measures 5.4 by 4.2 by 4.1 inches. Again, that’s not much when you combine it with the D3500. Unlike bigger lenses, this one won’t stick out awkwardly. The weight of the entire set up will stay balanced (instead of being too heavy on the front), and there’s little risk of you bumping the lens into anything.
Also mentioned earlier are the unique elements in this lens. Firstly, this lens includes two SLD (Special Low Dispersion) glass elements. Furthermore, it’s also got three aspherical lenses in total. Altogether, this lens has uses glass-mold and hybrid aspherical lens technologies which is why it’s so small and light, to begin with. When all of those elements are combined, this Sigma lens corrects all sorts of optical aberrations!
Seven Diaphragm Blades
This Sigma lens also consists of seven diaphragm blades. Why does this matter? Well, a simple answer is that the more blades that the lens aperture has, the better. More basic lenses tend to have only five or six blades, while higher-end ones have anywhere from nine to fourteen. This Sigma lens has a nice seven blades which put it right in the middle of that range. With that number of blades, this lens captures some lovely highlights in the out-of-focus parts of your photos, like when you’re doing bokeh photography.
So, should you get the Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8-4.5 SLD Aspherical DC OS HSM Wide Angle Zoom Lens for your Nikon D3500 camera? Yes, you absolutely should.
Firstly, this lens is straightforward and simple to use. As a newbie photographer, you’ll appreciate how this allows you to focus on perfecting your shots instead of fiddling around with the lens, trying to get it to work right. Even veteran photographers would surely appreciate this lens’ simplicity. Nobody said that photography gear needs to be overly complicated, and this lens proves it!
Next, the form factor of the lens is one of the best things about it. It’s light, and it’s compact. That means it won’t add an uncomfortable amount of weight to your D3500 camera, nor will it stick out like a sore thumb the way some bigger lenses do. The weight and size of a lens are even more critical if you plan on taking it with you around your city or when you travel. Compact lenses like this one can be packed into your carry-on luggage or backpack, so you can keep it close at all times. Also, smaller lenses make for less tempting targets of thieves.
Last but not least, the amount of functionality that you get in this small lens is mindblowing. Just the full name of this Sigma lens is more than a mouthful because of the many features it comes with. In this compact and light package, you get the image stabilisation, Hyper Sonic Motor for silent auto-focusing, and even an internal focusing system. On top of that, the aspherical elements and other materials used to put this lens together simply add to its overall optical performance.
The fact that this lens still maintains its excellent reputation even after all these years is testament enough to how much you need this lens in your photography set up. Without a doubt, this Sigma lens is a darling among Nikon D3500 owners.